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Fliers on Dubai-Kochi flight in panic after fourth passenger tests positive

KOCHI: The passengers who travelled on Emirates flight EK532 from Dubai to Kochi on March 18 are in a state of panic after three of their co-passengers tested Covid-19 positive on Saturday. That makes four Covid-19 cases from among the 267 passengers on the same flight.

Earlier on Friday, a Malappuram native who travelled on the flight tested positive. On Saturday, a Kasaragod native and two from Kannur tested positive for Covid-19, sending shivers down the spine of other passengers, who travelled in the flight.

“I came to know about the positive case of Malappuram resident when I saw a WhatsApp message from Malappuram control room which asked all passengers of Emirates flight EK532 to remain in home quarantine. I was not all that worried earlier, though I was on the same flight. But now, I am, as three more persons on the same flight tested positive for coronavirus,” said a 42-year-old man who is now under home quarantine in Palakkad.

The passengers of the flight, which took off from Dubai around 9.45pm on Tuesday, were not asked to appear for universal screening to detect the presence of coronavirus. “If proper screening was in place in Dubai, the four persons could have been stopped at the Dubai International Airport itself. The authorities have made compulsory screening only for those who reach Dubai.

Due to the carelessness of the authorities, the remaining passengers have also landed in trouble,” he added. Meanwhile, other passengers on the flight have started calling the control room number. “With Dubai turning out to be the new source of the disease, many of them are worried a lot. In the first two days, the flight passengers who are under home quarantine used to call the control room once in a day. Now they are making three-four calls to the control room,” said an official with the health department.

UAE a worry spot
As per reports, 153 positive cases have been reported in the UAE. With more cases reporting everyday, the health department has strengthened the screening procedure for the UAE returnees. “Those who returned from the UAE are now showing the symptoms. Six persons who had reached the state from Dubai tested positive for Covid-19. Based on this, we have strengthened the screening procedure at airports. We are also closely monitoring the persons who are now under home quarantine,” said a top official with the health department requesting anonymity.

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