Five UK returnees test Covid-19 positive in Kerala

Five UK returnees test Covid-19 positive in Kerala

All positive returnees from the UK have been kept under surveillance

It is possible that passengers could arrive from the UK at airports in other parts of India and travel by road or rail to Kerala. Credit: PTI File Photo

Raising concerns over the chances of a new mutated variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus spreading in Kerala, five persons who arrived in Kerala from the UK recently, tested positive for Covid-19.

In view of the Centre's directives, the samples of all the five are being tested at a lab in Bengaluru to check whether it was the new variant of Covid-19 found in the UK, sources in the state health department said.

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All the five were learned to have reached Kerala through Nedumbasserry International Airport in Kochi a few days ago and were under home quarantine. It was in view of the centre's directive regarding additional surveillance on people who returned from the UK that the health authorities identified the five and were being subjected to retests.

State health department sources said that all those who returned from European countries recently were being screened. Travel history of those who recently returned from all foreign countries also needs to be verified to ensure that they did not travel to the UK recently. There could also be chances of people arriving from the UK through airports in other states in India and then travelling to Kerala by road or rail.

Kerala was the first state in India to report a case of Covid-19. A student who returned from China was tested Covid-19 positive on January 30, 2020. It was due to high alertness and preparedness of the state health department that a spike in Covid19 cases could be contained to a large extent and the death rate could be also kept at the lowest possible levels.