The Kerala government has made rapid antigen assay-based Covid test and 14-day quarantine mandatory for migrant workers returning from northern and Northeastern states.
As per the guidelines issued by the health department, labour contractors have to bear the cost of the testing of migrant workers being brought to Kerala. The workers would have to undergo the test on the day of their arrival. The contractors have to arrange quarantine facilities for the returning workers. After 14 days in quarantine, the workers would be under observation for another two weeks, a period during which they can work. The workers would have to report to local primary health centres on their arrival.
Labour department sources said they are worried about the quarantine of migrant workers. “Many major contractors are planning to bring workers back on special buses. Some have already done that and have provided quarantine facilities. But a large chunk of migrants used to work in the unorganised sector under small contractors and lived in camps. It has to be seen how social distancing and quarantine would be possible for them,’’ an official at the directorate said.
At many places in the state, residents have started protesting against putting up migrants in camps as they fear these camps can provide a fertile ground for Covid-19 spread.