A third person has tested positive for the novel coronavirus infection in India. This case, like the first two, was also reported in Kerala, state Health Minister KK Shailaja said on Monday.
The patient had recently returned from Wuhan in Hubei province of China. The province is the epicentre of the outbreak. “The patient is under treatment at the Kanjangad District Hospital in Kasaragod,” said Shailaja. “The patient’s condition is stable.”
The second sample of the coronavirus patient in Thrissur Medical College also tested positive on Monday, ANI reported. The patient, whose condition is reported to be satisfactory, was the first patient diagnosed with coronavirus. The second positive case in the state was reported in Alappuzha.
Meanwhile, a woman pursuing medical studies in China was on Sunday admitted to the SCB Medical College and Hospital in Cuttack, Odisha, on suspicion of having contracted the virus, PTI reported. Hospital officials said the woman had fever, a symptom of the infection.
The woman had come to Odisha from Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak, on January 19 to attend a marriage function. She has been lodged in a separate ward of the hospital and her condition is stable, an official said.
“We have kept her in an isolated ward after she developed fever,” Dr BN Maharana, the emergency officer at the medical facility said. “Her husband is currently under surveillance. “As she came from Wuhan city, we are giving her priority.”
Director of Medical Education and Training CBK Mohanty said that swab and blood samples of five persons, including the medico, have been sent to the National Virology Institute in Pune. While four of these samples have tested negative for the coronavirus, the result of the fifth, that of the medico, is awaited, he said.
India reported its first positive case of novel coronavirus infection on January 30. The patient was a student at Wuhan University, a resident of Thrissur, and is now in isolation in a hospital in Kerala. Shailaja said later in the week that the patient’s condition was stable. The second case was reported on Sunday.
Union Minister G Kishan Reddy said that the Centre has set up a task force to look into the coronavirus cases, PTI reported. “The first meeting of the task force will be held today [Monday],” he said. “We will discuss what all precautions need to be taken to prevent the spread of the virus.” The team has representatives from the health and women and child development ministries.
Whoever wants to return to India should get in touch with the embassy, Reddy added.
At least 361 people have died so far in China, most of them in Hubei province, while 17,205 people have been infected. The number of deaths in China has now exceeded the total Chinese toll from the 2002-’03 outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS. It was another coronavirus that emerged from China and killed almost 800 people around the world.
The virus has spread to 23 countries, including India. The first death outside China was reported in the Philippines on Saturday. Several countries have banned flights to and from China, restricted travel, and in some cases, closed their borders with the country.
A second special Air India flight carrying 330 passengers – 323 Indians and seven Maldivians – from Wuhan landed in Delhi on Sunday morning. The first flight, which evacuated 324 Indians, had landed in New Delhi on Saturday.