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Covid-19: Kerala ready to ship kits abroad to test expats

Our Bureau Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on June 19, 2020 Published on June 19, 2020

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan   -  S. Gopakumar

Not all West Asian nations equipped to carry out tests, says CM

The Kerala government is in discussions with airline companies and embassies in certain countries in West Asia to make available completely indigenous TrueNat Covid-19 test kits to test home-bound expatriates before they embark on flights to India.

Both the Opposition Congress-led United Democratic Front and the BJP in the State have taken the government to task over the enforced requirement for tests in the originating countries, saying it amounts to avoidable harassment of travellers who must manage the trip back home at the earliest possible.

Containing the spread at home

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that some countries in West Asia do not have the facility to conduct the rapid Covid-19 diagnosis tests that Kerala is now insisting on to contain the spread of the virus as more expatriates take the Vande Bharat Mission flights home.

The State government proposes to make available the TrueNat kits at the originating airports. This requires the cooperation of airline companies as well as permission from Indian embassies in the respective countries, and discussions are still on.

21st death reported

So far, at least 2.80 lakh people have returned to Kerala from abroad and other States within the country. Of these, 1,172 were diagnosed with the virus — 669 of them had arrived from abroad and 503 from other States, with Maharashtra accounting for the maximum, at 313.

On Thursday, the State reported the 21st death from Covid-19 and 97 new cases, while 89 patients undergoing treatment had recovered. In fact, a raft of recoveries over the past few days have matched new cases and even trended higher as on Thursday.

Recoveries match new cases

Of the new active cases, 65 people had come back from abroad (Kuwait-25; the UAE-17; Saudi Arabia-11; Qatar-7; Kazakhstan-3; Oman and Bahrain-1 each), while 29 were from other States within the country. Here, too arrivals from Maharashtra have topped the list.

Till now, 2,794 persons have been confirmed with the disease and 1,358 patients are undergoing treatment. A total of 1,27,231 people are under observation — 1,25,264 at homes/institutional quarantine centres and 1,967 in hospitals. Thursday alone saw 190 new admissions.

The 24 hours ending Thursday morning saw 4,817 samples being analysed at the labs. So far, 1,69,035 samples have been sent, for testing: 35,032 of these are as part of sentinel surveillance of high-risk groups, with as many as 33,386 samples proving negative. Tests per million is at 4,812.

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Published on June 19, 2020
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