New COVID variant casts shadow over vacation plans of Malayali expatriates- The New Indian Express
Express News Service
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Indian expats who have been planning to visit the home country to be with their families for Christmas will be hit hard with the emergence of the new variant of COVID virus, Omicron, in South Africa. The expats are now forced to reschedule their travel fearing that they might be stuck here if West Asian countries close their borders in the event of further spread.
In addition, the prospects of foreign tourists arriving in Kerala would also be slim if the Omicron infection spreads. Kerala has strengthened screening and testing of all international travellers coming from or transiting through South Africa, Botswana, Hong Kong, Brazil, Bangladesh, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Singapore, Zimbabwe, and Israel at its four airports.
A senior Air India officer said, “A majority of Kerala expats are based in West Asian countries. So far, no air traffic regulation has been announced in those countries. We cannot assure travellers that the air traffic will not be affected.”
Kerala-headquartered Air India Express has almost regained 80% of its traffic after the GCC countries lifted regulations enforced following the second wave.
“Although no traffic curbs have been announced, we are anticipating a drop in passenger traffic to India from GCC countries in December as expats are likely to avoid travelling anticipating traffic regulations in the event of detecting more cases of Omicron infection,” said an Air India Express officer.
KV Dhanu, a private company staffer in Dubai, said he was planning to come down to Kerala by December 1 for post-COVIDd treatment. “I have applied for a 10-day leave for treatment purposes. But now, I am doubtful if I will be able to get back here on time,” he said.
So is the case with expats who plan to come to Kerala for Christmas vacation. Normally, the expats travel to Kerala during Christmas vacation and fly back after New Year. Now it’s almost certain that the passenger movement would be affected severely as quarantine is mandated for passengers, said a private airline officer.
The emergence of the new COVID variant will also be a dampener for Kerala Tourism which has started an international campaign to woo foreign tourists.
Earlier this month, Kerala had made an impressive presence at the three-day World Travel Market (WTM) 2021 in London sending out a strong message that the tourism sector here is on the path of recovery from the prolonged pandemic-triggered lull. The UK is the biggest source market for Kerala Tourism over the years.
covid 19: Omicron variant: Returnees from abroad to MP in last one month to undergo COVID-19 test, says CM
The state government also withdrew the earlier announced relaxations for schools and decided that they will continue to hold online classes and run physical classes with 50 per cent strength of students only after consent from their parents.
Chouhan had on November 17 announced withdrawal all coronavirus-related restrictions in Madhya Pradesh with immediate effect while allowing all social, political, sports, entertainment, cultural and religious activities with full capacity.
On Sunday, after a meeting with senior officials over the COVID-19 situation, Chouhan said a new variant of the coronavirus has been found in some countries. Though no case of it has been found in India yet, some decisions have been taken in Madhya Pradesh as a precautionary measure.
Along with the central government’s guidelines, some additional precautions will be taken, he said.
“Those who came to Madhya Pradesh from other countries by international flights during the past one month will be tested in accordance with norms set by the Centre. They will be isolated if found with any symptom,” he said.
Chouhan also said that directives have been issued to increase the number of genome sequencing examination.
The chief minister also said he has given instructions to ensure the availability of essential medicines, including Remdesivir injections.
Directives have also been issued to repair other equipment, oxygen lines and plants and make all arrangements in hospitals as well, he said.
He said 58,000 to 60,000 tests for COVID-19 were being conducted per day in the state.
“The number of tests will also be increased now. We will strictly follow guidelines of the Government of India and the World Health Organisation. We have to take special care of children and those below 18 years of age, as they have not been vaccinated,” he said.
Chouhan said the state government has decided that schools will open with 50 per cent attendance from Monday.
This means each child will need to attend school only for three days in a week, he said, adding that schools will also need to run online classes as an alternate option.
“If parents do not want to send their children to school, then they should be given the option of online classes. Parental consent is required for children to go to school for physical classes. The children will go to school only when their parents agree to it,” he said.
Chouhan also said that 62.5 per cent of the eligible people have received the COVID-19 vaccine in Madhya Pradesh.
“Vaccination is being done daily, but a mega campaign will be held on December 1. I urge everyone that those who have not taken the second dose must get themselves fully vaccinated,” he said.
The CM said he will virtually review the COVID-19 situation with the district collectors and superintendents of police on Monday.
“I will discuss with the crisis management committees on December 1. We will keep everyone ready so that if the third wave comes, we can fight it with our full potential,” he said, while appealing to people to support the fight against the pandemic.
On Saturday, Madhya Pradesh reported 23 fresh cases of COVID-19, raising the state’s infection tally to 7,93,120, while the death toll remained unchanged at 10,528, as per official data. PTI ADU GK GK
Outlander season 6 release date FINALLY revealed – and it’s so soon!
The release date of much-loved time travel drama, Outlander, has finally been announced and fans can’t contain their excitement
Good news, Outlander fans – we finally know when Droughtlander will be over! It’s been announced that the much-loved time travel drama will be returning to screens on 6 March 2022.
MORE: Outlander star Sam Heughan issues plea to social media followers
Irish actress Caitríona Balfe, who plays Claire Fraser on the show, revealed the news on her Instagram on Tuesday, and it’s safe to say fans were more than pleased with the news. “It’s official … Season 6 – coming your way on March 6th,” she wrote alongside a new promotional photo of the cast. “So excited for you to see this season.”
WATCH: See the official teaser trailer for Outlander season six
One commented below the post: “So excited!!! So glad we now have a date to look forward to!” Another echoed this, writing: “I’ve been waiting for this announcement for so long – can’t believe we can finally start counting down the days!” and a third added: “SOOO happy!! Can’t wait for the new season.”
MORE: Outlander: see the cast’s Instagram accounts ahead of season six
MORE: Outlander’s Caitríona Balfe shares rare insight into home life with new baby
It was previously revealed that in a first for the series – and perhaps to make up for the long wait fans have had to endure – the season premiere will be 90 minutes long rather than the typical 60 minutes.
Season six will consist of just eight episodes, rather than the typical 13 due to the “the challenges of filming in these unprecedented times”. Showrunner Matthew B. Roberts explained in a statement to Entertainment Weekly back in summer: “We are excited to get into the editing room to work on bringing the fans one step closer to reuniting with the family back on Fraser’s Ridge.”
Are you looking forward to catching up with Jamie and Claire?
“Filming in 2021 has presented an unprecedented set of challenges which led us to the decision to truncate the season in order to bring the fans the most vibrant and dynamic season as soon as possible. Dinna fash, we will then film an extended season seven with 16 episodes next year as life returns to normalcy.”
While there’s no synopsis for the new series just yet, Outlander usually covers one Diana Gabaldon novel per season, and as such it’s expected that season six will delve into the events of the sixth book in the series, A Breath of Snow and Ashes.
MORE: Outlander’s Sam Heughan reveals surprising reason behind season six reshoots
In the novel, new character Malva Christie arrives at Fraser’s Ridge along with her father and brother and becomes Claire’s apprentice, with the pair striking up something of a mother and daughter relationship. However, things take a dangerous turn after it is revealed that Malva is pregnant – and she says that Jamie is the father.
Season six is also likely to explore the aftermath of the dramatic season five finale, which saw Claire rescued by Jamie and her family after being kidnapped and assaulted. Meanwhile, Roger and Brianna find themselves still stuck in the past with their son Jemmy, despite trying to return to the present day.
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