Thiruvananthapuram: In view of rise in fresh COVID-19 cases, the Kerala government will conduct RT-PCR tests free of cost for expatriates returning to the state, the government said on Friday.
The decision on RT-PCR tests, considered the gold standard to detect the COVID-19, has been taken following a direction by the Centre in view of over 30 per cent increase in COVID-19 cases in the state in the last one week, Health Minister K K Shailaja said.
Addressing a press meet here, she said the Centre has directed the state to intensify testing at airports and also cautioned that there were chances of a second wave of coronavirus in the state.
"The state government will conduct RT-PCR tests free of cost for the expats reaching the state and the results will be given to them," the minister said.
The Centre has issued the direction based on the fact that there was a 31 per cent increase in COVID-19 cases in the state in the last one week, she said.
"The union government has also informed us that there are chances of a second wave of COVID-19 spread in 16 states in the country," the minister said.
The number UK returnees testing positive for COVID-19 has risen to 94 in the state, including 11 earlier found with new strain.
With 3,671 more people testing positive on Friday, the infection count in the state rose to 10.52 lakh.
Meanwhile, 4,142 people were cured of the disease on Friday taking the total recoveries in the state to 9,96,514.
Currently, there are51,390 people under treatment.