Kerala Health Minister KK Shailaja on Sunday said five people in the state have tested positive for the coronavirus, taking the total number of patients in India to 39, ANI reported. The minister said three people recently returned from Italy, Europe’s worst-hit country, and two others were infected in Pathanamthitta district. All five people are residents of the district.
They arrived in Kerala on February 29 on a Qatar Airways flight from Venice and had a one-and-a-half-hour halt at Doha, according to The NewsMinute. “The five people went home from the airport in a private vehicle,” Shailaja said. “Anyone who travelled on flight QR 126 and QR 124 to Kerala should inform the state.”
The minister added that the three people did not share their travel history at the airport and were not screened. However, two of their relatives went to the hospital complaining of fever and informed officials about the three people’s travel history to Italy.
“They were not ready to come to hospital,” she said. “Our health authorities had to convince them and use force to bring them to hospital. Their tests were done and they turned out to be positive.”
On Saturday, India had reported three other cases of the novel coronavirus. All new patients had an overseas travel history – the two patients from Ladakh had gone to Iran, and the person from Tamil Nadu was in Oman.
A total of 7.26 lakh passengers from 7,108 flights were screened at airports as of Saturday. Fifty-two laboratories are now testing for the coronavirus, the Health Ministry said. Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a meeting on Saturday to review the situation and action taken so far by various ministries. During the meeting, the representatives from various ministries discussed matters related to the need for continued vigil at all airports, seaports and land border crossings, community level surveillance as per protocol, and ensuring availability of sufficient beds for isolation.