As the coronavirus death toll in China rises to 106, several people in India are under observation for possible exposure to the virus.
Three persons have been kept under observation at an isolation ward of RML Hospital in Delhi for possible exposure, officials said on Tuesday. The three ― all men aged between 24 and 48 ― were admitted on Monday and their samples have been sent for testing, Dr Minakshi Bhardwaj, Medical Superintendent of RML Hospital, said.
In Punjab’s Mohali, a 28-year-old resident, who returned from China recently, has been admitted to the isolation ward of PGIMER after showing novel coronavirus-like symptoms, an official said. This is the first suspected case of novel coronavirus in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh region.
In Maharashtra, a 36-year-old man from Tardeo and a Pune resident are among the five under observation.
In Kerala, a total of 436 people are under observation, although no one has tested positive for the virus so far.
Across the world, outside of China, 45 cases of the virus have been confirmed.
In India, till Monday, a total of 33,552 passengers arriving in India from China in 155 flights had been screened.
On Sunday, the External Affairs Ministry said that as of now no Indian in China has been affected by the coronavirus outbreak and the embassy in Beijing is in close touch with all Indians, including university students, in Wuhan and elsewhere in Hubei province.
Thermal screening is being done at seven designated airports ― New Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Kochi.
Indian states have been advised to depute a nodal officer for coordinating the efforts of the different agencies within the states, and to regularly update progress to the Union Health Ministry.
A 24x7 NCDC call centre (+91-11-23978046) has been made operational to monitor the list of contacts furnished by the Ministry of External Affairs; provide details of district and state surveillance officers to those who seek them; and in case of any clinical query, direct the concerned to the relevant Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) officer.
The Union health minister has urged passengers who have a travel history to China since January 1, 2020, to come forward for self-reporting at the nearest health facility if they experience any symptoms such as fever, cough, respiratory distress, etc., and also inform their doctors.
Air India plane for evacuation
Air India has kept one of its 423-seater jumbo plane ready in Mumbai for the evacuation of Indian citizens from Wuhan province in China, PTI reported.
At the Cabinet Secretary meeting on Monday, the government decided that steps may be taken to prepare for the possible evacuation of Indian nationals in Wuhan.
Coronavirus is a large family of viruses that causes illnesses ranging from the common cold to acute respiratory syndromes, but the virus in China is a novel strain and not seen before.
The outbreak has caused alarm because of its similarity to SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome).
Accordingly, Ministry of External Affairs will make a request to the Chinese authorities while the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Ministry of Health will make arrangements for transport and quarantine facilities respectively, an official release had said on Monday.
The government also asked the Civil Aviation Ministry to issue instructions to airlines for managing and notifying anybody reporting illness on all direct and indirect flight to China besides facilitating in-flight announcements and distribution of health cards to all flights with direct or indirect connectivity to China.
Officials said Ministry of External Affairs will make a request to the Chinese authorities for evacuation of Indian nationals, mostly students, stuck in Wuhan city.
Wuhan along 12 other cities have been completely sealed by the Chinese authorities to stop the virus from spreading. Over 250 to 300 Indian students are reportedly stuck in Wuhan triggering concerns over their well-being.