- The first case of coronavirus has been reported in India.
- The government has stepped up efforts to prevent an outbreak.
- Hundreds of people have been kept under observation.
The dreaded coronavirus that has claimed over 170 lives in China and infected nearly 7,700 people across the globe has now reached the world’s second-most populous country – India. Reuters has just reported that an Indian national studying at the Wuhan University in China has tested positive for novel coronavirus.
A statement from the government of India says that the patient – from the southern state of Kerala – has been kept in isolation and is currently keeping stable. This is the first case of coronavirus in the country. What’s alarming is that the discovery of coronavirus in India means that the world’s two most populous nations are now under the umbrella of the dreaded disease.
India under the coronavirus lens is bad news
India and China account for nearly 36 percent of the global population. This means that the spread of the deadly disease in the country could put a large chunk of the world’s population at risk as researchers are yet to find a vaccine for coronavirus.
The count of coronavirus patients in India could rise as parents of Indian students studying in Wuhan have been pressurizing the government to bring back their wards. The Indian government recognizes that this is not a good idea as Wuhan is the epicenter of coronavirus. But parental pressure has forced the authorities to ready an aircraft to bring back Indian nationals.
According to an Indian government official, the country will be bringing back only those who haven’t been affected by coronavirus yet. And those who will be brought back will be kept in quarantine outside the country’s capital of New Delhi.
At the same time, three suspected cases of coronavirus have already been reported in Delhi.
Those patients have been kept under observation at a hospital in New Delhi. What’s more, over 100 people in the states of Kerala and Maharashtra are under observation since the beginning of the week. According to a senior health official from Kerala:
Today, 99 new passengers arrived in the state. This makes a total of 179 persons under surveillance. Only seven people have any kind of symptoms. They have mild symptoms. We have sent their blood and respiratory specimen samples to the National Institute of Virology, Pune.
Government steps up to tackle the problem
The government of India has stepped up its efforts to ensure that there is no outbreak of coronavirus in the country. The country’s health minister points out that screening of passengers has been increased to 20 airports from seven earlier.
The number of laboratories testing coronavirus samples will be increased to 10 instead of just one. Meanwhile, ports in India have been asked to deny shore permits to vessels that come from China. The government has also set up a round-the-clock helpline number that will help citizens with any queries they may have regarding coronavirus.
But it remains to be seen how India’s government plans to tackle any actual outbreak of the deadly novel coronavirus disease in the country, especially considering that they have been advising primitive methods of cure to the disease.
This article was edited by Samburaj Das.