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Thiruvananthapuram, March 8, 2020
Five new positive cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) have been reported from Kerala's Pathanamthitta district, over 100 kms from here, according to State Health Minister K. K. Shailaja.
Speaking to the media after a meeting with health officials on Sunday, she said a family consisting of a man, his wife and their son, after visiting Italy, had returned to Pathanamthitta on February 29 and behaved irresponsibly by not reporting their visit to the virus-affected country to the authorities.
All the five cases are stable and have been kept in the isolation ward of the state-run hospital there, she said.
"At the moment, we are more concerned about giving full medical care to the three and two of their relatives," said Shailaja.
She said the three, who returned from Italy, included a 54-year-old man, his 53-year-old wife and their 24-year-old son.
"The two others, who turned positive are relatives of the three, and they are a 65-year-old man and his 61-year-old wife. We have now decided to quarantine the parents of the couple who returned from Italy and are planning to take them to the Kottayam Medical College hospital," added Shailaja.
She said a group of health professionals are now identifying all those who travelled on the Qatar Airways flight from Doha to Kochi on February 29 along with the three.
"The family did not report about their visit to Italy at the airport counter. After reaching their home in Pathanamthitta they never contacted the health authorities. Instead, they visited their relatives home nearby. It was after two of their relatives developed fever and approached the district hospital that the infection was suspected. Following queries, the officials then got in touch with the Italy-returned family. By then they also had developed fever. Following the tests, all the five people have turned out to be positive.
"This particular family arrived on a Qatar Airways flight from Venice to Doha and from there reached Kochi on February 29 and took a car to their home in Pathanamthitta. So, all those who have travelled on that flight should get in touch with the health authorities," added Shailaja and said that every possible precaution has been taken and there need not be any cause for worry.
The Minister cautioned people about any laxity, "The people at large should adhere to protocols that have been put out and all those people, who are arriving from affected countries, should report to our health authorities, if not, they are not being responsible," said the Minister.
On January 30, a medical student from Thrissur studying in Wuhan, China, became the first coronavirus positive patient in the country and soon two of her classmates also turned positive.
All three of them have since recovered.
According to the health authorities as on last evening there are 637 people under observation in the state, of which 63 are in various hospitals, while the rest are quarantined at their homes.