The State government has decided to replace the existing system of issuing e-passes to those travelling from other States or countries with e-registration, Advocate General Vijay Narayan told the Madras High Court on Tuesday.
The Advocate General told the first Division Bench of Chief Justice Amreshwar Pratap Sahi and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy that the restrictions on visits to hill stations alone would continue, since those places were short on medical infrastructure.
After hearing him, the judges directed the State government to write to the Centre seeking a clarification as to whether imposition of such restrictions could continue on visits to hill stations and then publicise the reply through the media.
According to the A-G, the e-registration would require travellers to provide only basic details for the purpose of contact tracing.
On the other hand, e-passes to hill stations would be issued only to those who have an address there and not to tourists.
Unlike the plains, the medical facilities in hill stations were very limited. Hence, permitting tourists might lead to a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases and they might not be able to cope with such a situation, he said.
The A-G also said at present, the only way to contain the spread of the pandemic was through self-regulation. Yet, people did not seem to understand the importance of wearing masks and maintaining physical distance, he said.
He also brought it to the notice of the court that the number of new COVID-19 cases had been limited to 5,000 every day due to effective steps taken by the government, as against Kerala where the numbers had now risen to as high as 10,000 cases a day. Concurring with the A-G, the Chief Justice said people were indeed moving around in public places without masks as if the disease had vanished. He said people could feel safe only when a vaccine comes out.