Coronavirus scare: Second confirmed case in India

New Delhi: A second case of the novel coronavirus has been confirmed in Kerala, the Union Health Ministry said on Sunday. The patient has been kept in isolation and is currently stable and being closely monitored.

The patient has a travel history from China, the ministry said.

On Thursday the first ever case of the virus was confirmed in Kerala’s Thrissur. A girl student who returned from China’s Wuhan, tested positive in Kerala. She was being kept in isolation in a hospital.

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said the Centre was making all possible efforts to deal with the coronavirus.

At least 324 Indian nationals have been evacuated so far from China. The Union Health Ministry informed that since January 18, passengers are being screened for fever at the airport. They are also being given self declarations forms. Apart from China, passengers coming from Singapore, Hong Kong and Thailand are also being screened, said the Health Ministry.

According to the Health Ministry, at least 52,332 passengers from 326 flights at 21 airports have been screened for the virus till January 31. The ministry is also doing community surveillance of passengers in 26 states.

130 samples had been taken out of which 128 tested negative. Only two have been confirmed for being infected with the virus. The first case is stable and being closely monitored, said the health secretary. The ministry also informed that the evacuated persons are being kept at camps set up by the Army and ITBP. At least 104 people are kept in ITBP camp and 220 at the Manesar army camp. Their samples are being collected.

The health secretary also said that a special Indian flight from China has departed carrying 321 Indians and seven Maldivian passengers also.

The novel coronavirus outbreak was reported from Wuhan city of China. The disease has SARS-like symptoms of fever, cold, cough, body ache, pneumonia and shortness of breathing. Chinese health authorities on Sunday said it received reports of 2,590 new confirmed cases of novel coronavirus infection and 45 deaths on Saturday from 31 provincial-level regions.

The overall confirmed cases on the Chinese mainland had reached 14,380 by the end of Saturday, they said, noting that a total of 304 people had died of the disease so far.

Meanwhile, India’s first patient of coronavirus who is admitted in Kerala’s Thrissur Medical College, is recovering and her condition is stable, said Kerala Health Ministrer K.K. Shailja. However, on the second confirmed case, she said that the state government was yet to receive a written intimation from the Centre.

The Union Health Ministry’s release had confirmed on Sunday that a second confirmed case has been reported in Kerala.

Shailja said: “Presently 1,793 people are under observation in the state of which 59 samples have been sent for testing. Out of the 59 we got the results for 24, of which one is positive.”

“We have told health authorities in Delhi that the results should be speeded up. Even though our testing centre at Alappuzha is geared to do it, the health authorities in Delhi is not allowing us to do it,” said Shailaja.

“Our plea to all in Kerala is there should be full cooperation as all those who returned from China have to report to the authorities. This has to be done, as such people have a responsibility to themselves, their families and the society at large. If this does not happen, then it’s not fair,” said Shailaja.

“It has also been decided that those people who are being evacuated from China will be kept in Delhi and all those would be allowed to return to their home states after the prescribed quarantine period. Our only objective is to contain the spread of the virus and for that everyone should cooperate,” she said.

A top medical professional from the Indian Medical Association said there are possibilities of a few more people currently under observation turning positive, but there is no need to panic.

“The Kerala government is doing everything possible to see that this does not spread. It has been proved that coronavirus is less dangerous than even dengue fever, which Kerala witnessed in the past and hence just because a few more turn positive, no panic buttons need to be pressed,” he said.

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