Kerala CM, 7 ministers in quarantine after 23 officials test Covid +ve
The decision came after Malappuram district collector K Gopalakrishnan and police superintendent U Abdul Kareem tested positive, along with 21 other officials who supervised the rescue work at Kozhikode air crash site.Updated: Aug 14, 2020 23:44 IST
Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan and seven of his ministers went into quarantine on Friday after 23 state government officials who were part of the rescue operation at a plane crash site in Kozhikode tested positive for coronavirus.
In a brief statement, the CM’s office said he will be going in self-quarantine and won’t be able to unfurl the Tricolour on Independence Day and it will be done by the state tourism minister Kadakampally Surendran. The CM and Governor Arif Mohammad Khan had visited Kozhikode in north Kerala with a big team a day after the air tragedy that claimed 18 lives, including two pilots.
The decision came after Malappuram district collector K Gopalakrishnan and police superintendent U Abdul Kareem tested positive, along with 21 other officials who supervised the rescue work with local people after the Air India Express evacuation plane from Dubai skidded and crashed last Friday.
Seven ministers, including health minister KK Shailaja and state director general of police (DGP) Loknath Behera, have put themselves into quarantine. District officials were at the crash site for many hours and led the rescue operations with the aid of local people. In fact they were in quarantine after two injured in the crash tested positive.
“Some symptoms were there since yesterday and later it was confirmed positive. This is part of our job. I am relieved we could limit the death toll to 18,” said collector K Gopalakrishnan, who reached the spot in 20 minutes and took command of the rescue work. Though the airport is known after Kozhikode, it is in Malappuram district, at least 25 kms away from Kozhikode city.
Earlier the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) had also asked its personnel who took part in the rescue operation to go in quarantine. Kondotty, where the airport is situated, was a containment zone but youngsters came out in large numbers which was later lauded by many, including Union civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri and Air India. Local people are also in quarantine and their test results are yet to come.
Meanwhile, the state reported 1569 new cases and 10 deaths. Death toll went up to 140 and total cases stood at 41, 246. State health minister KK Shailaja said cases are likely to peak by next month and experts have warned daily cases will go up to 15,000.
Kerala was the first state to report a virus case in the country in January.