Copy of PTI15-03-2020_000085B-1584277196976
A medic wearing protective suit is seen outside an isolation ward, set up in view of coronavirus pandemic, at Aluva Government General Hospital in Kochi on March 15. Image Credit: PTI

Kochi, Kerala: Nineteen persons of Dubai-bound Emirates flight including the UK citizen who tested positive for coronavirus, have been kept in the isolation ward at Ernakulam Medical College, said Dr MK Kuttappan, District Medical Officer on Sunday. “The 19 persons have been kept in the isolation ward at Ernakulam medical college,” said Dr Kuttappan. “As the UK citizen who tested positive for coronavirus was a part of the group, 18 members of that group, including his wife, have been deboarded from Dubai-bound Emirates flight,” airport spokesperson told ANI.

Kerala Minister VS Sunilkumar said that the plane took off for its destination at 12.47pm with 270 passengers on board.

He said that the runway could be made available for the departure for the delayed flight as there was no other normal operation from 10am to 6pm due to the resurfacing project in the Kochi airport, which will be completed only on March 28.

Earlier, a UK citizen who tested positive for coronavirus infection was deboarded from the aircraft.

He had allegedly boarded the flight without notifying the authorities. The patient’s samples were taken on March 14 and he was advised to remain in quarantine.

As other passengers had also boarded the flight, all 289 passengers on board the aircraft were deboarded after the news came to light.

According to authorities, the UK citizen was previously in the Tea Country Resort in Munnar in Idukki district.

Meanwhile, VS Sunil Kumar, Minister of Agriculture, has urged the public to not panic over the situation and assured them that the airport will not be closed following the issue.

Notably, the number of coronavirus cases in the country has risen to 107 including foreign nationals, informed the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Sunday.

In the wake of spurt in cases of coronavirus across the country, the Central government on Saturday decided to treat the deadly virus as a “notified disaster”.

A statement from Emirates read, "Emirates can confirm that the local authorities in Kerala prevented a group of 19 passengers from boarding our flight EK531 Kochi-Dubai earlier today (15 March). After receiving approvals from all authorities concerned and after communicating with the rest of our passengers who were waiting to board, our flight continued to Dubai with a delay of just over three hours. We are fully cooperating with the local authorities on their requirements. For any more information, please contact the local authorities in Kerala."