Oommen Chandy also called the decision to demand a no-COVID certificate as “discriminatory”.

Oommen Chandy in office chair, talkingOommen Chandy / courtesy - Facebook
Coronavirus Coronavirus Tuesday, June 23, 2020 - 08:08

The government’s push for mandatory COVID-negative certificates from Non-Resident Keralites should be withdrawn urgently or pushed by a month, former Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has said.

“Our priority is to bring back all those who want to come back. The government should facilitate this by giving sanction for more chartered flights by the Non-Resident Keralite Roots Department (NORKA Roots), and also by putting pressure on the Centre to start more flights under the Vande Bharat Mission," Chandy said during a press conference in Thiruvananthapuram on Monday. 

Slamming the state government, the Congress leader asked why only Kerala has pushed for it while no other state has. He also termed it “inhuman”. 

The Kerala government has said that all international passengers arriving by chartered flights from June 20 onwards will have to procure a certificate stating that they do not have COVID-19 before boarding the flight.

Chandy also demanded that NORKA arrange facilities for seven days of institutional quarantine when they return, either in the cities where the airports are located or at the district centres in association with the Disaster Management Authority.

"There shouldn't be any delay in it as there is a daily surge in the number of those who died abroad. Till Sunday, 254 Keralites died in Gulf countries. The death of each Malayali in the Gulf is as disheartening as it happens in Kerala,” he said. 

Read: 299 NRI Keralites succumbed to COVID-19 abroad

Chandy stated that till June 17, only 713 out of 84,195 non-resident Keralites who returned to the state have tested positive, which is less than 1%. 

“It can't be said that the transmission is beyond control considering the number of patients who contracted the disease through contact. It's only below 10% as per the statistics provided by the government,” he added. 

He also called the decision to demand a no-COVID certificate as “discriminatory”.

While Chief Pinarayi Vijayan informed the Centre that it is mulling to provide TrueNat testing kits for the countries that don't have testing facilities, the Congress leader said he was sceptical if the countries concerned may give permission for this.

Also read: Kerala CM’s push for no-COVID certificate upsets expats returning home

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