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Coronavirus: Sixth case confirmed, PM asks not to panic, visa suspended for 4 more nations

The sixth case was confirmed after the Italian patient's samples that were sent to the National Institute of Virology in Pune tested positive. The 69-year-old man, part of a group of 20 tourists, is admitted to an isolation ward of the SMS Hospital.

Written by Abantika Ghosh , Darshan Devaiah BP , Rahul V Pisharody | Bengaluru, Hyderabad, New Delhi |
Updated: March 4, 2020 10:40:36 am
In this handout photo provided by ITBP, 112 evacuees, including 36 foreign nationals who were air-lifted from Wuhan, China being quarantined by the ITBP Quarantine Facility, at Chhawla Camp in New Delhi. (File)

On a day an Italian tourist tested positive for novel Coronavirus in Rajasthan, taking the total number of cases in India to six so far, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday assured citizens there was “no need to panic” and that ministries were working together to contain the infection, which has killed over 3,100 people worldwide.

The case was confirmed after the Italian patient’s samples that were sent to the National Institute of Virology in Pune tested positive. The 69-year-old man, part of a group of 20 tourists, is admitted to an isolation ward of the SMS Hospital. “The patient is in isolation and is stable,” the Health Ministry said. The development comes a day after two new infections were detected in India — one in Delhi and the other in Hyderabad.

Noida school fumigated, students under observation

Meanwhile, as part of a precautionary measure, fumigation was carried out at a school in Noida, where a child of the Delhi coronavirus patient studies. Moreover, everyone who attended a birthday party hosted by the patient last Friday was put under observation. Follow LIVE Updates

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In a letter to parents, the principal of the school said the students who had come in contact with the patient were kept in isolation. It was also communicated that the school would remain closed till Friday, March 6. As a precaution, another private school in the vicinity was also closed.

Notice displayed to spread awareness on coronavirus at Naidu hospital. (Express photo by Arul Horizon)

Besides, six more people, including family members of the Delhi man who tested positive for the virus, were quarantined or kept in isolation. Their samples have been sent to the National Institute of Virology in Pune for further confirmation.

PM Modi asks people not to panic amid Coronavirus scare

As concerns over the spread of COVID-19 mounted, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his first remarks since the infection was reported in India, urged the people not to panic and instead take basic protective measures after holding a review meeting on the preparedness.

“Had an extensive review regarding preparedness on the COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus. Different ministries and states are working together, from screening people arriving in India to providing prompt medical attention. There is no need to panic. We need to work together, take small yet important measures to ensure self-protection,” PM Modi tweeted and released a 24×7 helpline number (+91 1123978046) and email id (ncov2019@gmail.com) to report any suspected cases and to seek further help.

Explained

Why not everyone needs to wear a mask

The World Health Organisation recommends that health workers wear surgical masks over their mouths and noses. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) too, says that masks that are technically known as N95s — which are thicker, fit more tightly around the mouth and nose, are able to block out smaller particles much more effectively than ordinary surgical masks — should be worn. This advice, however, is for heath workers, and for those who have a cough and/or cold — medical specialists have said that for healthy members of the public, they are generally not effective. People should neither buy face masks because the novel coronavirus is “in the air”, nor should those who may already have masks at home, make an extra effort to wear them. This advice does not change even if there are COVID-19 cases in a particular community.

MHA suspends visas issued to citizens of four nations

On the other hand, the Union Health Ministry suspended all regular visas/e-visas granted on or before March 3 to nationals of Italy, Iran, South Korea, Japan who have not yet entered India. It also suspended visa on arrival (VoA) issued by March 3 to Japan and South Korea nationals who have not yet entered India. Last month, India had canceled the existing visas for Chinese nationals and foreigners.

The government on Tuesday also put export restrictions on 26 pharma ingredients and medicines, including paracetamol, vitamin B1 and B12.

In Hyderabad, homeopathic medicine to ‘prevent’ medicine

The distribution of homeopathic medicine to ‘prevent’ coronavirus in the state has come under severe criticism online. Many wondered how the department of AYUSH could come up with a preventive medicine for a virus outbreak as recent as Covid-2019.

In small plastic bottles, these “prophylactic” pills are being distributed currently at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport, Dr MCR HRD institute of Telangana and at the government Homeopathy hospital at Ramanthapur in Hyderabad. An adult is advised to take a dose of 6 pills per day for three days. The dosage varies for a child below one year of age and above one year of age.

A man at a coronavirus help desk at the Government Gandhi Hospital in Hyderabad. (File)

‘Have traced every minute of Telangana coronavirus patient’s stay’

Coming to Telangana, the condition of the 24-year-old software professional detected positive for novel coronavirus in the state was stable, according to the Health Minister Eatala Rajender. He is admitted into the isolation ward set up on the 7th floor of Gandhi hospital’s IP building.

The Telangana government is also considering setting up a separate hospital for treating COVID-2019 patients, officials told indianexpress.com. The government is also in the process of tracking and tracing all the persons who were in direct contact with the patient, the minister said.

Coronavirus case in Delhi-NCR: Noida school fumigated, students under surveillance Hyderabad: A medic takes a special lift meant for doctors and patients of coronavirus at Gandhi Hospital in Hyderabad. (File)

As many as 88 persons are being kept under observation. Samples of 45 of them have been sent for testing, and results are expected by Wednesday.

On Tuesday, Eatala Rajender, along with ministers KT Rama Rao and Errabelli Dayakar Rao, held a review meeting with top officials from departments of Education, Transport, Police, Revenue, Municipal Administration and Urban Development, Tourism, Panchayati Raj and Rural Development, and Information and Public Relations in the city.

The minister told media that Rs 100 crore had been allocated by the state government towards the development of infrastructure and services related to Covid-2019 in the state.

'No need to panic, we should work together': PM Modi on coronavirus scare At a coronavirus isolation ward in a hospital. The Karnataka Health department conducted medical screenings and took samples of all the 25 people who were working with the Bengaluru-based techie. (File)

People working with Bengaluru techie screened, samples collected

The Telangana government has also passed on whereabouts of the patient to the Karnataka government to trace his direct contacts from the workplace. Following the development, the Karnataka Health department conducted medical screenings and took samples of all the 25 people who were working with the Bengaluru-based techie.

The department has also screened residents of the apartment where the techie was staying along with one of his roommates.

Coronavirus LIVE: 112 evacuees from China sheltered at Delhi's quarantine facility test negative ITBP officers present a rose to a Wuhan-return Indian as he is released from the ITBP quarantine facility at Chhawla in New Delhi. (PTI/File)

The patient had traveled to Dubai from Bengaluru on February 17 and returned on February 20. He later traveled to Hyderabad on February 22. He consulted a private hospital in Hyderabad after complaining of sickness. As his fever didn’t subside, he was referred to Gandhi Medical Hospital on March 1.

On Tuesday, Karnataka Health Minister B Sriramulu, along with Medical Education Minister Dr K Sudhakar, conducted a meeting with top officials from the department regarding the precautionary measures taken to tackle the virus.

Speaking to the reporters, Sriramulu said, “Once we got the information from the Telangana health department about the techie on Monday, we have traced all the contacts he made in two days after he returned from Dubai. Twenty-five people in the company where he was working have been isolated in their homes and screening is done. We have also contacted all the passengers on the bus in which he traveled 23 bus passengers have been screened. The samples have been collected along with this all the passengers of the flight in which he traveled from Dubai to Bengaluru have also been contacted.”

The Health Department has directed the 25 employees to work from home. The bus in which the techie traveled to Hyderabad from Bengaluru was given a chemical wash.

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