Suspected Coronavirus cases in Punjab, Haryana; 633 under scanner in Kerala
Chandigarh, Jan. 28 (IANS/PTI): Sixteen patients in Punjab and two in Haryana have been quarantined on suspicion of having coronavirus, while a total of 633 people, who returned to Kerala from China in recent days, are under observation for possible exposure to the novel coronavirus, ministers of the three states said on Tuesday.
A 28-year-old man from Mohali in Punjab who had recently returned from China was admitted to the PGI here after he was diagnosed with symptoms of coronavirus. The blood samples of all the patients have been sent to the National Institute of Virology, Pune.
Punjab Health and Family Welfare Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu said 16 patients have been kept in isolation wards and are under observation. Their samples have been sent to the National Institute of Virology. He said sample reports of the child, who died in Amritsar on Monday, confirmed swine flu was responsible for the death.
Sidhu’s counterpart in Haryana, Anil Vij told the media that two of the five people, who have a travel history to China, have been hospitalised on suspicion of having coronavirus symptoms.
PGI Director Jagat Ram told the media here that he wrote a letter to the Chief Secretaries of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh not to refer the suspected coronavirus patients to the PGI but to keep them in isolation wards in their hospitals. He said the 28-year-old man was the lone suspected case and the virus could be confirmed only after getting the report by Wednesday. He was admitted to the PGI with high-grade fever and headache. His family has been quarantined at home. Ram said the swine flu is still prevalent and both swine flu and coronavirus have almost similar symptoms.
In Punjab, thermal sensors have been installed at Sri Guru Ram Dass Jee International Airport in Amritsar and the Chandigarh international airport to screen coronavirus.
A total of 633 people, who returned to Kerala from China in recent days, are under observation for possible exposure to the novel coronavirus, state Health Minister K K Shylaja said on Tuesday. Of the 633, seven are under observation in isolation wards at different hospitals, according to officials. The situation in the state was under control but the state needs to be vigilant, the minister told reporters.
“A total of 633 people are under observation in the state. As of now, everything is under control. But we need to remain vigilant until the World Health Organisation says its safe,” the minister said. She asked those who have returned from China or other affected areas like Nepal or Sri Lanka to approach the health department without any hesitation.
“Those who have returned from China should approach the health department and follow the instructions of the officials. It has been learnt that the particular virus will be inactive in the body for a few days initially. So it is better to stay under observation,” the minister said.
Meanwhile, a senior health official told PTI that seven people are in isolation wards. “Out of the 633 persons who reached the state, seven are in different hospitals–two in Kochi, four in Thrissur and one in Malappuram district. The rest are home quarantined,” the official said. He also said of the ten samples sent for testing at the National Institute of Virology at Pune, six tested negative for the virus while results of the others are awaited.
A three-member central team on Tuesday held a meeting with Kerala Health authorities, including Principal Health Secretary Dr Rajan N Khobragade, here and discussed the preventive measures taken against the backdrop of the Coronavirus outbreak in China’s Wuhan province.
A thermal screening facility was opened at the Thiruvananthapuram airport on Tuesday to scan passengers coming from the neighbouring country, they told reporters.
Special wards coming up across India for coronavirus cases
After setting up special wards in Delhi to treat suspected coronavirus patients and to check the spread of the contagious disease, the Centre has ordered the setting up of such quarantine wards in other states, a senior official said on Tuesday. “The Centre is taking every possible step to tackle coronavirus, for which the Health Ministry had directed all states to set up isolation wards,” National Centre for Disease Control Director Sujit Kumar Singh told IANS.
Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, and Sikkim — adjoining Nepal — are setting up special treatment wards, he said. These wards have been set up in such a way that the spread of the deadly virus could be curbed.
The Health Ministry has directed the Director Generals of Police of these five states that no one entering India from Nepal in areas under their jurisdiction should be allowed in without proper screening. Thermal screening is being done at 10 entry points on the India-Nepal border.
A meeting of Health Department officials with the Chief Secretaries and DGPs of these states was held here on Monday to discuss steps to handle suspect coronavirus cases. Delhi’s Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital has also set up a special ward to house suspected coronavirus cases.
This story has been compiled and edited from reports from the stated agencies by the Eastern Mirror Desk.