New Delhi/Bengaluru: Two schools were temporarily closed, a five-star hotel was ordered sanitized and hundreds of airline passengers were put under observation at hospitals as authorities battled to contain the spread of Covid-19 in the national capital region, Bengaluru and Hyderabad on Tuesday.
The measures came after three people tested positive—one each in Delhi, Jaipur and Telangana. Six others in Agra are suspected to have contracted the disease, which has spread rapidly across the world, hitting South Korea, Italy and Iran after the December outbreak in China.
One of the three people who tested positive, the man from Delhi, was found to have a child studying in a top Noida school, prompting the school authorities to ask all parents to quarantine their children at home for two weeks. Another school in the vicinity was also shut as a precaution.
“In the wake of the recent outbreak of virus and flu, we request you to not send your child to school if he/she has a cold/cough or fever. We (school authorities) don’t want infections to spread and the best way is precaution,” said a school advisory.
Meanwhile, the Central Board of Secondary Education spokesperson said board exams that started this week won’t be postponed, and any other action would be taken “as and when the need arises”.
Six people with symptoms were found to have come in contact with the patient from Delhi. “Their samples are being sent to National Institute of Virology, Pune, for confirmation,” the health ministry said on Tuesday.
Both the patients in Delhi and Hyderabad are stable and being closely monitored, the government said, adding that 23 more people are being tested for the virus. At least 24 people—three Indians and 21 Italians—who were staying in a hotel in Delhi were kept in isolation at an Indo-Tibetan Border Police facility.
According to government officials, the Delhi patient dined at a five-star hotel on 28 February. Efforts are being made to identify those who might have come in contact with him.
Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia on Tuesday said the state government has readied 25 hospitals, including six private hospitals with 230 beds, for isolation facilities in case the number of cases in the national capital rises.
Airlines have also started quarantining passengers who might have come in contact with Covid-19 patients. An Air India spokesperson on Tuesday said a passenger travelling on its flight between Vienna and New Delhi on 25 February—the Delhi patient—tested positive. This was later confirmed by the health ministry.
An IndiGo spokesperson said the affected passenger in Hyderabad had travelled on an IndiGo flight between Dubai and Bengaluru on 20 February, and all four cabin crew have been placed in home observation.
Around 284 people are in home isolation across Karnataka, including close to 50 people, who might have come in contact with the Hyderabad patient. Those under observation include the roommate of the patient, 23 of his office colleagues and those who had travelled with him on a bus from Bengaluru to Hyderabad last week, government health officials said. The health department is trying to identify passengers, who were on the Dubai-Bengaluru flight that he took.
In Hyderabad, 15 people, who were suspected to be infected with the virus, were admitted at the Gandhi Hospital on Monday, nine of whom have tested negative so far. Another 18 people are under observation.
Sharan Poovanna, Yunus Lasania, Rhik Kundu and Prashant Nanda contributed to this story