Kerala wants Covid-negative certificate from those arriving via chartered flights
Many companies, operating chartered flights from the UAE to Kerala, felt this will affect travel plans.
Those returning onboard special chartered flights from the UAE to the Indian state of Kerala should have tested for Covid-19.
K. Ellangovan, principal secretary, Kerala government, said over phone from Kerala: "Covid-19 test result is required for those people coming on chartered flights from the Gulf countries.
"All passengers need to have a test certificate. The requirement of Covid-19 test is mandatory from June 20."
He noted the additional precautionary measure is being taken as Kerala reports increasing cases of repatriates turning out to be Covid-19 positive.
The Covid-19 test is mandatory for all chartered flights for which approval letters have already been issued.
'It is impractical'
Many companies and associations, operating chartered flights from the UAE to Kerala, felt this will affect travel plans.
Kerala Muslim Cultural Centre (KMCC) Abu Dhabi, which started operations from Saturday with first chartered flight to Kannur district, hoped that the Kerala government will review its decision.
"Today, people are flying on chartered flights to Kerala after a rapid test. This is the same test which is done for passengers taking special flights of Vande Bharat Mission. We don't understand why there is a need for additional tests only for those on chartered flights. Rapid test is an effective way to detect positive cases," said KMCC Abu Dhabi president Shukoorali Kallungal.
He stressed the mandatory Covid-19 test is impractical in the present situation.
"The time taken to receive test results and then to make travel arrangements is not easy. Moreover, if this test is mandatory from June 20, then the Kerala government must bear expenses for it as it's not right to ask distressed, jobless and poor people to pay for the swab test."
KMCC Abu Dhabi has received approval to operate 40 private chartered flights and plan to repatriate more than 6,800 stranded people to Kerala.
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