Govt to decide on COVID-19 test for expats after discussing with PM: Health Minister
Thiruvananthapuram: Health Minister KK Shailaja informed that the state government will decide on making COVID-19 negative certificate mandatory for expats returning on chartered flights after holding talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. At present, a final decision is not taken yet and only a recommendation was made.
“The state government proposed making COVID-19 test mandatory for returning expats considering their safety. If the patients are identified earlier, chances of infection to more passengers in the flight can be avoided,” said the health minister.
She noted that a final decision on the matter will be taken after Prime Minister’s video conference with Chief Ministers of states scheduled on June 16. The state government did not take any decision on it so far.
The state government requested the Prime Minister to take necessary action for conducting COVID-19 test for Keralites in other states. We hope, the central government will take initiative for it, added KK Shailaja.
The minister pointed out that Kerala prevented community transmission of COVID-19 so far.
“There are chances for community transmission as positive cases are increasing day by day and more people are returning to the state. So far, we were successful in preventing community transmission with strict safety measures. There is no need to worry about community transmission. Many countries reported community transmission rapidly. As we executed home-quarantine at the early phase itself, we were successful to control the spread of the disease,” pointed out the minister.
Only 10 percent people contracted the disease through community transmission after the relaxations in lockdown. If we manage to reduce it by 5 percent, we will be safe. The health department is actively working to achieve this goal. Meanwhile, if it touches 30 percent, we should be more careful. Fortunately, our state is not in such a situation, she added.
The minister noted that those who returned from abroad are not COVID-19 patients. Those who lost the job, patients and pregnant women were repatriated to the state. But some of them turned positive for COVID-19.
There are chances for more cases in this manner. Hence, the state government is planning to make COVID-19 test mandatory for returning expats. Those who are infected with the disease are advised to avoid travel. But the government did not restrict anyone from travelling to Kerala, pointed out the minister.