coronavirus infection that has killed over 3,000 people globally till now. The positive cases include a Delhi resident who returned from Italy on February 25 and a 24-year-old man from
Telangana who returned from Dubai recently.
The suspected case is of an Italian tourist who is quarantined at Sawai Man Singh (SMS) Hospital in Jaipur.
He tested positive for Covid-19 in the first test but health ministry officials are waiting for re-confirmation from the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune, to declare it as a positive case.
Earlier, three students from
Kerala who had returned from China’s Wuhan, the epicentre of Covid-19 outbreak, in February had tested positive for the virus.
They were sent home once the
symptoms cleared and tests confirmed they couldn’t spread the disease further. Health minister Harsh Vardhan, however, said there wasn’t any need for panic in India.
‘Coronavirus-hit Delhi resident stable’
The PM is personally monitoring efforts to contain the spread of Covid-19 in India. An inter-ministerial committee has been formed and we are meeting regularly to chalk out plans to limit the risk of spread of the disease and also be ready to deal with any critical scenario,” Harsh Vardhan said.
Sources said the Delhi resident, who has tested positive for Covid-19, returned from Italy on February 25. Because he didn’t have any symptoms then and Italy wasn’t among the countries affected majorly by Covid-19, he wasn’t put under isolation. However, recently when he developed fever and breathing difficulty, the authorities concerned were informed and the man was quarantined. “His condition is stable and being closely monitored,” said doctors of Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, which is Delhi’s nodal centre for coronavirus patients. All crew members of the flight he took have been asked to stay in isolation for 14 days at their respective homes and report to authorities in case of any symptoms of Covid-19, sources added.
The Telangana patient, who works as a software engineer in Bangalore, had returned from Dubai on February 20. He had landed in Bangalore, worked for two days in his office and then come to his home in upscale Mahindra Hills in Hyderabad on February 22 by bus. Officials said all people he came in contact with before being put under quarantine have been advised to stay in isolation too and look out for symptoms, if any.
Dr Balram Bhargava, director general of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), told TOI that mortality due to Covid-19 was in the range of 2% to 3%, which isn’t very high.
“Common flu causes 1 to 2% mortality, SARS (another coronavirus that led to outbreaks in 2002-03) had a mortality rate of around 10%. The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) had a mortality rate of 35%,” he said.
Dr Bhargava said Covid-19 hasn’t higher rates of transmission though that’s why it had spread to so many countries and so fast. “It is important to maintain hand hygiene and follow respiratory etiquettes to prevent spread of the disease,” he said.
According to health ministry officials, total 3,222 people have been tested for Covid-19 to date. Of this, only five have tested positive and results of tests conducted on 23 people are awaited. “Also, 25,000 persons, who have returned from countries affected by Covid-19 have been advised isolation at home and our district surveillance officers are constantly taking an update on symptoms of the disease, if any,” said an official. Vardhan said around 1,086 people who returned from Iran in recent times have been recommended for community surveillance.
Authorities are screening travellers arriving from Kathmandu,
Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, China, Hong Kong, Iran, Italy, Thailand, South Korea, Singapore, and Japan at 21 designated airports in the country for a possible exposure to the virus, he said, adding a total of 5.5 lakh passengers have been screened at airports and 12,431 at major and minor seaports so far. He also informed that around 10.2 lakh people have been screened in the villages of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar,
West Bengal and Sikkim bordering Nepal.
Union health secretary Preeti Sudan advised people to take precautions and in case of any symptoms report to the nearest public health facility.