KOCHI: Confusion prevailed on Friday when Finance Minister TM Thomas Isaac said on microblogging site Twitter that all three patients who have been under treatment for coronavirus in the state have fully recovered, while neither the state health minister nor the health department made any official announcement.
“Just as in the case of Nipah, Kerala has won battle with Coronavirus. All the 3 patients identified have been confirmed by Central authorities to have fully recovered. No case of secondary spread. Number under quarantine observation drastically coming down. Congrats Health Dept,” Isaac tweeted.
But, the situation on the ground was different.
While the medical student in Alappuzha was discharged on Thursday after the medical student’s swab samples tested negative, the patients in Thrissur and Kasaragod have not been discharged on Friday as they await the results of the swab tests from the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Alappuzha and Pune.
Authorities said they are yet to receive the final test results and the two patients are still at the isolation wards of Thrissur Medical College and Kasaragod District Hospital. The results of the samples sent for tests on February 8, 10, 12 and 15 to NIV for the Thrissur patient have not been received yet, they said.
Mary George, economist and former member of the Public Expenditure Review Committee, said the state’s finances are in a deep mess and instead of focusing on the crisis at hand, it was inappropriate for him to jump the gun to announce that Kerala has come out from the deadly virus threat. “Either the health minister or the chief minister should have made the announcement, not the finance minister,” she said.
The health minister or the chief minister cannot make such a casual statement unless they are dead sure on the issue, Mary George said.
When contacted, Isaac told TNIE that Health Minister K K Shailaja had told him in the assembly that all three patients have recovered, and they are waiting for the final confirmation from the central agencies. “I may not have heard it correctly. Better you contact teacher (Shailaja teacher) directly,” Isaac said.
Shailaja could not be contacted as she was busy in a meeting late in the evening. However, in a post on Facebook, the health minister said 2,288 persons are under observation in various districts in the state. Of them, 2,272 are house quarantined while another 16 are in hospitals. Of the 408 samples sent for tests at NIV, 379 samples have tested negative. There is no cause for worry about the patients who are undergoing treatment at the hospitals, she said.
Third Indian crew on cruise ship infected
New Delhi: A third Indian crew member on board a cruise ship quarantined off Japan has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, the Indian Embassy in Tokyo said on Friday. “1 more Indian crew member on #Diamond-Princess tested positive for #COVID19 and hospitalized for treatment. Earlier, 2 more Indian nationals had tested positive. @IndianEmbTokyo is in contact with all 3,” the Embassy tweeted. Across India, about 15,991 people are under house observation.