Saudi Arabia has temporarily banned frozen and processed fruit and vegetable imports from Kerala, Al Arabiya reported on Monday. The ban was implemented on Sunday.
The Saudi Food and Drug Administration said the ban comes in view of reports of the World Health Organization’s concerns about the Nipah outbreak in Kerala. So far, 17 people have died of the Nipah infection in the state.
On June 1, Kerala Health Minister KK Shailaja asked citizens not to panic, even as she warned of a second possible outbreak. As many as 1,407 people, most of them in the state’s Kozhikode and Malappuram districts, have been quarantined in their homes and are under observation. Nine people are under observation at a hospital in Kozhikode.
The virus can be transferred from animals to humans. It causes fever and cold-like symptoms, before quickly advancing to encephalitis, which is inflammation of the brain, and myocarditis, or inflammation of the heart. There is no vaccine or cure for Nipah at present.
On May 29, the United Arab Emirates also banned imports from Kerala. Days earlier, the UAE had asked its citizens to avoid unnecessary travel to Kerala.