Four samples suspected to contain novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) have tested negative at the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune, top officials at the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) told The Indian Express on Friday.
As on Friday evening, five people — three in Mumbai, and one each in Hyderabad and Bengaluru — were quarantined after they displayed symptoms of the infection. Two samples from Mumbai and one each from Hyderabad and Bengaluru were sent to NIV.
“All four samples with suspected novel coronavirus that were sent to NIV for investigations have tested negative,” ICMR director general Dr Balram Bhargava told The Indian Express.
Officials have said that the suspected cases will be observed for 28 days. Maharashtra epidemiologist Dr Pradeep Awate said, “Neither China nor the World Health Organization has transmission period for this virus. Usually, it takes only a few days for coronavirus symptoms to surface. We are observing these cases for double the period. It will provide sufficient window to detect any symptoms.”
Maharashtra Director of Health Services Dr Archana Patil has also issued an advisory about the virus and said that there was no case so far in the state. Respiratory illnesses are common during this season and surveillance measures have been stepped up, Patil said, adding that a list of do’s and don’ts has also been issued.
Across airports in India, 20,844 passengers from 96 flights have been screened for 2019-nCoV symptoms as on Friday evening. A travel advisory has been extended to 12 more airports. These are Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Coimbatore, Guwahati, Gaya, Bagdogra, Jaipur, Lucknow, Thiruvananthapuram, Tiruchirappalli, Varanasi and Visakhapatnam. At all these airports, signages have been displayed at prominent locations informing the public about self-reporting of illness. Immigration officers manning the counters have also been sensitised.
Thermal screening is currently being done at the International airports of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Cochin.
The US-based Centre for Disease Control in their statement said, “Person to person spread of 2019-n-CoV is occurring though it is not clear how easily it spreads and further investigations are underway.”-
With ENS Delhi, Mumbai
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