Kerala High Court
A view of the Kerala High court Image Credit: Archive

A 74-year-old United States (US) citizen, Johnny Paul Pierce, wants to settle in the Indian state of Kerala as he is impressed with the country's COVID-19 response. He is on a tourist visa and approached the High Court seeking to convert it into a business visa, saying there is confusion in his home country due to the coronavirus pandemic. He has been staying in the city of Kochi Kerala, for the past five months. He wants to move on a more permanent basis as the United States of America is struggling to battle COVID-19.

The Indian lockdown left hundreds of foreign tourists stranded in the country and scrambling to get back home.

Talking to a local news source, Johnny Paul Pierce said: "I am very impressed with what's happening here. People in the United States don't care about COVID-19. I'm making a petition to allow me to stay for another 180 days in Kerala and get a business visa to start a travel company here. I wish my family could also come here."

Johnny Paul Pierce arrived in Kerala on February 26, 2020, on his fifth visit to the state. Soon after his arrival, the government announced a total lockdown triggered by the pandemic, making it impossible to fly out.

Reportedly, his idea is to start a tourist centre in Kerala and explore the potential for tourism in the state. For this purpose he wants to extend his stay and also get a business visa.

As per India’s immigration rules, with an electronic Indian tourist visa, each stay can last a maximum of 180 days or six months for UK, USA, Canada or Japan passport holders.

Meanwhile, in the United States of America (USA) coronavirus cases hike to a record of more than 66,000 new infections on Friday, according to the data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University.

India has recorded yet another highest single-day increase of 27,114 new coronavirus cases in just four days.

The total coronavirus cases in the country surged to 8,20,916 on Saturday, July 11, while the death toll climbed to 22,123 with 519 people succumbing to the disease in 24 hours. Meanwhile, according to Union health ministry data, the number of coronavirus recoveries stands at 5,15,385.