Mumbai: A 49-year-old Juhu resident, who was in Wuhan, China, the epicentre of the novel coronavirus outbreak, from January 14-20, returned to Mumbai on January 21 and had been on ‘telephonic observation’ ever since. However, last Friday, he manifested symptoms – cold, fever and other signs related to coronavirus due to which he was quarantined to the isolation ward at the civic-run Kasturba hospital on Tuesday.

“Currently we have five patients and blood samples of the new patients have been sent to the National Institute of Virology, Pune for analysis. However, four patients tested negative but are still under observation until discharge policy is formulated,” said a senior health official. As per the state government officials, NIV has received 20 samples until January 27.

On the other hand, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) along with state health officials held a meeting with several representatives of private hospitals to discuss guidelines about the coronavirus. “We have private hospitals to have an isolation ward and inform us if they get any patients showing coronavirus symptoms,” said Suresh Kakani, Additional Municipal commissioner health, BMC.

Dr Ramesh Bharmal, medical director of civic-run hospitals said as per the rules of the central government, a patient cannot directly approach private hospitals as the state government and BMC are responsible of sending samples to NIV and keeping them under observation for almost 28days. “The requirements to send patients to private hospitals would be taken only if we run out of isolation beds in case of out break of coronavirus,” he added.

Minister of Public Health Rajesh Tope to FPJ, ''About 3,997 passengers who had returned from China since January 1 were screened at the Mumbai airport of which 18 were from the state who were admitted in the isolation wards as a precautionary measure in Mumbai (5), Pune (2) and Nanded (1). Of these eight reports of three passengers during the medical tests conducted by the Pune based National Institute of Virology are negative while reports of the balance five will come tomorrow.'' The minister said there is not a single passenger whose report was positive.

Tope said four flights arrive per week from China and the passengers have to go through thermal screening camera which is installed on tripod and one handy camera. They detect the temperature. ''Before deplaning, the passenger coming from China has to fill up a from declaring the state of his health and whether he or she is coming from Caronavirus affected Wuhan province. The central team visits the airport in Mumbai and also meets every alternate day with the department of health officers to take stock of situation and suggest additional measures to be taken to handle the situation,'' he noted.

The minister said at present a throat swab culture test of all passengers coming from China in all over India is conducted at NIA, Pune. This is to diagnose bacterial infections in throat. ''The Centre has taken a decision to set up NIAs in Kerala, Hyderabad and Bangalore,'' he informed.

Tope said that the government has collected the list of passengers in Maharashtra arrived from China from January 1 and they are being contacted to know whether they or their family members are suffering from fever, cold or related sickness.'' A regular telephone call is made by the health department staff of civic bodies in cities and medical staff of district health offices in rural areas,'' he added.

Tope said that department is fully equipped to tackle emergency situation and isolation wards have been set up in Kasturbha hospital in Mumbai and Naidu hospital in Pune.

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