2 Indians Flown Back to Kerala From UAE Test Positive for Covid-19; State’s Infection Toll Climbs to 505

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said 23,596 people were currently under observation at their homes, and 334 at different hospitals.

Two fresh cases of coronavirus were reported from Kerala on Saturday, both being foreign returnees who came back from Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on May 7 and were among the expatriates airlifted by the Centre as part of its mission to bring back stranded Indians abroad.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said with these two new patients, the total number of cases in the state has gone up to 505 and there are currently 17 patients under treatment. At least 485 patients have been cured.

“One patient from Idukki who was under treatment has been cured today. The two new cases are now under treatment in Kochi and Kozhikode. They reached on May 7 in the Abu Dhabi-Kochi and Dubai-Kozhikode flights, respectively,” he said. “There are 23,930 people under observation in the state out of which 334 are in isolation wards of various hospitals.”

The state on Saturday continued to maintain that it has flattened the coronavirus curve.

“On the 100th day of confirmation of the first case of COVID-19, Kerala flattened the curve. We are bracing ourselves for the third wave,” Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Isaac had said earlier in the day.

Vijayan on Friday had also said that Kerala has flattened the curve, but cautioned that the state needs to be careful to avoid another wave of the virus.

The state has reported three deaths so far. Vijayan said 152 expatriates from Riyadh in Saudi Arabia had arrived at Kozhikode on Friday. Apart from 142 Keralites, there were eight from Karnataka and two from Tamil Nadu.

He said another flight from Bahrain to Kochi arrived on Friday with 181 passengers, in which there were 25 pregnant women and 28 children under the age of 10.

Two Air India Express flights carrying 362 people from Oman and Kuwait arrived at the Cochin International Airport on Saturday night.

Vijayan also said a 14-day home quarantine for all Keralites returning from other states will be made compulsory.

“Kerala’s home quarantine protocol has been very effective. So top health expert B Iqbal suggested that in the present context, it would be best that those who arrive from within the country and have no symptoms be home-quarantined,” said Vijayan.

According to the state-owned Norka-Roots web portal, around 2,00,000 people have registered to return and a majority are from neighbouring states and Maharashtra. Those with symptoms would be tested and, if needed, be isolated in hospitals, said Vijayan, adding the PCR test would also be conducted.

Vijayan reiterated that entry passes are mandatory to enter Kerala through check-posts bordering the neigbouring states and those without it would be sent back.

“The pass is mandatory. Based on logistics and for crowd control, there is a limit on the number of people who can cross the border every day and passes are being issued according to that,” he said, adding there were some people who had reached the borders without the necessary documents and it was not acceptable.