NRIs unhappy with seven-day quarantine norms

By Staff Reporter

Pravasi organisations have objected to the seven-day quarantine norms for those who return home from abroad in the wake of the fast-spreading Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 leading to more infections.

In a letter to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, K.V. Shamsudheen, chairman, Sharjah-based Pravasi Bandhu Welfare Trust, said that all the passengers arriving from abroad had been vaccinated from the country they were residing in. They also had a valid certificate for this. Boarding the plane is permitted only if an RT-PCR test negative certificate was produced within the stipulated time period. Despite all these preventive steps, international passengers were being asked to go on quarantine for a week after arrival, he said.

“This order is creating a lot of inconvenience to non-resident Indians (NRI) working abroad,” Mr. Shamsudheen said. These people are coming for a short leave out of which they are forced to stay put for seven days. “At the same time, there are massive gatherings in Kerala where people are seen without face masks and not keeping safe social distance,” he alleged. Mr. Shamsudheen requested the Chief Minister to withdraw the order on the seven-day quarantine. The NRIs were also unhappy that similar restrictions were not applicable to people coming from other States in the country, where the Omicron variant of the virus was spreading fast, he said.

The Kerala chapter of the Indian Overseas Congress termed the government move as “unscientific”, which would put NRIs under more pressure.

Pravasi Welfare Forum, another Pravasi organisation of Malayalis, said that the government move had come as a shocker for many NRIs who were planning to return to their home State after finding themselves in financial troubles induced by the pandemic. RT-PCR tests were right now being held in major airports in the country and those who tested positive for the virus were quarantined. That was enough as a containment measure, Razak Paleri and Hasanul Banna, president and secretary of the forum, respectively, said. They apprehended that the NRIs were staring at another round of crisis as seen in the first phase of the pandemic, they added.


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