Thiruvananthapuram: Passengers arriving from abroad in Kerala airports will not be charged any more for RT-PCR tests for Covid.
This was informed by Kerala Health Minister KK Shailaja on Friday. The decision comes in the wake of protests from all quarters about the requirement for passengers to undergo Covid test prior to departure and then again on arrival.
The central government's recent directive making both the tests mandatory was taken as a safe measure in the context of emergence of new variants of corona virus, with reportedly higher transmissibility.
Kerala being a state with a sizeable number of its natives working in the Gulf region, and many of them complaining about the financial burden, the state government now came forward to bear the cost of the test and make it free for incoming passengers.
As per the existing decision, passengers boarding flights from abroad have to carry a negative Covid certificate issued not more than 72 hours prior to departure and then again on arrival. This is applicable for all ages, and thus passengers had to pay for test of even newborns.
Political leaders in the state as well as community figures and organisations in the Gulf have been making a loud clamour for doing away with the on-arrival test.
The test as such has not been done away with through Kerala's decision.. Minister Shaoylaja pleaded helplessness in waiving a second test, and said the state is doing what it can by deciding to make it free for airports in Kerala.