The Centre has restricted the export of 26 active pharmaceutical ingredients and drug formulations used as raw materials to manufacture crucial drugs, on the back of the three newly confirmed positive cases of Coronavirus in India.

On March 3, Director-General of Foriegn Trade Amit Yadav issued a letter stating that there is an amendment in the export policy of these APIs and formulations made out of these APIs. The list includes paracetamol, Vitamins B1, B6, B12, female hormone drug Progesterone, antibiotics used to treat vaginal infections like Tinidazole and Metronidazole, a drug used to treat herpes Acyclovir, and other antibiotics like Chloramphenicol, Erythormycin Salts Neomycin, Ornidazole and Clindamycin.

India imports a large chunk of APIs from China.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) has isolated one positive case of Coronavirus in Safdarjung Hospital. The patient is a resident of East Delhi and had visited his child’s friend’s birthday party in Noida, along with his child.

The person who tested positive had flown in from Italy to Austria and then to India, in Vienna-Delhi AI154 flight on February 25.

The second patient is from Telangana, while the third is from Jaipur.

“Up to two wards in the hospital are being converted into a quarantine facility in Safdarjung Hospital. If more symptomatic patients, having cough, cold, fever, need to be quarantined then the space in the hospital may fall short,” a source in the hospital said.

Schools shut

Following the incident, the Noida-based Shriram Millenium School, where the patient’s child studies, has shut down and cancelled exams scheduled on Tuesday. All the parents and children who came in contact with the positive case have been advised to self-quarantine themselves for the next 14 days and will also be tested regularly.

Another Noida-based instituition Shiv Nadar School has been shut till March 10, following the virus scare. Matthew Ivulich, Head - Middle & Senior School, Shiv Nadar School, sent out an email to all parents stating that it has been decided to close the school until March 9 in order to sanitise our spaces and completely remove all scope for the further spread of this virus.

The Health Ministry has also stated that samples of six suspected cases of the virus from Agra have been sent to National Institute of Virology in Pune to confirm their status.

High alert at Hyatt

Meanwhile, it was also revealed that the person who tested positive from Delhi had dined at Hyatt Regency in Bhikaji Cama Place.

Julian Ayers, Area Vice-President and General Manager, Hyatt Regency Delhi, stated, “The government authorities have recently confirmed that an individual who dined at La Piazza restaurant at Hyatt Regency Delhi on February 28 has been diagnosed with COVID-19...Since receiving this news, as advised by the authorities, the hotel has enacted elevated precautionary operational protocols, including deep-cleaning measures in the restaurant, colleague lockers and in all public areas, restaurants and meeting spaces across the hotel.”

Ayers further said, “All colleagues who were present at the restaurant on February 28, 2020, have been asked to self-quarantine for 14 days. Hyatt Regency Delhi has also started to conduct daily temperature checks for all colleagues and contractors when they enter and exit the building. At this time, we do not have any confirmed cases to report among our colleagues.”

The hotel said that it is closely monitoring the situation and following guidelines and protocols recommended by international and local authorities, in an effort to ensure guests and colleagues remain in a healthy and safe environment.

Union Health Secretary Preeti Sudan has placed increased emphasis on maintaining hygiene and frequent hand washing to avoid infection. “Any person who displays symptoms of cough, cold, fever should be immediately reported to public authorities on 011-23978046 or in a public hospital,” Sudan said.