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Covid-19 Positive Kerala Plane Crash Victim Had Battled Infection Earlier, Tested Negative Before Flight

Officials inspect the site where a passenger plane crashed when it overshot the runway at the Calicut International Airport in Karipur, in Kerala. (REUTERS)

Officials inspect the site where a passenger plane crashed when it overshot the runway at the Calicut International Airport in Karipur, in Kerala. (REUTERS)

Before he took the flight to leave the UAE for good, Sudheer tested negative for COVID-19 in an RT-PCR (Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction) test.

One of the victims of Friday's Dubai-Kozhikode flight, who was declared positive for COVID-19 after his death, was infected by the coronavirus earlier too while in the UAE and tested negative before flying to India, according to a media report.

Sudheer Variyath, 45, succumbed to his injuries a couple of hours after the Air India Express plane crash on Friday in Kozhikode, the Gulf News reported.

Sudheer was the last person to be declared dead after the crash. He tested positive for COVID-19 in the test conducted after the crash.

Because of this, his mortal remains could not be handed over to his family for cremation in Malappuram district where he had built a new house last year. Instead, the cremation was done in the public crematorium in Kozhikode district.

Prashob Tharammal Keeri, one of his flatmates in Dubai, told Gulf News that Sudheer had contracted coronavirus in mid-April along with him and three other flatmates.

He said Sudheer was isolated in the Al Warsan facility and recovered by May first week.

Before he took the flight to leave the UAE for good, Sudheer tested negative for COVID-19 in an RT-PCR (Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction) test, which is considered the most accurate test for COVID-19, Prashob was quoted as saying in the report.

"He decided to do the test again before flying because his wife had checked with health officials in Kerala about the need for it since he had the disease some months back," his flatmate said.

"He had carried all these documents with him. Unfortunately, there was nobody to explain all these details to the authorities. It was the driver who went to pick him up from the airport who ran around to find out in which hospital he was admitted," said Prashob.

Praveen Kumar, a social worker volunteering for the Indian Consulate in Dubai, said he was the one who helped Sudheer and his flatmates to be isolated when they tested positive in April.

"I have informed the Non Resident Keralites Affairs (NORKA) department in Kerala about what exactly happened and requested to give a clarification that probably he might have tested positive due to the antibodies,' he said.

The Air India Express flight from Dubai with 190 people, including a six-member crew, overshot the tabletop runway during landing at the Kozhikode airport in heavy rain on Friday night, fell into a valley 35 feet below and broke

into two, killing 18 people, including the pilots.

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