Kozhikode, Jun 10: The Kerala government on Sunday decided to lift the high alert sounded in northern Kozhikode and Malappuram districts in the wake of the outbreak of deadly Nipah virus last month that has so far claimed 17 lives. Meanwhile, the vigil is expected to continue till June-end even as the educational institutions, schools and professional colleges will reopen on June 12.

Addressing a press conference here after an all-party meet that discussed the situation post-Nipah, state Health Minister KK Shylaja said the virus has been brought under control and its spread checked. Adding further, she said, “It has been decided to reopen educational institutions, schools and professional colleges on June 12, which was postponed due to the virus outbreak.”

However, the minister also claimed that though restrictions for the public gatherings of people has been relaxed, it was better to continue the vigil till this month end. “Nipah is under control now and no positive case has been reported. In this backdrop, it has been decided to relax the high alert issued in mid-May after the outbreak of the disease,” she said.

Out of the total samples sent for examination, 371 cases have tested negative so far.

“We expect the same results in the remaining samples also. So we can say that the disease is under control and we do not expect any further spread,” she said. However, the minister said that monitoring of persons who were in the contact list, would continue. As many as 2,649 person were in the contact list, which has now come down to 1,430. She also made it clear that these persons or families should not be isolated as there is no chance of recurrence of the disease.

She informed that the expert cell, opened to monitor the day-to-day situation here, would be closed on June 15, but the District Collector and the District Medical Officer (DMO) would continue the coordination in this regard.

The minister lauded the services by doctors, nurses and paramedics who played a vital role in bringing the situation under control, and asserted that the government would organise a function to felicitate them.

Nipah Virus Contained

Earlier on June 9, Union Minister of State for Health, Ashwini Choubey, said that the Nipah virus has been contained and there was no need to run away from Kerala, where it originated. He said that though 17 deaths due to the virus have been reported from Kerala, no fresh cases of infection were filed.

“There has been no cases of Nipah reported from anywhere in the country. The virus has been stalled. This is a good sign. Nipah is not epidemic. There is nothing to be scared of,” Choubey told PTI.

Meanwhile, an advisory issued by the National Centre for Disease Control said, “As per the latest report of the Central High Level Team, Nipah Virus Disease is not a major outbreak and only local occurrence limited to two districts Kozhikode and Malappuram in Kerala.”

(With Inputs From Agencies)