18 co-passengers of COVID-19 positive UK citizen sent to isolation ward in Ernakulam

Kochi (Kerala) [India], Mar 15 (ANI): Nineteen persons of Dubai-bound Emirates flight including the UK citizen who tested positive for coronavirus, have been kept in the isolation ward at Ernakulam Medical College, said Dr MK Kuttappan, District Medical Officer on Sunday.

"The 19 persons have been kept in the isolation ward at Ernakulam medical college," said Dr Kuttappan.

"As the UK citizen who tested positive for coronavirus was a part of the group, hence 18 members of that group including his wife have been deboarded from Dubai-bound Emirates flight," airport spokesperson told ANI.

Kerala Minister VS Sunilkumar said that the Emirates plane took off for its destination at 12:47 pm with 270 passengers on board.

He said that the runway could be made available for the departure for the delayed flight as there was no other normal operation from 10 am to 6 pm due to the resurfacing project in the Kochi airport, which will be completed only on March 28.

Earlier, a UK citizen tested positive for coronavirus infection was deboarded from an aircraft while he was trying to leave through a Dubai-bound Emirates flight from the Cochin international airport in the state.

He had allegedly boarded the flight without notifying the authorities. The patient's samples were taken on March 14 and he was advised to remain in quarantine.

As other passengers had also boarded the flight, all 289 passengers on board the aircraft were deboarded after the news came to light.

According to authorities, the UK citizen was previously in the Tea Country Resort in Munnar at Idukki district.

Meanwhile, VS Sunil Kumar, Minister of Agriculture, has urged the public to not panic over the situation and assured that the airport will not be closed following the issue.

Notably, the number of coronavirus cases in the country has risen to 107 including foreign nationals, informed the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Sunday.

In the wake of spurt in cases of coronavirus across the country, the Central government on Saturday decided to treat the deadly virus as a "notified disaster".

Coronavirus, which originated in China's Wuhan city in December last year, has so far spread to more than 100 countries, infecting over 1,30,000 people. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared coronavirus as a pandemic. (ANI)