Thiruvananthapuram: A worried Kerala government on Monday declared the novel coronavirus (nCov) epidemic as a “state calamity” after the third person tested positive for the virus in Kanjangad in Kasargode district in the northern tip of the state.
State calamity was declared after Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan reviewed the situation. A group of ministers (GoM) has been formed to closely monitor the developments as the state is taking all precautions to prevent any largescale outbreak.
Health Minister KK Shailaja, who led the fight against the Nipah virus a couple of years ago, will head the GoM. All district health officers have been told to monitor and report any patient who shows symptoms of nCov.
All people who have come from China recently have been asked to opt for self-quaratine. Screening of people coming from China, Hong Kong, Korea and other has been tightened.
As part of the move, an exclusive lab in the Alleppey Medical College has now been equipped to test samples of cases of nCov. Earlier the samples had to be sent to the Indian Institute of Virology in Pune.
Like the earlier cases, the third person to carry the virus is a medical student who returned from China recently. He was in the company of three other friends and all of them have been quarantined.
The first case was reported in the central district of Thrissur and the second in Alapuzha in the south. With this, the virus has covered almost all over the state.
The fight against Nipah was successful as the virus could be pinned down to one small area in Perambra in Kozhikode district. But in the case of nCov, the virus was detected in thickly populated areas across the state.