India's third case of coronavirus was reported in Kerala this morning after the southern state reported country's first two cases of the infectious diseases, which has killed over 350 people in China, in the last four days. All three patients are students who returned from China's Wuhan city, the epicentre of the outbreak, last month.
The coronavirus outbreak, which originated in China and spread to more than 20 countries across the world in the last few weeks, has been declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organisation.
"Third positive case of Novel Coronavirus patient, has been reported in Kerala. The patient has a travel history from Wuhan in China. The patient has tested positive for Novel Coronavirus and is in isolation in the hospital. The patient is stable and is being closely monitored," Union Health Ministry said today in a statement.
"The patient is under treatment at the Kanjangad District Hospital in Kasaragod," Kerala Health Minister KK Shailaja said this morning. "There is nothing to panic. The health officials led by district medical officials are tracking surveillance efforts. Contract tracing for confirmed cases is underway," she added.
All three coronavirus cases have been reported in different parts of the state. While Kasaragod district is in north Kerala, the first case was reported on January 30 in central Kerala's Thrissur. On Sunday, the central government reported second case of the infectious disease in southern part of the state - Alappuzha.
Over 2,000 people are under surveillance at their homes in Kerala for possible exposure to the virus. Seventy people are being monitored in isolation wards across the state. The first patient confirmed for the infection has shown consistent improvement, state health officials said as they urged people travelling from China to report to the health department.
The Union Health Ministry had also asked people who have a travel history to China since January 1 to report at the nearest health facility if they experienced any symptoms such as fever, cough or breathing trouble. Over 52,000 passengers from 326 flights have been screened for novel coronavirus at various airports across the country till Saturday, according to the government. Ninety-seven symptomatic travelers have been referred to isolation facilities, officials said.
More than 600 Indians were evacuated from Wuhan over the weekend in two batches. The government said today that six Indians including a 22-year-old woman from Kurnool were not evacuated, the government said today, adding that efforts are being made to bring them back.
On Sunday, the central government suspended online visa facility for China that has plunged into isolation over deepening health crisis. "Due to certain current developments, travel to India on e-visas stands temporarily suspended with immediate effect," the Indian Embassy announced in Beijing.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is "personally monitoring it the situation," Union minister Harsh Vardhan said on Sunday. "I am also in touch with the Kerala health minister on a regular basis," he added.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause a number of illnesses, ranging from common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). The common symptoms include fever, cough and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, the patient can suffer from pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.