PM Modi tweets on coronavirus, says no need to panic
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said there was no need to panic and urged people to work together, a day after two Indians tested positive for the deadly coronavirus in the country.
The Prime Minister also said he had held an “extensive review” with several ministries and state governments about the level of preparedness to tackle coronavirus.
“There is no need to panic. We need to work together, take small yet important measures to ensure self-protection,” the Prime Minister tweeted.
WATCH | ‘There is no need to panic’: PM Modi’s message on Coronavirus scare
He also tweeted a photo outlining “basic protective measures” which need to be taken to stop the infection from spreading—including the washing hands frequently and covering mouth and nose with a tissue when sneezing or coughing.
India has stepped up preparedness in anticipation of cluster cases after the two fresh cases of the coronavirus, which has been named SARS-Cov-2, with the disease it causes being called Covid-19 by the World Health Organization (WHO).
India has also intensified medical screening a day after two more positive cases of coronavirus were reported in the country.
The government has said all visas—regular and e-visa—issued to nationals of Italy, Iran, South Korea and Japan on or before Tuesday have been suspended.
It also said that the visa suspension for Chinese nationals on or before February 5 will remain in force. The visas of all the other foreign nationals issued on or after February 1, and who are in countries affected by coronavirus, have been suspended.
A case of coronavirus was detected in Delhi, the government said on Monday, even as another case in Hyderabad took the number of reported infections in the country to five amid a global alarm over the outbreak that has rapidly spread from China to more than 60 countries and claimed more than 3000 lives.
Three people were previously diagnosed in Kerala with the disease, but they have been discharged from hospitals after recovering from the infection.
A private school in Noida declared a three-day closure after it emerged that the children of the Delhi man, who tested positive for coronavirus, study in the school. Another school in the area also said that it will remain shut till March 9.
The person from Delhi recently travelled to Italy, while the patient from Hyderabad has travel history from Dubai, the health and family welfare ministry said.
They are stable and being closely monitored, Union health minister Harsh Vardhan said.
While reports quoted Rajasthan health minister Raghu Sharma as saying that an Italian tourist was found positive for the virus in Jaipur, the central government did not confirm the development.
The two patients arrived in India without symptoms a few days ago and interacted unprotected with their families, friends, colleagues and commuters over the past week.
The Union health ministry said on Tuesday that six cases with “high-viral load” were detected during sample testing in Agra and these people have been kept in isolation.
The six people had come in contact with the 45-year-old patient from Delhi, whose case came to light on Monday, and they include his family members. The man had visited them in Agra.
The six have been kept in isolation at Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi and their samples are being sent to NIV, Pune for confirmation.
The patient in Delhi was shifted to a 50-bed quarantine ward at Safdarjung Hospital on Sunday night, by when he had no symptoms, according to a person employed at the hospital.
Hospital staffers who treated the Delhi patient at RML Hospital have also been quarantined at home for 14 days, according to a person aware of the developments.
“The private practitioner the Delhi case went to has been contacted and asked not to examine patients and stay under home quarantine for two weeks,” another government official said, asking not to be named.
“He has been asked to report Covid-19-related symptoms of fever, cough and difficulty breathing,” the official said.
The man in Hyderabad contacted the local Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) unit when he developed a fever.
“The list of people he has come into contact with since his return from Dubai is being compiled and these people are being traced within the community. If any of them show symptoms, they will be isolated in a hospital, the rest will be asked to stay vigilant,” a ministry official said.
After the Union health ministry’s announcement on Monday, the Air India crew that flew the Vienna-Delhi flight on February 25 on which the 45-year-old infected man was a passenger have been asked to quarantine themselves at home for 14 days.
While there is currently no known effective antiviral therapy for Covid-19, many ongoing clinical trials are evaluating different therapeutic interventions globally, according to WHO.
Following the two fresh cases of coronavirus, aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation on Monday issued an order that said passengers coming from Italy and Iran will also undergo thermal screening at airports.
Other than Italy and Iran, India is screening passengers at airports coming from China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore, Nepal, Indonesia, Vietnam and Malaysia.
The virus is believed to have infected the first human in a seafood market in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.
While there has been no reported community transmission of the infection so far in India, public health experts say localised outbreaks are bound to occur at some point.