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Quarantine for int’l passengers still mandatory in Kerala

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The quarantine order for international passengers, which was issued in September this year, stands as it is.

International passengers coming to Kerala will still have to undergo mandatory seven days’ quarantine, a state government official said while rubbishing some media reports which claimed that it has been scrapped.

Dr A Kowsigan IAS, commissioner, disaster management at the Kerala State Disaster Management Authority, told Khaleej Times the quarantine order for international passengers, which was issued in September this year, stands as it is.

Dr Kowsigan said the state has made no decision to revise its quarantine regulations even though the Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare updated the quarantine protocols on November 5. “All asymptomatic incoming passengers must mandatorily undergo seven days’ home quarantine, which will be followed by a Covid-19 test from a laboratory nearest to their home in Kerala,” said Dr Kowsigan.

“They can be tested on the seventh day after arrival and if tested negative, further quarantine of seven days is optional and not mandatory, though 14 days’ quarantine is desirable as per health protocol,” Dr A Jayathilak, Department of Revenue and Disaster Management Principal Secretary, told Khaleej Times in an earlier interview.

In-airport testing

As per the Health Ministry guidelines, any patient who has a Covid-19 negative test report can opt out of institutional quarantine and undergo home quarantine or ‘self-monitoring’ of health, wherever applicable. However, the Ministry has also said states can have any additional restrictions imposed with regards to quarantine and isolation as per their field assessment post-arrival of passengers in the state concerned.

Several airports across India also offer passengers the facility to conduct Covid-19 tests at airport health counters.

In Kerala, the facility to test at the airport is available in Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram airports. He explained: “There are no plans to expand the facility to other airports as most international passengers arrive with tests.” However, irrespective of their testing status, all passengers must mandatorily undergo quarantine for seven days and undergo testing on the eighth day.

State protocols

Dr Kowsigan pointed out: “According to the protocol of the state health department, passengers will be tested if found symptomatic during their quarantine or at the end of quarantine, and if positive the district health team will inform the patient as the results will be with the district health team.”

“If asymptomatic patients are tested positive, they can opt for home or institutional isolation, which must then be conveyed to the health team,” he added. Mild, symptomatic patients can opt for treatment at any Covid Second Line Treatment Centres in the state and those with serious illnesses can opt for treatment at a Covid-19 hospital.

“If symptomatic in-home isolation, they will have to inform the team responsible for their monitoring and vehicle will be sent to their home to take them to either a Covid First-Line Treatment Centre or a Covids Second Line Treatment Centre, or a Covid hospital if needed,” he added.

For short-term visits

The state government’s protocols for short-term visits to Kerala for up to seven days are also still in place. Those visiting Kerala for purposes such as business, official, trade, medical, court cases, marriage and property management are allowed to stay for up to seven days without undergoing mandatory quarantine.

With regards to those travelling for a marriage ceremony, the bride, bridegroom, and five of their relatives or friends are permitted to visit the state for seven days without mandatory quarantine.

“They shall be permitted to stay for a period up to seven days without mandatory quarantine, after obtaining entry passes through covid19jagratha portal, by uploading the wedding card as proof for purpose of the visit. The travellers shall observe all social distancing norms, health advisories and shall not visit any other places or functions than the permitted one,” said a circular issued by state chief secretary Dr Vishwas Mehta.

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Dhanusha Gokulan

Originally from India, Dhanusha Gokulan has been working as a journalist for 10 years. She has a keen interest in writing about issues that plague the common person and will never turn down a human interest story. She completed her Bachelor in Arts in Journalism, Economics and English Literature from Mangalore University in 2008. In her spare time, she dabbles with some singing/songwriting, loves travelling and Audible is her favourite mobile application. Tweet at her @wordjunkie88