The Kerala government is taking steps to curb the spread of the Nipah infection. The Kozhikode administration has identified seven village areas as containment zones to control the situation. The Union Health Minister, Mansukh Mandaviya, has confirmed that two people have lost their lives. People who had contact with the two deceased individuals have been identified and are being closely monitored. In areas where Nipah infection is confirmed, restrictions on social gatherings and events may be imposed, the minister said.
Due to the Nipah virus alert, Kerala’s education minister, V Sivankutty, has ordered all schools and colleges within the seven containment zones to remain closed. The National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune, provided the state with official confirmation of the Nipah virus.
The health and panchayat departments have increased surveillance and are taking preventive measures in two village panchayats in the district. Nipah virus infection can cause mild to severe illness. In severe cases, it can lead to significant brain swelling (encephalitis) and, in some cases, even death.
In a Facebook post, Kozhikode District Collector A Geetha listed the panchayats declared as containment zones: Atanchery, Maruthonkara, Tiruvallur, Kuttiyadi, Kayakkodi, Villyapalli, and Kavilumpara.
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Travel in and out of these containment zones is prohibited until further notice, with police securing these areas. Only stores selling essential items and medical supplies can remain open, operating from 7 AM to 5 PM. Pharmacies and health centres can stay open without time restrictions.
Local government offices will have minimal staff, while banks, government institutions, schools, and anganwadis should not operate, the collector said. It’s advised that the public use online services and avoid visiting local government offices. Buses and vehicles travelling on national highways through containment zones should not stop in these affected areas.
The regional transport officer and district transport officer will provide directions regarding this matter, the post said. Everyone within the containment zones must maintain social distancing, wear masks, and use hand sanitiser.
Shortly after confirming the Nipah virus infection in Kozhikode district, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan advised people not to panic but to take precautions.
State Health Minister Veena George reported that one of the infected individuals is a nine-year-old boy. Among the five tested samples, three have tested positive. The person who died on Monday, the nine-year-old boy already in the ICU, and his 24-year-old brother-in-law are the two cases that tested positive on Tuesday. Initially, the first person’s death on August 30 was thought to be due to liver cirrhosis comorbidity.