New Delhi (PTI): India on Monday reported two new cases of the novel coronavirus, including one from the national capital, taking the total number of cases to five in the country, the Union Health Ministry said as the government stepped up its efforts to detect and check the infection,which has killed more than 3000 people globally.
Meanwhile, Rajasthan Health Minister Raghu Sharma said an Italian tourist has been found positive of coronavirus in Jaipur. In the first sample collected on February 29, the man was tested negative but his condition deteriorated so the second sample was collected which tested positive on Monday, the minister said, adding "since there is a variation in the reports, samples have been sent to NIV-Pune for testing."
India had earlier reported three cases from Kerala, including two medical students from Wuhan, the epicentre of the deadly novel coronavirus. They had self-reported on their return to the country and tested positive for the infection. They were discharged last month following recovery.
Giving details of the fresh cases, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said the person from Delhi had travelled to Italy, while theother patient who has tested positive for the coronavirus infection is from Telangana and has a recent travel history to Dubai.
"Both the patients had self-reported after they developed symptoms. They tested positive. They are stable and being closely monitored," he told reporters. The person in Delhi had self-reported at the RML hospital after returning to India while the one in Telangana had initially gone to a private medical facility and then was referred to a government hospital in the state, the minister said.
Vardhan also advised people to avoid non-essential travel to Iran, Italy, South Korea and Singapore and said India was in discussions with authorities in Iran and Italy, two badly affected countries by the infection, to evacuate Indians there.
The novel coronavirus or COVID-19, which originated in China, has spread to over 60 countries, including the US, Italy and Iran. The health minister, who held a meeting of the Group of Ministers constituted to monitor the current status and actions for prevention and management of the virus, 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 situation, visa restrictions may be extended to other countries," he said.Asked if there could be a drug shortage in the country as around 70 per cent of the Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) come from China,Vardhan said he has spoken to the minister in-charge who has informed that "we are adequately prepared to deal with the situation as of now".
Vardhan said around 1,086 people who returned from Iran in recent times have been recommended for community surveillance. 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 a possible exposure to the virus, he said, adding a total of 5,57,431 passengers have been screened at airports and 12,431 at major and minor seaports so far. He also informed that around 10,24,922 people have been screened in the villages of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal and Sikkim bordering Nepal.
Besides, as many as 25,738 people are under community surveillance across India while 37 cases with suspected symptoms of COVID-19 across the country are currently hospitalised and their samples have been sent for testing, a senior health ministry official said.
So far 3,217 samples have been tested out of which five have tested positive for COVID-19 while reports of 23 are awaited, the minister added.Vardhan also urged people to pose their queries on the helpline numbers made available in case they have symptoms.