- Coronavirus declared global health emergency by WHO
- Isolation of the patient is necessary to prevent further spread
- India's first coronavirus infection confirmed in Kerala
China's death toll from the coronavirus epidemic rose to 490 on Tuesday, with deepening global concern about the outbreak and governments closing their borders to people from China. India on Sunday reported its third coronavirus case with another student who had returned to Kerala from Wuhan testing positive, while 323 more Indians and seven Maldivians were brought back by air from the Chinese city, the epicentre of the outbreak, taking the number of evacuees to 654.
The World Health Organisation has declared the outbreak of new coronavirus a global health emergency. The coronavirus death toll is now exceeding the 349 mainland fatalities from the 2002-3 SARS outbreak. WHO has asked all countries to be prepared for containment, including active surveillance, early detection, isolation and case management, contact tracing and prevention of onward spread of 2019-nCoVinfection, and to share full data with WHO. The first fatality outside the country was reported in the Philippines.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of the WHO, told the media on Thursday night: "I am declaring a public health emergency of international concern over the global outbreak of 2019nCoV, not because of what is happening in China, but because of what is happening in other countries.
"In many ways, China is actually setting a new standard for outbreak response. Our greatest concern is the potential for the virus to spread to countries with weaker health systems, and which are ill-prepared to deal with it.
"We must remember that these are people, not numbers. More important than the declaration of a public health emergency are the committee's recommendations for preventing the spread of the 2019nCoV virus and ensuring a measured and evidence-based response."
Coronavirus in India
India on Sunday reported its second coronavirus case with another student who had returned to Kerala. The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare confirmed the first positive case of coronavirus on Thursday. The patient is a student studying in Wuhan. The patient is stable and is being closely monitored- the ministry informed.
Dr. Vikas Maurya, Director & Head, Department of Pulmonology & Sleep Disorders, Fortis Hospital, explains, "The number of cases that have been reported is quite alarming. WHO has also declared the outbreak a global emergency. As the infection is spreading rapidly one should not ignore even minor flu-like symptoms. It starts with simple symptoms so, early screening is extremely important. The first positive case in India has been confirmed. It is extremely important for people to maintain personal hygiene and avoid traveling to other regions and countries. If there is any positive case, complete isolation of the patient is extremely important to prevent spread."
(With inputs from IANS)
(Dr. Vikas Maurya, Director & Head, Department of Pulmonology & Sleep Disorders, Fortis Hospital, Shalimar Bagh, New Delhi)
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