Kerala-Karnataka border standoff ends, 3 ambulances ferry patients

Kerala-Karnataka border standoff ends, 3 ambulances ferry patients
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Three ambulances from Kerala carrying patients crossed the Karnataka border on Wednesday after the two states reached an agreement on Tuesday.

After the coronavirus pandemic started spreading in the country, Karnataka had blocked it's borders with Kerala, especially with Kasaragod district which is the most severely affected by coronavirus in the state.

Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa had said opening of the state's borders will be like "embracing death".

Karnataka on Tuesday agreed to allow ambulances carrying patients other than COVID-19 cases through Talapady border in Kasaragod district for treatment in hospitals in Mangaluru during the ongoing lockdown.

The patients from Kerala need to carry a certificate mentioning the hospital which they plan to visit in Mangaluru.

Karnataka has deployed medical teams to screen the crew of incoming vehicles, The Hindu reported. Besides checking the documents, these teams will see if they patients have symptoms of fever or respiratory illness. Such cases will not be allowed entry to the state, a team member told The Hindu.

The northern parts of Kasaragod district depends on Mangaluru for medical facilities, especially dialysis.

At least eight seriously ill patients died as they were unable to get treatment as the national highway at Talapady had been closed.

The breakthrough came two days after the Supreme Court through video conferencing asked the Chief Secretaries of Kerala and Karnataka to hold discussions with Union Health Secretary for an amicable settlement of the issue and decide on parameters to be maintained in case of health emergencies.

The Centre informed the Supreme Court on Tuesday that a settlement has been reached between Karnataka and Kerala on lifting the blockade of border roads by the former and parameters for passage of patients for urgent medical treatment at the interstate border have been formulated.

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