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3 fresh cases test positive for coronavirus in Kerala, confusion over Kottayam man’s death

A man admitted to an isolation ward in Kottayam died on Friday but state health authorities said he had not tested positive and the exact cause of death will be known only after the final report from the National Institute of Virology in Pune.

Updated: Mar 13, 2020, 21:06 IST

By Ramesh Babu, Hindustan Times Thiruvananthapuram

Medical officers wearing protective gear outside the Special Isolation Ward for coronavirus patients at a government general hospital in Kochi. (ANI PHOTO.)

Three more coronavirus positive cases have been confirmed in Kerala on Friday even as confusion continued over the death of a man admitted to an isolation ward in Kottayam.

Talking to the media, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said an Italian tourist and two others who have travel history to the United Kingdom and UAE had tested positive. He said the condition of 19 infected people was stable. “We are trying our best to contain the virus. We have to be more vigilant as more people are expected in coming days,” he said.

The CM has lauded the social responsibility of a youth who missed his father’s funeral in Kottayam. Working in Qatar, Lino Abel had rushed to Kerala after hearing the news that his father was serious after a fall from the bed. Arriving at the airport, Abel showed some symptoms of the virus and got himself admitted at the isolation ward. By that time his father died of stroke. Though his father’s body was at the same hospital in Kottayam he could see his father’s funeral only through a video conference.

“We really laud his social responsibility and commitment. He put his social responsibility before his personal loss. We really salute him,” the CM said. His situation came to light after he posted a message on his social media handle paying rich tribute to his father. His post has gone viral since then.



Meanwhile, a man admitted to an isolation ward in Kottayam died on Friday but state health authorities said he had not tested positive and the exact cause of death will be known only after the final report from the National Institute of Virology in Pune.

The 72-year-old patient was the neighbour of two coronavirus infected patients in Kottayam. He was isolated two days ago after he came in close contact with the two infected people but did not show signs of the disease, said district medical officer A N Sheeja adding that initial examination showed he died of septicaemia.

She said he tested negative at the Alappuzha virology laboratory and they are awaiting test results from the NIV. “He had been kept in isolation as a precaution since he had come in contact with his coronavirus-infected neigbours,” she said adding his body will be buried as per the World Health Organization norms.

His death comes just a day after the Union Health Ministry confirmed the country’s first coronavirus-linked death in neighbouring Karnataka. The test results, which confirmed that the 76-year-old man who died two days earlier in Kalburgi district was coronavirus positive, had surfaced on Thursday.

Kerala has reported 19 of India’s 81 confirmed coronavirus cases and it was the first to report three cases in the country in January but all three were discharged after they fully recovered. Since the state has a large expatriate population it began an intensive surveillance in January itself but three people who returned from Italy had dodged the health authorities and hid their travel history compounding the state’s woes. At least eight others got infected through these cases.

A 24-year-old man and his parents had landed at the Cochin International Airport on February 29 and came out of the airport allegedly concealing their travel history. A week later they fell ill and rushed to the isolation ward and later tested positive. By the time, they had contacted hundreds of people in two districts, Pathanamthitta and Kottayam.

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