No flight home without Covid-19 negative certificate, Kerala tells expats

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Kerala fights against Covid-19 has turned uphill after return of expats and those from other states in the country led to a spike in new cases over the past few weeks.

india Updated: Jun 13, 2020 15:11 IST

Medics screen a passenger after an Air India Express flight brought stranded Indian nationals from Abu Dhabi, UAE, as part of the repatriation exercise Vande Bharat Mission  at the airport in Kochi. Medics screen a passenger after an Air India Express flight brought stranded Indian nationals from Abu Dhabi, UAE, as part of the repatriation exercise Vande Bharat Mission at the airport in Kochi.(PTI)

Amid rising number Covid-19 cases among expatriates returning home, the Kerala government on Saturday said only people certified negative for coronavirus will be allowed to board planes from West Asian countries in the third phase of Vande Bharat Mission.

“From June 20, all private chartered flights departing to Kerala from Middle East countries shall only carry Covid-19 negative passengers. Test certificates must be carried by them. It applies to all flights for which consent letters were issued earlier,” Kerala Principal Secretary Dr K Elangovan said, according to ANI.

Elangovan heads Keala’s war room for fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.

Kerala had appeared to get a grip on Covid-19 by bringing down the number of infections before the return of its residents from abroad and other parts of the country led to a spike in the numbers. The state currently has over 2,300 cases including 1,300 active cases.

India launched the third phase of Vande Bharat Mission on Thursday to evacuate stranded citizens. More than 165,000 Indians returned to the country in the first two phases. The third phase of the evacuation will continue till August 2.

More than 400,000 Indian nationals have registered with missions abroad for repatriation.

The third phase of the evacuation has 170 flights scheduled from the Gulf Cooperation Countries.

India launched the first phase of Vande Bharat Mission in April to bring back its citizens stranded around the world because of Covid-19-related restrictions. The initial phases of the evacuation focused on West Asian countries, which are home to about eight 8 million expatriates.

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