New rule from tomorrow; Additional Rapid Antigen Testing teams to be posted at Palace, Zoo
Mysore/Mysuru: With six visitors testing Corona positive on Wednesday, Mysore Palace Board authorities have decided to let in only those who produce COVID-19 ‘negative’ report at the entrance. This new rule will come into effect from tomorrow to ensure the safety of the Palace staff and visiting public.
“We have requested the Health Department officials to deploy more number of mobile teams near the Palace ticket counter to conduct Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) for visitors and give the results quickly to allow them inside. We need to look into the safety of our staff members too,” T.S. Subramanya, Deputy Director, Mysore Palace Board, told Star of Mysore.
He said as on today only three teams with six to seven members in each team, have been deployed inside the Palace premises to conduct RAT on tourists. On Wednesday, a large number of tourists had gathered at the Palace. As the Board had insisted on testing every one before allowing them inside the Palace, a serpentine queue was formed. It took almost one hour for the staff members to clear the crowd.
Of the 2,006 tourists visited yesterday, 127 underwent RAT and six positive cases were detected. Similarly, on Tuesday, 2,758 tourists came to Palace, out of which 98 were tested and two positive cases came to light. This has caused a major concern not only for the Palace staff members but also for other tourists, he said.
Subramanya said the Palace Board has requested the District Health Department to post additional mobile teams at the Palace so that they could be stationed under trees near the ticket counter to conduct RAT for tourists and then allow them to enter the Palace against producing ‘negative’ report. This will come into force from tomorrow, he said adding that it is not aimed at harassing tourists but to help in checking spreading of the pandemic.
Meanwhile, District Health Officer (DHO) Dr. T. Amarnath said they are insisting on RAT at Palace as it will be the moving crowd and the test result will be available quickly. Whereas subjecting the visitors for RT-PCR test was not advisable since it will take at least three to four days to give the result. By that time, they would have left Mysuru, he said.
Upon testing tourists at Palace on Wednesday, seven of them tested positive. They were asked to immediately pack up and return to their native to check spreading to others. After collecting details, the Health Department officials of those districts were informed regarding detection of positive cases and requested them to arrange for their home quarantine once they reached their destination. On Tuesday, two persons had tested positive in RAT and they too were asked to go back to their home districts.
Tourists must co-operate
The DHO said most of the tourists refuse to undergo RAT despite requests by mobile testing squad members by claiming that they were hale and healthy. A few of them agreed only after the intervention of Palace Board officials and local Cops.
The Health Department is ready to dispatch its mobile squads to any place sought by the citizens or organisations with a view to making Mysuru district free from Corona. A few tourists even got into a wordy duel with the mobile health squad members atop Chamundi Hill when they were insisted on undergoing RAT.
RAT at Mysuru Zoo
Meanwhile, Dr. Mohammed Shiraz Ahmed, District Tuberculosis Officer (DTO) and in-charge of COVID-19 testing and report preparation, said the mobile testing squad will be deployed at Mysuru Zoo to test tourists from tomorrow. Presently, the Zoo authorities are conducting thermal screening of visitors besides providing them hand sanitiser.
At Mysore Palace, around 18 health department personnel in three shifts will be deployed from 10 am to 5 pm to ramp up as many tests as possible in the coming days. The decision to deploy mobile testing team at the Palace was only till Oct. 31 and it may continue for some more days in consultation with Palace Board and District Administration authorities, he added.