Kochi: The Cochin International Airport on Sunday went into a tailspin as a Covid patient from Britain tried to flee to UK.
The patient was diagnosed with Covid after he developed high fever while he was at the hill station of Munnar, about 100 km from here. He was kept in quarantine at the Tea Estate Hotel. But early Sunday morning he escaped to Kochi along with 19 other tourists.
The patient and his team boarded an Emirates flight at 8.30 am but following an alert, Kochi Collector asked authorities at the airport to order de-boarding of all passengers. The patient, his team and 175 passengers were de-boarded and sent for Covid testing.
The Covid patient and his wife were sent into quarantine along with his team, even as the flight was grounded till sanitation procedures were complete. ‘‘The patient was at the airport for three hours and may have exposed many other passengers and staff,’’ sources said.
Soon after the incident, Minister MM Mani chaired a high-level meeting along with doctors and others to chalk out the next course of action, as the tourist was in Kerala since March 6 and had travelled to Thrissur and other places.
Authorities are now trying to trace the patient's route map in Kerala. The Tea Estate Hotel has been shut and all the staff have been asked to observe quarantine and would be tested for Covid.
An enquiry has been ordered on how the tourist managed to escape from Munnar. Sources said a travel agent coordinated the escape. Strict action will be taken against the hotel and the agent, the Idduki collector told media.