Saturday, June 20, 2020

Kerala’s Covid negative certificate move impractical: AI Express

Kochi: Confusion and uncertainty continue to dog the Kerala government’s move to make Covid-19 negative certificates mandatory for those returning to the state from abroad. The date of implementation was postponed from Saturday to June 25, but officials of airline companies and expatriate organisations have described the move as “impractical” and “made without realising the ground situation in the Gulf countries”.

“We’re guided by the Ministry of Civil Aviation’s protocol on the evacuation of expatriates. We can’t have one separate rule for the passengers boarding the flights to Kerala and another for those bound for other states,” said an Air India Express spokesperson. “It’ll be even more difficult to implement a separate set of rules in an airport in a foreign country.”

The state government on Wednesday told the High Court that it decided to insist on the pre-flight test after 1.22 out of every 100 persons who returned from foreign countries had tested positive. As many as 66,703 expatriates have returned to the state till Friday.On Friday, the Supreme Court refused to intervene in a petition questioning the state government’s order demanding Covid negative certificates from travelling NRIs.

Thomas Varghese, who runs an interior designing firm in the UAE, said people are returning to Kerala not out of fear of coronavirus, but due to economic slowdown and job loss. “If the government is insisting on a negative certificate, it’s not only foolish but also impractical. First of all, here the testing will be done only for symptomatic persons at a government facility. For others, it takes about 1,000-1,400 dirhams. It’s not easy,” he said.
20/06/20 Rajesh Abraham/New Indian Express
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