Kerala student who tested positive for coronavirus recovers, discharged from hospital
Kerala student’s recovery marks the first case of a person in India recovering from the highly contagious disease that now threatens global trade and economy, in addition to its potential to turn into a global pandemic.Updated: Feb 14, 2020 00:49 IST
One of the three Indian students who had tested positive for the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) after returning from China’s Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak, has been discharged from the hospital in Kerala after a full recovery, the Union government said on Thursday.
The recovery marks the first case of a person in India recovering from the highly contagious disease that now threatens global trade and economy, in addition to its potential to turn into a global pandemic. There are two more students in India who have been infected with the virus and continue to be in hospitals, where their condition is stable.
“There have only been three cases of novel coronavirus in India so far; all of them are from Kerala. One of them has been discharged, the others are stable and recovering,” Union health minister Harsh Vardhan said at a press conference in New Delhi on Thursday.
The three had returned to Kerala from Wuhan, the city in central China’s Hubei province where the virus was reported to have first spread from a meat market in December 2019.
Tests for the two remaining students have shown that their viral load is reducing, which means they are recovering. “They will be discharged only after confirmatory tests done at the National Institute of Virology, Pune, come back negative,” an official from the health ministry said on the condition of anonymity.
Nearly 1,400 people have died of the virus, officially named Covid-19, while over 60,000 have been infected globally, with most casualties and cases reported from China.
“Covid-19 is highly infectious, but the case fatality outside mainland China is less that 0.2%. Many of epidemiological parameters of this disease, however, are not yet known,” Vardhan said.
A group of 645 Indians evacuated by the government in two special flights from Wuhan this month have tested negative for the virus on their arrival in Delhi, but they will be discharged only after 18 days of quarantine. Their samples will be collected again in the next few days, and once proven negative, the evacuees will be discharged on February 19 and 20, said Union health secretary Preeti Sudan.
On Thursday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote a letter of letter of appreciation, lauding the “high level of commitment” shown by Air India crew members and other officials who had helped evacuate the Indians stranded in Wuhan.
In addition to the Indians in Kerala, at least two are suspected to have been sickened by the virus on a cruise ship quarantined in Japan.
External affairs minister S Jaishankar said on Thursday that the Indian mission in Japan is providing all assistance to the 138 Indian crew members and passengers on the cruise ship.
“Our Embassy @IndianEmbTokyo is in constant touch with the crew and passengers of Diamond Princess off Yokohama, Japan, rendering all necessary support & assistance. Passengers & crew are currently quarantined by Japanese authorities,” Jaishankar wrote on Twitter.
The cruise ship with 3,711 people on board arrived at the Japanese coast early last week and was quarantined after a passenger who de-boarded in Hong Kong in January was found to be the carrier of the virus on the ship. A total of 218 people have been found to be infected till Thursday.
While India has temporarily suspended visas to all Chinese citizens, authorities are also screening passengers from Japan and South Korea for possible symptoms of the virus at 21 airports across the country. So far, 249,447 people from 2,315 flights have been screened.
About 16,000 people who either have a history of travel to China or came in contact with those infected with the virus are being monitored. Apart from them, 497 across the country have been isolated to check for infections.
Two people in Kolkata were also isolated on Thursday for showing possible symptoms of the virus, which can cause fever and respiratory issues. The two had flown in from Bangkok.
Fifteen laboratories of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) have tested 1,071 samples for possible infections till now.
“There is sufficient stock of medicine for two months, we have planned everything,” Vardhan said after a briefing by Manukh L Mandaviya, Union minister for chemicals and fertilisers, during a high-level inter-ministerial meeting on Thursday.