A day after India’s first novel coronavirus (nCoV) case was reported from Kerala, the state government on Friday warned the people of the potential gravity of the threat but maintained that there was no need to panic.
IMAGE: Medics wait to check people, who recently travelled from China, at the specially setup coronavirus ward at Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases, in Bengaluru, on Friday. Photograph: PTI Photo
Camping in Thrissur, where the woman medical student who came from China tested positive for the coronavirus, Health Minister K K Shailaja activated the health department and said the patient is currently treated at an isolation ward of the Government Medical College hospital in Thrissur.
The condition of the patient is stable, official sources said.
Earlier in the day, health authorities shifted the student from the general hospital to the government medical College.
The minister requested those who had travelled to China in recent days to voluntarily report themselves to the nearest hospitals.
Some have reported to the health facilities in their neighbourhood in response to a directive given by the state government, she said.
Strengthening its resolve to check the spread of illness to others, the minister directed those coming from China and other affected regions to strictly remain under home quarantine.
The minister also requested the families of those who returned from the coronavirus-hit regions to postpone marriages to prevent a possible outbreak of the disease in the state.
“Home quarantines are being done only as a precaution. No need to panic,” the minister told reporters here after meeting the private hospital authorities to prepare them for facing the challenge.
She said the family members of the people coming from the affected-regions should abide by the protocol.
“It is heard that in some such families, preparations are being made for marriages. There is no harm in temporarily postponing the date of the marriage.
“There will be some difficulties in postponing the marriages fixed earlier. But this is a protocol. This must be obeyed,” Shailaja said.
Those who are home quarantined would be under observation for 28 days.
“Those who are going for job, they should take leave and be under observation. Health volunteers would be around to solve their problems,” she said.
After holding a meeting with representatives of private hospitals in Thrissur district, Shailaja said isolation wards are being set up in such facilities and training programmes are being conducted for the health officials there.
Shailaja said she was confident that health officials in the state, drawing their experience in fighting the deadly Nipah virus in the past two years, have the capacity to monitor the novel coronavirus and contain it.
The Union Health Ministry had reported to the state government on Thursday that the patient has tested positive for the novel Coronavirus.
The patient had been kept in an isolation ward of the general hospital here since she approached the doctors with symptoms of the virus.
The decision to shift her to the Medical College Hospital was taken after Shailaja held a high-level meeting at the medical college hospital here on Thursday midnight to take stock of the situation after the positive case of nCoV was detected in the state.
The medical college here has been upgraded with a special isolation ward with facilities to treat at least 24 patients at a time.
At least 1,053 people are under observation in the state as the Left Democratic Front government scrambled to tackle the emergency.
The death toll in China’s nCoV outbreak has climbed to 213 with the number of confirmed cases totalling 9,692, China’s national authorities announced on Friday.
About 20 countries have reported confirmed cases of the virus in travellers coming from China.