Coronavirus in India: Kerala reports second confirmed case; Army, ITBP set up special quarantine facilities as Air India evacuates 647 Indians from Wuhan

  • Air India evacuated 323 Indians from Wuhan in China in its second special flight, which landed at Delhi airport on Sunday morning

  • A second confirmed case of coronavirus has been reported from Kerala. The patient has been kept in isolation at Alappuzha Medical College and Hospital

  • The Army has set up a quarantine facility in Manesar near Delhi, apart from a 600-bedded facility in southwest Delhi's Chhawla area set up by the ITBP

A second confirmed case of coronavirus was reported from Kerala on Sunday, the Union Health Ministry said three days after the first patient showing symptoms of the novel virus was tested positive and kept in isolation in the southern state. The coronavirus outbreak which has its epicentre in China's Wuhan city has claimed more than 300 lives so far and spread to more than 20 countries.

The Kerala government in a news release said, “Second positive case of novel coronavirus patient has been reported in Kerala. The patient has travel history from China. The patient has tested positive for the virus and has been kept in isolation in a hospital. The person is stable and is being closely monitored."

 Coronavirus in India: Kerala reports second confirmed case; Army, ITBP set up special quarantine facilities as Air India evacuates 647 Indians from Wuhan

A special Air India has airlifted 323 more Indians from Wuhan airport in China in its second flight on Sunday. ANI

However, the state government said the state was awaiting the results from the National Institute of Virology (NIV) at Pune. "We have been informed telephonically by NIV, Pune that there is a possibility of another positive case. But since there is a possibility, we have to be extremely vigilant. We are yet to receive the results. The suspected case is of a student of Wuhan University," state Health Minister KK Shailaja told the media at Kollam.

She said the student, who had returned from China on 24 January, and is currently being closely monitored at an isolation ward in Alappuzha Medical College and Hospital, is stable. "The patient has minor symptoms. But we are not taking any chances. We have taken proper precautions even though we have not received any confirmation. We expect the results by evening," she said.

Meanwhile, a special Air India aircraft airlifted 323 Indians from Wuhan airport in China in its second flight, which landed at the Delhi airport on Sunday morning. Out of the 324 people that were evacuated through first Air India flight, 56, 53 and 42 were from Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala, respectively. Upon landing, the passengers underwent a special coronavirus screening. Earlier, a special Air India plane carrying 324 Indians, including 211 students, 110 working professionals and three minors, landed in the National Capital on Saturday.

Till date, 1,793 people who traveled from coronavirus affected countries have been identified and placed under surveillance in Kerala. Of this, 70 people have been admitted in selected isolation facilities and 1,723 are under home isolation, PTI quoted a medical bulletin as saying.

Air India airlifted the second batch of 323 stranded Indians and seven Maldivian citizens from China's coronavirus-hit Wuhan city, taking the total number of people evacuated to 654, said officials. Air India's jumbo B747 made two flights to Wuhan city - the ground zero of the coronavirus epidemic that has killed 304 people and infected 14,380 others.

"Want to thank my team, which mounted a non-stop almost 96-hour long operation to coordinate a complex airlift under challenging circumstances for us, the passengers and local authorities in Hubei and Wuhan," Indian Ambassador to China Vikram Misri tweeted.

He also tweeted a special word of appreciation for two officers who were on board the plane - Deepak Padmakumar and M Balakrishnan - for showing "exemplary fortitude and a real spirit of public service by travelling to ground zero" in Wuhan to coordinate airport arrangements.

Four Indians could not board the second flight after they reported high fever, Misri told PTI. Additionally, officials said that six Indians could not board the first flight as they were stopped by the Chinese immigration officials after they reported high temperature.

They may be quarantined to undergo tests to determine whether they have symptoms of the coronavirus, officials said. Twenty-five others stayed back on their accord, Misri said, adding that there may still be about 100 Indians who remained in Hubei province for which Wuhan is the provincial capital.

The Army has set up a quarantine facility in Manesar near Delhi, apart from a 600-bedded facility in southwest Delhi's Chhawla area set up by the ITBP to quarantine and provide basic medical care to those suspected to have been affected by the virus. The officials said the Indians evacuated from China will be monitored for any signs of the infection for a duration of two weeks by a qualified team of doctors and staff members.

Ahead of the evacuation operation, the Indian Embassy had informed Indian citizens that they have to undergo health tests before the flight. Air India had earlier stated that it has cancelled all its Mumbai-Delhi-Shanghai flights until 14 February.

Several airlines have cancelled flights to and from China and many countries, including the US, Japan, Australia and UK, mass evacuations of citizens amid fears of a major pandemic, which could threaten exports and growth in the world’s second biggest economy.

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Updated Date: Feb 02, 2020 14:01:33 IST


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