KOCHI: After extensive planning and preparation, the evacuation of Indians stranded in foreign countries began on Thursday. But the confusion regarding how the returnees are to be monitored is still on, with the Centre informing the Kerala High Court on Friday that it has stipulated a 14-day institutional quarantine and the state government saying the expats can go home after seven days of quarantine in a government-controlled facility if tested negative.
The court was hearing a petition filed by the Kerala Muslim Cultural Centre (KMCC) on the repatriation of Indians. The central government’s standing counsel Suvin R Menon submitted that as per the standard operating protocol on repatriation, all passengers should undergo institutional quarantine for 14 days. “It has to be strictly followed by the Kerala government,” the counsel said.
‘Need clarity on institutional quarantine’
“The state governments should arrange sufficient facilities for institutional quarantine. After 14 days, all passengers will be tested for Covid-19 and those with negative results will be allowed to go home. They will have to monitor themselves for 14 more days,” he said.
Appearing for the state, Additional Advocate-General Ranjith Thampan submitted that the government had asked the Ministry of Health to limit institutional quarantine to seven days. Harris Beeran, counsel for petitioner Ibrahim Elettil, KMCC president, submitted that there should be clarity on the period of institutional quarantine so that there is no inconvenience to returnees.