Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) [India], June 18 (ANI): Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday announced that pre-flight COVID-19 tests will be mandatory for all those returning to the state from overseas, irrespective of whether they are taking flights under the Vande Bharat mission or chartered flights arranged by various organisations.
While talking to the media, Vijayan said, "Right from the beginning of the Vande Bharat mission, we have been requesting the Central government that pravasis should come back to Kerala only after COVID-19 testing. The State had insisted on the tests for all, including for those who are flying back on chartered flights. Those flying by Spice Jet are already doing it."
"If doing PCR tests for passengers is difficult, let them do antibody tests. Truenat testing is cheaper and gives results faster which is suitable for travellers. The government of India should make arrangements for testing through Embassies in countries where facilities for testing is not there. The airline companies can also work with the health department to facilitate the tests," he added.
The Chief Minister further said that it is unfortunate that a misinformation campaign is being done and a Central Minister is part of it. "Do not try to play politics using the health of the public during a disaster. Some attempts are being done to undermine our security when people are coming from other states."
Vijayan said that the government should be vigilant in order to prevent an outbreak. "The Centre should explore the possibility of arranging separate flights for those infected. At present, 1.5 per cent of the people who come here from abroad are COVID-19 positive."
He added, "When the number of passengers increases by more than 2,00,000, the number of positive cases are likely to increase drastically and this can lead to community spread." (ANI)