After four months of lockdown, I decided to visit my hometown in Kerala this weekend. My sister and her family planned on going by road so I decided to join them. The pandemic has changed a lot of things since I last visited my home six months ago.
So naturally, we planned our journey a week in advance.
Here’s a detailed itinerary of everything I did before, during and after the journey (as of 7 July 2020).
1. Applying For The Kerala Pass
The first step is to register on the ‘Covid Jagratha website’. You will have to fill in your basic details and provide the address and ward number of the home in Kerala where you will be quarantined for 14 days. You also need to provide the checkpoint you will be crossing, the exact date and time slot of the checkpost crossing.
These details are required by the government in order to ensure proper crowd management at the checkpoints and the details will also be used to get data for contact tracing of people and ensuring proper quarantine within the state.
Within 24 hours, a healthcare official from your ward in Kerala will contact you to check whether your home meets the requirement for quarantine. The official may also ask for details about your ward members in Kerala.
Remember to save the number of this health official, in case the pass approval gets delayed.
After the officials verify your details, they will add remarks to your pass and it should be approved within 48 hours. If it is not approved, you can call the helpline numbers given below.
However, recent reports claim, travellers both from other states and foreign countries are required only to register on the site and need not wait for the approval. Registration for travellers from other states and foreign countries will be auto-approved, for all modes of transport.
Either way, it is best to check with the COVID-19 control rooms before starting your journey, even if you have registered.
2. Applying For The Tamil Nadu Pass
Once the Kerala pass is approved, you can apply for the Tamil Nadu pass from this website. This will be approved within an hour.
Again, according to the revised guidelines, you won’t need a Tamil Nadu pass, but to avoid confusion and delay at check-posts, it is best to have all the documents in place.
3. Print Outs
Remember to print out two copies each of these documents along with your vehicle insurance papers. The Tamil Nadu pass must be printed in colour.
4. Day Of The Journey
Stick the Tamil Nadu pass on your car’s front window before starting the journey so that there won’t be any need to roll down your windows at the check-posts. When I was travelling from Bengaluru, checking was done at Hosur and Coimbatore.
5. Kerala Checkpost
All members of the vehicle will have to get out and report in person to the officials at the Kerala check-posts. Please carry your Kerala pass and know the Taluk of the address given in the form.
Each of the six check-posts to enter into Kerala will have a check-in facility.
Since we were travelling to Kerala from Bengaluru, we had to get down at the Walayar checkpost. When we reached, there were around 20 people across three to four counters. The officials have face shields and masks and a glass partition to minimise contact.
The officials will ask for your name, taluk and phone number. You will also have to hold up your pass against the glass partition and undergo a temperature check. So it’s super important to be fully prepared with disposable gloves and an N95 mask.
Once that process is over, they will hand over another pass through an opening in the glass partition. Carry a Ziploc or a small plastic file to place this form in. Once that process is over, dispose of your gloves responsibly, and immediately and sanitise.
When you exit, there will be another police checking to verify the pass you got along with your vehicle number. Once this is done, remember to remove the Tamil Nadu pass to avoid confusion at other checkpoints
If you are travelling by bus, the bus operators will take care of applying for the Tamil Nadu pass but you will still have to apply for the Kerala pass on the Covid Jagratha website.
Currently, private bus operators are not permitted to function but the ‘Kerala Samajam Bangalore’ is offering safe and hygienic bus services to all routes in Kerala.
You can get in touch with them on the numbers given below:
While travelling by flight, you will have to register on the website but you won’t be required to produce the print anywhere.
On reaching the destination airport in Kerala, you will not be allowed to have relatives/friends pick you up and will have to strictly take the airport taxi to your home.
Once you reach Kerala, you will be required to be in strict home quarantine for 14 days with zero contact with the other members of the house. Also, remember to inform your ward health official that you’ve reached home.
While you’re in quarantine you may also receive calls/visits from the local police to ensure that you are quarantined.
When you complete the 14-day quarantine you can request for a quarantine completion pass from the ‘COVID Jagratha website’ as well.
(Edited by Saiqua Sultan)