Thiruvananthapuram: 288 people from Kerala are under observation following screening for possible exposure to novel coronavirus. The health department had sent the fluid samples from the patient to the National Institute of Virology in Pune for further examination.

The health department of Kerala has issued an alert in the state over the Novel Coronavirus outbreak in China. The department has issued a directive to carry out screening of foreign passengers at all airports in Kerala.

The department, in a statement, said that people who are returning from China to Kerala, would undergo special examination. They have also directed the people to contact respective medical officials in the state.  As part of strengthening coronavirus prevention efforts, the health department has brought out guidelines and will adopt a treatment protocol approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

What is coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, which cause illnesses to people and also circulates in animals including camels, cats and bats. Animal coronaviruses can also evolve and infect people.

China:

The fatal virus has taken 80 lives in China, and more than 2,000 are infected.

Coronavirus in China may have spread from snakes:

A new study revealed that the newly discovered coronavirus in China may spread from snakes to human beings. The first case of coronavirus was first reported in December 2019 and it was linked to the sea food market in China's Wuhan. The wholesale market sells poultry, bats, snakes, and other farm animals.

It is also reported that the new virus may have formed as a result of infections from both bats and snakes. This can also occur when the two animals are kept in close quarters, which can mostly happen in food markets.

However, latest reports state that there is no link between the seafood market and the first reported case of China coronavirus.