Migrant workers were given permits to work. The Kerala government has updated its guidelines for migrant workers coming back to the state and continuing work, following critiques. On September 14, the Additional Chief Secretary of the state had issued an order, saying that asymptomatic migrant workers with COVID-19 can engage in work. However, a few days after the issue was raised in the media referring attention to health implications, a new order was issued on Thursday, stating that migrant workers with COVID-19 should not be allowed to work until they have recovered.
The previous order issued by the General Administration Department (GAD) had said that if migrant workers with COVID-19 in the state are asymptomatic, they can work in areas exclusively marked for them, and by taking necessary precautions. The order was assigned based on the direction of the Additional Chief Secretary (Industries) Alkesh Kumar Sharma IAS due to delay in infrastructure projects in the state.
There had been rumors about asymptomatic COVID-19 patients falling seriously unwell, people fainting and dying and later being found to have COVID-19 posthumously. “Studies have shown that many people with no or mild symptoms have CT scan changes in lungs. So, it is better to take rest for 10 days,” a doctor based in Kerala had told a leading daily. Despite such circumstances, the earlier order had said asymptomatic migrant workers can engage in work. Officials at the Health Minister’s office had earlier reported a leading daily that they were not aware of such an order.