New Delhi, Jan 23, 2020: A nurse working at a hospital in Saudi Arabia is the first Indian to be infected by the deadly Coronavirus that originated in China and has killed 17 so far.
V Muraleedharan, the Minister of State for External Affairs, said about 100 Indian nurses, mostly from Kerala have been tested and none except one nurse was found infected by Coronavirus. The minister said the Indian nurses had been quarantined due to the Coronavirus threat, NDTV reported.
"Affected nurse is being treated at Aseer National Hospital and is recovering well," he tweeted.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has written to Foreign Minister S Jaishankar, requesting him to communicate with Saudi Arabia to ensure proper treatment and protection for the patients.
"Corona outbreak among nurses in Azir Aba Al Hayat hospital in Saudi Arabia should be considered seriously and necessary steps must be taken," Mr Vijayan said.
Airlines and airports are on guard against the virus that, according to primary studies, is believed to have originated in bats. While no cases have been detected in India, over 9,000 passengers from 43 flights were screened for the infection till Tuesday at seven airports including Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata, the Union Health Ministry said. In Kerala, all cases have been negative till now.
An alert has been sounded at all airports to screen passengers especially from Middle East and South Korea, for Middle East Coronavirus (MERS-Cov), a kind of deadly respiratory disease.
Airports throughout the country have been asked to report any passengers who are self-reporting at immigration counters with symptoms of fever and respiratory distress.
The coronavirus has been named "2019-nCoV". Coronavirus is a family of viruses that can cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which killed 349 people in mainland China and another 299 in Hong Kong between 2002 and 2003.
Those infected could experience flu-like symptoms, including fever, a cough, shortness of breath, a sore throat or runny nose.