Air India Express carrying 177 Indian Nationals from Kuala Lumpur arrives at Kochi international airport on Sunday.
Air India Express carrying 177 Indian Nationals from Kuala Lumpur arrives at Kochi international airport on Sunday.

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala’s fears about overseas returnees and stranded Mala­ya­lees coming back from other states setting off another wave of Covid-19 infection have come true, with seven new cases being reported on Monday.

Another seven cases were reported on Sunday, mostly involving persons who had come by the first couple of evacuation flights from the UAE. Four of the new cases are in Kasargod district, which was declared Covid-free on Sunday after a second wave of infection had appeared to acquire the characteristics of community infection, prom­pt­ing the authorities to declare the entire district as red zone.

The new cases in Kasargod are accounted for by persons returning from Maharashtra, where the Covid infection has been spreading alarmingly. The others affected persons have come from Chennai and Kuwait.

With the addition of new cases, the state has 27 Covid patients under treatment at various hospitals. About 490 people were discharged after getting cured.

Till Sunday, a total of 1,307 persons have returned from Gulf countries. Of them, 650 are under home quarantine and 641 under isolation in various Covid care centres.  Another 16 persons are under observation in hospitals while 229 are pregnant women, who are allowed to proceed to their homes.

In the case of the first two evacuation flights from the UAE, the passengers were allowed to board the plane only after undergoing rapid tests to determine presence of the virus. Still, a couple of persons each turned out to be positive for each flight when they landed here.

A most worrying aspect is that for all other flights from countries such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar, the passengers are allowed to board the flight only after thermal scanning, which cannot really determine whether someone is infected.

Meanwhile, CM Pinarayi Vijayan in his videoconference with the PM on Monday made a demand from the state that passengers be allowed to board only after an anti-body test. But some of the airports do not have the facility to organise such tests, which is further complicating Kerala’s case.

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