Kerala Insists On Mandatory COVID-19 Tests For Indians Returning From Abroad; Seeks Centre’s Help

Kerala CM writes to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him to make COVID-19 tests mandatory for those flying into the state from abroad. By Tanvi Jain

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has sought Centre’s intervention to arrange for COVID-19 tests of all those returning from abroad. Vijayan sent his proposals to the PM after a recent video conference, urging him to intervene and arrange for these tests through embassies as soon as possible. Apart from raising his concern about the inadequate treatment facilities abroad, he also stated the issue regarding the return of very few Indians under the Vande Bharat Mission.  

He also appealed to the Government to operate special flights in order to bring back infected people, and make COVID-19 tests free for ex-pats with poor financial condition. 

The CM further stated that not just the ones returning via Vande Bharat flights, but also the ones coming back from chartered flights should be tested for COVID-19. In fact, he even said that all the airlines should make pre-flight testing compulsory. Confirming that at least 713 oversees returnees have been tested positive so far, he also mentioned that in order to avoid community spread of the virus, not only should all the passengers get themselves tested before boarding the flight, but the infected ones shouldn’t travel with others on the same flight.   

Moreover, Vijayan has made COVID-free certificates mandatory for all those returning from West Asia from June 20. Vijayan has also reportedly confirmed to the media that as many as 179 Vande Bharat flights have already arrived in Kerala apart from the 124 chartered flights. He added that around two lakh Indians are scheduled to arrive on 420 flights in June. 

Earlier, Kerala had converted houseboats into isolation wards and had for the first time in India installed South Korean style COVID-19 testing kiosksin order to easily carry mass testing. 

Related: Kerala Is Turning Alappuzha Houseboats Into COVID-19 Isolation Wards

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