22 Kerala officials involved in plane crash rescue ops test positive for COVID-19

Updated: 14 August, 2020 17:47 IST | mid-day online correspondent | kozhikode

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Friday announced that he and seven of his cabinet colleagues have decided to go into self-isolation

Officials near the debris of the Air India Express flight that skidded off a runway while landing in Kozhikode. File pic/AP
Officials near the debris of the Air India Express flight that skidded off a runway while landing in Kozhikode. File pic/AP

Twenty-two officials, including Malappuram district collector K. Gopalakrishnan, his deputy and others of his staff in the collectorate, who were involved in the rescue operations after Kerala plane crash last week, have tested positive for coronavirus on Friday.

This new development comes at a time when the district police chief Abdul Karim tested COVID-19 positive on Thursday.

Gopalakrishnan on August 7 took active part in the operations following the crash landing of the Air India Express flight from Dubai in a gorge at the Karipur airport in Kozhikode. However, he had gone into self-isolation after that and he tested positive on Friday.

Kerala Plane Crash: 30 CISF Staff In Quarantine

Eighteen people including both the pilots died in the crash and more than 150 were injured. All survivors were tested for COVID-19.

At least two passengers travelling home from Dubai on the ill-fated aircraft had tested positive for Covid-19. Following the accident, the Kerala Health Ministry had urged all those involved in relief operations to go into quarantine to prevent the spread of the virus.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Friday announced that he and seven of his cabinet colleagues have decided to go into self-isolation. However, Governor Arif Mohammed Khan, who had accompanied Vijayan to Kozhikode will not isolate himself.

In a WhatsApp message, Vijayan said the others who will be going into isolation are Health Minister K.K. Shailaja, Local Administration Minister A.C. Moideen, Industries Minister E.P. Jayarajan, Agriculture Minister V.S. Sunilkumar, Higher Education Minister K.T. Jaleel, Ports Minister Kadanapally Ramachandran and Transport Minister A.K. Saseendran. Chief Secretary Vishwas Mehta will also isolate himself.

Consequently, Vijayan will not unfurl the tricolour at the main Independence Day function here, with Devasom Minister Kadakampally Surendran stepping in for him, in the ceremony which will last only 10 minutes.

Malappuram has the second-highest number of COVID-19 positive cases -- 1,965 cases, after the state capital district.

(With inputs from agencies)

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First Published: 14 August, 2020 15:07 IST

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