An Indian nurse in Saudi Arabia who was reported to have contracted Coronavirus is not suffering from the deadly virus that originated in China and has killed over 17 people so far, the Consulate General of India in Jeddah has clarified. The nurse is rather suffering from the Middle East Coronavirus, also known as MERS-CoV, a viral respiratory illness that was first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012.
"Dr Tarik Al Azraqi, Chairman, Scientific Regional Infection Control Committee, Aseer Region, has confirmed that the Indian Nurse being treated at Aseer National Hospital is suffering from MERS-CoV and not 2019-NCoV (Wuhan). We request everyone to refrain from sharing incorrect info," the Consulate General, Jeddah tweeted late Thursday.
Earlier today, V Muraleedharan, the Minister of State for External Affairs, had said about 100 Indian nurses, mostly from Kerala have been tested and none except one nurse was found infected by Coronavirus. The minister said the Indian nurses had been quarantined due to the Coronavirus threat.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has written to Foreign Minister S Jaishankar, requesting him to communicate with Saudi Arabia to ensure proper treatment and protection for the patients.
"Corona outbreak among nurses in Azir Aba Al Hayat hospital in Saudi Arabia should be considered seriously and necessary steps must be taken," Mr Vijayan had said.
Airlines and airports are on guard against the virus that, according to primary studies, is believed to have originated in bats. While no cases have been detected in India, over 12,800 passengers from 60 flights have been screened for the infection so far at seven airports including Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata, the Union Health Ministry said. In Kerala, all cases have been negative till now.
An alert has been sounded at all airports to screen passengers especially from Middle East and South Korea, for Middle East Coronavirus.
Airports throughout the country have been asked to report any passengers who are self-reporting at immigration counters with symptoms of fever and respiratory distress.
The Wuhan coronavirus has been named "2019-nCoV". Coronavirus is a family of viruses that can cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which killed 349 people in mainland China and another 299 in Hong Kong between 2002 and 2003.
Those infected could experience flu-like symptoms, including fever, a cough, shortness of breath, a sore throat or runny nose.