Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Health Minister KK Shailaja on Sunday said that five new positive cases of coronavirus have been detected in the state. She said that three out of the five have travel history to Italy and were tested positive in India. "Three people -- a couple and their son-- had recently returned from Italy and had met their relatives in Pathanamthitta district of Kerala after which they were also infected," Shailaja said.
The three had evaded health screening at the airport on their return about a week ago and all the five hail from Ranni in Pathnamthitta district, Shailaja said. "As of now, their condition is stable. But there is need to take extra care", the minister said.
"The relatives approached the hospital reporting symptoms and have now been kept in isolation wards," the minister said. She said that the state has stepped up precautions in the Pathanamthitta district.
The virus that first emerged in China in December last year has spread to 97 countries and has infected 102,180 people, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus tracker. More than 3,500 people have been killed due to the virus so far.
Kerala sets up three centres for testing, one for sample collection
The state will have three centres for testing COVID-19 and one centre for coordinating sample collection. The centres for testing are National Institute of Virology Field Unit, Alappuzha; Government Medical College, Thiruvananthapuram; and Government Medical College, Kozhikode. Whereas, Government Medical College Thrissur, has been identified as the lone laboratory for helping in sample collection.
The Health Department received a new set of instructions regarding inclusion criteria for testing COVID-19 and its laboratory preparedness. It’s the ICMR that notified the three centres for testing and the one for sample collection. It also mentioned about three categories for testing and samples to be collected, said a Health Department official.
The samples to be taken for testing will be throat and nasal swabs. “The three centres for testing COVID-19 will detect viral pathogens using serological methods and molecular diagnostic tools. All these laboratories also have an operational Real-Time PCR platform that ensures high sample throughput, low contamination risk, quantification of result and results.
Arunachal Pradesh bans entry of foreigners
ITANAGAR: After Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh has banned the entry of foreign tourists into the state due to rising fear over Covid-19. Official sources said the state government had temporarily stopped issuing Protected Area Permits (PAPs). Directives towards this effect were issued to all PAP-issuing authorities by Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar, they said.
Foreign tourists visiting Arunachal, as well as Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram, are required to carry PAPs. Indian nationals, hailing from outside these states, are required to carry Inner Line Permits. The stay for both sets of the tourists is allowed for a limited period.
A tribal organisation in Nagaland has also banned the entry of tourists, both domestic and international, in Mon district. Expressing deep concern over Covid-19, the Konyak Union insisted that the state government should take some urgent precautionary measures to keep the virus at bay. Sikkim had banned the entry of foreigners from Thursday.
The Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan has also shut its borders to foreign visitors for two weeks in an effort to limit the impact of the disease.
Hand sanitizer is 16 times costlier now
Some sellers or retailers like Flipkart are quoting 16 times the maximum retail price (MRP) for a 30 ml bottle of hand sanitizer amid the spread of the highly contagious Novel Coronavirus. Health experts have advised people to keep their hands clean as it may help reduce the risk of contracting the virus.
The arrival of the coronavirus in India has led to panic buying, with neighbourhood kirana stores reportedly running out of sanitizers and other liquids to disinfect the hands. On Flipkart, a seller by the name SuperRetails has listed a Himalaya PureHands 30 ml bottle at Rs 999, several times above the MRP.
Flipkart on its help centre says, "You could see different prices for the same product, as it could be listed by many sellers." People on Twitter have complained about the high prices of hand sanitizers at a time when they could be needed the most. (Inputs from News Agencies)
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