New Delhi: Union Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan rejected Kerala government's demand that the NRIs should be subjected to COVID test before repatriating them. He stated that the Ministry of External Affairs cannot implement the demands put forward by various states in foreign countries.
"We can only act according to the guidelines issued by the Ministries of External Affairs and Health. The chief minister demands to implement Truenat test in Gulf countries. He could have inquired through World Kerala Assembly whether the Truenat test was approved in these countries. Truenat test kit cannot be simply sent to other countries," V Muraleedharan said.
The chief minister advocates affordable testing. He should make clear how many tests are performed in Kerala. Why they are adamant about conducting the test abroad if it is affordable. Kerala is one of the states which conducts very few tests. What is the logic behind asking for COVID negative certificate from people who do not have symptoms, the union minister asked.
Many people who went from Kerala to Tamil Nadu were infected with COVID. What if Tamil Nadu demanded COVID certificate from Keralites? They argue that super spread will occur in flights. Only 1666 persons among the 1 lakh NRIs repatriated from abroad were infected with the disease so far. This only 1.5 percent of the total cases and how could it be super spread? There is no concern over people coming in domestic flights and trains from other states, he added.
The state government said that those who come to Kerala for marriages need not stay in quarantine. Have they found out in any study that coronavirus would not affect wedding parties? We informed the state that no special system can be arranged for Keala alone. The Centre is bound to repatriate all expats who want to return. The states should keep them in quarantine and can subject them to COVID test, if necessary, the minister told the media.