Around 25 doctors and around 47 others -- mostly staff of a leading Central government-run hospital in Kerala's Thiruvananthapuram, have been asked to stay on home quarantine as a precautionary measure. Suspicion of the doctors from Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology being infected was raised after one of them, tested positive on Saturday after his return from Spain.
The doctor, who came back on March 1, was not placed in high-risk category at that point as Spain was not seen as a high-risk nation. Also, as a member of the radiology department, he is not someone who had much direct contact with patients, the authorities claimed.
After his return, he had informed the government helpline as well as hospital officials immediately.
"On March 2, he informed DISHA, the government helpline, of his arrival. They suggested him five days of home quarantine as a safety measure, since he didn't have any symptoms and Spain was not majorly infected at that time. He had also reported his details to the hospital's Internal Control Infection Team and based on advice from DISHA, was sent on five days of home isolation," the hospital spokesperson said.
Since he had no symptoms, he returned to work on February 10 and that day, he administered to two patients. The hospital claimed that it did not involve direct contact.
"However, several doctors had spoken to him while exiting from a meeting on March 11, and they have been sent on home quarantine. This positive case patient was not part of the meeting. As a precautionary measure, 25 doctors, mostly from that meeting, have been sent for home isolation," the hospital authorities said.
The state government's response at this point is not known.
Kerala has 24 positive cases with three new cases being reported on Monday.