Two people who came from the United Arab Emirates on two different flights to Kerala, and were evacuated as part of the Vande Bharat misison, have tested positive for COVID-19, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said on Saturday.
Both of them arrived on flights on May 7, one from Dubai to Kozhikode and the other from Abu Dhabi to Kochi. Both are under treatment. The Centre has reportedly decided to bring back around 15,000 Indians stranded abroad in Air India flights from May 7 to 13. Many of these flights have already landed in various places. Of the passengers, pregnant women are allowed to go home while those who are unwell will be sent to hospitals. The rest are to be placed in state-monitored quarantine centres.
Kerala now has 17 active cases of coronavirus, including the two people who have flown to their home state. One person in Idukki who was under treatment for the disease has tested negative, taking the total number of recoveries in the state to 485.
By Saturday, the state has tested 36,648 samples out of wich 36,002 turned negative. And in the sentinel surveillance for priority groups, 3,475 samples have been collected. Out of these 3,231 have tested negative.
Quoting the number of cases in different parts of the world and the rest of the country, CM Pinarayi said that the state has to strengthen the intervention and fight.
He spoke in detail about bringing Malayalis stuck in other states back to Kerala and how important it is that they carry passes. â€śI am stressing again that they should carry passes or they will have to be sent back,â€ť he said.
For all the Malayalis coming to Kerala from other countries and the rest of India, preparations have been made in 207 government hospitals with various plans. In addition, 125 private hospitals are also prepared if it will be necessary to use them. â€śIf the number of COVID-19 patients rise, 27 hospitals will be turned fully into COVID care hospitals. It does not mean that we are safe if the disease is under control in Kerala or even in India. No country has completely survived the disease so far,â€ť CM Pinarayi said.
For those coming back from other states, COVID care centres have been prepared to take in the people showing symptoms of the disease. They will go through PCR tests. Others will be sent to be quarantined at home for 14 days with clear instructions. Health workers will be in touch with all who are in quarantine and if those in home quarantine develop symptoms they too shall be given PCR tests.
Recalling that it is Motherâ€™s Day on Sunday, Pinarayi Vijayan said that there is happy news for all the mothers. Kerala has managed to reduce the infant mortality rate to 7 from 10, while even the United Nations are aiming to bring it down to 8. The national average is 32.