Three out of the five people have a travel history to Italy while two others are relatives.

Five new cases of coronavirus in Kerala says Health Min KK ShailajaRepresentative image
news Coronavirus Sunday, March 08, 2020 - 10:59

Five new cases of coronavirus have been reported from Kerala’s Pathanamthitta district, the state’s health minister KK Shailaja told the media on Sunday. Three out of the five people have a travel history to Italy while two others are their relatives. They arrived in Kerala on February 29 on a Qatar Airways flight from Venice and had a one-and-a-half-hour halt at Doha. 

The three people who returned from Italy include a 55-year-old man, his 53-year-old wife and their 24-year-old son. Their two relatives, aged 65 and 61, were infected later. Their samples were tested at NIV Alappuzha and were found to be positive for coronavirus. 

“The five people went home from the airport in a private vehicle. Anyone who travelled on flight QR 514 to Kerala should inform the state,” KK Shailaja told the media on Sunday. 

The minister told the media that the three people who arrived from Italy did not specifically inform authorities at the Kerala airport that they are coming from Italy and they did not contact health officials after coming to Kerala. The three people began to show symptoms on March 4, the minister said. They went to a private hospital, but did not inform the private hospital of their travel history. Later, on March 6, two of their relatives, who are also their neighbours, went to a taluk hospital in Pathanamthitta complaining of fever and then told the officials of the three people’s travel history to Italy. After this, officials visited the family and found that they had symptoms of coronavirus. On March 6, all the five people kept in isolation. 

"They were not ready to come to hospital. Our health authorities had to convince them and use force to bring them to hospital. Their tests were done and they turned out to be positive," KK Shailaja said, adding, "Their behaviour not to inform the government is a highly irresponsible. By not informing, they  may transmit the disease to their friends and relatives."

The minister added that two grandparents in the family, aged above 90, have contracted fever on Sunday. They, however, have not been moved to the hospital yet. They will be shifted to Kottayam medical college.

Minister KK Shailaja has also asked people to be alert and inform authorities if they have travelled to any coronavirus-affected country. 

“People who have travelled from coronavirus-affected countries like Italy and Iran should inform the government and not doing so will be considered as a crime. Local residents or neighbours can also inform the authorities. Everyone should remain extremely vigilant. People who have travelled to Kerala from foreign countries should remain in home quarantine for 28 days,” the minister added.

Minister KK Shailaja also stated that those who are facing symptoms should not attend Attukal Pongala.

Earlier, three people were found to have coronavirus in Kerala; the three have since recovered. This takes the total number of cases in India to 39. The government on Saturday announced that three more cases have been found positive for COVID-19, two from Ladakh with travel history to Iran and one from Tamil Nadu with travel history to Oman. 

The government also said that a total of 7,26,122 people from 7,108 flights have been screened at airports. As many as 52 laboratories are operational across the country for testing COVID-19 virus. An additional 57 laboratories have been provided with Viral Transport Media and swabs for sample collection.

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