A day after the Kerala government declared the novel coronavirus as a 'state calamity', the state’s Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran on Tuesday said the epidemic outbreak had begun affecting the tourism sector as hotel bookings have suffered mass cancellations.
Three students from the state who studied in Wuhan university in China have tested positive for the virus in Thrissur, Alappuzha and Kasaragod districts in the last few days.
Health Minister KK Shailaja Teacher had informed the Kerala Legislative Assembly that increased surveillance and screening for the Novel Coronavirus had begun.
The Minister also tabled a detailed statement on the steps taken by the Health Department after the outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus in China.
"We have set up control rooms to monitor the emergency health situation and have been tracking down people who have returned from the NCV affected regions of China. Isolation wards have been set up in Medical Colleges and District Hospitals. The Department has issued treatment protocol for suspected patients. We are taking all necessary precautions to check the spread of NCV," the minister said.
The death toll from the novel coronavirus has soared to over 400 with at least 62 new fatalities recorded in China in the past 24 hours, raising the worldwide total of infected cases to over 20,000, with a second fatality outside China reported in Hong Kong on Tuesday.
Aerobridges will be used at dedicated gates of seven international airports (Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Cochin, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Chennai) to screen passengers from China, Singapore, Thailand and Hong Kong for the novel coronavirus (nCoV) to ensure effective prevention, the Union health ministry said on Tuesday.
Masks in short supply
The sale of face masks has jumped all over India, leading to a shortage in the market and the Indian government banning the export of the product. Long queues formed in stores in New Delhi, Bengaluru, Pune and Chennai among other cities, while medical stores reported that their stocks of N95 and N99 masks had been exhausted.
Last week, India had banned the export of all kinds of personal protection equipment, including masks. In addition, the price of these products had shot up as massive orders were being placed with the manufacturers.
The All India Food and Drug Licence Association (AFDLH) had sought a ban on the export of surgical and N95 masks as they were not available in local markets.
"Manufacturers are getting huge orders for these masks which are being sold for 10-times more than their actual price. Due to this, Indian citizens will find it difficult to get these masks when needed. Hence the export and the price of these masks should be controlled," AFDLH had written to the government.