Kerala makes COVID-19 testing mandatory for all foreign returnees

CM urges the Centre to arrange for testing through Embassies in countries that don't have facilities

Pinarayi Vijayan
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan | File photo: PTI

As the number of COVID-19 cases in Kerala has increased to 2,697, the state government has made it mandatory for all foreign returnees to undergo a test for the disease before boarding flights, ANI reported. This applies to all passengers retuning to the state under Vande Bharat mission and on chartered flights.

Speaking to reporters, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said Kerala government had been urging the Centre since the beginning of the Vande Bharat mission to test all passengers returning from foreign countries to the state. People taking Spice Jet flights had already been undergoing tests for COVID-19, he said.

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Vijayan added that the Centre could conduct antibody tests if it felt doing PCR tests was difficult. Truenat testing is both cheaper and suitable for flyers, and it results are obtained much faster, he said. So, he urged the Centre to arrange for testing through Embassies in countries that didn’t have testing facilities, the report added.

Stating that around 1.5 per cent of foreign returnees who had come to Kerala had tested postive for COVID-19, the Chief Minister said the Central government must explore the possibility of arranging separate flights for infected people. He suggested that airline companies could also work with the health department to facilitate the testing process.

Of the 2,697 cases in Kerala, there are 1,351 active cases, while 1,326 people have been cured or discharged. As many as 20 people had died due the disease, according to the Union Health Ministry’s bulletin.

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