Kerala keeps Covid-19 slate clean as first batch of expatriates head home
Kerala now has 25 Covid-19 patients in hospitals after 474 have recovered.
Kerala maintained a clean slate for the second consecutive day on Thursday with no new cases of Covid-19 as it prepared to receive the first batch of evacuees from West Asia.
Two Air India (AI) Express flights – Abu Dhabi-Kochi and Dubai-Kozhikode -- carrying the first batch of 347 evacuees from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will reach the state on Thursday night.
In a Facebook post Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said no positive case was reported in the state and five people were discharged from hospitals. Out of 502 positive cases, 474 have been discharged leaving 25 patients in the hospitals. Though the state had recorded four deaths it is yet to include the death of a man from Mahe in the state list. Mahe is part of Puducherry.
The CM said 16,693 people are under observation out of which 16,338 are in their homes and 310 in hospitals.
He said the state has started sentinel surveillance to monitor health conditions of a large number of people at one go. Out of 3,035 samples collected for this, 2,337 have tested negative and other results are awaited, he said.
The good news came at a time when the state is expected to witness an exodus of expatriates.
Called ‘Vande Bharat’ operation, the latest evacuation is being dubbed as the largest since the Kuwait evacuation in 1990 when Iraq invaded that country. But some of the expatriates expressed reservations over the term ‘evacuation’ and insisted that they have paid for their tickets and these are special flights. But many especially pregnant women said they were really thankful to the state and central governments.
“I was really worried but now dark clouds have moved. I am delighted to go back to my parents for my first delivery. Really grateful to the both the governments,” said one of them, M S Sanila before boarding the flight to Kozhikokde.
The first flight from Abu Dhabi to Kochi is carrying 179 passengers. The second flight from Dubai to Kozhikode has 168 passengers where the maximum number of passengers are from Malappuram.
The state government has decided all those found asymptomatic at the airport will have to spend the next seven days at quarantine facilities arranged by the government. After the seven-day period, they will be tested for Covid-19. If they found negative they will be allowed to return to their home where they will have to spend the next seven days in quarantine.
But this arrangement goes against the guidelines of the Ministry of Home Affairs which mandates 14 days of institutional quarantine. Since health is a state subject, Kerala has taken a stand that it can decide on such matters.
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