09/04/2020 2:14 PM IST

What Kerala Govt Is Doing To Help Malayalis Stuck Abroad During Coronavirus Pandemic

The state government has set up an online medical consultation facility on its Norka website.

Representative photo/Getty Images

Kerala government said on Wednesday it was setting up services to help people from the state who were stuck abroad during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“Our biggest concern is the deaths of several Keralites in countries like the US. We hear news of our people dying there. We are getting calls from our people who have no idea on what to do next,” Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said at the press conference.

1. The state’s Department of Non-Resident Keralites Affairs (Norka) will set up five COVID-19 help desks for Malayalis abroad, the government announced.

“We have directed the ambassadors in the respective countries to coordinate with these help desks,” Pinarayi said. 

2. On the Norka website, the government has set up a Covid services page.

The first link on the page allows registered users to fill out a form with their details and concerns, which can then be submitted to the department.

3. The government has also set up an online medical consultation facility called ‘Doctor Online’ and ‘Hello Doctor’.

The facility is be available from 2pm to 6pm IST. It allows Malayalis abroad to consult through audio or video calls experts in general medicine, gynaecology, surgery, paediatrics, ENT, orthopaedics and ophthalmology.

Norka has reportedly tied up with the Indian Medical Association and QuikDr to provide this service.

4. Earlier this week, the CM held a video conference with members of the NRI communities in 22 different countries to discuss problems faced by Keralites abroad during the pandemic.

“Kerala government will do everything that is possible. Schools in gulf countries are shut now, but the parents are asked to pay the fees. We will try to talk to educational institutions with Malayalee managements working in the Gulf, but would like to publicly appeal to them to not do this. Expats are reeling under financial stress, they should be given as many relaxations as possible,” he said.