Kochi: Kerala is getting the biggest fright from the coronavirus outbreak in China. Seven people showing mild symptoms of fever, cough and sore throat are under watch in hospitals in different districts of the state. Two are in the state capital and one each in Kochi, Thrissur, Kozhikode and Pathanamthitta.
These are all people who have recently returned from China where the mystery virus has claimed more than 25 lives.
Kerala officials said another 73 people are under medical surveillance at home. They have been advised to remain at home for 28 days from the date of their departure from China.
The Kerala health department has issued WHO-approved treatment guidelines to its public health staff to arrest the spread of the virus should any of those under observation be confirmed as coronavirus positive.
Health minister K K Shylaja said instructions have been given to set up isolation wards in medical colleges, district hospitals and general hospitals in all districts. Regular meetings are being organised to coordinate the preventive measures.
Health personnel are screening passengers at all airports and seaports in the state. A stringent screening system has been set up at the Kochi International Airport to screen passengers who have been to China. Any person who has been to Wuhan and showing symptoms of cold, cough and fever is being immediately shifted to hospital.
A 30-year-old man from Ernakulam who was in China but did not visit Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, has reported symptoms such as cold and fever and has been kept in an isolation ward.
The additional district medical officer of Ernakulam, Dr S Sreedevi, said samples of his body fluids would be sent to the National Institute of Virology in Pune for tests.
The man had consulted a doctor at a private hospital and was referred to the Ernakulam hospital in the wake of the virus outbreak in China.
Another person under observation is a female MBBS student from Kottayam district who recently returned from her college in China. The district medical office said she has no health issues. She was put under observation as a precautionary measure.
With a Keralite nurse employed in Saudi Arabia suspected to be infected with the virus, labour minister T.P. Ramakrishnan has written to the central government seeking measures to allay the apprehensions of other nurses from Kerala employed in that country....