Kerala’s guidelines for expats’ return impractical, says MEA
Kerala had earlier insisted that expatriates flying home from West Asian countries in Vande Bharat and chartered flights would need to have Covid-free certificates.
The Ministry of External Affairs has told the Kerala government that its guidelines that expatriates returning home from Persian Gulf countries should wear personal protection equipment (PPE) to contain the spread of Covid-19 are impractical for the ministry to implement.
“We’ll be observing standard operating protocols (SOPs) issued by Home and Health Ministries. The SOPs say that expatriates will have to follow the SOPs being implemented in those countries. Kerala government’s guidelines are impractical for the MEA to implement,” minister of state for external affairs V Muraleedharan said according to ANI.
At least 149 Vande Bharat and 171 chartered flights are expected to land in Kerala with expatriates in next two weeks.
“Kerala government has issued some special guidelines for the expatriates who want to return to Kerala from Gulf countries. Regarding this, MEA has informed the government that state-specific protocols cannot be implemented,” the minister said.
The Kerala government which had earlier said that expatriates should have Covid-free certificates before flying home, scrapped that demand on Wednesday after the Centre said tests are not feasible in Indian missions but insisted that passengers will have to wear PPE during the flights.
The state government had maintained that Covid-free certificates were a must because most of Kerala’s coronavirus cases were people who had come from abroad or other states.
The state’s insistence on Covid-free certificates had drawn fire from the opposition and the expatriates as insensitive