Kozhikode

Mandatory RT-PCR test at airports opposed

A health worker holds swab samples for COVID-19 Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) test. File.   | Photo Credit: PTI

The Kerala Muslim Cultural Centre (KMCC), an expatriates’ forum affiliated to the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), has urged the State government to drop RT-PCR test for Non-Resident Keralites at airports when they return home.

Ibrahim Elettil, president, KMCC, Dubai; O.K. Ibrahim, vice president, and other functionaries told the media on Wednesday that all expatriates who return to Kerala had earlier been asked to undergo RT-PCR test 72 hours before travel. From February 22, the test has been made mandatory after their arrival here. This has to be followed by a seven-day quarantine and one more RT-PCR test.

The KMCC functionaries alleged that Kerala was the only State where expatriates were being subjected to such conditions. “A large majority of our people in the Gulf countries have either lost jobs or have faced salary cuts. When they return with their families, it is inhuman to ask them to cough up ₹1,700 on each person for the test. Either the government should drop the decision or make the test free for all,” Mr. Elettil said.

He also accused the government of ignoring the plight of Gulf Malayalees. “Around 3,000 new COVID-19 cases are being reported there daily, of whom a majority are from our State. Over a dozen deaths too are being reported every day. The bodies cannot be brought home. The State government is not releasing any financial help to their families,” Mr. Elettil added.

Earlier, M.K. Raghavan, Kozhikode MP, had urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to either withdraw the decision or make the test free for all. Mr. Raghavan said the test was offered for free at major airports abroad.

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Printable version | Apr 22, 2021 9:09:46 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/mandatory-rt-pcr-test-at-airports-opposed/article33927997.ece

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