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As three more expats test positive, Kerala tweaks quarantine norms

The expats arrived in Kochi on Friday in the first special flight for those stranded in the Gulf region.

Written by Shaju Philip | Thiruvananthapuram | Updated: May 11, 2020 7:54:41 am
As three more expats test positive, Kerala tweaks quarantine norms Vande Bharat Mission: A pregnant woman with her child at the Kochi airport after being repatriated from Abu Dhabi in a special flight Thursday (Source: PR Dept, Gov of Kerala)

Three expatriates evacuated from Abu Dhabi were among seven people who tested positive for Covid-19 in Kerala on Sunday.

The expats arrived in Kochi on Friday in the first special flight for those stranded in the Gulf region. Now, the number of evacuees who tested positive has risen to five. On Saturday, two returnees had emerged positive, signalling a fresh challenge for the state which is expected to receive thousands of expatriates in the coming weeks.

Those returning from Covid-19 hotspots in other states, too, remain a major cause of concern for Kerala. On Sunday, three people with links to Chennai’s Koyambedu market, an infection hub, tested positive in Wayanad.

Two of them are primary contacts of a truck driver who returned from the market, while the third one had returned from the market. Also, in Kochi, a five-year-old who arrived from Chennai along with his mother, also a Covid-19 case, tested positive.

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As Kerala began receiving stranded people from the Gulf and elsewhere in the country and quarantining them, the number of those under observation rose to 26,000 on Sunday from 14,000 on May 6.

Meanwhile, the state issued an order changing its quarantine policy for those who return from other states.

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Earlier, such persons were advised to go on 14-day institutional quarantine with a PCR test on the seventh day. Now, the government has decided to send all them to home quarantine as the institutions selected for isolating people have only limited facilities, with a high risk of infection.

Accordingly, all those returning from other states would be examined on their arrival in Kerala and those showing symptoms will be hospitalized. They will need to take a PCR test later.

Though Kerala had claimed that it has around 1.5 lakh ready-to-use beds available to immediately quarantine people, in many places, the identified premises were found wanting for basic facilities.

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