The southern state of Kerala, which received accolades from the central government as well as international agencies for the excellent handling of COVID crisis, is all set to receive some 3 lakh non-resident Kerala returnees, stranded abroad and other states due to the global lockdown, soon. The state government said that it has kept more than a lakh beds in hospitals and other healthcare centres to take care of these citizens, who are expected to reach the state once the travel restrictions are lifted by the centre soon.
The chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said on Tuesday that the Department of Non-Resident Keralites Affairs (NORKA), which coordinates the travel of NRK returnees, has already received 2.7 lakh registrations from abroad for the home travel in the last two days.
Non-Resident Keralites currently stranded in at least 150 countries at present have registered online with the NORKA to return to the state. The NORKA had received around 25,000 registrations within the first one hour after opening the site for registration on April 26. A large section of the registrations is from United Arab Emirates.
The government is planning to bring back the NRKs after enlisting the registered entries based on priority. Aged people, pregnant women, children, critically ill patients, people with expired visas and people who had gone abroad on visiting visa, are the people who are willing to come back.
The state government had informed that it will make necessary arrangements for the returning expats in all the four airports. All the returning expats are asked to compulsorily undergo COVID-19 test in the countries where they are and register after confirming negative to arrange quarantine facilities in the state, if required.
The state, which has reported the lowest mortality rate of 0.62% among all states in India is preparing to withdraw the lockdown in over phases with exemptions in places other than the hotspots.
However, on Monday the state had to clamp triple lockdown in its previously green zone enlisted Idukki and Kottayam districts.
With four more persons having tested positive for COVID-19 in the state till Tuesday night, the total number of people presently undergoing treatment has risen to 123 in Kerala, according to the CM.
“A total of 20,255 people are under observation at their homes while 518 others have been kept under observation at different hospitals across the state,” he added.
Six districts including Kannur, Kozhikode, Kasargode, Malappuram, Kottayam and Idukki have been declared as red zone— the hotspots for the infection. All the remaining eight districts are declared as orange zone, where the situation is under control.
While, the country on Tuesday reported 29,974 positive cases and 937 deaths. Maharashtra and Gujarat are the worst hit states in the country with confirmed cases of over 8000 and 3000 respectively.