As Kerala prepares for the return of expats from the gulf, Kerala Health Minister KK Shailaja said that the state has set up kiosks at the airport to conduct antibody tests for the returnees. This comes shortly after the Kerala government made pre-flight COVID-19 testing mandatory for passengers travelling from abroad through the Vande Bharat Mission, especially from the Gulf countries.
"The kiosks have been set up in association with HLL Lifecare Ltd and 14,800 test kits have been arranged through Kerala Medical Services Corporation Ltd (KMSCL). More numbers of kits will be arranged as the number of persons increasing," Kerala Health Minister said. The kiosks have been set up in Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulam, Kozhikode and Kannur airports.
"Five to ten numbers of kiosks can be set up in each airports depending on the number of passengers. Antibody tests in airports are conducting mainly for passengers coming without conducting COVID-19 tests. Health workers are conducting tests keeping all security measures and wearing PPE kits," she said.
According to the minister, this would be a quick and easy way to detect the possibility of COVID in the passenger's system. Once a passenger tests positive on the antibody test, he/she will be sent to COVID first-line treatment centres to get diagnosed through an RTPCR test. His contacts will be sent to quarantine. If contacts in quarantine also show symptoms, they would be sent to the treatment centres.
KK Shailaja further added that the preference at these kiosks would be given to pregnant women, newborn kids and mothers, children below ten years, differently-abled people, people with other serious health problems, aged people and accompanied family members.
The Kerala Government has issued detailed guidelines for the return of expatriates. Last week, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan stated that returnees from Gulf will have to show a certificate if being tested COVID negative, asking the Centre to arrange testing facilities through embassies.
Kerala reported 195 positive cases on Saturday, taking the total number of infections in the state to 4,071. The state has managed to keep the growth of the cases in check, reporting not more than 100 new cases over the past nine days.