Two in quarantine for nCoV flee to Saudi

Taking precautions: An ambulance driver of a Kochi hospital putting on protective apparel on Tuesday.

Taking precautions: An ambulance driver of a Kochi hospital putting on protective apparel on Tuesday.  

Efforts on to trace duo from Kozhikode, who were advised isolation for 28 days

Two persons who had returned from China recently and were under observation for novel coronavirus (nCoV) infection in Kozhikode in Kerala have left the country for Saudi Arabia, violating the State Health Department’s instructions to remain under home quarantine till the end of the 28-day incubation period of the virus.

District Medical Officer V. Jayasree said efforts were being made to trace the two persons.

Speaking at a special council meeting convened by the Kozhikode Municipal Corporation to discuss steps to be taken on the ground to contain the outbreak, Dr. Jayasree urged councillors to be alert and keep a watch on people in their respective wards who had returned from China and other nCoV-affected countries. The ward-level committees headed by the councillors would consist of health workers and anganwadi and ASHA workers, she said.

A source said the departure of the two potentially infectious persons had left the health administration, charged with ensuring that proper healthcare facilities are extended to all, red-faced.

The health authorities also face reluctance from air passengers returning from abroad to disclose their travel history for fear of being asked to go into quarantine at their homes.

The advisory from the health authorities says that all those in observation have to remain indoors for 28 days and this gives them “a feel of being ostracised”, sources said.

However, Additional District Medical Officer Asha Devi said, “We have to prioritise public health over one’s personal freedom in this case. Those who have come from Wuhan after January 15 should get their samples tested and stay in isolation even if they do not show any symptoms.” “It is best to stay in a bath-attached room with minimal close interaction with other members of the family,” she said.

Meanwhile, instances of families of those who came from China being ostracised and school authorities preventing children from such families attending classes have been reported. Corporation education standing committee chairman M. Radhakrishnan said the Deputy Director of Education had been asked to look into the matter. Sixty persons are under observation in Kozhikode, seven of whom have returned from China while the others are relatives or those who have been in close contact with them. “A classmate and co-traveller of the nCoV-affected student in Thrissur is among them,” the DMO said.

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Printable version | Apr 10, 2020 12:35:21 PM |

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