Centre has promised to bring back stranded expatriates in West Asia: Kerala CM
The Union government has promised to take immediate measures to bring back stranded expatriates in West Asia because of the impact of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak, Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said on Saturday. The Centre would also bring in necessary changes in the Union Ministry of Home Affairs’ (MHA) directives to bring back bodies of those from Kerala, who died due to Covid-19 in Persian Gulf countries, he added.
“The state is ready to take back its people. The evacuees will have to spend at least 14 days in quarantine on their arrival. We’ve made adequate arrangements for their stay and healthcare needs,” the CM said. Around 18 lakh people from Kerala are working in the Gulf nations. But, there are reports that at least two lakh of them, primarily blue-collar migrant workers, pregnant women, senior citizens, and students, are ready to come back home.
Remittances from the Gulf nations are Kerala’s mainstay. Many expatriates from the state, who are working in the Gulf countries, are reportedly peeved with the government citing poorer nations such as Pakistan and the Philippines that had evacuated their nationals, but Keralites were left in the lurch amid the pandemic.
Vijayan said that seven new Covid-19 cases were reported on Saturday, taking the total count to 457. So far, 342 have recovered and discharged from hospitals and another 116 are still undergoing treatment. The total number of people under observation has come down to 21,044 from over 2 lakh. Kerala has conducted 22,360 Covid-19 tests to date, the CM added.
Vijayan also welcomed the MHA’s latest directives allowing the opening of small and neighbourhood shops. “It’ll ease some pressure. We’ll allow these shops to open only after disinfecting them. Similarly, they’ve to clean their neighbourhoods. We won’t allow any overcrowding at these shops and the police will keep a strict vigil on them,” he added.