Mumbai, Jan 27
Even as over 20,000 passengers returning from mainland China and Hong Kong underwent thermal screenings for suspected “coronavirus” at the seven international airports in the country, 11 passengers have been kept under watch in Mumbai and Kerala.
The eleven person include- seven in Kerala, two in Mumbai and one each in Bengaluru and Hyderabad—who are among hundreds of passengers who returned from China in the recent days, are under observation in hospitals to check for possible exposure to the deadly novel coronavirus, central and state officials said.
A total of 20,844 passengers who travelled in 96 flights from China have been screened at the airports till January 24, underwent thermal screenings at the seven international airports of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Cochin. The All India Institute of Medical Sciences(AIIMS) in Delhi has set up an isolation ward and kept beds ready for providing treatment to any suspected case of the respiratory infection. Also, on the basis of the details provided by the Indian Embassy in China, around 25 students who have returned to India recently from Wuhan are being closely monitored, the official said.
During the screening at the Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International airport, six passengers — three from Pune and another three from Mumbai, underwent thermal screening and were admitted to hospitals.
“ICMR-NIV Pune said that 4 samples (2 from Mumbai, one each from Bangaluru and Hyderabad have tested NEGATIVE for “Coronavirus”(nCoV). One of Mumbai patients has tested positive for “Rhinovirus”, one of the routine common cold virus,”.
Till now nearly 1,789 passengers have underwent the thermal screening for the coronavirus since January 19 in Mumbai. The passengers who returned to Mumbai from China, have been admitted to BMC run Kasturba Hospital located at Borivali in North Mumbai as a precaution. They have been kept in an isolation ward and their blood samples collected to check for the new strain of coronavirus..
“The isolation ward has been created for diagnosis and treatment of persons suspected to have the virus infection,” said Dr Padmaja Keskar, executive health officer of the BMC. Two persons under observation at the hospital have mild cough and exhibited cold-related symptoms. Doctors at the airport have been asked to send travellers returning from China to the isolation ward if they show any symptoms of the novel coronavirus, she said and added that “All private doctors in the city have been asked to alert us if they observe symptoms of coronavirus in any person who has returned from China,”.
Apart from Kasturba Hospital in Mumbai, quarantine facilities have also been provided at Naidu Hospital in Pune. Dr. Pradeep Awate, surveillance officer with the Maharashtra Health Department, said cases of coronavirus infection have been detected mainly in China, and a few cases have been found in other countries including South Korea, Japan, Thailand and the United States.
In Kerala, officials said another 73 people were being kept under medical surveillance at their homes in the state. According to Kerala state health ministry officials in Thiruvananthapuram, 7 persons, who had shown mild symptoms of fever, cough and sore throat are under watch in state-run hospitals in different districts. Among them, two of them are in Kochi, while one each is in observation in the state capital, Thrissur, Kozhikode and Pathanamthitta. The Kerala government has advised those under home surveillance to remain at home for 28 days from the date of their departure from China.
The 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. It has killed 26 people so far, and has caused alarm because of its similarity to SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome).
According to a union health ministry official, no positive case has been detected in the country so far. Coronavirus cases were first reported from Wuhan, the capital of central China’s Hubei province.