THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: With fears of a second wave of COVID-19 on the rise, Non-Resident Keralites who had planned a vacation in the state, are reconsidering their decision.
Ranjith Ramchandran, an IT professional working in Dubai, said he and his family had hoped to spend some time in Mavelikara as his nine-year-old daughter’s school had shut down for the spring break on March 28.
"We often plan a short vacation, nearly two weeks, during this period. However, stricter quarantine norms -- a seven-day quarantine period and mandatory RT-PCR test-- besides the fear of a second wave made us cancel our plans," said Ranjith, who along with his wife have taken the COVID-19 vaccine.
The possibility of travel restrictions due to the surge in COVID-19 cases has also deterred the family from visiting.
The country recorded the biggest daily jump since October, on Sunday. While Maharashtra is planning a lockdown, Kerala too recorded a jump in test positivity rate of 4.69 per cent, which is the biggest increase in a month.
Uncertainty about their jobs has also affected the vacation plans of Non-Resident Keralites, especially those working in Gulf countries. "Several families are not even considering taking a vacation now due to the fear of losing their jobs. Many of them who faced salary cut have already sent their families back to Kerala. This was possible since the classes are being held virtually for the children," said Bobby John, who is employed in Qatar.
According to him, several firms, which bear the travel cost of employees, are reluctant to bear their quarantine cost. Those who have been given any assurance of a return ticket have also decided to stay back in the Gulf.
Low bookings and sudden can-cellations have hit the air travel agents hard. "The rate of flight tickets to UAE has come down to Rs 6,500 per passenger," said CM Girish Kumar, vice-president of IATA Agents Association of India.