Kerala man who tested positive for coronavirus under Customs radar
Kochi, Mar 22: A man who tested positive for coronavirus and contacted several people in Kasaragod district has been under the Customs radarsince his return from Dubai on March 11,official sources said on Saturday.
The man, who was found diagnosed with the virus on Friday, is currently being treated at the isolation ward of the government hospital in Kasaragod. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said on Friday the affected person had moved around "disregarding" the health department's directions and had met scores of people at public events, weddings and a football match.
The man, on arriving at the Calicut International Airport on March 11, was stopped at the customs gate by officials after they found that he was a frequent flier "with no reasons," official sources said.
He was asked to present himself for re-examination after collecting his baggage but he "mysteriously disappeared" from the airport without informing customs officials, they said. CCTV footage revealed that he resurfaced again after two hours at the airport at 10.30 am, officials said.
At least 10 customs officials who were on duty at various points on March 11 had come in contact with the passenger as part of their job and they have now been sent to home quarantine after he tested positive, a source told PTI. CCTV footage revealed that he had left the airport at 8.30 am after collecting his baggage on March 11, they said.
After his return at 10.30 am, he spent around four hours at the airport during which he was seen chewing tobacco, spitting all around the terminal and talking to several people who came by a different flight at the baggage collection point, the source said.
Officials said they were trying to issue a lookout notice for the man as he had mysteriously left the airport abandoning his passport at the customs section.
The passport of the man, who never bothered to turn up for detailed examination by the customs officials, is now kept at the "lost and found" section, they said. After assessing the CCTV footage, officials said there was a strong reason to believe that he was into an "important business."
Asked about the incident of the COVID 19 confirmed passenger chewing tobacco and spitting at the airport, a health official at the airport said they were examining CCTV footage to study his activities there. Customs Preventive Commissioner Sumit Kumar said the passenger has been identified.
Officials said he will be charged under the Customs Act for disrupting the work of customs officials. They said incidents of smuggling of gold have been reported from the Calicut airport. Gold compound totally weighing approximately 3788 grams were seized on Saturday by Customs from three different passengers travelling from Abu Dhabi and Dubai, Kumar said. Gold compound was found concealed inside innerwear and rectum of the passenger, he added.