FILE PHOTO: Medical staff with protective clothing are seen inside a ward specialised in receiving any person who may have been infected with coronavirus, at the Rajiv Ghandhi Government General hospital in Chennai, India, January 29, 2020. REUTERS/P. Ravikumar/File Photo(REUTERS)
FILE PHOTO: Medical staff with protective clothing are seen inside a ward specialised in receiving any person who may have been infected with coronavirus, at the Rajiv Ghandhi Government General hospital in Chennai, India, January 29, 2020. REUTERS/P. Ravikumar/File Photo(REUTERS)

Italian couple visited 6 districts before testing positive for coronavirus

The Italian couple was part of a 21-member group, which landed in Delhi on February 21.
Hindustan Times, Jaipur/New Delhi | By Rakesh Goswami and Sachin Saini
UPDATED ON MAR 04, 2020 12:28 AM IST

Jaipur: The National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune, on Tuesday confirmed that the 69-year-old Italian tourist, admitted in city’s SMS hospital, is suffering from Covid-19 (the disease caused by the Coronavirus). The tourist’s wife has also tested positive in initial tests and her sample has been sent to NIV, Pune, for confirmation, said Rajasthan chief secretary DB Gupta.

The Italian couple was part of a 21-member group, which landed in Delhi on February 21 and visited six districts of the state till February 28. The rest of the group is in Agra.

Government officials said the group reached Mandawa in Rajasthan’s Jhunjhunu district on Februaruy 21 in a bus arranged by a local travel agent. The group stayed in a local hotel in Mandawa, they added.

According to them, the group went to Bikaner on February 22, and left for Jaisalmer, the next day. They were in Jaisalmer on February 23 and 24 and before leaving for Jodhpur on February 25. From Jodhpur, they went to Udaipur on Feb 26, where they stayed for two days.

On February, 28, the group came to Jaipur, and the 69-year-old man complained of uneasiness and was taken to a local private hospital.

Gupta said the Italian tourist complained of breathlessness, after which he was taken to Fortis Hospital and kept overnight. On February 29 around noon, he was shifted to the isolation ward of Ithe nfectious Diseases Hospital (IDH) of SMS Medical College where he was screened for novel coronavirus and H1N1.

“While in isolation ward, the screening test result of COVID-19 was received at 11pm which was negative. The patient was shifted to H1N1 ICU for observation,” said SMS Medical College principal Dr Sudhir Bhandari.

On Monday, the result of the second screening test came out positive after which the Italian was shifted back to the isolation ward’s ICU and his sample was sent to Pune for confirmation. On Tuesday evening, the union health ministry confirmed that the Italian tourist had Covid-19.

“The patient is in isolation and is stable,” the health ministry said in a statement.

The tourist’s wife was tested on Monday, after the husband’s positive test, and the initial report came out positive.

The chief secretary said all medical colleges in the state have been asked to set up rapid response teams to test and monitor anyone who came in contact with the Italian tourists.

“The rapid response teams will screen people in Mandawa, Bikaner, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Udaipur and Jaipur and sanitise hotels and other places the tourists visited,” he said.

Rohit Kumar Singh, additional chief secretary, health department, said the department would send samples of 52 people, who came in contact with the tourist, in Jaipur, to NIV Pune. The 52 include 37 people from SMS Hospital, 11 from Fortis Hospital and four from the hotel where the tourist stayed, he added.

“All of them have been kept in quarantine.”

The rest of the Italians were tested in Agra according to Agra district health officer S K Verma who said the tests came negative. They reached Delhi on March 1, and have now been taken to the Indo Tibetan Border Police’s quarantine facility in Chawala, Delhi. They are undergoing a second round of testing.

Chief Secretary Gupta said five international flights operate out of Rajasthan airports.

“We have been screening people at our airports since January 28 and have screened 24,458 people on 165 flights since then,” he said.

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