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Prevention is better than cure.
TESTING TIMES

How India is dealing with the coronavirus outbreak

Niharika Sharma
By Niharika Sharma

Aviation and social media reporter

This post has been updated.

Today (Feb. 3), a new confirmed case of coronavirus has been reported from Kerala’s Kasargod. The specific details aren’t out yet.

With this, there are three positive cases of the outbreak, all from India’s southern state of Kerala.

On Feb. 2, India reported its second confirmed case of coronavirus in the southern state of Kerala.

“The (second Indian) patient has tested positive for novel coronavirus and is in isolation in the hospital,” the union health ministry said in a statement yesterday (Feb. 2). The patient is admitted to the Alappuzha Medical College hospital, where three other persons are under observation and kept in an isolation ward, as per Kerala’s health minister KK Shailaja. “At present, 120 people are under home quarantine in Alappuzha. It is advisable that the public functions should not be held at the houses of any of these people,” she said at the media briefing.

Last week, a student from Kerala, studying at China’s Wuhan University, tested positive. However, both the Kerala students tested positive are now stable.

Apart from Kerala, a couple of persons in Mizoram, who returned from China in January, have been put under house quarantine in wake of the outbreak of the deadly virus.

In Bengaluru, a family of five was also tested for the coronavirus after the neighbours alerted officials that the family had visited China recently. From Jan. 20 and Jan. 31, 4,367 travellers have been screened at Bengaluru’s Kempegowda International Airport.

As a precautionary measure, on Feb. 2, the central government also announced a temporary suspension of the e-visa facility for Chinese travellers and foreigners residing in the neighbouring country and issued a fresh advisory saying anyone with travel history to China since Jan. 15 can be quarantined.

The rescue mission

While people who are showing symptoms of the virus are being kept under observation, India has been successfully evacuating its citizens from China.

A second Air India flight on Sunday, evacuated 330 passengers, including seven Maldives citizens from Wuhan. Of these, 300, including Maldives citizens, have been housed at ITBP Chawla Camp and 30 are in the army’s Manesar facility.

The Indian Army has set up a quarantine facility in Manesar near Delhi to keep those evacuated from China’s virus-hit province. They would be monitored for any signs of infection for two weeks by a qualified team of doctors and staff members.

On Feb. 1, 324 Indians were brought back from Wuhan and admitted to the quarantine facilities set up by the army and the ITBP. Thankfully, none of them has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, according to officials.

Later in the day, a video was shared by the Air India spokesperson Dhananjay Kumar, showing a group of six students celebrating their return to India.

As on Feb. 2, 58,658 passengers from 445 flights have been screened for coronavirus symptoms. A total of 142 symptomatic travellers picked up by the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme have been referred to the isolation facilities, the health ministry informed. “As many as 130 samples have been tested of which 128 have been found to be negative.”