Kerala’s joy over the “flattening” of the coronavirus curve on the 100th day of the reporting of the first case in the State received setback as two persons who landed in Kochi and Kozhikode airports from the Gulf tested positive for the pandemic on Saturday. This has happened despite all screening and checks of the evacuees before the repatriation.
“A passenger who reached Kozhikode from Dubai and another person who arrived at Kochi from Abu Dhabi on March 7 by the Vande Bharat flights tested positive and both of them have been admitted to the nearest hospitals,” said Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan during his daily media briefing on Saturday.
While the passenger who landed at Kochi, a 23-year-old male hailing from Malappuram district has been admitted for observation at Kalamassery Medical College near the airport, the other person who tested positive had reached Kozhikode airport from Dubai. He too has been admitted a nearby specialty hospital for observation and treatment, said Vijayan.
Otherwise the State retained its zero-Covid-19 status as there were no fresh cases detected on Saturday. “Though a person had been admitted to hospital in Idukki district on Friday, tests proved that he has no coronavirus infection and hence he was discharged,” said the Chief Minister.
The Air India flights from Dubai and Abu Dhabi which were deployed for bringing back the expatriates were led and managed by specially trained pilots and cabin crew. The pilots and cabin crew were given special training for a week at Kalamassery Medical College.
Passengers who reached Kochi and Kozhikode airports have been quarantined at specially prepared hostel rooms. According to the details furnished by Vijayan, till Saturday 505 persons have been tested positive for corona virus.
“There are 17 persons undergoing treatment in various hospitals in the State. We have put 23.930 persons under observation. Out of this 23,596 persons have been quarantined at their own homes and 334 persons have been admitted to hospitals,” said the Chief Minister.
Vijayan cautioned the people that though the coronavirus curve has been flattened in the State, utmost care has to be continued in the coming days as more and more people from West Asia as well as other north Indian States would be reaching Kerala.
Meanwhile, the Air India on Saturday brought back 129 Indians stranded to Delhi from Dhaka. This was the second flight from Dhaka under the Vande Bharat Mission. Another flight with 177 passengers is expected to land in Kochi from Muscat.
As many as 1,741 Indians, including 21 infants, have returned home in the past three days from Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Singapore, Dhaka, Bahrain and Riyadh so far. The flights landed in on Saturday are from the UAE, Kuwait, Bangladesh, Oman and Malaysia. They are expected to touch down in New Delhi, Lucknow, Chennai, Hyderabad and Trichy.
Till Friday, 1,441 Indians including eight infants, were brought back on two Air India and four flights of Air India Express.
The Air India has opened bookings for the flight IX 373 that will operate on May 10 between Kozhikode and Doha and the flight IX 0486 that will fly between Kochi and Singapore.
Two more flights – from the UK and Qatar – are expected in the early hours on Sunday. These flights would arrive at the Mumbai and Kochi airports.
Officials said two Air India Express flights commanded by women took off on Saturday, to evacuate stranded Indians from foreign shores. While one flight took off from Trichy in Tamil Nadu, the other flight left from Kochi in Kerala. The rescue flight that took off from Trichy airport to Kuala Lumpur at about 1.11 pm was commanded by Captain Kavitha Rajkumar while Captain Bindhu Sebastian was the commander for Kochi – Muscat – Kochi flight that took off at about 1.17 pm the same time.
Sunday, 10 May 2020 | Kumar Chellappan | Kochi
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