If patients with symptoms are not admitting themselves to hospital voluntarily, it will be treated as crime, says minister
Kerala has declared a ‘state disaster’ as Novel Coronavirus has spread to all 14 districts, the state Health Minister KK Shylaja said late evening on February 03.
“We want to strengthen our surveillance system and precautionary measures to combat the spread of the virus,” the minister said.
“When we came to know that n-Coronavirus is rampant in China, we put in place our own system to contain the virus. There are many students from Kerala in China. We expect that they will come back and the coronavirus may affect the state. We are calling back the health officers from leave and putting in place all measures to contain the effect of this virus,” the minister added.
Earlier in the day, the minister also had confirmed that a 23-year-old student who had studied in China and returned Kerala recently was tested positive for Novel Coronavirus infection.
A high-level Emergency Rapid Response Team (ERRT) has been constituted to decide on protocols on observation and isolation of suspected cases, treatment guidelines, training for paramedics, drivers, support staff and awareness among public.
The state government has activated isolation wards in all districts, besides roping in the private sector to prepare isolation wards in the case of an emergency.
And a campaign has been launched directing people who have returned from China to report to district medical officers.
“If somebody with symptoms is not getting admitted to hospital voluntarily, then it will be treated as a crime,” the minister said adding that health professionals were roped in to constantly monitor suspected cases.
Meanwhile, a senior official from State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) said that 2239 people have come from virus-hit China to Kerala.
“Out of them, 2155 are in their own houses and 84 in hospitals are under observation. In all, 140 samples have been sent to laboratories and out of that 46 have been tested negative,” the official added.
“Thrissur tops the list with 24 patients admitted to hospital and under observation. With 13 cases in hospital, Malappuram holds the second position and with 12 cases, Ernakulam stands in the third position,” the official added.
According to the official, declaring emergency will help government to call back medics who are on leave.
The first case of n-Coronavirus was confirmed by the central ministry on January 30. The victim had got admitted to the district hospital in Thrissur.
Immediately, Kerala government had initiated 'contact tracing' to find who all the patient mingled with in the past couple of weeks, as the virus' incubation period is about two weeks.
Another suspected patient, who was isolated in Alappuzha medical college on January 24, was confirmed positive on February 02.
By that time, her 'contacts' were traced, and all got either isolated or brought under observation.
Since its outbreak in December, more than 360 people have died of the disease in China, the country's health authorities said on Monday.
The total number of cases in mainland China stood at 17,205 as of Sunday.
The 2003 outbreak of SARS - another coronavirus strand - infected 5327 people in mainland China, with 349 deaths.
There were 8098 confirmed cases of SARS worldwide from November 2002 to July 2003, with 774 deaths globally.