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Kerala student studying in Wuhan tests positive for coronavirus

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A student from Kerala is kept in isolation after he was confirmed positive post his return from a Chinese University in Wuhan, the health ministry said on Thursday.

In a statement, the Press Information Bureau (PIB) of India said the student is from Kerala. This is India’s first confirmed case of the coronavirus that has infected over 7000 people in China so far.

“The patient has tested positive for novel coronavirus and is in isolation in the hospital. The patient is stable and is being closely monitored,” the statement said.

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As per reports, Kerala Health Minister KK Shailaja called a meeting with the health secretary and other officials from the Directorate of health services to take cognizance of the situation.

The 2019-novel coronavirus epidemic that has concerned health experts worldwide broke out in China’s Wuhan city in early December 2019 and has so far claimed more than 170 lives.

PTI has stated that in Kerala, one person each from Thrissur, Thiruvananthapuram, Pathanamthitta, and Malappuram and three from Ernakulam district have been kept in isolation wards of various health centres.

According to the figures put out on Wednesday night by Kerala health authorities, around 800 people are under observation in 10 different hospitals. While 10 of them are under observation and kept in isolation wards at various hospitals, others are under home quarantine.

Out of the total of 806 people, 173 had arrived in the state on Wednesday.

As a precautionary measure, Various airports in the country have started screening passengers arriving from China for symptoms of coronavirus infection. New Delhi has requested Beijing for permission to operate two flights to bring back Indians from the Hubei province’s capital. The embassy is in touch with Chinese authorities on the ground to work out necessary logistics and has started sharing evacuation ‘consent forms’ online with Indians stuck in Wuhan.

This had prompted the World Health Organization (WHO) has issued guidelines to prevent exposure to the virus and its further transmission. The organization is now closely monitoring the situation along with the Chinese authorities.

The virus is believed to have originated late last year in a food market in the Chinese city of Wuhan that was illegally selling wildlife. Health experts think it may have originated in bats and then passed to humans, possibly via another animal species.
Unlike SARS, which also originated in China, killed 800 people in 2002 and 2003, it is believed the new virus can spread during the incubation period of one to 14 days, possibly before an infected person is showing symptoms.

So far, the new virus does not appear to be as deadly as SARS, but there have been more cases overall.

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