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: As the country battles hard to
stem the spread of the deadly coronavirus, southern states have turned the focus on home quarantine, issuing stern warnings that violations of it would not be taken lightly and that it would invite legal action.
In Kerala, police arrested a priest for holding a mass for faithfuls defying government orders.
The priest Pauly Padayatti, Vicar of the Lady of Perpetual Help Church at Koodapuzha in Chalakudy, had conducted the mass in which at least 100 people had participated, police said.
The priest was later let off on bail.
Other states - Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Telangana also told its citizens that home quarantine should be a strict adherence, even as they initiated action against the violators.
The warnings come amid fears of possible spread of the virus from infected persons who may have travelled long distances, hopping from one mode of transport to other, exposing others to the COVID-19 risk.
The Telangana Railway police have booked five passengers, including two women, for allegedly violating the government's orders by using public transport despite being advised home quarantine on their return from abroad while a PFI activist from Karimanagar in the state was also held after it emerged he gave shelter to 11 Indonesians who had tested positive for the virus recently.
The passengers booked by the Railway Police had come from abroad, and had been advised home quarantine and also marked with the stamping.
"They (those stamped on their hands along with the date up to which the quarantine is to be observed) should not use public transport. But these five came to railway stations and boarded trains on Saturday and Sunday," Superintendent of Railway Police B Anuradha said.
They were caught from various places of the state, while travelling, and shifted to different hospitals.
The five home quarantine passengers including one with suspected symptoms of coronavirus belonged to Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh.
They had travel history to Nigeria, US, Indonesia, Dubai and Australia.
In Karimnagar, a Popular Front of India organiser was earlier detained for running his mathematics institute despite government orders not to do so but later let off.
However, police later found he had sheltered the 11 Indonesians infected with coronavirus, who were later shifted to a government hospital in Hyderabad.
Arrested again on Sunday, he has been admitted to an isolation ward in a hospital in Karimnagar, police said.
In Karnataka's Bengaluru, Police Commissioner Bhaskar Rao said those subjected to home quarantine stamping would be arrested if they were found visiting public places.
"A total of 5,000 home quarantine stamping were carried to ensure they remained home in public interest," he tweeted.
"I have received calls some of those stamped are moving in BMTC (Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation) buses and sitting in restaurants. Please call 100, these people will be picked up, arrested and sent to government quarantine," Rao said.
According to officials, the stamped people should remain quarantined at home, the default period being 14 days.
The Tamil Nadu government also warned of legal action against overseas returnees violating directions for self- quarantine as a preventive measure against coronavirus, saying they become a threat of community transmission.
State Health and Family Welfare Minister C Vijaya Baskar said the list of travellers had been handed over to district administration and police for tracking and legal action would be taken if anyone violated the order.
The government indicated such violators' passports could also be confiscated.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)