The first confirmed case of Coronavirus in the country has been reported from Kerala. A student who returned from Wuhan University, China, infected with the deadly virus is under treatment at an isolation ward in a hospital. The blood samples sent to National Institute of Virology, Pune is said to have tested positive for the virus. The condition of the student is said to be stable and being closely monitored, according to Kerala health minister, K.K. Shylaja. India is the 17th country to have confirmed the presence of the deadly virus.
“We have sent 20 samples to National Institute of Virology, Pune of which 10 tested negative. Of the remaining, one case is positive. Four students who returned from China are under observation in Thrissur government general hospital. There are currently 806 persons under observation in the state. Ten persons are quarantined in isolation wards of various hospitals in five districts,” K. K Shylaja told media persons in Thiruvananthapuram. The minister convened a high level emergency meeting and also held discussions with the chief minister and reviewed the situation.
The positive case was reported during a video conference of state health secretaries convened by Union health secretary Preeti Sudan on Thursday morning.
“The virus infection has been confirmed among the four symptomatic students who were admitted in the isolation ward suspecting the virus infection. Result of the other students are yet to come from Pune. Though the initial result tested positive, it can be fully confirmed after getting the result of gene identification sequencing test which is expected in few hours. The contact tracing and back tracking of the student will be done at the state level and national level,” said principal health secretary Dr Rajan N Khobragade.
Isolation ward and other facilities will be set up at Thrissur government medical college and the student will be shifted to the medical college. Health minister and other top officials will go to the Thrissur medical college and a meeting will be convened there to review the situation.
“All possible measures have been taken to prevent the spread of the virus. The government does not want to have even a single Coronavirus death in the state for which public support is crucial. While many people with a travel history to virus infected countries, especially China, report voluntarily, some of them are reluctant to approach health authorities,” added the health minister.
According to her, there is no room for panic and the state has the experience in contact tracing and containing the virus spread. “The state could contain Nipah virus through effective contact tracing and home quarantine which is important in any case of virus outbreak," she informed.
A meeting of the rapid response team is expected to be convened while a control room has already been set up in Thiruvananthapuram.
An alert has been issued to medical offices across districts to ensure not even a single case is left unreported. “With more than 2,500 Indians including Keralites waiting to return from China, the preventive and control measures have to be fool-proof,” said the principal health secretary.
The health minister urged the public and those with recent travel history to infected countries to cooperate. Strict action will be taken against those spreading false news and creating panic.
Meanwhile, in the wake of virus infection, the Indian Council of Medical Research will be setting up facilities to test Coronavirus at Virology Institute, Alappuzha which will help in getting the lab results faster.
Nearly 170 persons returned from China on Wednesday and all of them were screened and asked to remain indoors for next 28 days. Air travellers with symptoms including cold, fever and cough were advised to fill up the 'Self Reporting Form' before landing.
India was listed among the top 30 countries at ‘high risk’ from Coronavirus. With a huge number of students from Kerala studying in many universities across China including Wuhan, the state is considered to be highly vulnerable....