A pregnant woman in labour, a migrant from Bihar, gave birth in an ambulance in Kerala after the Karnataka police allegedly refused to allow the ambulance carrying her to cross the border road to Mangaluru to reach her hospital.
The border road between the two states was shut due to the lockdown. The woman used to consult a doctor in Karnataka's Mangaluru, across the state border from Kerala's Kasaragod.
According to news agency Press Trust of India, as the Karnataka police stopped the ambulance at the border in Talapady, allegedly saying no vehicle, including ambulances from Kerala, could be permitted to their state, the drivers decided to take the woman to the general hospital in Kasaragod, but she went into labour and delivered a baby girl in the ambulance.
"Both the mother and baby are doing fine," authorities said.
The women, 25-year-old Gowri Devi, who belongs to Patna in Bihar, and her husband, were working in a local plywood factory in this north Kerala district, from where the maximum number of coronavirus cases have been reported so far in the state.
Those living in the border towns and villages of Kasaragod are dependent on the hospitals in Mangaluru as it is nearer, locals told news agency PTI.
The ambulance drivers - Aslam and Musthafa - said they stopped the vehicle by the wayside, making it safe for the woman to deliver her child.
The baby girl and the mother were soon shifted to the government general hospital in Kasaragod and both of them are safe and healthy, they said.
Locals complained that not only pregnant women, but even patients requiring daily dialysis and emergency cardiac and cancer treatment were being sent back by the police at the Karnataka border.
A response from the Karnataka Police is awaited.