COVID -19: British national’s slip forces 270 co-passengers to disembark flight

COVID -19: British national’s slip forces 270 co-passengers to disembark flight

Kochi: A UK national, on a visit to Munnar in the south Indian state of Kerala, gave a slip to health authorities who had put him under observation after he exhibited COVID-19 symptoms, and was finally forced to disembark from an aircraft along with 270 co-passengers soon after his samples tested positive for the deadly novel coronavirus.

“We contacted the resort authorities after the sample tested positive but, to our shock, learned the group had left on Saturday night itself. A frantic search was initiated and we finally traced him to an Emirates aircraft just minutes before its scheduled departure to Dubai. The UK national and his wife were rushed to an isolation ward of Kalamassery Medical College. The other 270 co-passengers were disembarked and subjected to screening. The 17 others in the group were put under observation and their samples will be tested for virus presence,” said a senior health official.

He was part of a 19-member group which reached the hill station on March seven. They checked into a resort there on the same day. However, he was put under observation after he started showing disease symptoms. His samples were taken for laboratory test on March nine and the test result received on Saturday evening. But the group checked out of the hotel on Saturday night itself, violating the standard quarantine protocol even as the resort authorities failed to inform health authorities.

Following the incident, the airport authorities called an emergency meeting and initiated measures to de-infect the airport and the aircraft on a war-footing. The resort in Munnar too was closed and all the inmates were put under observation.

“We’re tracing all the possible contacts made by the group and put them under quarantine. There is no alarming situation. We’re not preventing any foreign national from going back, they are free to travel after completion of their quarantine period. But the measures to stop spreading of the infection should be followed in letter and spirit,” said Health Minister K K Shailaja Teacher.

The Emirates flight later took off with rest of the passengers.

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