Uttarakhand govt under fire for exempting VIPs from Covid-19 quarantine

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The Uttarakhand government in its fresh guidelines on inter-state and intra-state travel has exempted VIPs from mandatory quarantine.

The guidelines have drawn flak from the opposition Congress which described the guidelines as “foolish” since Covid-19 cases continued to soar every day in the state.

The BJP-led Uttarakhand government on Monday evening had issued guidelines on inter-state and intra-state travel under which all the inbound people have to go under quarantine. Those coming from high-load Covid-19 cities by any mode of transport will have to be in institutional quarantine for a period of seven days followed by 14 days of home quarantine.

People coming from non-high-load Covid-19 cities will have to go under home quarantine of 14 days. Some exceptional cases including pregnant women, serious illness, death, senior citizen sabove 65 years of age could go under home quarantine of 14 days without seven days of institutional quarantine with proper directions and screening by the government.

Also read: Uttarakhand hotels to remain shut, hoteliers say govt guidelines impractical

The guidelines exempted central ministers and Uttarakhand ministers, chief justice and judges of the High Court, judges and judicial officers of district and sub-ordinate judiciary of the state, Members of Parliament and Members of Legislative Assembly of Uttarakhand, all officers of Centre, state government, PSUs, Central and State government organisations, from any sort of quarantine in case of inter-state or intra-state travel for official purposes. However, they will have to adhere to the Centre’s norms of safety and social distancing.

The Congress has reacted strongly on the exemption and termed the government’s decision as foolish citing the recent case of state tourism minister Satpal Maharaj who tested positive for Covid-19 along with his family members and staffers.

Suryakant Dhasamana, vice president of the Uttarakhand Congress unit said, “When the cases in the state are increasing every day, how could the government take such a foolish decision? It is beyond one’s understanding.”

“First this government termed coronavirus as Jamaati and now with the latest exemption, they have divided it between VIPs and the common man. It’s simply ridiculous. They should understand that the virus doesn’t discriminate about religion, class, caste, creed or race. It can infect anyone,” said Dhasmana.

Pointing towards Satpal Maharaj’s case, he said “what better example for the same than him.”

“Is there any bigger VIP than Maharaj in the state. He is a minister in the present government, former minister in Centre, and also a Maharaj. Even he has tested positive for the virus, so what is the meaning of this exemption? Instead of taking more stringent decisions to contain the spread, the government is coming up with these decisions,” said Dhasmana.

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