Monkeypox in India: Kerala govt declares high alert in five districts 

A day after India’s first monkeypox case was observed in Kerala, the state government on Friday put five districts on high alert and asked all major hospitals to set aside adequate isolation beds in an emergency.

Five districts — Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha, and Kottayam — were put on alert as most of the co-travellers of the infected person on the Sharjah-Thiruvananthapuram flight on July 12 came from these areas.

After chairing a meeting of officials, Kerala Health Minister Veena George said the condition of the 35-year-old infected man is stable and none of his immediate contacts has shown any symptoms of the disease so far.

“Passengers travelling on this flight will have to strictly monitor their health condition and if they show any symptoms, they should report immediately. There were 164 passengers and six crew members on board the plane. We are yet to get the details of all the passengers,” she assured, adding that there was no need to panic.

A four-member central team headed by Dr. P. Raveendran has been sent to the southern state.

While the government on Thursday claimed that all immediate contacts of the infected persons were traced and quarantined, on Friday Kollam Collector Afsana Parveen claimed that the district authorities were yet to trace the drivers of the car and auto-rickshaw the infected had travelled in.

There were also reports that the private hospital in Kollam he had contacted earlier failed to inform the higher authorities about it. But the hospital later held a press conference and claimed that soon after the patient was informed about his contact in the UAE, he informed the district medical officer that he had contracted the disease.

The Health Ministry said it would prepare a new route map for the patient. There is also criticism that how he came out of the airport despite showing apparent symptoms. Surveillance has been tightened at all four international airports in Kerala following the directions issued by the Union Health Ministry.

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