A day after India's first novel coronavirus (nCoV) case was reported from Kerala, the state government on Friday warned the people of the potential gravity of the threat but maintained that there was no need to panic.
Camping in Thrissur, where the woman medical student who came from China tested positive for the coronavirus, Health Minister K K Shailaja activated the health department and said the patient is currently treated at an isolation ward of the Government Medical College hospital.
The condition of the patient is stable, official sources said.
Earlier in the day, health authorities shifted the student from the general hospital, where she had been kept ever since she approached doctors with symptoms of the virus, to the Government Medical College. The medical college here has been upgraded with a special isolation ward with facilities to treat at least 24 patients at a time.
The Union Health Ministry had reported to the State government on Thursday that the patient has tested positive for the novel Coronavirus.
The decision to shift her to the Medical College Hospital was taken after Shailaja held a high-level meeting at the medical college hospital on Thursday midnight to take stock of the situation after the positive case of nCoV was detected in the state.
A meeting was held for private hospitals and government departments in the Thrissur collectorate on Friday where detailed instructions were given for setting up isolation wards. Around 2000 Kudumbashree and ASHA workers have also been given training in the wake of the Novel Coronavirus being detected in Kerala.
1471 persons under observation
Around 1471 people have been placed under observation in Kerala. On Friday, 418 people were added to the list of persons under observation Out of this 36 have been admitted to hospitals.
Kozhikode is the district where most people are being observed. There are 205 and 195 people who are being observed at home in Malappuram and Ernakulam respectively.
In Thrissur, where one case of the virus has been confirmed, 125 people are currently under surveillance. 110 people are also under home surveillance in Thrissur.
Around 64 isolation chambers have been set up at various government hospitals in the district for use if needed. Isolation rooms are set up at Irinjalakuda, Chalakudy, Kodungallur, Chavakkad, Vadakkanchery and Thrissur General Hospital. These isolation wards have also been set up in private hospitals in cooperation with the Indian Medical Association. Twelve ambulances have also been arranged to transport suspects to hospitals.
Taluk Supply Officers and Supplyco depots have also been asked to deliver food to houses where people have been quarantined.
KK Shailaja stated that the present health condition of those observed did not reveal any cause for concern. Meanwhile, 17 out of 18 blood samples sent to the National Institute of Virology in Pune also returned negative.
The Thrissur collectorate also put out emergency numbers to get in touch with.
District Medical Office Control Room - Phone: 0487-2320466 (IDSP), 9895558784 (Dr. Sumesh), 9961488206 (Dr. Kavya), 9496331164 (Dr. Prashant).
District Room Control Room Numbers 0487-2362424, 9447074424, 1077 (callers from outside the district should call 0487).
The minister requested those who had travelled to China in recent days to voluntarily report themselves to the nearest hospitals. Some have reported to the health facilities in their neighbourhood in response to a directive issued by the state government, she said.
She also directed those coming from China and other affected regions to strictly remain under home quarantine.
Families who returned from the Coronavirus-hit regions have also been requested to postpone wedding celebrations to prevent a possible outbreak of the disease in the state.
Those who are home quarantined would be under observation for 28 days.
"Those going for jobs should take leave and be under observation. Health volunteers would be around to solve their problems," she said.
(With inputs from PTI)