Kerala expats slam mandatory Covid-19 test rule for Gulf returnees
Expatriates from Kerala are unhappy with the Kerala government’s decision to seek Covid-19 test results of all passengers returning by chartered flights from the Middle East. The minister of state for external affairs, V Muraldeedharan, also differed on the move.
“From June 20, all private chartered flights departing to Kerala from Middle-East countries shall only carry passengers who have been tested for Covid-19 infection and shown to be negative. A test certificate to that effect should be carried by the passenger. It applies to all flights for which consent letters were issued earlier,” said the government order issued by state principal secretary K Elangovan on Friday.
Anwar Naha, leader of the Kerala Muslim Cultural Centre, an outfit working among expatriates in the Gulf, said, “It is highly unethical and discriminatory. The government also insists the certificate should be obtained at least 48 hours before the flight. In some countries, it is a tedious process and a costly affair. We have no idea why the government is troubling people who are eager enough to reach their country.”
There are least 18 lakh people from the state working in the Gulf.
Muraldeedharan said that such conditions will put extra pressure on expatriates. He had earlier locked horns with the state government saying it was more interested in maintaining its records rather than brining back stranded expatriates.
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