Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan today announced a fresh set of mandatory rules for expats wanting to return to the state from other countries.
Expats returning from countries with provisions for COVID-19 testing are expected to take the tests and carry the certificates with them. The tests should be taken no earlier than 72 hours before boarding the flight, said the Chief Minister.
Mr Vijayan also mentioned specifics for expats returning from Gulf countries. The passengers returning from the UAE need to carry their pre-flight COVID-19 test certificates with them. Those returning from Oman and Bahrain need to wear n-95 masks, face shield, gloves and use sanitizers frequently.
However, all expats returning from Saudi Arabia and those returning from Kuwait without tests must wear PPE kits in addition to other protective gears. Only those with a "green status" will be allowed to travel from Qatar..
"On arriving at airports in Kerala, repatriated Indians will undergo COVID rapid tests at the airport. If tested positive, further tests would be done. Only after approval of health officials, will they be able to leave the airport. Irrespective of the test results, all will have to undergo 14 days of mandatory quarantine," Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said.
The Kerala government had earlier decided to make pre-flight COVID 19 tests mandatory for all expats wanting to return from abroad and was in talks with the Centre on what provisions were possible in countries where adequate testing facilities were not available.
The earlier decision, however, had witnessed protests from the opposition, including its leader in the state legislative assembly, Ramesh Chennithala.
The Chief Minister had said that it was important to ensure that the COVID-19 infected people should not travel with the non-affected people and that the two should travel separately. However, the opposition had alleged that the move created obstacles for expats, with many left jobless and without money.