Health ministry confirms two new cases of Novel Coronavirus infection in India: one each in Delhi and Telangana
A health ministry release stated that both patients are stable and being monitored closely. This brings the total count of cases in India to 5.
Earlier today the Union health ministry confirmed two new cases of infection by Novel coronavirus , officially called COVID-19 , in India. The first patient is in New Delhi and recently travelled back from Italy - the worst affected European nation where nearly 1,700 people have contracted the infection and 34 have died. The second infection is in Telangana, and the patient has a history of travel to Dubai.
A health ministry release also mentioned that both patients are stable and being monitored closely. This brings the total count of cases in India to 5.
Update on #COVID19:
— Ministry of Health (@MoHFW_INDIA) March 2, 2020
The first three cases of the virus were confirmed in Kerela at the beginning of February 2020. All three had recently returned from Wuhan, China, and have successfully recovered and been discharged from the hospital since. Kerela had briefly declared state emergency after confirming the three cases but later withdrew the statement.
COVID-19 originated from Wuhan, China, and has spread to over 60 countries all over the world with nearly 90,000 cases. The death count has crossed 3,000 and about 45,000 have successfully recovered from the virus.
On 28 February, the World Health Organization (WHO) raised the risk assessment for this virus to "very high" globally. The reasons for this change include:
- Increased number of cases internationally
- Cases found in clusters outside China
- Potential shortage of medical supplies
- Limitations in the testing capacity of some countries
- Difficulty in identifying cases because of the non-specific symptoms and undetected transmission
- Potentially large impact on the healthcare systems of affected countries.
Highlights from a press conference by Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan on the afternoon of 2 March:
No. of samples under testing for the virus - 23
No. of people screened at major and minor seaports - 12,431
No. of passengers screened across airports so far - Over 5 lakh
No. of countries on the screen-at-arrival list - 12
No. of countries where the infection has spread - 66
Detection of COVID-19
Early detection of Novel coronavirus infection can help you avoid spreading the disease to loved ones and seek proper treatment. If you notice symptoms such as cold, cough, shortness of breath, do not panic. Talk to your doctor or call the National Helpline number (011-23978046) to seek medical attention. You should also put on a face mask if you feel you have been infected.
The more severe symptoms of COVID-19 infection include pneumonia and kidney failure. So far, the virus has infected over 80,000 people and claimed more than 3,000 lives.
Doctors are currently using established diagnostic methods such as polymerase chain reaction: a test that looks for the “genetic fingerprint” of the virus, according to the WHO. Doctors in China, where the infection began late last year, are also using CT scans of lungs to diagnose the disease - this is because the chances of infection are higher there, and it is important to quarantine suspected patients and treat them at the earliest. That said, China's state-owned China Central Television network recently reported that the rate of infection in the country is slowing. The Chinese authorities recently closed the first temporary facility built specifically to tackle the challenge posed by COVID-19 .
Prevention of COVID-19
The health ministry as well as organisations such as the WHO have recommended the following precautions:
- The virus travels when an infected person sneezes or coughs. However, according to the WHO, it cannot travel more than 1 metre through sneeze and cough droplets. So, try to avoid contact with people who may be infected.
- Clean surfaces regularly. According to the WHO, the virus may survive on an external surface for an unknown period of time.
- Cover your nose and mouth while sneezing.
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least one minute - be sure to clean in-between the fingers.
- Avoid touching your face - especially the eyes, nose and mouth.
- Avoid unnecessary contact with animals.
- If you are cooking meat, cook it thoroughly.
- India's health ministry has also advised against non-essential travel to China, Iran, Italy, South Korea and Singapore.
For more information, read our article on Coronavirus.
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