Two persons who returned to Mumbai from China amid Coronavirus scare are being monitored at a government hospital in the city for possible exposure to the deadly new virus that has so far left 25 people dead and 830 infected.
The two have been admitted to the Kasturba hospital, run by the civic-body, where an isolation ward has been created.
Dr Padmaja Keskar, executive health officer of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said the two persons under observation at the hospital have mild cough and exhibited cold-related symptoms.
“The isolation ward has been created for diagnosis and treatment of persons suspected to have the coronavirus infection,” she was quoted as saying by PTI.
Further details about the persons kept under surveillance were awaited.
She further said doctors at the Mumbai International Airport have been asked to send travellers returning from China to the isolation ward if they show any symptoms of the coronavirus.
“All private doctors in the city have been asked to alert us (the BMC) if they observe symptoms of the coronavirus in anyone who has returned from China,” she said.
According to Kasturba Hospital sources, they have received detailed instructions from the Maharashtra government about the coronavirus and how to deal with the illness and they have been instructed to strictly follow those.
Apart from Kasturba Hospital, quarantine facilities have also been provided at Naidu Hospital in Pune, the officials said.
The two persons were among 1,789 passengers who underwent thermal screening at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport for coronavirus since January 19.
Till now, no cases of the deadly infection have been detected through these screening efforts, a health department official said.
India on Tuesday expanded thermal screening of passengers arriving from China including Hong Kong to seven airports for preventing any entry of ‘Novel Corona Virus Disease (nCoV) in the country.
Following advisory from National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, the Ministry of Civil Aviation directed for all logistics support and arrangements to be made immediately with regard to screening of passengers arriving in India from China including Hong Kong at the identified airports i.e. Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Cochin along with three airports at Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata identified earlier.
The government has also issued a travel advisory asking citizens travelling to and from China to follow certain precautionary measures.
Majority of the cases has been reported from Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province, where a seafood market that illegally sold wild animals has been identified as the epicentre of the outbreak.
Fearing that the epidemic may spread further, Chinese authorities in a late night notification, have asked residents not to leave the city unless necessary.
The coronavirus has caused alarm because of its similarity to SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), which killed nearly 650 people across mainland China and Hong Kong in 2002-2003.
Like SARS, it can be passed among people through the respiratory tract.
The symptoms of infection include fever, cough and breathing problems.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that the deadly virus outbreak is an emergency in China but has not yet become a global health emergency. It announced that it was “too early” to declare the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in China a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) while warning that the number of cases may increase as much about the virus remains unknown.
India has said it is closely monitoring the evolving situation in China including advisories issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) in connection with the epidemic.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia authorities have ruled out media reports that an Indian nurse in the Kingdom was infected with the novel coronavirus. It has, however, confirmed two cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in Abha city.
Earlier, Minister of State for External Affairs, V Muraleedharan had informed that about 100 Indian nurses mostly from Kerala working at Al-Hayat hospital have been tested and none except one nurse was found infected by Coronavirus.