The Kerala government on Tuesday decided to ease restrictions in the containment zones of Kozhikode district where a 12-year old child had succumbed to the Nipah virus infection recently. The decision was taken as the incubation period of 14 days was over and no new cases have been reported from the region. The only exception will be a ward in the Chathamangalam panchayat where the child came from. "Ward 9 in the Chathamangalam panchayat will continue to be a containment zone. The decision was taken as per the direction of the medical board and the expert committee," state Health Minister Veena George said in a release. The minister also said that the COVID-19 vaccination, which was stopped after the Nipah outbreak, will restart from Wednesday.
"Further vaccination will take place as per an action plan. Those with symptoms must not go for vaccination. There are 9,593 people in the containment zone who are yet to get the first dose of vaccine," the minister said. She also informed that three more samples of close contacts of the deceased child came back negative. Currently, 143 samples have been tested negative.
The Health department has been on a high vigil since September 4 when the 12-year-old child was found infected with the Nipah virus. The three-km-radius from his house was cordoned off and house-to-house surveillance was conducted and samples were tested.
The child succumbed to the infection on September 5 early morning. However, the source of infection has not yet been found. There was speculation that it was a rambutan fruit eaten by the boy that led to the infection, since it might have been bitten by a fruit bat containing the virus.
A team from the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune is stationed in Kozhikode to collect samples and send them to the lab for testing.
(With PTI inputs)