5 coronavirus cases reported in Kerala: Health minister

Updated on Mar 08, 2020 05:10 PM IST

The Centre has, so far, confirmed that 34 people have been infected with coronavirus across the country.

Medical staff, wearing protective suits, outside the Special Isolation Ward set up to provide treatment to novel coronavirus patients at Kochi Medical college in Kerala.(PTI Photo)
Medical staff, wearing protective suits, outside the Special Isolation Ward set up to provide treatment to novel coronavirus patients at Kochi Medical college in Kerala.(PTI Photo)
Hindustan Times, Thiruvananthapuram | By

Five people of a family, including three who recently came back from Italy, tested positive for coronavirus in interim reports in Kerala, prompting authorities to put the state on high alert, health minister KK Shailaja said on Sunday.

Three of the five people in the southern state’s Pathanamthitta district had returned from Italy last month and two others were infected after they came into contact with them.

The infected people were admitted to the hospital on Friday when they complained of fever and throat infection and tested positive after a laboratory in Alleppy sent their reports on Sunday.

The samples have also been sent to the National Institute of Virology in Pune and reports is expected to come by Sunday evening.

Shailaja said the three people had failed to inform health officials about their return from Italy and warned people of stern action if they hide their travel history.

“They acted in a highly irresponsible manner. They have done injustice to the state and those who toil day in and out to contain the virus. People who behave like this will be dealt with sternly,” the health minister said.

Shailaja also said that all the five have been kept in an isolation ward in the Pathanamthitta general hospital and their condition was stable.

“The situation is under control. We have started tracing their contacts,” PB Nooh, Pathanamthitta’s collector, said.

Health officials said the three had returned to Kochi from Italy via Doha on February 29.

Officials at the international airport in Kochi said 350 people had travelled on the Doha-Cochin QR 514 flight that day and they had handed over their details to health authorities.

Thermal checking was done at the airport and they did not show any symptoms then, they added.

The government has asked all people who travelled with them to report to the nearest hospitals and at least 75 of them were quarantined in their homes.

Officials in Pathanamthitta have said all public functions will be cancelled in view of the latest developments. At least 25 rapid action teams were formed and doctors from neighbouring districts were also summoned.

The district collector has requested people to cooperate with the government to stop the infection from spreading.

Given the state’s high population density and mobility of people, the government is worried that any laxity could prove costly.

The latest cases surfaced at a time when the state, which had reported the country’s first three cases of coronavirus in January, was being lauded for its efforts after the patients recovered.

Officials said a disturbing factor in these new cases is that two of the affected are secondary infections.

The state is keeping its fingers crossed as more than three million women are set to converge in Thiruvananthapuram on Monday for Attukal Pongala.

It is a 10-day festival celebrated at the Attukal Temple in the heart of the city and is considered the world’s largest congregation of women.

Minister Shailaja on Sunday appealed that those who have fever or cold should not participate in Pongala.

Thiruvananthapuram district collector K Gopalakrishnan has urged devotees from abroad to perform Pongala in their hotels instead.

“It will help contain the infection, if any,” he said.

The Centre has, so far, confirmed that 34 people have been infected with coronavirus across the country.

Get Latest India Newsalong with Latest Newsand Top Headlinesfrom India and around the world.
SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Ramesh Babu is HT’s bureau chief in Kerala, with about three decades of experience in journalism.

SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
My Offers
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Monday, November 28, 2022
Start 15 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Register Free and get Exciting Deals