Mumbai: Coronavirus has reared its head in Pune and is possibly knocking at Mumbai’s doorstep.
After a married couple, who had returned to Pune from Dubai on March 1, tested positive on Monday evening, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Maharashtra has mounted to five. These include their daughter and two others who had come in contact with them; they have also tested positive.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray will hold a special meeting on Wednesday to take stock of the situation, sources said.
On Tuesday, the couple’s daughter and the driver of the cab in which the family had travelled from Mumbai airport to Pune, also tested positive. Another person who had travelled by the same flight as them has also tested positive, the state health department said.
All five patients are currently quarantined at the civic-run Naidu Hospital in Pune. The state government said the condition of all the patients was stable, and it appealed to people not to panic.
Meanwhile, six people were admitted in the isolation ward at Kasturba Hospital in Mumbai on Tuesday for suspected exposure to the virus.
They were part of a group of 40 people, including the Pune family, who had travelled to Dubai and returned to Maharashtra.
Dr. Padmaja Keskar, Executive Health Officer, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, said the vitals of all six admitted at Kasturba hospital were stable.
CLOSURE DIRECTIVE: To tackle the virus threat, the Nashik district administration has directed the International Vipassana Academy to stop meditation sessions at its facility in Igatpuri. The facility, 136 km from Mumbai, gets several foreign visitors daily.
SCARE IN NASHIK: In Nashik, a 23-year-old woman and her 54- year-old mother were admitted in an isolation ward in the district civil hospital on Tuesday for suspected exposure to novel coronavirus.
The woman had gone to Dubai on February 27 and returned to Nashik on March 3 and was quarantined after she complained of throat pain, cold and cough, while her mother was admitted as the two were together at home over the past one week.
Their samples have been sent for testing to National Institute of Virology in Pune and reports are expected by Wednesday.
Pune Divisional Commissioner Dr Deepak Mhaisekar appealed to citizens to take due precautions. According to Mhaisekar, the couple in Pune had been tested and the information about the places they had travelled to over the past fortnight had been collected.
It is learnt that both were part of a 40-member group that travelled to Dubai sometime in February-end and returned home on March 1. Since Dubai had not been included in the list of affected nations, declared so by the Union government, these two persons were not quarantined on March 1, the date on which they returned. The man later developed problems and visited a doctor on March 8, following which he tested positive.
Mhaisekar, who reviewed the situation at the ground-level, said that details of all those who came into contact with these two patients, and the places they had visited, had been received.
Their family members, friends and co-workers would also be screened. Samples of three family members had already been sent for tests, Mhaisekar said.
He said that the names, contact numbers and addresses of the others with whom these two patients went to Dubai, had been collected. The respective district authorities had been asked to test these people and the process had begun.
According to Dr Mhaisekar, as a preventive measure, those who had come in contact with the Pune couple have been admitted in hospital for observation.
To obtain information on all those who came into contact with these two patients, five squads comprising officers and employees from the revenue, health and police departments from both the Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad municipal corporations was constituted.
The teams were assigned the task of ascertaining whether people with symptoms of coronavirus have been found in places visited by the duo or among the people they met.
Till date, a total of 207 beds have been set up at isolation wards in 21 places in the jurisdiction of both municipal corporations to deal with coronavirus cases. The isolation wards are fully ready to tackle the situation, government officials said.
Appealing to all the doctors in the district through the Indian Medical Association (IMA), Dr Mhaisekar said the doctors should have a separate dossier on all patients coming to India from other countries.
Till date, a total of 1,29,448 passengers who have disembarked from 1,101 aircraft have been screened at Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur airports.
(With inputs by Dipti Singh)