- Of the 11 people, two have tested negative for coronavirus
- Coronavirus has killed 41 people in China, infected nearly 1,300
- The virus has spread across Asia as well as US and Europe
Eleven people in four cities of India have been kept under observation after they returned from China and showed mild symptoms of the new coronavirus that has killed 41 people in the country, infected nearly 1,300 there and has spread across Asia as well as the US and Europe.
Seven people in Kerala, two in Mumbai and one each in Bengaluru and Hyderabad have been kept in isolation.
"Seven people (in Kerala) who have extremely mild symptoms were kept under observation in isolation wards on Friday, primarily as a precautionary measure, since they returned from China," said Dr Amar Fettle, Kerala's officer-in-charge for communication on coronavirus.
More than 20,000 passengers returning to India from mainland China and Hong Kong have undergone thermal screenings at airports.
The Union Health Ministry said of the 11 people kept in isolation, two at a Mumbai hospital and one person each in Hyderabad and Bengaluru have tested negative.
A total of 80 people were kept under surveillance in Kerala, of which 73 showed no symptoms. Seven of them showed mild symptoms of fever and cough. "One of these seven showed no symptoms, but was largely very anxious, so we have admitted that passenger and are giving counselling," an official said.
The Kerala Health Minister said samples of two people kept under observation have been sent for tests.
The All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Delhi has set up an isolation ward and kept beds ready for providing treatment to any suspected case of the respiratory contagion.
"At the airports, if passengers returning from China show no symptoms, their names are taken and forwarded to district medical officials. They are advised voluntary self-isolation at their homes for a few weeks and are being tracked for their health updates," Dr Fettle said.
The Kerala government has also set up a helpline number 0471-2552056 for people with concerns surrounding the coronavirus.
According to a union health ministry official, no positive case has been detected in the country so far.
Coronavirus cases were first reported from Wuhan, the capital of central China's Hubei province. Wuhan and 13 other cities in the province have been locked down in an unprecedented quarantine effort aimed at containing the deadly virus.
The previously unknown virus has caused global concern because of its similarity to SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), which killed hundreds across mainland China and Hong Kong in 2002-2003.
(With inputs from agencies)