A Dubai taxi driver is on the road to recovery after he had coronavirus diagnosed while on holiday in India, a few days after leaving the Emirates.
Kerala health officials said his condition is now stable and, on Tuesday, Dr MK Shaj, Kannur district surveillance officer, told The National, the 44-year-old driver had been cleared of Covid-19 in an initial test taken this week.
He tested positive for the virus last Thursday and was treated in the isolation ward of the Government Medical College hospital in Kannur town.
On arrival at Kozhikode airport, on a Spice Jet flight, he was screened and cleared by the medical team but advised home quarantine.
When he developed a cough, the man consulted a doctor and was referred to the government hospital where a coronavirus test was conducted.
His wife, 10-year-old son and 70-year-old mother were placed in the isolation ward and their Covid-19 results were negative.
Health officials in Kannur have traced more than 200 people, including passengers and relatives, who had contact with the driver and have instructed them to remain in strict home quarantine.
“We have seven teams working to find all the people the patient has been in touch with,” Dr Shaj said.
The driver requires a second negative test next week to confirm he is clear of the virus.
In the UAE, Dubai Health Authority said it worked closely with health authorities locally and internationally, in line with World Health Organisation standards and protocols, to contain the spread of the virus.
The UAE has rolled out comprehensive preventive measures to protect the community from Covid-19, including campaigns to raise awareness about precautions.
The Roads and Transport Authority said it followed stringent procedures for disinfection and cleaning to sanitise all their taxis.
“The RTA places the highest priority on the safety and well-being of both taxi drivers and passengers,” a spokeswoman said.
“Taxi drivers have been given a set of clear guidelines on precautionary measures to be taken both with regard to passengers and their own personal hygiene. Essential preventive measures advised by Dubai Health Authority are displayed prominently in the taxi for the benefit of passengers.”
“Taxi drivers have been advised to ensure sick passengers sit in the rear seat and limit conversations with them.”
As part of instructions, drivers have been instructed to advise all passengers to cover their mouth and nose with tissue when coughing or sneezing.
Taxi drivers are asked to maintain adequate ventilation in the taxi.
All passengers are advised to use hand sanitiser immediately after completing the trip and not to leave used tissues in the car.
The south Indian state of Kerala has declared a health emergency and shut down schools, colleges and cinemas until the month end.
The state’s chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said Kerala was on high alert.
There are 17,743 people in home quarantine in the state and 268 in designated isolation facilities.
The total number of patients being treated is 27 in hospitals in Kerala, including the Dubai taxi driver.
Across India, there are 145 confirmed cases and three deaths due to the deadly virus.
The government has suspended all visas for foreign tourists barring diplomatic and employment entry documents to curb the spread of the disease.