Two persons who returned to Mumbai from China have been kept under medical observation for possible exposure to the novel coronavirus which has infected a large number of people in Wuhan. This is the first such case being reported in Mumbai. The virus has so far killed 26 people and infected at least 830 in China.
In Mumbai, as many as 1789 passengers underwent thermal screening at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport for the coronavirus since January 19 and two of them, who had travelled to China, have been admitted to civic-run Kasturba Hospital in Chinchpokali.
Till now, no cases of the deadly infection have been detected through these screening efforts, a health department official said.
"No passenger was found positive (for the virus) during thermal scanning with history of visit to Wuhan city of China in the last 14 days," he said.
Coronavirus cases were first reported from Wuhan, the capital of central Chinas Hubei province.
In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak in China, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has created an isolation ward at its Kasturba hospital.
"The isolation ward has been created for diagnosis and treatment of persons suspected to have the coronavirus infection," said Dr Padmaja Keskar, executive health officer of the BMC.
Keskar said the two persons under observation at the hospital have mild cough and exhibited cold-related symptoms. Further details about the persons kept under surveillance were awaited. She said doctors at the Mumbai international airport have been asked to send travellers returning from China to the isolation ward if they show any symptoms of the coronavirus.
"All private doctors in the city have been asked to alert us (the BMC) if they observe symptoms of the coronavirus in anyone who has returned from China," she said.
According to Kasturba Hospital sources, they have received detailed instructions from the Maharashtra government about the coronavirus and how to deal with the illness and they have been instructed to strictly follow those. Apart from Kasturba Hospital, quarantine facilities have also been provided at Naidu Hospital in Pune, the officials said.
The coronavirus is a large family of viruses that causes illnesses ranging from the common cold to acute respiratory syndromes, but the virus that has killed people in China is a novel strain and not seen before. Common symptoms of the novel coronavirus strain include respiratory symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties, according to the WHO.
Meanwhile, the Chinese government quarantined the Wuhan city that is being considered as the epicentre of this epidermic. A tweet by CCTV Asia Pacific shows the streets of Wuhan with only a handful of pedestrians and vehicles as locals chose to stay at home despite the festive season in China. The government has also announced the cancelation of the Chinese New Year celebration amidst the unprecedented pneumonia outbreak.
🇨🇳 What is going on in #Wuhan, the center of the virus breakout? Only a few pedestrians and vehicles could be seen in the central area. Local residents chose to stay at home and many have canceled the big family gatherings on the eve of #SpringFestival: GT reporters. #nCoV2019 pic.twitter.com/dLMHYxYeMD— CCTV Asia Pacific (@CCTVAsiaPacific) January 23, 2020
Confusion prevailed on Thursday as to an 'infected' Indian nurse in a Saudi Arabian hospital. Minister of State (External Affairs) V Muraleedharan posted a tweet from his official Twitter handle saying that one of "About 100" nurses tested for Wuhan coronavirus was found to be infected. However, Indian Consulate General in Jeddah quoted chairman of Saudi Arabia's Scientific Regional Infection Control Committee to convey that the nurse did not suffer from 2019-NCoV (Wuhan) virus.
Chinese health officials address media with masks on!
Amid the rising death toll due to the outbreak of Coronavirus, China's Hubei Health Commission on Thursday addressed a press conference on the control of the novel coronavirus as well as the supervision of cultural and travel markets. The panelists were from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism Department, Health Commission and the Respiratory Department. The experts informed that they are keeping an eye on animal sector, online food sector as well as the availability of masks and other medical aids.
(With Inputs from PTI)