[Hindustan Times] Coronavirus crisis:Health department keeps a watch on those with recent travel history to China
gurugram Updated: Feb 16, 2020 23:46 IST
In the last one month in the city, 78 residents with recent travel history to China were monitored by the health department for development of symptoms of the novel coronavirus, according to officials.
A resident, who was found to have developed similar symptoms days after returning from China, was admitted to a private hospital's isolation ward for a few days last week. However, tests were found to be negative for the virus, said officials, adding that the patient was discharged on Saturday after recovery.
Coronavirus has been identified as a highly contagious pathogen, which can cause pneumonia, along with other symptoms, such as fever, respiratory issues, etc. Experts said since symptoms are similar to many other respiratory diseases, extra screening and precaution are needed. No vaccine is currently available for the virus.
The earliest cases of coronavirus were reported around December 31 last year from Wuhan, a Chinese city having a population more than 11 million. So far, more than two dozen countries have confirmed cases of coronavirus and the total number of such cases has crossed 65,000.
The ministry of civil aviation in India had, in January, directed seven airports including Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata to make arrangements for the screening of passengers arriving from China.
According to district health department officials, the residents under surveillance were screened by airport authorities after arriving in the country. However, they weren't found to have any immediate symptoms. "The health department has been tasked with monitoring their health for 14 days after their arrival. Health officials have been making visits to these people to get updates on their travel history and health condition. Follow-ups are being done telephonically," said Dr Ram Prakash Rai, district epidemiologist.
The district health department had, last month, asked major private hospitals in the city to create isolation wards for patients suspected to be suffering from the infection. Representatives of private hospitals said that patients with influenza-like symptoms are being screened multiple times and are being categorised on the basis of severity.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has asked people to cover their mouths and noses while sneezing, wash their hands afterwards with soap or sanitiser, and keep a distance of at least a metre from those who are sneezing and coughing.
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