Indian Embassy in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, late on Thursday, clarified that the Keralite nurse being treated at Aseer National Hospital has been diagnosed with MERS-CoV, and not 2019-NCoV that has claimed 17 lives in China.
Confirming this through a tweet from India in Jeddah handle, the embassy also urged everyone to not spread the incorrect information that was doing rounds following a tweet from Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan. “Dr Tarik Al Azraqi, Chairman, Scientific Regional Infection Control Committee, Aseer Region, has confirmed that d Indian Nurse being treated at Aseer National Hospital is suffering from MERS-CoV & not 2019-NCoV (Wuhan). We request everyone to refrain from sharing incorrect info,” the tweet read.
Dr Tarik Al Azraqi, Chairman, Scientific Regional Infection Control Committee, Aseer Region, has confirmed that d Indian Nurse being treated at Aseer National Hospital is suffering from MERS-CoV & not 2019-NCoV (Wuhan). We request everyone to refrain from sharing incorrect info.
— India in Jeddah (@CGIJeddah) January 23, 2020
MERS-CoV that stands for Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), also known as camel flu, is a viral respiratory infection caused by the MERS-coronavirus (MERS-CoV).
Earlier in the day, Muraleedharan had tweeted out that the nurse working in Saudi Arabia had tested positive for new coronavirus, which has killed 17 people in China.
“About 100 Indian nurses mostly from Kerala working at Al-Hayat hospital have been tested and none except one nurse was found infected by Coronavirus. The affected nurse is being treated at Aseer National Hospital and is recovering well,” Muraleedharan tweeeted, adding that he has asked the Indian Consulate to provide all possible support.
Update from @CGIJeddah : About 100 Indian nurses mostly from Kerala working at Al-Hayat hospital have been tested and none except one nurse was found infected by Corona virus. Affected nurse is being treated at Aseer National Hospital and is recovering well. @PMOIndia @MEAIndia https://t.co/jM0u5243GV
— V. Muraleedharan (@MOS_MEA) January 23, 2020
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan wrote to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), urging External Affairs minister S Jaishankar to take up the matter with the Gulf nation and ensure expert treatment.
According to reports, the nurse, who hails from Kottayam’s Ettumanoor was infected with the coronavirus while taking the case of a Filipino nurse.
While intensive screening is going on at the Kochi airport, no cases of suspicion have been reported yet. At least 32 passengers who departed from China and landed in Kochi as transited through various far east airports like Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, and Singapore were examined and briefed. They were allowed to go home after contact detailed were collected.
Kerala Health Minister KK Shailaja said, “we are taking all preventive measures in all the districts here. We are paying attention to all symptoms. If any positive cases occur, we will shift them to isolation wards. There is no need to panic.”
Meanwhile, the MEA has issued an advisory saying that people coming from China will have to go through a screening process at airports. “As far as protecting oneself while living in China is concerned, our Missions have made an effort for this there. But if you come to India you will have to go through the screening process,” MEA Raveesh Kumar said.
India has stepped up screening efforts at airports with 9,156 passengers from 43 flights screened for coronavirus infection so far. This comes amid an emergency meeting convened by the World Health Organisation and the first case of the novel coronavirus infection being reported in the US.
Thermal screening is being done for passengers arriving from China, including Hong Kong, at the identified international airports of Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Cochin, Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata.
As part of the measures taken by the ministries of Health and Family Welfare and Civil Aviation, a travel advisory has been issued. Posting the advisory for passengers going to China, the health ministry tweeted, “Ms. Preeti Sudan, Secy (HFW) on Novel #coronavirus: We are on alert & our preparedness is sturdy. Passengers travelling from China requested to report to nearest public health facility in case they feel any symptoms.”
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