Kerala

2019-nCoV: Health dept. on full alert

Quarantine advised for 80 persons across the State with recent travel history to China

The State Health Department declares itself on a full state of alert for managing any public health emergency amidst news that China has extended its lock down to 13 cities in an attempt to check the fast-spreading 2019-nCoV.

All emergency preparedness measures have been initiated in designated hospitals in all districts as the threat perception seemed to be mounting, with the State reporting an unexpectedly high number of persons with a recent travel history to China in the past three days. On Friday the department said it has advised quarantine for 80 persons across the State with a recent travel history to China.

“These persons are mostly Malayali medical students and nurses in China, some business travellers and some Chinese citizens visiting the State. Of these 80 persons, seven who displayed mild influenza-like symptoms have been isolated in various medical colleges in districts as a matter of abundant caution. The rest have no symptoms but have been advised home quarantine and to alert the local health administration in the event they develop any symptoms like fever. We will be following them up,” State Nodal Officer for Public Health Emergencies Amar Fettle said.

One person each has been isolated in Thiruvananthapuram, Pathanamthitta, Thrissur, Malappuram and Kozhikode and two in Ernakulam. None of them are sick but have been isolated as per the protocol as the situation with nCoV is still evolving, Dr. Fettle said.

Three types of samples

Three types of samples have been collected from these persons -- throat/nasal swabs, deep respiratory secretions and blood samples -- and have been sent to the National Institute of Virology, Pune, which is currently the sole testing centre. However, by February second week, testing facilities are expected to be available at NIV’s Alapuzha unit,

Meanwhile, with China closing down Wuhan and imposing a total travel ban, there are reports that some 20 Malayali medical students who were planning to head home during the Lunar New Year holidays are stranded in the city.

Labour Minister T. P. Ramakrishnan has written to the Centre seeking its urgent intervention to allay the concerns of students stranded in China and the Malayali nurses in Saudi Arabia who have been placed in isolation after one of them fell sick, having contracted MERS-corona infection from one of the patients she had been caring for.

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Printable version | Feb 23, 2020 5:11:22 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/2019-ncov-health-dept-on-full-alert/article30646119.ece

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