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Kerala nurse tests positive for coronavirus in Saudi Arabia; CM seeks Centre intervention

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Thiruvananthapuram, January 23: Amid reports that a Keralite nurse working in Saudi Arabia has tested positive for the new coronavirus, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday urged External Affairs minister S Jaishankar to take up the matter with the Gulf nation and ensure expert treatment.

Vijayan made the request in a letter to Jaishankar in this regard, a statement from the chief minister’s office said here.

The government should get in touch with its counterpart in Saudi Arabia and take urgent steps, including ensuring expert treatment and protection to those affected from the virus.

The matter should be viewed seriously, Vijayan said in the letter.

Media reports on Thursday claimed that a nurse from Ettumannur in Kottayam district, working at the Al Hayat hospital in Saudi Arabia, had tested positive for the virus which has killed 17 people in China.

According to the reports, at least 30 nurses from the state had also been kept under isolation at the hospital and they had taken care of a Filipino nurse who had tested positive for the virus.

However, Health department sources here said they have no information about any nurses from the state having been affected.

The department has issued an alert in the wake of the virus outbreak in China.

State Health minister K K Shyalaja has said those who have returned from China should inform district medical officers besides instructing officials to step up surveillance in all four airports—Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, Kozhikode and Kannur—in the state.

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