Nipah effect: MLA turns up wearing mask, gloves in House

Nipah effect: MLA turns up wearing mask, gloves in House

IUML MLA Parakkal Abdullah arrives in the Kerala Assembly, wearing a mask and gloves to seek attention of the house towards the outbreak of Nipah virus, in Thiruvananthapuram on Monday. PTI

A day after the CPM-led government in Kerala announced that the Nipah Virus outbreak in the state was under control, an opposition MLA turned up at the Legislative Assembly wearing a mask and gloves, in an apparent attempt to draw attention to the crisis.

Legislators of the ruling Left alliance, however, were not amused by the protest by Parakkal Abdulla, the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) MLA from Kuttiady. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said with the protest, the MLA "ridiculed" a serious issue.

Health Minister K K Shailaja was also severely critical of Abdulla's choice of protest.

"He should be wearing a mask if there are people here infected by the virus or if he himself has been infected. If he's infected, he should not be present here," the minister said.

Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala defended Abdulla by pointing out that the IUML legislator had only intended to stage a symbolic protest.

The outbreak, which had Perambra in Kozhikode district as its epicentre, has caused the death of 17 people — 14 in Kozhikode and three in Malappuram.

The official toll is 16; samples from the first victim of the outbreak were not tested for the presence of the virus. Till Monday, 244 samples have been tested, of which 18 were tested positive.

About 2,000 people, all reported to have come in contact with the infected, are under observation of the Health Department.

After a high-level review meeting on Sunday, Chief Minister Vijayan had said there was no cause for panic over the viral outbreak.