Dubai: South Indian state Kerala has stepped up support for expats living in the UAE and across the world with the launch of several initiatives in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak on Wednesday.
While overseas Keralites anywhere in the world can now avail video-conference and tele-consultation services related to coronavirus from medical experts back home, the government has also set up special help-desks by assigning community members in the UAE to handle COVID-19 helplines.
Announcing the details Wednesday, Chief Minister, Pinarayi Vijayan said, “In order to address the concerns and issues faced by the non-resident Keralites, we have set up five dedicated COVID help-desks in countries where we have a substantial number of expat Malayalis.”
“The help-desks started by Norka Roots will be managed locally by persons and voluntary organisations active among Non-Resident Keralites. We have requested the Indian Ambassadors in these places to cooperate with these helpdesks.”
The details about these helpdesks are available on the Norka Roots website https://norkaroots.org/web/guest/covid-services. [See the box below for contact details of community members handling these helplines in the UAE].
Lenin George Kuzhivelil, one of the volunteers offering the helpline service in Fujairah, told Gulf News that the helpline volunteers can be contacted by community members with concerns about having contracted the infection.
“We will guide them to testing centres, advise them on how to make use of the facilities arranged by the local departments here and coordinate with local authorities here and state health department back home.”
He said the service is expected to support the efforts of the UAE government in preventing the spread of infection in various communities.
Meanwhile, the online and tele-medicine consultation services for the expat Keralites were launched on an emergency basis by Norka, which looks after the welfare of expat Malayalis, under the directives of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, a statement from Norka said.
Video-conference and phone call services are available for discussing the expat community members’ doubts and concerns related to COVID-19 by registering through the Norka website www.norkaroots.org
The service is available through webpage https://www.norkaroots.org/web/guest/covid-services from 2pm to 6pm in India (12.30pm to 4.30pm in the UAE).
The web page has a section for sharing COVID concerns and two other sections titled Doctor Online and Hello Doctor. Expats can register their details to choose the service they require.
Prominent doctors of various specialties would be available to answer the queries and provide medical guidance.
At present, the services of doctors specialised in general medicine, general surgery, gynaecology, paediatrics, orthopaedics, ENT and ophthalmology are available.
The numbers of the doctors available in each specialty are also given on the web page.
Based on the instructions from the doctors, further assistance will also be provided to the expats, the statement said.
Norka said it has tied up with the Indian Medical Association and QuikDr, a company providing telemedicine solutions for healthcare needs in Kerala.
Insurance, airfare discount for students
Kerala has also launched registration and insurance protection for Malayali students going abroad for higher studies.
Students who have been studying or working abroad for more than six months can avail the service.
With the introduction of the Norka Roots Overseas Student Registration facility, students will be provided with ID cards. Registered students will be given incentives, including discounts in airfare in tie-up with certain airlines, Norka Roots CEO Harikrishnan Namboothiri told Gulf News.
As there is no registration system, there is no definite number of Malayali students studying abroad available, he cited.
The decision comes in the backdrop of difficulties faced in extending support to students stranded abroad during the COVID-19 pandemic since there was no requirement to seek the state government's permission or to provide the information about overseas travel by students.
How to avail the online/tele-services
Go to https://www.norkaroots.org/web/guest/covid-services
Click on the tab showing the preferred service and register your details
Or call the number given for the specialist doctor of your choice
Contacts of individuals and groups handling COVID-19 help-desks for Keralites in the UAE
Padmanabhan. P 050 6112179
Krishna kumar V.P 050 6921018
Ansari Sainudheen 050 4923776
Rasheed Pattambi 050 8264991
Shibu Varghese 050 5700314
Shyni Balachandran 050 9045092
Bindu Shobhi 055 5110536
Indian Social Centre Essa K. V 0506941921
Shajith A.T 0508451030
Rajan K 0555780224
Badrudheen 050 6148696
Adv Anjali 0504889076
Mohd Rafi 050 4558100
Adv. Y A Rahim - 052-5114552
Biju Soman - 050- 4820656
Ameer Kallumpuram - 050-2434947
Abdul Salam - 058-5909386
Jassim Mohammed - 052-6993225
Anitha Balakrishnan - 055-9952423
Ras Al Khaimah
S.A.Salim Indian Association President -050 6477468
K.R.Mohanan pillai 055 9492729
Mahruf 050 6273168
Sujash 055 1085771
Hashim - 050 3901330
Murali Khorfakkan - 050 7897602
Lenin Kuzhiveli - 052 9345935
C. K. Aboobekker Kalba - 0567162786
Subhash V. S - 052 5311615
Sabitha - 054 4041412