Covid-19: Two fresh cases reported in India

Two fresh cases of the novel coronavirus – one in Delhi and another in Telangana – have been reported in India, taking the number of people who have tested positive for the respiratory virus in the country to five.

The infected person from Delhi recently travelled to Italy while the patient from Telengana travelled to Dubai, Union health minister Harsh Vardhan said, adding that the government has stepped up its vigil and efforts to detect and prevent the spread of the deadly virus.

The three persons, which include two medical students of a university at Wuhan, who had earlier tested positive for the virus named COVID-19 in Thrissur, Alappuzha and Kasaragod districts in Kerala were discharged following recovery.

Vardhan advised people to refrain from non-essential travel to Iran, Italy, South Korea and Singapore.

He said both the patients had selfreported after they developed symptoms like breathing problems, cough and fever. “They have tested positive. They are stable and being closely monitored,” Vardhan said.

The minister further said the Indian government is in discussion with Iran and Italian authorities to evacuate Indians there.

Vardhan, who held a meeting of the Group of Ministers constituted to monitor the current status and actions for prevention and management of novel coronavirus, said India has already suspended e-visas/visas issued to Iranian and Chinese nationals over the rising number of confirmed COVID-19 patients in these countries.

“Depending on the evolving situation, visa restrictions may be extended to other countries,” he said.

Authorities are screening travellers arriving from Kathmandu, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, China, Hong Kong, Thailand, South Korea, Singapore, and Japan at 21 designated airports in the country for possible exposure to the novel coronavirus.

A total of 5,57,431 passengers have been screened at airports and 12,431 at major and minor seaports so far, Vardhan said. He also informed that around 10,24,922 people have been screened in the villages bordering Nepal.

Besides, as many as 25,738 people are under community surveillance across India while 37 people suspected to have COVID-19 symptoms across the country are currently hospitalised.

Responding to a question on whether there could be shortage of drugs in the country as around 70 per cent of the Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients come from China, Vardhan said he has spoken to the minister in-charge of the Department of Pharmaceuticals and that he has informed that “we are adequately prepared to deal with the situation as of now”. So far, 3,217 samples have been tested out of which five have tested positive for COVID-19 while reports of 23 are awaited.

Vardhan also urged people to pose their queries on the helpline numbers made available in case they have symptoms.

Meanwhile, a Taiwanese national working in a company in Andhra Pradesh has been kept under observation in Tirupati Hospital, pending reports of his lab test.

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