On Wednesday, BJP National General Secretary Ram Madhav took a dig at Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan for his criticism of the Centre's evacuation plan for Indians stranded abroad. Maintaining that Indians boarding the flight would be tested beforehand, he highlighted that the state governments had to quarantine them. Thereafter, he questioned whether the Kerala CM really wanted the distressed expatriates to come back.
Those who come to India will be tested properly before boarding flights, responsibility to quarantine them will be of respective state govts. Many people from Kerala want to return, doesn't CM want them to return?: Ram Madhav, BJP on Kerala CM's comments on Vande Bharat Mission pic.twitter.com/bT8MzmIZ61— ANI (@ANI) May 6, 2020
Addressing a press briefing on Tuesday, Vijayan stated that the Centre had approved of bringing back 80,000 expatriates. He contended that this would increase the spread of COVID-19. The Kerala CM added that he would speak to PM Modi about ensuring COVID-19 testing of the India-bound passengers.
Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan remarked, "The Centre is learnt to have approved bringing back 80,000 expatriates, but there are 1.69 lakh people in Kerala's priority list. This has been taken up with the Centre." He elaborated, "This will increase the threat of COVID-19 spread. All health protocols as per international standards have to be followed before bringing people from abroad. COVID-19 testing has to be conducted and I have taken this with Prime Minister Narendra Modi."
Currently, there are 49,391 confirmed novel coronavirus cases in India out of which 502 cases are from Kerala. Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri announced the Vande Bharat Mission- a plan for evacuating Indians stranded abroad. A total of 64 flights- 10 from UAE, 2 from Qatar, 5 from Saudi Arabia, 7 from the UK, 5 from Singapore, 7 from the US, 5 from the Philippines, 7 from Bangladesh, 2 from Bahrain, 7 from Malaysia, 5 from Kuwait and 2 from Oman shall be operated from May 7 to May 13. These flights shall land at various destinations across the country such as Kerala, National Capital Region, Telangana, Maharashtra, Punjab, J&K, etc. Puri stressed that this was a special evacuation mission wherein passengers will be charged.