A person from Kerala, who was studying at Wuhan University in China and had returned to India, has been detected positive for novel coronavirus, the Ministry of Health confirmed on January 30.
Posting from their official Twitter handle, the Ministry also said that the condition of the patient is stable and is being closely monitored by doctors.
Kerala Health Minister KK Shailaja has also assured that the student’s condition is not serious, and he is being taken care of, stating there is no need to panic.
Giving out further details about the detection of the coronavirus in the China-return student, Shailaja said: We learnt early on January 30 that 10 of the 20 samples we had sent to NIV tested negative, while six were marked as suspected. Of these six, one was confirmed as positive, which is the sample of the student now admitted in a medical care facility.
Throwing caution to the air, the health minister warned pregnant women and already ailing persons to exercise extra caution. She informed Keralites that a control room has been arranged for at the Directorate of health services, while an isolation ward has been set up in Thrissur Medical Hospital for similar or related emergencies.
Notably, Wuhan is the centre of the deadly disease for which doctors are still struggling to find a cure.
The number of deaths due to novel coronavirus has risen to 170 people, and almost 7,700 cases have been confirmed in mainland China, as the Wuhan it spreads across Asia and the rest of the world.
Novel coronavirus belongs to the coronavirus family that causes illnesses ranging from the common cold to acute respiratory syndromes. It has emerged from a seafood and animal market in Wuhan city, China.
The government had stepped up its efforts to monitor the health of people coming into India, especially from China and South East Asia. Thailand had reported 14 confirmed cases of coronavirus.
Meanwhile, in Delhi, three men kept under observation at an isolation ward of the RML Hospital for possible exposure to novel coronavirus have tested negative, a Health Ministry official said on January 30.
With China struggling to contain the fast-spreading virus, the Union Health Ministry had on January 29 urged Indians to refrain from travelling to China.
The advisory further urged all travellers to China to monitor their health closely. A 24x7 helpline number (011-23978046) to redress any queries related the respiratory infection has been set up.
As part of the preparedness mechanism, India has also increased the number of airports for thermal screening of passengers to 21 from seven. The new airports include those at Gaya, Guwahati, Vizag, Varanasi, Goa, Bhubaneshwar and Lucknow.
The Health Ministry has also made four more laboratories functional other than NIV-Pune, for testing samples. The four lab facilities for testing samples have been made functional at Alleppey, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Mumbai.
Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba on January 28 reviewed preparedness to deal with the deadly virus after which the government said India has made a formal request to China for facilitating evacuation of Indians from Wuhan.
India is planning to evacuate its nationals, mostly students, stuck in Wuhan.(With inputs from PTI)