Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) [India], June 19 (ANI): Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday said that the state government is in discussion with the airline companies and Embassies in various Gulf countries to make available the TrueNat COVID test kits for testing non-resident Keralites (NRKs) before they embark on their flight to India.
Addressing a press conference here, the Chief Minister said that there are Gulf countries where there is no facility for rapid tests or where NRKs are facing difficulty for availing rapid tests.
"The Kerala government will make available TrueNat kits in these places. This requires the cooperation of the airline companies and the permission of the Indian Embassies in the respective countries and the discussions are going on. There are already testing facilities in the UAE and Qatar. So, these kits will be useful in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman to facilitate the testing of expatriates returning from these countries," said Vijayan.
He also said that enough testing kits are available with the state to send them abroad and the modalities will be worked out on getting the permission.
So far, 2,79,657 people have returned to Kerala from other states and abroad. Out of them, 1,172 were diagnosed with COVID-19. Of these 669 of the positive cases were in those who came back from foreign countries and 503 in those who arrived from other states. While 327 came by road from other states and 128 by train.
Maharashtra accounted for the maximum number of 313 cases reported among those who came from other states. "In fact, these figures indicate the need to increase our vigilance. We also need to check if we are becoming careless," Vijayan said.
On Thursday, 97 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in Kerala while 89 patients who were undergoing treatment have recovered. One COVID-19 death -- KP Sunil, a 28-year-old driver in the Excise Department in Kannur, was also reported, taking the total death toll in the state to 21. (ANI)