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Centre flays Kerala assembly resolution, says norm on COVID-19 negative certificate not new

Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan said the norm is in place as a safety measure so that during evacuation, COVID-19 infected people do not pass it on to others on the flight.

Published: 14th March 2020 04:21 PM  |   Last Updated: 14th March 2020 06:07 PM   |  A+A-

Union Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan

Union Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan (Photo | Vincent Pulickal, EPS)

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Directorate General of Civil Aviation's directive insisting on a negative test result for COVID-19 as a pre-requisite for evacuation is not a newly-introduced norm but part of a policy the Centre has been adopting for all evacuations since the viral outbreak first occurred in China, Minister of State For External Affairs V Muraleedharan told TNIE in an interview.

The clarification came in the wake of a resolution by the Kerala Assembly on Thursday that termed as “fundamentally inhuman” the decision of the Centre to insist on COVID-19 negative certification for people stranded in Italy and South Korea as a condition for their return to India.

The Minister said the Kerala Assembly's resolution was not aimed at getting anything done by the Centre for the stranded Indians but was posturing by the state government to show the people of the state that they are concerned about Keralites abroad.

ALSO WATCH: Nothing new in our demand for COVID-19 certificate for evacuation: MEA Minister

Muraleedharan said the norm is in place as a safety measure so that during evacuation, COVID-19 infected people do not pass it on to others in the flight.

"In the first evacuation from China also, only people who tested negative for COVID-19 were flown in. The Chinese officials had themselves tested the Indians and allowed only COVID negative people to board. In spite of the checks by China, the people who arrived from the country were placed in quarantine here," Muraleedharan said.

The Minister said that in the case of Italy, local authorities were unable to carry out checks prompting New Delhi to send a medical team to the country. Muraleedharan said the special flight to Italy will bring back 250 people in the first phase.

"When the country faces an issue, it is not required that each Assembly passes a resolution. The Government of India is handling the matter and Parliament which is in session has been informed about the steps taken by the Centre. Whether the state assembly passes a resolution or not, the Ministry of External Affairs will continue doing its job," Muraleedharan said.



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