Three people who travelled on Qatar Airways Flight QR 126 from Venice, Italy to Doha and then onwards from Doha to Kochi, India on QR 514 have been infected with the coronavirus (COVID-19) along with two other people who are their relatives and have had direct contact with those who travelled from Italy to Kochi. All five are members of the same family, and have been placed under quarantine and are being treated and observed at the Pathanamthitta General Hospital.
The family of three includes a 55-year-old man, his 53-year-old wife and their 24-year-old son. After they developed fever on 5 March, they went for a checkup at a private hospital, but they did not disclose their travel history. Two of their relatives in Kerala, whom they had recently met, were infected later. The relatives, aged 65 and 61, were the ones who informed the health officials about the family’s recent travel history after they themselves fell ill with signs of the coronavirus (COVID19) infection and went to a government hospital. Samples of all five were sent to the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Alappuzha, where they were confirmed to be positive for the virus.
The family of three had successfully managed to avoid screening at the airports they passed through and even when the health officials determined they may have the disease, they resisted, and were forcefully placed under isolation.
The Health Minister K.K. Shailaja and health officials have urged all those who travelled on these two Qatar Airways flights to get in touch with the state, so they can be evaluated and tested to ensure they have not caught the virus.
In addition, the Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL), where the flight carrying the three-member family who tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) landed, is also taking precautions. A massive disinfection exercise is scheduled at the CIAL.
All passengers travelling on QR 126 from Venice to Doha on 28 February 2020 and QR 514 from Doha to Kochi on 29 February 2020 have been advised to get in touch with health officials wherever they are and get tested as a precautionary measure. They can contact Disha on +91 471 255 2056 or the toll-free number 1056.
Some of the other passengers have been traced and placed under observation. The rest are being tracked.
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