Kerala worried about rising number of Covid-19 cases in Gulf
After checking COVID-19 effectively, Kerala is now worried more about the spurt in infection rate in the Gulf region where around 1.8 million emigrants from the state work. As per the statistics released on March 15 by the state government, around 32 Malayalis died due to infection globally. Among them, 19 were from the US and Gulf region accounted for only 7 deaths in the Malayali community.
Kerala is emotionally linked to Gulf as around 78% global Malayalis work and live in the region and contribute for 90% of foreign remittance to the state with Rs. 88,000 crore in 2018-19.
Kerala has taken steps to reach out to the Gulf-Malayali community by setting up quarantine camps with the support of Embassies and social organizations, sent medicines and initiated service of doctors through telemedicine counters. The state also expressed its willingness to set up corona care centers exclusively for Gulf returnees if they return to the state.
“We are in touch with the global Malayali community through community leaders and set up help desks across the Gulf region. We have limitations to operate in foreign destinations where a large number of Malayalis lives. We are trying our best to help our brethren who are going through a distressing time. We are ready to screen and quarantine them if they return,” said Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
But pressure is mounting on the government from the families to operate special flights for Gulf-Malayalis.
“We are worried about our dear ones stranded in Gulf. We are receiving distress calls every day. But what can we do,” K.C. Riyas, a local journalist in Kozhikode expressed his helplessness. His cousins are stranded in UAE where infections have crossed 5,000 marks with 432 new infections on April 15.
Saudi Arabia too has witnessed a spike in infections during the past week and accounts for around 6,400 positive cases with 71 patients in intensive care. So far 82 persons died of COVID 19 symptoms in the Kingdom.
Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Oman to have reported infections spreading fast.
“Among the emigrants, workers living in the labour camps are the worst hit. They could not access medical facilities as many camps are in the remote areas,” a social worker pointed out.
Kerala is charting out a mega plan to accommodate reverse migrants from Gulf post lockdown. The task will put the revenue deficit state in red forever.