The Kerala government on Wednesday announced new safety rules for its citizens returning from Gulf nations amid an increase in the number of coronavirus cases – which are being attributed to the expatriates – The Indian Express reported. The government released different safety guidelines for travel from six countries – United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait and Bahrain.

Citizens returning to Kerala from Gulf countries have been directed to take a coronavirus test before boarding their flight and carry certificates with them. At a press briefing on Wednesday, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that the tests should not be older than 72 hours from the time of boarding.

People travelling to Kerala from UAE must carry a certificate showing that they are not infected. Expatriates from Oman and Bahrain need to wear protective N-95 masks, face shields and gloves. Citizens arriving from Qatar, on the other hand, must be marked green on the country’s mobile app for the coronavirus.

Expats travelling from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait without getting coronavirus tests will have to wear personal protective equipment. Travellers from the two countries will have to undergo mandatory screening upon arrival in Kerala.

“If tested positive, further tests would be done [on the expats],” the Kerala chief minister said at his press briefing, according to NDTV. “Only after approval of health officials, will they be able to leave the airport. Irrespective of the test results, they will have to undergo 14 days of mandatory quarantine.”

Kerala has reported 3,603 coronavirus cases and 22 deaths so far, according to data from the Union health ministry. On Wednesday, Kerala reported its biggest single-day increase of 152 cases.

Kerala has received global recognition for its efforts to contain the coronavirus. State Health Minister KK Shailaja was on Tuesday invited to speak on the occasion of the United Nations Public Service Day.

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