Coronavirus scare: Two more quarantined; three discharged
Two more persons, including a foreign national, were quarantined at the civic-run Kasturba Gandhi Hospital in Chinchpokli on Thursday, as they showed symptoms similar to the novel Coronavirus (nCoV). Among the six people quarantined earlier, three were discharged on Thursday morning.
The 32-year-old foreign national who had arrived in the city on January 29 was suffering from cold and fever. She was staying at an Andheri hotel and was taken to the isolation ward for observation on Thursday after her symptoms got worse.
The second patient who was quarantined on Thursday is a 21-year-old Mira Road resident, who came to Mumbai on January 25 from China. She was kept on telephonic observation by civic body health officers after her return. After she developed a cold, fever and other coronavirus symptoms, she was admitted to Kasturba Hospital for observation. The samples of the foreign national and the Mira Road resident have been sent to the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune for tests.
Meanwhile, after being under observation at the isolation ward of Kasturba Gandhi Hospital for days, the first three patients who were suspected of suffering from coronavirus were discharged on Thursday morning. However, civic health officials said they will be kept under telephonic observation for two weeks. “After their first set of samples were tested negative, we sent another set for analysis at NIV, as the incubation period of the virus is around 14 days. On Wednesday, the second set also came back negative, following which they were discharged,” said Suresh Kalani, assistant commissioner (health), Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
BMC is now awaiting the second reports of two more patients. Based on their reports, health officials will decide if they can be discharged from the hospital. Another patient, a 19-year-old Dahisar resident who returned from China on January 16, was quarantined on Wednesday after he developed symptoms such as running nose and cold. The hospital is yet to receive his first report.
Drug association raises concerns
As India registered its first confirmed case of coronavirus in Kerala, the All Food and Drugs License Holders Foundation (AFDLHF) has questioned the efficiency of the medical infrastructure in the country to identify the those suffering from the virus. The association wrote a letter to the central and state government raising concerns over the issue on Thursday.
Currently, passengers returning from China are being examined with thermal scanners by the health officers from Airport Health Organization (AHO) at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport. Since January 16, city airport authorities have screened 4,846 passengers who returned from China. But the foundation has raised the need to run tests on all the passengers to rule out any possibility of infection among people with lower immunity powers. “Everyday, we are witnessing a rise in the number of suspected coronavirus cases. But we have observed that the entry points at the airport are not properly equipped with testing facilities,” reads AFDLHF’s letter.
Abhay Pandey, president of AFDLHF said, “This virus can spread through air due to sneezing and coughing and its incubation period is around 14 days. So, if a person, who is already infected but shows no symptoms is allowed to go home, he/she can infect others, leading to an epidemic. So, there is a need to examine every passenger and get them tested.” Dr Archana Patil, additional director of health service, state family welfare department, said the state is taking adequate measures to prevent an outbreak. “We are keeping a tab on all those who are coming from China. Twelve people across the state are under telephonic observation and health officers are monitoring them every day to check if they have developed any symptoms of coronavirus,” she said.