Second Coronavirus infection only an inference, says Kerala minister 

Our Bureau Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on February 02, 2020

Kerala Health Minister KK Shailaja   -  THE HINDU

State awaiting result of second test to confirm the case, she said

The second nCoronavirus case in Kerala is merely an inference, and the State government will await the results from a second test, which are expected in the evening from the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune, to confirm it.

The test for the coronavirus uses a nucleic acid amplification-based assay called polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and a more sensitive form called real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). 

False alarm earlier

Earlier this (Sunday) morning, a Press Information Bureau release from New Delhi said that a second case of the virus had been confirmed in Kerala. But the state health minister K.K. Shailaja said the State government would await a second result from NIV before confirming. "Till then, we will keep it as an inference," she said in Kollam.

This is because, in an earlier case, the second result of a sample had tested negative after initial tests had suggested the same as a confirmed case of the virus infection.

The minister said the second patient too is a female student from Wuhan University in China. She is stable and is under strict observation in an isolation ward of the Government Medical College, Alappuzha. The first reported case was a student from the same university, who is also reported to be in stable condition and improving in an isolation ward of the Government Medical College in Thrissur.

As of yesterday (Saturday, February 1), the state had 1,793 travellers from the affected regions, including China, of which 1,723 have been put under home quarantine. 

Avoid public functions

These travellers have been strictly advised against going out, attending public functions such as weddings and funerals, and allowed to travel only if they must, after duly informing the local health department officials and in specially demarcated ambulances on call.

Reiterating that there is no need to panic, the minister said the suspicion that the carriers already identified and those under home quarantine may have been in contact with others during their travel home, does not allow the state government to lower its guard with respect to the tight vigil mounted against the spread of the virus.

For instance, the second suspected case had arrived in the state on January 24 and had developed symptoms thereafter, and was subsequently reported to the hospital. The home quarantine for travellers from China will mandatorily extend to 28 days, and will be monitored during the course of their stay.

The state has adequate facilities to deal with the emerging challenge, the minister reiterated. She requested the public not to treat those quarantined as aliens and extend them the sympathy they deserve. Even positive cases can be treated within the state and to the satisfaction of all concerned.

Published on February 02, 2020

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