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India on high alert with two new cases of coronavirus

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on March 02, 2020

12 evacuees including 36 foreign nationals who were air-lifted from Wuhan, China following out-break of the deadly novel coronavirus, being quarantined by the ITBP Quarantine Facility, at Chhawla Camp in New Delhi. File Photo   -  PTI

Both cases stable, says Harsh Vardhan; govt to scale up testing facilities

Two new confirmed cases of coronavirus (Covid-19) have surfaced in India, informed Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Monday.

“One positive case of Covid-19 has been detected in New Delhi, and one has been detected in Telangana. The person from Delhi has a travel history from Italy, while the one from Telangana has a travel history from Dubai,” Harsh Vardhan said at a press conference at the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW).

Both the patients have self reported symptoms of Covid-19 (cough, cold and/or fever). Sources said the Delhi patient first reported to a private facility and, later, to government-run Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital.

“Both the patients are stable and being closely monitored. They have been quarantined at undisclosed locations (hospitals) and we will refrain from disclosing their age and gender because we want to protect their privacy,” said Union Health Secretary Preeti Sudan.

Tracing contacts

Harsh Vardhan said further details of the travels of the confirmed cases are being ascertained. In the past, over 100 contacts that the three confirmed cases from Kerala had interacted with were traced. Now, a similar procedure is being undertaken for the two fresh cases. The earlier three cases are now infection free, said the Minister.

Sudan stressed on practising hygiene, including frequent hand washing, and reaching out to the MoHFW helpline to report any suspect cases based on symptoms. One can ring 011-23978046 or write to ncov2019@gmail.com for reporting cases or seeking any information on the virus.

Harsh Vardhan said that non-essential travel to China, Singapore, Iran and Italy should be absolutely avoided. Passengers coming from China, Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, South Korea, Vietnam, Malaysia, Nepal, Iran and Italy, to up to 21 Indian airports, 12 major seaports and 35 minor seaports, are being screened for symptoms. Suspect cases are being quarantined. Up to 3,222 suspect cases have been tested, of which 3,217 samples have been declared negative, and 23 samples are under testing currently.

Meanwhile, 124 evacuees from Japan, from the cruise ship Diamond Princess, and 112 evacuees from Wuhan have been lodged in quarantine at the Army’s Manesar facility in Haryana and Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force camp in west Delhi, said Sudan.

Further evacuations

India is now scaling up its coronavirus testing facilities from 15 to 50 labs, and 19 new labs will soon be added, said Harsh Vardhan. Discussions on evacuating trapped Indians from Iran and Italy are under way with the Ministry of External Affairs, he informed.

Sudan further said there are enough stocks of Line 2 anti-HIV drugs which could probably be used to manage the virus, but that they had not been used in the earlier three cases in Kerala.

Till date, there have been 79,968 cases of Covid-19, and 2,873 deaths, in China. Outside China, the number of cases stands at 7,169 in 66 countries, and deaths at 104, in 10 countries.

The Health Minister said that non-essential travel to China, Singapore, Iran and Italy should be absolutely avoided. Passengers coming from China, Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, South Korea, Vietnam, Malaysia, Nepal, Iran and Italy are being screened for symptoms.

 

Published on March 02, 2020

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