Kerala reports first confirmed case of coronavirus in India
30 January 2020
The union ministry of health and family welfare today said one case of the novel coronavirus infection has been reported from Kerala where a student, back home for holidays, has been tested positive.
"One positive case of Novel Coronavirus — a student studying in Wuhan University — has been reported from Kerala," said a statement released by the health ministry.
The patient is kept in isolation in a hospital. "The patient is stable and is being closely monitored," said the ministry statement.
In Kerala, the health authorities have called for an emergency meeting of top officials amidst concerns of more such cases. Several hospitals where suspected cases are being treated are awaiting report from the National Institute of Virology in Pune where samples of over 800 suspected cases have been sent from the state alone.
"We were waiting for the test results of six samples and we received the result of five which were negative," said the official who did not wish to be identified.
According to the figures put out on Wednesday night by Kerala health authorities, around 800 people are under observation with 10 in hospitals and the rest at their homes.
Wuhan city of China witnessed an outbreak of the new strain of coronavirus last month. Since then the death toll in China from the new coronavirus has risen to 170 with 7,711 confirmed cases, as repatriation flights for foreign nationals continued.
Outside China, Hong Kong and Macau, other countries with confirmed cases include Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia, South Korea, Japan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Canada, the United States, United Arab Emirates, Australia (two new cases reported on Thursday), France and Germany.
Finland reported its first case on Wednesday. Several cases in Taiwan were also included in the national count.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) is meeting today to discuss whether the virus constitutes a global health emergency.
"In the last few days the progress of the virus, especially in some countries, especially human-to-human transmission, worries us," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Wednesday, pointing to Germany, Vietnam and Japan.
"Although the numbers outside China are still relatively small, they hold the potential for a much larger outbreak."
President Donald Trump's economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on Wednesday that officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were going to China to help with the coronavirus outbreak at China's invitation.
India, meanwhile, is yet to bring back the 200-odd students currently trapped in China’s Wuhan province after authorities locked down the area to prevent spread of the virus.
The union ministry of health and family welfare today issued an advice for travellers returning from China on the need to protect themselves and their families.
An outbreak of Novel Coronavirus is on-going in China and exported cases have been reported from other countries internationally.
Coronaviruses cause illness ranging from common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS)-CoV and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV), the ministry stated in its advisory.
Further, the ministry said the common symptoms are fever, cough, difficulty in breathing.
In case of travellers coming back to India from China (within last 14 days) or had possible contact with an nCoVinfected person, the ministry has advised them to:
- Stay in home isolation for 14 days after return;
- Sleep in a separate room;
- Limit contact with other family members and avoid visitors;
- Cover nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing; and
- Avoid close contact with anyone with cold or flu like symptoms (maintain a distance of at least 1 meter from any individual);
For family members, the ministry has advised everyone at home to maintain hand hygiene at all times and wash hands:
- After sneezing or coughing
- When caring for sick
- Before, during and after preparing food
- Before eating
- After toilet use
- When hands are dirty
- After handling animals or animal waste
In case one develops fever, cough or difficulty in breathing anytime within 28 days of return from China:
- Call at Ministry of Health, Govt of India’s control room no +91-11-2397 8046 for further information;
- Wear a mask immediately and report to nearest medical facility as advised.