New Delhi, January 31: Six persons, suspected of being affected by the novel coronavirus, have been kept under observation at an isolation ward of RML hospital here and their tests reports are awaited, hospital sources said on Friday. India reported its first case of novel coronavirus in Kerala on Thursday and the patient has been kept in an isolation ward in the state, the Union health ministry said.
Five persons self-reported to the Ram Manohar Lohia hospital, designated to deal with such cases, with respiratory problems and fever, hospital sources said. Among the five, a female (24) has been staying in China since 2015 and had returned to India on January 29. Apart from the female patient, four men, one aged 45-years, returned to India on January 23 while another (35) has been staying in China for the last seven years and returned to India on January 28. Another male (19) was in China from November 2019 to January 24, 2020 and returned to India on January 25.
Another male (34) who was staying in China for the last 10 years, returned to India on January 16. While the above five had self-admitted themselves on January 30, the remaining one is an old admission — a male (32), who visited China from January 4 to January 11, officials said.
“The samples of all the six patients have been sent for testing and their reports are awaited,” an RML official said. The government has stepped up its efforts to detect and prevent the spread of the virus that has killed at least 170 people and infected more that 7,700 in China and has spread to at least 17 countries already.
Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba on Thursday reviewed the country’s preparedness with the concerned ministries — health and family welfare, external affairs, defence, home affairs, civil aviation, information and broadcasting, labour and employment, and shipping — to tackle the spread of the virus, an official release said.
He also spoke to chief secretaries of the states and UTs through video-conference, it added. During these meetings, it was decided that all those who have come from China after 15 January will be tested for the exposure to the virus and also the lab facilities will be augmented. While six labs will start functioning from Thursday, including one at AIIMS in Delhi, six more labs will start function by Friday, the release said.
Apart from putting measures in place to battle the spread at home, the government is also getting ready to evacuate its nationals on Friday from China, which continued to scramble to contain the spread of the deadly virus. Authorities have been screening patients at 21 airports, ports and borders for possible coronavirus infection and the health ministry has urged people to report themselves if they show symptoms of the virus, such as cold and respiratory distress, on the 24×7 helpline (011-23978046).
The ministry has asked people to refrain from travelling to China and the states bordering Nepal — Uttarakhand, UP, Bihar, West Bengal and Sikkim — have stepped up vigil