China virus: Indian medical interns advised to stay away from Wuhan hospital
Local authorities sent out the advisory after one person was diagnosed with the disease at the Zhongnan hospital of the Wuhan university medical college where Indian and other international students were attached to.Updated: Jan 21, 2020 16:36 IST
Indian students completing their medical internships in Wuhan have been advised to stay away from their hospital residencies following the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus, which is said to have originated in a seafood and animal market in the city.
Local authorities sent out the advisory after one person was diagnosed with the disease at the Zhongnan hospital of the Wuhan university medical college where Indian and other international students were attached to.
Chinese experts confirmed Monday that this previously unknown strain of the virus is highly contagious – at least 14 medical workers in Wuhan got infected while treating a single patient.
With nearly 200 cases diagnosed in the city, Wuhan is at the core of the outbreak.
Speaking to HT on condition of anonymity, an Indian student from Wuhan said the local authorities sent out the advisory as soon as the case was confirmed at Zhongnan hospital – students were advised to keep to their hostels and take adequate precautions.
Only a handful of Indian students remain in the city of around 11 million and thousands of foreign students.
Of the 600-700 Indian students in Wuhan, a majority has either gone home or abroad for the winter-cum-Chinese New Year (CNY) vacations; more are planning to return home this week.
A large number of Indian students at the Wuhan university medical college – where around 500 Indian students study – are from southern states; there are students from Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh as well.
It’s not yet known whether any of the Indian students were infected before leaving Wuhan for India or any other destination.
The Indian student said the student community knew about the disease outbreak since earlier this month but the situation become serious when the number diagnosed with it went up sharply last week.
Soon, social media groups – especially the Indian community and student groups on WeChat, the Chinese mobile app – started buzzing with updates about the disease, its symptoms and the precautions needed to be taken to avoid catching it.
“We began distributing masks among students, not only Indians but among all foreign students,” he said.
There are a large number of Pakistani and Bangladeshi students studying at the universities in and around Wuhan as well.
A note on the disease was prepared and shared among all international students through WeChat over the last weekend.
“All international students follow the recommendations of WHO to reduce your risk of Coronavirus infection and try to go out less (especially crowded places), open your room door and windows to keep the air fresh. If you or your family members don’t feel well, go to the hospital in time,” one point in the note said.
Keeping in mind the large number of students from the country, Indian embassy officials from Beijing has been in contact with Indian student groups in Wuhan for updates.