Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers Sadananda Gowda refused to abide by the quarantine rules set by Karnataka when he landed at the Bengaluru airport on Monday, May 25. Upon his arrival at the tech city from Delhi, Gowda said that the seven-day institutional quarantine is mandatory for the citizens and not him.

The norms set by the Karnataka government require flyers from Delhi, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh to undergo institutional quarantine for a week. They are to be discharged only if their samples, from fifth day onwards, come out to be COVID-19 negative. However, Gowda drove off from Bengaluru's Kempegowda International Airport within hours of his arrival in the city.

DV Sadananda Gowda (file photo)
DV Sadananda Gowda (file photo)CM's office Karnataka

Gowda justifies skipping quarantine

While speaking to news agency ANI, the minister claimed that he was exempted from the quarantine rule as he is in essential services. "Practically, the guidelines are applicable to each and every citizen, I do concede. But are certain persons exempted from quarantining, those who hold certain responsible posts," said Gowda.

Likening himself to those in medical services, he said just as doctors and nurses cannot afford to go in quarantine, he cannot also resort to doing so. He also justified his action by showing the green status on the Aarogya Setu app on his mobile phone.

Bengaluru airport sets up social distancing measures in the terminal
Bengaluru airport sets up social distancing measures in the terminaltwitter/Ralph Alex Arakal

"I am a minister and I am heading the pharma ministry. I am tasked to ensure a sufficient supply of medicines in each and every corner of the country in the time of a health crisis. If the supply of medicine is not properly done, how will the doctors be able to treat patients? If the supply of medicines falls short, will it not be a failure of the government?" he added further.

BJP's response

Commenting on the matter, BJP spokesperson of Karnataka S Prakash said that Gowda does not need to undergo the mandatory institutional quarantine as he has self-quarantined himself. However, Prakash did not support Gowda's plan to hold a meeting. "It will be a violation of home quarantine rules," he said.

According to the Karnataka government's guidelines, health care professionals and armed forces personnel are exempt from the seven-day quarantine.