Two people have tested positive for the coronavirus in India – one in Telangana and another in New Delhi – the Ministry of Health confirmed on Monday. An Italian tourist also tested positive for COVID-19 in Rajasthan, ANI reported. Three positive cases reported from Kerala earlier were discharged by February 21.
However, Rajasthan Health Minister Raghu Sharma said the samples have been sent for testing again as the first one came negative and the second was positive. He added that the tourist landed in Jaipur from Italy on February 29 and the people who came in contact with him will also be screened for the virus. The tourist came with a group that has now gone to Agra, according to NDTV.
“One positive case of COVID-19 has been detected in New Delhi, and one has been detected in Telangana,” the ministry’s statement read. “The person from Delhi has a travel history from Italy, while the one from Telangana has a travel history from Dubai. Both the patients are stable and being closely monitored.”
The Air India crew who had flown the Vienna to Delhi flight on February 25 on which the Delhi resident was the passenger have been asked to stay in isolation at their homes for 14 days, PTI reported. “If, during this period, they show any symptoms related to novel coronavirus infection, they have to immediately contact doctors,” officials said.
In a media briefing, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan confirmed the cases but asked people not to panic. “If anyone feels like they are exhibiting symptoms, get in touch with the authorities through our helplines,” he said. “We advise people to maintain personal hygiene.”
Vardhan added that travel restrictions may be further extended to other countries, depending on the situation, reported ANI. “Screening of passengers being conducted at 21 airports, 12 major seaports, and 65 minor seaports. 5,57,431 passengers have been screened so far at airports and 12,431 passengers have been screened on minor and major seaports,” he said.
According to the travel advisory, current visas including the electronic visas will remain suspended for China and Iran, the health minister added. Vardhan urged citizens to avoid non-essential travel from China, Iran, Korea, Singapore, and Italy.
The minister added that both new cases were identified through self-identification. He said officials are tracking down families and colleagues of those who tested positive for the virus.
Meanwhile, the Director General of Civil Aviation said they have expanded the screening of all passengers arriving in flights from Italy and Iran. Passengers from 10 countries – China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore, Nepal, Indonesia, Vietnam and Malaysia – are already being screened at Indian airports.
On February 20, the first person to test positive for the novel coronavirus in India was discharged from a government hospital in Thrissur, Kerala. The medical student was the last of the three patients, who had contracted COVID-19 in Kerala, to be discharged.
The virus is believed to have originated in a live seafood market in China’s Wuhan city in Hubei province. The global toll in the novel coronavirus outbreak has breached the 3,000-mark as China reported 42 more deaths on Monday morning. The overall toll in mainland China is now 2,912, said the National Health Commission.
Meanwhile, out of 138 Indians aboard the British-flagged cruise ship Diamond Princess – quarantined in a Japanese port since last month – 12 have tested positive for coronavirus. They are currently receiving treatment in Japan.
Last week, a special Air India flight brought back 119 Indians and five people from other countries to New Delhi. India thanked Japanese authorities for facilitating the evacuation. New Delhi also sent a consignment of medical relief materials to Wuhan – the epicentre of the outbreak via another flight. The Indian Air Force flight, which took the consignment, brought back 76 Indians and 36 people from seven countries.