T’PURAM/KOLLAM: Even as the government is moving ahead with stringent measures to curb spread of Covid-19, a seemingly irresponsible action by three Gulf returnees has put the state in risk once again. The Kollam Rural Police have registered cases against three expats for hiding their infection and travelling from Abu Dhabi to Thiruvananthapuram on Saturday. The three men — 42-year-old from Chirakkara, 40-year-old from Chandanathope and the 30-year-old Thrikkaruva native — were among the 182 passengers who arrived in an Air India flight on Saturday night.
They have now been admitted to the Parippally Medical College Hosptial (MCH). It is learnt that though they tested positive during repeated rapid tests in Abu Dhabi, they were allowed to board the flight at the last moment.“It’s a serious matter,” Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said referring to the incident. “More details cannot be divulged now. But the state government has decided to take up this matter with the Centre. The ministries concerned should, in turn, take up this case with the embassies/consulates,” he told reporters during the daily press briefing.
According to the route map released by the government, the three were taken from the Thiruvananthapuram airport in two different KSRTC buses to KILA at Kottarakkara for institutional quarantine. During the journey, some raised concerns about result of the rapid testing done at Abu Dhabi. Soon, they were shifted to the Government Medical College at Parippally for testing and were hospitalised. On Monday, they were tested positive.“After reaching the quarantine facility, health workers and police were alerted. They were shifted to MCH and after collecting their swab they were admitted,” said Deputy DMO R Sandhya.
Abu Dhabi incident rings alarm bells among officials
Kollam Rural SP S Harisankar said: “One of the expats told his co-passengers about the results of the rapid test during the journey to Kottarakkara. They alerted the health workers. All the three were shifted to the hospital immediately after they reached the quarantine facility.”
The incident has rung alarm bells among health department authorities, particularly since they had shifted 11 passengers of the same flight to the hospital for swab collection after one of them showed symptoms and the rest had come in contact with a positive person in Abu Dhabi. But these three were not among the 11, officials said. Though it is not yet clear how the three were allowed to board the flight, it is a clear violation of the standard operating procedure put in place by the home ministry for bringing stranded Indians from abroad.