In a shocking news, 26 volunteers, who helped rescue the passengers of the crashed Air India Express plane in Kerala’s Kozhikode, have tested positive for the highly contagious coronavirus.

“As far as my information from the airport sources goes, as many as 26 localpeople, involved in the rescue operations, have tested positive for the virus so far and are now under medical care,” news agency PTI quoted Malappuram District Medical Officer Dr K Sakeena as saying.

An Air India Express flight, which was reportedly operating under the Centre’s Vande Bharat Project, with 191 passengers on board skidded off the runway at the Calicut International Airport in Kerala’s Kozhikode, fell into a valley and broke into pieces which lead to the death of 19 people, including the pilot and the co-pilot.

Following the crash, a massive rescue operation was launched in which several volunteers took part to save the injured passengers. However, the rescue operation sparked the fear of coronavirus spread after one of the deceased passengers was found positive for coronavirus. Later, all the volunteers were asked by Kerala Health Minister K K Shailaja to go on quarantine to check the spread of the deadly pathogen.

However, the state government on August 14 informed that 23 officials — including Malappuram District Collector K Gopalakrishnan, his deputy and Superintendent of Police U Abdul Kareem — have tested positive for the deadly COVID-19 infection which was first reported in China’s Wuhan.

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