Nation Current Affairs 18 Feb 2020 India’s first ...

India’s first coronavirus death?

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | R. VALAYAPATHY
Published Feb 18, 2020, 1:28 am IST
Updated Feb 18, 2020, 1:28 am IST
A 42-year-old man from Tamil Nadu dies of suspected Covid-19 attack at a private hospital.
According to sources in the family of the deceased, he had landed at Tiruchy airport from China on February 4, travelling via Thailand and Kuala Lumpur.
 According to sources in the family of the deceased, he had landed at Tiruchy airport from China on February 4, travelling via Thailand and Kuala Lumpur.

PUDUKKOTTAI: A-42-year-old man from Tamil Nadu who returned from China  and who is from Kothaimangalam village in Pudukkottai district, died of suspected Coronavirus attack, at a private hospital at Madurai on Saturday.

Official sources said on Monday that the victim Sakthikumar, who runs a small restaurant in China recently returned home due to jaundice and underwent treatment in his village. However, due to manpower shortage to run his eatery there, he returned to China recently, despite his jaundice.

 

Sakthikumar again returned home as his health turned bad and was admitted to a private hospital at Madurai on Friday. But unfortunately he died on Saturday. Public health department officials suspect that poor Sakthikumar’s ill-health could have been aggravated possibly by Coronavirus attack and are investigating.
After his sudden death, public health department have now camped at his village, some 100 kms from the district headquarters town of Pudukkottai, to thoroughly investigate whether Shakthikumar’s death was caused by nCoV or was due to other medical factors, sources added.

According to sources in the family of the deceased, he had landed at Tiruchy airport from China on February 4, travelling via Thailand and Kuala Lumpur. His family members did not suspect any symptoms of Coronavirus, though he had been making frequent trips between India and China. For an average Tamil-speaking family, they were unable to immediately recall the name of the Chinese town.

Family sources said that he had a history of several health complications, involving his lungs and liver-related ailment for the last two years and had been treated at a private hospital in Thanjavur.

They further said Sakthikumar died due to his “prolonged illness of his lungs and liver”, besides the jaundice he was recently suffering from.

“So, he lost his life and not because of any other reason,” family sources said. The social media was needlessly playing it up to divert attention, they said.

Meanwhile, the health department officials secured all the medical files related to his treatment in the last two years and have sent the same to Chennai for clinical analysis. The police seized his passport and are investigating.

Shock in TN health circles

The first suspected death due to the novel Coronavirus in Tamil Nadu has come as both shock and surprise as the State was among the first to put in place an extensive surveillance at all airports to check all passengers arriving from China and its neighbouring countries for presence of any symptoms of the disease.

State Health minister, C Vijayabaskar had only last week said that more than 700 passengers who arrived at different airports in the State from China and neighbouring countries, where the nCoV infection has been reported, have been quarantined in their homes. All of them were free of any nCoV symptoms and so far not a single case had tested positive for the virus in Tamil Nadu.

The minister had said that even the passengers who had travelled with the girl from Kerala, who had tested positive for the virus, were also under observation by doctors. Mr. Vijayabaskar appealed to the people to stay calm and not panic as there was no threat of the virus spreading in Tamil Nadu.

Further, for the safety of doctors and para-medical staff, the government had provided enough medical equipment including respiratory masks, he had disclosed. The Madras High court, hearing a PIL few days back, had also asked the State government to file a detailed report on the preventive steps taken so far.

It is in this backdrop, the first suspected death from nCoV has somewhat rattled the medical fraternity. In Sakthikumar's case, sources said he comes from an agriculturist's family who had gone to China to set up an eatery there.

Sakthikumar, after a few trips, had recently returned home on February 4 as his jaundice turned severe, but had been missed by the elaborately set-up surveillance system at the airports. Unlike in the case of other China returnees, Sakthikumar had eluded the airport scans, possibly because he had said he was suffering from 'jaundice'.

After his sudden death, public health department have now camped at his village, some 100-km from the district headquarters town of Pudukkottai, to thoroughly investigate whether Shakthikumar's death was caused by nCoV or was due to other medical factors, sources added.

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