A day after two new cases of novel coronavirus that included one from Delhi were reported, the health ministry on Tuesday said six cases with "high-viral load" were detected during sample testing in Agra and these people have been kept in isolation.
IMAGE: An Indian woman who recently returned from the United States being examined by doctors at a novel coronavirus help desk at a hospital in Hyderabad. Photograph: PTI Photo
The six people had come in contact with a 45-year-old patient from Delhi, whose case came to light on Monday, and they include his family members.
According to government sources, the man, who is a resident of Mayur Vihar, had visited them in Agra.
The six have been kept in isolation at Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi and their samples are being sent to NIV, Pune for confirmation.
Contact tracing of the people who came in contact with the six is simultaneously being done through the Integrated Disease Surveillance Program network, the ministry said in a statement.
Sources said the patient from Mayur Vihar was shifted to a quarantine ward at Safdarjung Hospital on Sunday night.
His other family members have been asked to stay alert and look out for symptoms.
One accountant, who came in contact with the man and some of his family members, was also quarantined, they said.
India on Monday reported two new cases of the novel coronavirus, one from Delhi and another one from Hyderabad.
The government has stepped up its efforts to detect and check the infection which has killed 2,912 people in China.
On Monday, Rajasthan health minister Raghu Sharma had said that an Italian tourist tested positive for coronavirus in Jaipur.
The first sample collected from him on February 29 tested negative but his condition deteriorated, so a second sample was collected which tested positive on Monday, the minister said, adding, "Since there is a variation in the reports, the samples have been sent to the NIV, Pune for testing".
India had earlier reported three cases from Kerala, including two medical students from Wuhan in China, 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 from hospitals last month following recovery.
The infected person from Delhi had travelled to Italy, while the other patient who tested positive for the COVID-19 infection is from Telangana and had recently travelled to Dubai.
Both the patients had self-reported after they developed symptoms.
"They tested positive. They are stable and being closely monitored," ministry said on Monday.
The government has asked 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 countries badly affected by the infection, to evacuate Indians there.
The novel coronavirus or COVID-19, which originated in China, has spread to over 60 countries.
30 more people screened in Agra for coronavirus
After it was reported that six cases with "high-viral load" were detected during sample testing in Agra, 30 others from Agra will also be screened for the novel coronavirus, said a top Uttar Pradesh health official.
Earlier on Tuesday, the health ministry on Tuesday said six cases with "high-viral load" were detected during sample testing in Agra and these people have been kept in isolation. The six people had come in contact with a 45-year-old patient from Delhi, whose case came to light on Monday, and they include his family members.
“We are already tracking 37 other people who had been in touch with these people (the family of six along with the man from Delhi who tested positive for coronavirus after his tour in Italy and who had visited his family in Agra) and we are conducting primary investigations on them too,” Dr Vikasendu Agarwal, joint director, Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme, Uttar Pradesh, told Rediff.com over the phone.
“As we speak, we are collecting the samples of the remaining 30 people and will screen them soon,” Dr Agarwal added.
“The process is we isolate such patients and conduct a primary investigation followed by a confirmatory investigation. The primary investigations (of the six patients isolated at Safdarjung Hospital) have been completed but the confirmatory reports are yet to come out (from NIV, Pune),” said Dr Agarwal about the procedures that are followed while screening suspected cases of Coronavirus.
While the primary investigations of blood samples are done at KG Medical College, Lucknow and at the National Centre for Disease Control, the confirmatory tests are conducted only at the National Institute of Virology, Pune.
He said that the reports of confirmatory tests of the six patients isolated at Safdarjung Hospital will come only by Wednesday.
“It takes about 36-48 hours for the confirmatory reports to come from NIV, Pune. We have transported the samples today and it will reach Pune tomorrow. We are expecting these confirmatory reports by tomorrow evening or morning the next day.”
All the six people from the same family belong to Agra and have been shifted to Delhi where they have been kept under isolation at Safdarjung Hospital.
“But there is no need to panic,” Dr Agarwal said. He informed that while three teams of the district health officials are already in the field since yesterday, they have been joined by a team from the state and another team from the Centre.
“Three groups of medical officers from the district health teams are already out in the field since yesterday and state and central-level team has already arrived there (in Agra),” he said.
Talking about precautionary measures one must take to avoid getting infections, Dr Agarwal said, “If people have come in contact with passengers coming in from 12 known affected countries (China, Italy, South Korea, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, etc) then they should stay indoors, wear masks, wash their hands frequently and should keep themselves isolated.”
“If they see some symptoms like cold, coughing or fever they should contact district health authorities so that their samples could be collected for investigations and they can be properly isolated till primary and confirmatory tests are done.”
-- Prasanna D Zore/Rediff.com