Kerala on Monday reported a third confirm case of Coronavirus taking the number of confirmed cases in India to three. The third confirm coronavirus case was reported from Kasargod district, Kerala Health Minister KK Shailaja said. Shailaja however, has said there is no need to panic but also recommended a strong vigil. Kerala alone has more than 1,999 people under observation for symptoms of Coronavirus.
The third patient had returned from Wuhan in China, Shailaja said, adding he is under treatment at the Kanjangad District Hospital in Kasaragod and his condition is stable. Shailaja also said that to speed up the process of testing, all arrangements have been made in the state laboratory. The virology lab in Alappuzha district now has the facility and that would save time. Currently, all samples are being sent to Pune's laboratory.
Until Saturday, India had reported two cases of novel coronavirus with another person from Kerala, who recently returned from China, testing positive for the infection.
Most of them are under home quarantine with only 75 kept in isolation wards in different hospitals, a medical bulletin said. The condition of both patients tested positive for the virus was stated to be 'stable' and not serious, officials said.
The second patient is also a student from Wuhan in China, the epicentre of the epidemic. The patient had returned to Kerala on January 24, the state government said.
The country's first novel coronavirus case was reported from Thrissur in Kerala on Thursday with a woman medical student who returned from Wuhan testing positive for the infection.
Confirming the second case, Kerala Health Minister KK Shailaja said the condition of the student, currently admitted to the isolation ward at the Alapuzha Medical College Hospital, was "stable".
Earlier in the day, the minister said in Kollam that the state was awaiting the results of tests conducted on the patient from the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune.
"Now, we have got the test report of the patient. There is a positive case in Alapuzha," she told reporters here on Sunday evening after chairing a high-level meeting with senior health department officials.
The first patient, a woman medical student, is in an isolation ward at the Thrissur medical college hospital.
"We are trying to ensure that the virus does not spread. The two patients, who have tested positive for the virus, are stable. Their condition is not serious. But we are monitoring them closely," she said.
Since the coronavirus outbreak in China, Kerala, which is thickly populated, has been on high alert as a large number of students from the state are studying in the University of Wuhan.
The Kerala health minister said they had started the process to identify people who may have come in contact the two virus-infected patients. She said police were helping in the process.
With the second case being reported from the state, people need to be more vigilant and follow all precautionary measures, Shailaja said.
A meeting with officials of private hospitals in Thrissur was held and they have kept aside around 87 beds for isolation wards.
A similar exercise was required to be undertaken here in view of the need to arrange a maximum number of beds (to meet contingencies), she said.
She said those who have returned from the virus-affected areas of China, besides Sri Lanka and Nepal, must inform the health department as they will have to be home quarantined for 28 days.
"We would like to keep them under quarantine for double the duration of the incubation period of the virus. We have followed the same protocol earlier during the Nipah, chikungunya and H1N1 outbreak".
Those under observation at home should keep away from public functions and should not participate in any event during the incubation period.
According to the medical bulletin issued at 7.30 pm on Sunday, a total of 1,924 people are under home quarantine.
It said 104 samples had been sent to the NIV, Pune, for testing, of which 36 turned out to be negative.
Testing of samples at the newly opened Alapuzha unit of the NIV had commenced, the release added.
Of the people under observation, the maximum are from Malappuram (315), Kozhikode (291) and Ernakulam (260) districts. Of the 75 in various hospitals, 22 are in Thrissur, nine each at Alappuzha and Ernakulam and eight at Malappuram.
Meanwhile, two more people were arrested for allegedly spreading false information about coronavirus on social media. Agriculture Minister VS Sunil Kumar said three people were arrested on Saturday from Thrissur.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation, that is monitoring situation in Wuhan and across the globe has issued myth busters relating to novel Coronavirus. Example:
Does the new coronavirus affect older people, or are younger people also susceptible?
People of all ages can be infected by the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV). Older people, and people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease) appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus.
WHO advises people of all ages to take steps to protect themselves from the virus, for example by following good hand hygiene and good respiratory hygiene.
Are antibiotics effective in preventing and treating the new coronavirus?
No, antibiotics do not work against viruses, only bacteria.
The new coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a virus and, therefore, antibiotics should not be used as a means of prevention or treatment.
However, if you are hospitalized for the 2019-nCoV, you may receive antibiotics because bacterial co-infection is possible.
Are there any specific medicines to prevent or treat the new coronavirus?
To date, there is no specific medicine recommended to prevent or treat the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV).
However, those infected with the virus should receive appropriate care to relieve and treat symptoms, and those with severe illness should receive optimized supportive care. Some specific treatments are under investigation, and will be tested through clinical trials. WHO is helping to accelerate research and development efforts with a range or partners.