With the confirmation of a third case of the novel coronavirus (nCoV) infection in the State, Kerala on Monday declared the epidemic a State calamity/
The apex committee of the State Disaster Management Authority met Chief Secretary Tom Jose to propose the decision to ensure that the outbreak is controlled.
As on Monday, 2,239 travellers from China and other nCoV-affected countries have been placed under surveillance in Kerala.
Among them, 2,155 are under home isolation and 84 have been admitted to hospitals with isolation facilities in various districts, a bulletin by the State Health Department said.
Of the 140 samples sent to the National Institute of Virology, Pune, so far, 46 have tested negative. Hospital authorities have confirmed that the condition of all symptomatic persons under isolation in hospitals is stable.
GoM set up
Meanwhile, a high-level group of Ministers has been constituted on the directions of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to review management of the outbreak.
Confirming the third case of the nCoV infection in a student who returned recently to Kasargod from Wuhan, the Union Health Ministry said, “The patient...is in isolation in the hospital. The patient is stable and is being closely monitored.”
Meanwhile, five people, who were shifted to the Army’s Base hospital from a quarantine facility in Manesar after showing symptoms of cough and cold, have tested negative for nCoV. The five were among the 247 persons evacuated from the Hubei province in China. The symptoms of the coronavirus infection start with fever and dry cough followed by breathing problems, according to doctors.
The Kerala Health Department has taken adequate preparatory measures and framed detailed guidelines as soon as the WHO issued a global health alert and this helped the State respond appropriately when nCoV struck, Health Minister K.K. Shylaja said in the State Assembly.
The Health Department’s disease surveillance teams are now trying to get an estimate of the exact number of students who have returned to Kerala from Wuhan.
“The natural assumption would be that we might have many more positive cases from amongst the Wuhan returnees in the coming days. Kerala does have a sizeable presence in Wuhan with a number of students pursuing undergraduate medical studies there,” State Nodal Officer for Public Health Emergencies Amar Fettle said.
Airport surveillance and coordinated surveillance and monitoring measures with the help of various departments and local bodies helped the Health Department keep track of those who have returned to the State from China. The logistics management by the department ensured a green channel for the smooth transfer of anyone (on home quarantine) developing flu symptoms to isolation facilities.
The State only required an intimation from China returnees and the rest was taken care of. A call to the 24x7 helpline (DISHA 1056) ensured that a person (who had developed flu symptoms) was picked up in a special ambulance and transferred to selected hospitals with isolation facilities.
Control rooms have been opened at the State and district level and all activities were being reviewed on a daily basis, Ms. Shylaja said.
A senior health official in the State said, “The national guidelines say that only samples of patients isolated in hospitals be sent for testing. But we have revised it so that we will be collecting samples for testing from all persons who have returned from Wuhan after January 15 and are on home quarantine.”