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The total number of patients infected by the coronavirus or COVID-19 in India now stands at 29 after e-commerce portal Paytm informed on Wednesday that one of their employees who had just returned from a vacation in Italy had contracted the virus.
As of Thursday, 29 confirmed cases have been registered of which six cases in Agra, one each in Delhi and Telangana, and one Italian tourist were found positive on Tuesday. On Wednesday, samples of 16 of the group of 23 Italian tourists and 1 Indian driver in Rajasthan tested positive, Union Health Ministry said.
The first three cases reported in Kerala last month have recovered and was discharged. The Italians who travelled to Rajasthan last month came in contact with 215 people across six districts, State Health Minister Raghu Sharma told the Assembly on Wednesday. The minister also said samples of 93 people were collected of which 51 have tested negative, while the remaining reports are awaited.
At present, 27,000 people have been placed under community surveillance in India, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said. Globally, there are more than 92,000 cases confirmed cases of the virus and over 3,000 have died across 70 countries.
Following the new cases, the government has ordered all international passengers coming to the country to submit self-declaration forms on arrival. They will have to provide contact details, travel history and possible contact with other people there.
Thermal screening has been set up at airports across the country and is compulsory for all passengers arriving via flights from Italy, Iran, China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore, Nepal, Indonesia, Vietnam and Malaysia.
The country has also suspended all regular visas and e-visas issued to nationals of Italy, Iran, South Korea, and Japan issued on or before March 3 and have not entered India yet.
"Anyone coming to India will be screened on arrivals. A high-level meeting has been called today at 3 pm. We have requested all hospitals in Delhi to develop good quality isolation wards, in order to stay prepared if more cases of coronavirus are suspected in the national capital," Vardhan said.
Furthermore, all states have been asked to identify possible isolation facilities. The armed forces, paramilitary forces, medical colleges and public sector undertakings (PSUs) have also been asked to help with the isolation facilities across the country.
"India has actually handled the situation very well. Our surveillance has been very strong since the cases started being reported in China. Yes, Kerala and even Delhi have better healthcare facilities than many other states but our disaster preparedness is very strong even at the district level. Isolation facilities can be created easily at a short notice," Dr Jugal Kishore, head of the department of community medicine at Safdarjung Hospital, was quoted Hindustan Times.Also Read: With Experience Drawn From Nipah Outbreak, Kerala Is Leading Fight Against Coronavirus
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