Union minister V Muraleedharan has gone into self-quarantine in Delhi after he allegedly came in contact with a doctor who has since tested positive for the novel coronavirus, ANI reported. The minister of state for external affairs, however, tested negative for COVID-19 on Tuesday.
Muraleedharan attended a meeting at the Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology in Thiruvananthapuram on March 14. The meeting was also attended by several senior doctors and senior administrative officials. On March 15, tests confirmed that one of the doctors, who had returned from Spain, was positive for COVID-19, according to The News Minute.
The doctor had reached Thiruvananthapuram on March 2 and worked in the hospital for 10 days before testing positive. Fifteen medical staff including doctors, nurses and technical staff of the hospital, are being observed as they had come in contact with him. Additionally, over 100 passengers who flew with the doctor to Kerala are also being observed for symptoms.
Muraleedharan went on self-quarantine as a preventive measure, even though he reportedly does not have any symptoms. He also did not attend the Bharatiya Janata Party Parliamentary meeting in Delhi on Tuesday.
After news reports about his self-quarantine, Muraleedharan tweeted on Tuesday: “Last Saturday I had visited Research Division of a Medical Institute, whose hospital later reported a positive COVID-19 case,” the minister tweeted on Tuesday. “As a measure of abundant precaution I am in home quarantine since then. Have tested negative for COVID-19. No to panic! Yes to precaution.”
Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology Director Dr Asha Kishore denied that the minister had come in contact with the doctor, PTI reported. She said the doctor had no symptoms and was cleared by the coronavirus cell earlier. He was placed under home quarantine from March 10 or March 11, Kishore added.
Kishore said only four officials met the minister on March 14, and none of them had any contact with the infected doctor. “The minister came to a different building and at a different time, and only four people met him, and it was a holiday, and none of them had contact with the patient,” she said. “This is all false news.”
Kishore added that Muraleedharan has not sought any explanation from the institute. “We had informed the minister immediately when the patient was diagnosed as positive,” she said. “The minister had no contact at all. He does not fall under any definition of contact. That was informed to him also.”
The doctor is currently under observation at the isolation ward of the general hospital in Thiruvananthapuram. He tested positive for the virus on March 13.
The Union Health Ministry has confirmed 24 coronavirus cases in Kerala, including two foreigners. The number also includes three patients who were discharged last month after their recovery.