Owing to the rise of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, the Kerala Government has taken strict actions to prevent its spread. Earlier, the Health Minister of Kerala made it mandatory for travellers coming from Omicron risk countries to produce a negative RT-PCR test and stay in quarantine for 14-days. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan mentioned that the Kerala Government will not give free treatment to anyone who is unvaccinated.
This is the Government’s attempt to encourage people to take both doses of the vaccine. Pinarayi Vijayan specifically stated that it is important that people follow all COVID-19 guidelines in order to avail free-of-cost services.
According to the Indian Express, he said, “The government will not bear treatment costs for those who haven’t taken vaccine shots. Those who are reluctant to take the vaccine on account of allergy or any disease should produce a certificate issued by a doctor in government service.”
In fact, those who are unvaccinated, especially government employees and teachers, have to take an RT-PCR test every week and submit the report to their higher officials. They will have to incur the expenses themselves. This move was taken keeping in mind the risk it proposes to students attending classes.
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International passengers who are travelling to Kerala from Omicron reported countries will have to take an RT-PCR test upon arrival. If they have been tested positive, they will be shifted to an institutional quarantine centre where they will undergo treatment. They will also be tested for Omicron. Veena George shared, “Security will be beefed up in all airports. The state has taken all necessary measures as per the instructions issued by the Center. Those coming from foreign countries are required to take the RT-PCR test 48 hours prior to the travel. The test must also be taken after reaching the state.”
At the moment, the countries that are at risk for Omicron are Europe, the United Kingdom, Bangladesh, South Africa, Brazil, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Israel.