India’s second case of the novel coronavirus (nCoV) infection was confirmed in Alappuzha, Kerala, after a student, admitted to the isolation ward of the Government Medical College, tested positive on Sunday.
Officials in Kerala said that at present a total of eight suspected cases had been admitted to isolation wards at the Government Medical College Hospital and General Hospital in Alappuzha.
Health Minister K.K. Shylaja said, “One more confirmed case of nCoV has been reported in the State. The patient is stable. At present, there are four people, including the affected person, in the isolated ward at the Government Medical College Hospital. Of them, three have been returned recently from Wuhan. The other suspected case is a relative of one of them. We are awaiting the medical test reports of other suspected cases. Majority of those in observation in the district are in house quarantine.”
Following the Alappuzha case, the government on Sunday temporarily suspended the e-visa facility for Chinese and foreigners residing in China. Indian citizens have been asked to refrain from travel to China and warned that in case of travel on return from China, they could be quarantined.
A statement issued by the Union Health Ministry said: “Anyone with travel history in China since January 15, 2020, and from now on could be quarantined.”
The Indian Embassy in Beijing tweeted that owing to the certain current developments, travel to India on e-visas stood temporarily suspended with immediate effect. This applies to holders of Chinese passports and applicants of other nationalities residing in the People’s Republic of China. Also holders of already issued E-visas may note that these are no longer valid.
“All those who have a compelling reason to visit India may contact the Embassy of India in Beijing or the Indian consulates in Shanghai or Guangzhou,and the Indian Visa Application Centres in these cities,” it added.
The toll from the nCoV infection has crossed 300, with 14,562 infected across 25 countries, including India, the U.S. and the U.K.
Speaking about the second positive case of coronavirus the health ministry said that the patient has tested positive for novel coronavirus and is in isolation in a hospital. ``The patient is stable and is being closely monitored,’’ said the release. India’s first novel coronavirus case in India was also reported from Kerala with a student testing positive.
India has so far evacuated 647 Indians and seven Maldivian citizens by special flights from coronavirus-hit Wuhan city. Air India’s jumbo B747 made two flights to Wuhan city. In the first flight on Saturday, 324 Indians were evacuated and on Sunday another 323 Indians and seven Maldivian citizens were flown back.
“Four Indians could not board the second flight after they reported high temperatures. They may be quarantined to undergo tests to determine whether they have symptoms of the coronavirus. Twenty-five others stayed back on their own accord. There may still be about 100 Indians who remained in Hubei province,” said a senior official.
Ahead of the evacuation operation, the Indian Embassy had informed the Indians that they have to undergo health tests before the flight and undergo 14-day quarantine after reaching India in special camps.
Alappuzha on alert
Alappuzha has been placed on high alert following the confirmation. The health minister said that the nod had been received for conducting tests for positive cases of coronavirus at the Alappuzha unit of the NIV. (Until now samples were being sent to the Pune unit of the NIV). "We will start testing samples at the unit at the earliest. This will help us to identify positive cases without delay," she said.
Ms. Shylaja, who chaired a high-level meeting at the district collectorate here said that there was no need to panic. "People need to vigilant. We have already opened isolation wards at Government Medical College Hospital and General Hospital. If needed, such facilities will be opened in taluk and private hospitals also," she said.
Minister said that National Health Mission state coordinator Ratan Kelkar would coordinate the response to nCoV outbreak in Alappuzha. According to officials, a total of 124 people were under observation in the district.
A round-the-clock control room has already been opened here in view of the nCoV scare. Those who have returned from China and other foreign countries and are experiencing fever, cough or respiratory illness should immediately contact the Direct Intervention System for Health Awareness (DISHA), officials said.