In some relief to expatriates flying to Kerala, the government on Friday extended the pre-flight mandatory COVID-19 test for those coming to the state from abroad by four days and said from 25 June all overseas travellers must get themselves tested before boarding.
"Passengers travelling on flights from overseas to Kerala from 25 June should get themselves tested and have COVID-19 negative results before boarding the flights," a government press release said.
The decision is based on an arrangement to bring COVID-19 negative and positive people separately, Dr K Ellangovan, Principal Secretary, NORKA (Non Resident Keralites Affairs) said.
The implementation of the prerequisite has been extended by four days as various expatriate organisations had sought more time to facilitate the COVID-19 testing, he added.
Earlier, the government order was to come into effect from 20 June.
With the infection cases on the rise in the state, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has also made it clear that NRKs from abroad must undergo COVID-19 tests irrespective of whether they are taking flights under the Vande Bharat mission or chartered flights arranged by various organisations.
The government has said it would initiate steps in cooperation with Indian embassies and airline companies to make COVID-19 kits available to test the returnees from the Gulf and talks in this regard were going on.
The state on Friday reported the highest single day spike of 118 with those coming from foreign countries accounting for 67 cases and 45 from other states.
Meanwhile, Opposition leader in the state assembly Ramesh Chennithala observed a fast in front of the Secretariat against the government decision making the COVID test mandatory.
(The article was originally published in The News Minute and has been reposted with permission.)