The Karnataka Health and Family Welfare Department has advised Malayali nurses and medical students working in the state to not go home, following the Nipah Virus outbreak in Kerala. The Department has, in a precautionary effort, asked them to stay away from the worst-hit districts of Kozhikode and Malappuram - which together have recorded 12 deaths from to the virus attack.
On Friday, a Malayalam media report had stated that the Health Department in Karnataka had issued a directive prohibiting nurses and medical students from visiting Kerala for the next two months. It had also stated that the Department had instructed hospitals to ensure that these staff do not visit the state, as that would increase the chances of the virus entering Karnataka.
This is, however, untrue. No directive or circular prohibiting Malayali nurses from going home has been issued by the Health Department, Amjad, President of the Karnataka wing of the United Nurses Association, a pan-India trade Union told TNM. Instead, he said, the nurses and medical students were advised not to return to Kerala.
"Nobody can stop someone from going home. It was just an advice and precautionary effort taken by the Health Department to ensure the virus doesn’t enter Karnataka. Yes, the nurses are asked to avoid going home, but nobody is stopped anyone from going in case of an emergency," he said.
Karnataka's hospitals reportedly have a sizeable population of nurses from Kerala. Several of these nurses and medical students would ideally visit their family back home this time of the year, considering it is the holiday season, the month of Ramzan with Eid being celebrated on June 15. However, considering the current situation in the state, several nurses and students residing in Karnataka might reconsider visiting their families this year.
Earlier this week, it was suspected that two people had contracted the virus in Mangaluru. A 20-year-old woman who had travelled from Kasargod and a 75-year-old man with no travel history.
However, the Health Department confirmed that the results of the two suspects came out negative and there were no recorded cases of Nipah Virus in the state.
The virus has claimed 12 lives until now, with three in Malappuram district. The virus is said to have originated in Kozhikode, where 4 members of the family, who were the initial victims, have passed away from the attack.