One coronavirus patient cured, a ‘relieved’ Kerala lifts calamity status
The Kerala government has lifted the ‘calamity’ status declared four days ago after one positive case of Coronavirus turned negative and tests in 67 suspected patients were found to be negative, limiting the current number of positively confirmed cases in the state to three, state health minister KK Shailaja said on Friday.
The state had pressed the emergency button last Monday after a third China-returned medical student tested positive for Coronavirus in Kasaragod, north Kerala. The state carried out a massive drive to contain the secondary infection including an awareness campaign at the grassroots level.
“We had isolated people who came in direct contact with affected persons. All tests were negative so far. In the last two days, 67 samples were tested. Moreover, the second patient undergoing treatment in Alappuzha is negative now. But he will be released only after 28 days’ isolation,” the minister said, adding that the time was not ripe to lower guard yet.
The remaining two positive cases were also responding well to the treatment and the minister expressed hope that will be out of their positive status soon.
“We are really relieved. It seems our hard work has really paid. But it is not time to relax. We will keep the utmost vigil. I thank all help to realise this,” the minister said lauding the medical staff, political leadership and others.
With the lifting of the calamity tag, certain restrictions placed on student excursions and big gatherings will go.
“We have been closely monitoring the situation in the last two days. Things have improved so we decided to withdraw the calamity,” Shailaja said, before adding that the medical emergency was announced as a precautionary measure.
After the declaration of a “calamity” break-out, the state had opened more isolation wards and started training doctors and paramedical staff to meet the emergency.
Though the World Health Organisation recommends 14 days isolation, the state has raised it to 28 days to weed out any possibility of the late-blooming of the infection. Exposed to the Nipah virus two years ago, the state used its experience effectively to control the virus, said health officials.
They maintain that Nipah was more dangerous than Coronavirus. Many health experts have lauded the state’s preparedness and response.