Covid-19: Kerala concerned as Gulf returnees hiding medical history
The state has reported 97 Covid-19 positive cases in the last five days, taking the total count to 630, including four deaths.Updated: May 19, 2020 17:57 IST
Kerala is bracing for a surge in coronavirus disease (Covid-19) positive cases because of the influx of stranded expatriates from West Asian countries, who are being evacuated by the central government, and those stuck in other states are also returning home amid the easing of lockdown restrictions that were imposed in end-March to contain the spread of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak.
The state has reported 97 Covid-19 positive cases in the last five days, taking the total count to 630, including four deaths. Of late, there has been a spike when it appeared that Kerala is on the verge of flattening the curve, as the number of active Covid-19 positive cases has risen to 130 from 16 since the influx of Persian Gulf returnees.
Police booked three persons in Kollam under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, on Tuesday on charges of hiding their health condition after they returned to Thiruvananthapuram from Abu Dhabi two days ago. The trio tested Covid-19 positive upon their arrival and had tell-tale symptoms of SARS-CoV-2, which causes the disease, even before boarding the flight from Abu Dhabi.
Now, state health authorities have asked all their co-passengers to undergo tests on an emergency basis.
Many complaints have surfaced that people often suppress their fever by popping paracetamol tablets before boarding flights to escape thermal scanners.
These three persons had reportedly tested Covid-19 positive during anti-body tests in Abu Dhabi and they were allowed to board the flight at the last moment.
State Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had termed their behaviour as “most irresponsible”.
“It’s a serious issue. We’ll take it up this with the central government and the diplomatic missions concerned. We’ve been asking for thorough tests before expatriates are allowed to return home,” the CM had said on Monday.
A 34-year-old nurse, who had recovered, tested Covid-19 positive again on Monday. She was evacuated from Kuwait on May 13, as she is pregnant. Doctors said her case showed that chances of a Covid-19 relapse are high among recovered patients, whose immunity is weak.
“She came back from Kuwait with a cured certificate. She was asked to come back for a re-test and tested positive on Monday. Though it is the first-of-its-kind case in Kerala, this has been reported in other parts of the country,” said Malappuram district medical officer K Sakeena. She said a special medical board has been set up to treat the pregnant nurse.
Kerala is likely to report more Covid-19 positive cases, as 38 international flights and 24 trains are expected to arrive in the state over the next two weeks.