Kerala reports its first COVID-19 death

 Kerala reported its first COVID-19 death on Saturday after a 69-year-old man being treated for the virus died at Ernakulam Medical College Hospital.

The man, hailing from Chullikkal in Ernakulam, was admitted to the isolation ward on March 22 after his return from Dubai, the government hospital said in a statement.

He was admitted with symptoms of pneumonia but later tested positive for coronavirus, it said.

He was also suffering from heart disease and high blood pressure and had udergone a bypass surgery earlier, the statement said.

His wife and the taxi driver who ferried him from the airport to his home upon his arrival on March 16, have tested positve for COVID-19 and were now being treated at the isolation facility at the hospital, it said.

State agriculture Minister V S Sunil Kumar told reporters in Kochi that 86 contacts of the man and taxi driver have been quarantined.

In Thiruvananthapuram, Health Minister K K Shailaja said the patient had been in a serious condition when he was admitted to the hospital.

“He had earlier undergone a bypass surgery and had high blood pressure. We tried our level best to save him but in vain,” she said.

The minister said certain protocols to be followed by the family of the deceased were done.

His wife and daughter were allowed to see his body through a video call with the hospital before the body was wrapped up for the funeral.

District authorities had notified the mosque concerned and only a few people would be present for the ceremony, she said.

To a question, Shailaja said samples of the aged couple admitted to the Kottayam Medical College Hospital had still not turned negative after repeat tests, though those of their family members have turned negative after testing positive earlier.

She said an aged foreigner, admitted to the Ernakulam Medical College Hospital, was in stable condition now.

“We have around three to four serious patients all across the state. The patients of Kasaragod are stable right now.

We can only say that because complications may arise at any time”, she said.