The group of 23 Italian tourists — 16 of them and their Indian driver have now tested positive for coronavirus — came in contact with at least 215 people across six districts of Rajasthan, State Health Minister Raghu Sharma told the Assembly on Wednesday.
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He said samples of 93 people have been collected; 51 have tested negative, while the remaining test reports are awaited.
The group, including the 69-year-old Italian man who first tested positive, had arrived in New Delhi on February 21. They took a bus to Jhunjhunu, in Rajasthan, the same day. From there, they went to Bikaner, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur and Udaipur, before arriving in Jaipur on February 28.
Those who came in contact with them include 59 in Jhunjhunu, 44 in Bikaner, 14 in Jaisalmer, 14 in Jodhpur, and 6 in Udaipur. In Jaipur, six persons at the hotel where the tourists were staying are reported to have come in contact with them.
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The list also includes 35 people at a private hospital in Jaipur and 37 at the government-run Sawai Man Singh Hospital, where the 69-year-old went for treatment.
While international passengers are being screened at the airport in Jaipur, this group took a bus from Delhi, and was therefore not screened.
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While the 69-year-old and his wife are undergoing treatment at the Sawai Man Singh Hospital in Jaipur, 14 others of the group and their Indian driver were quarantined at the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) facility in Chhawla, Delhi, from where they are reported to have been referred to Safdarjung Hospital.
An official said the Italians are in the 50-60 age group. “All 24 people brought yesterday (from Rajasthan) left from the ITBP quarantine facility in Chhawla Wednesday evening. Those who tested positive will be treated at designated hospitals, while others will be kept in preventive isolation at a different location,” said Vivek Pandey, spokesperson, ITBP.
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The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has designated Safdarjung Hospital and RML Hospital as nodal centres for treatment. While over 100 beds have been earmarked at Safdarjung, more than 30 beds have been set aside at RML Hospital.
Taking stock of the situation, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said, “The passengers who had come from Italy were staying in Surya Hotel. We have traced and identified the people who came in contact with them, and they have been kept in isolation. Around 13-14 rooms of the hotel have been sealed, to ensure that the rooms are properly sanitised… The same steps have been taken at the Grand Hotel, where they stayed afterwards.”
The ITBP facility also houses 112 evacuees brought in from Wuhan, China, including 32 women. Seventy-six of these are Indians, while the rest include 23 from Bangladesh, six from China, two each from Myanmar and Maldives, and one each from Madagascar, South Africa and the US.
In Delhi, a total of 4,421 passengers travelling from China, Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Nepal, Indonesia, Malaysia, Iran and Italy were screened at the airport on Wednesday. Of these, 10 symptomatic passengers were sent to hospital. “Five each have been hospitalised in RML and Safdarjung. Since January 15, 33 symptomatic passengers have been hospitalised in these two hospitals — seven in RML and 26 in Safdarjung. We are monitoring the condition of all the patients on a regular basis,” said a senior health department official.
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