COVID-19 quarantine rules, it seems, do not apply to Union Ministers; that’s according to Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers Minister DV Sadananda Gowda.
Gowda landed in a controversy in Bengaluru after touching down from a flight from Delhi when he flouted quarantine rules by walking straight to car and then driving off to his residence.
The Union Minister defended his act saying he came under the exempted category being in-charge of pharmaceuticals, an essential sector.
“You need people to work for the control (of Covid-19) right? If you say no one should come out can you stop this? As a pharma minister I need to check production, supplies, and ensure it reaches last point, it is my responsibility,” the minister told reporters.
“I come under the exemption clause and I have the exemptions. Aarogya Setu app on my phone also shows I’m safe. After checking everything we conduct ourselves in a responsible way. Modi (PM Narendra Modi) also won’t spare us, if we move around according to our wish,” he added.
Gowda said his body temperature was checked before he left the airport and he had not come in contact with anyone in the flight as there were only 11 passengers on board.
Speaking to ANI, he said “Guidelines are applicable to all citizens, but there are certain exemption clauses, for those who hold certain responsible posts.”
The Karnataka government jumped to his defence saying the Centre had issued orders exempting such people handling essential sectors from quarantine norms.
State Minister S Suresh Kumar, who is spokesperson for Covid-19 in Karnataka said, “He (Gowda) is exempted in his capacity as a minister handling pharma sector orders has already been issued by the central government (in this regard)”.
But the standard operating procedure issued by the government mandates that passengers coming from high Covid prevalence states of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh should mandatorily go for paid institutional quarantine for 7 days.
Gowda’s act and his defence triggered a controversy with several people taking to social media accusing him of violating norms while others saying rules are only meant for citizens and not for VVIPS, including ministers.
Meanwhile, Karnataka once again reported a spike in Covid cases on Monday with 93 people testing positive, bringing the total number of Covid-19 cases in the state to 2,182.
The state reported two new deaths due to Covid, taking the toll to 44.
Of the 93 new cases, 69 had returned from Maharashtra. 4 people had international travel history, 1 had travel history to Delhi, 2 had travel history to Tamil Nadu, and 1 had travel history to UP.