Mumbai: Even as state health officials discharged three patients quarantined at Kasturba Hospital for suspected coronavirus infection on Thursday, two new cases were detected and the persons were admitted to Kasturba.

Health officials said currently five patients are in the hospital. The blood samples of the two new admissions have been sent to the National Institute of Virology, Pune, for tests. "We are awaiting the reports of the second round of tests of the fourth and fifth patients. If these reports are negative, health officials will decide on their discharge,” he said.

Since January 18, health officials have been screening passengers arriving at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport. Of the 4,846 passengers screened so far, 28 were under suspicion for possible infection. “Of these, 12 passengers complained of mild cough, fever and cold. Post-treatment and testing of their blood samples, not a single person was found infected with the deadly virus," said Dr Pradeep Awate, the state's disease surveillance officer.

On January 23, a 31-year-old resident of Nalasopara and a 36-year-old from Kalyan, who had just returned from China, were kept in isolation at Kasturba after they developed cold, cough and fever, similar to the symptoms of coronavirus. The following day, another suspected patient, a 61-year-old Nalasopara resident, was also quarantined at the hospital after he showed similar symptoms after returning from China. But on Tuesday, their second round of blood reports tested negative for the virus at the National Institute of Virology, Pune.

At least 26 persons are under observation in the state and as a precautionary measure, nine of them have been quarantined -- five at Kasturba Hospital in Mumbai, three at Naidu Hospital, Pune, and another at a hospital in Nanded.

Dr Rahul Tambe, senior consultant, internal medicine, Nanavati super-specialty hospital said, the deadly novel Coronavirus was spreading from China to other countries, borne out by the first confirmed case in Kerala. "Our priority is to contain the virus and with effective government efforts, awareness amongst the masses over symptoms is absolutely necessary. There is no need to create panic. Coronavirus is a droplet infection and measures such as protective gears, N95 masks and seeking active medical intervention if you've returned from an infected region such as China, should prove effective,” he said.

Dr G S K Velu, Chairman and MD, Trivitron Healthcare said, “Coronavirus has become a cause for concern. Efforts to find a vaccine, stabilise the current situation and prevent the disease from spreading are underway. It is recommended that we follow everyday preventive measures to be on the safer side,” he said.

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