Four more samples of patients with symptoms of the novel coronavirus have been sent to the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune for tests, Telangana Minister Etala Rajender said in Hyderabad on Friday. No positive case of the virus has so far been detected in the state, he added.
The coronavirus epidemic in China has so far claimed 231 lives and total number of infections have touched 9,692.
The Minister said that 15 throat swab samples have so far been sent, of which nine turned out to be negative.
"As of today (January 31), out of 15 patients who are being treated in hospitals for the possible exposure to the novel coronavirus, nine turned out to be negative. The results of two samples are awaited. Four samples were sent to Pune today," he said in a press release.
He further said that the Centre has agreed to the state's request to provide kits to conduct the tests at the state-run Gandhi Hospital in Hyderabad and the tests will begin in a day or two.
Rajender said the state government was also planning to set up a 24-hour call centre for public enquiries on the killer disease.
Earlier this week, Rajender had told reporters, "In both Fever Hospital and Gandhi Hospital in Hyderabad, we have the latest lab facilities. If the Centre provides us with the required kits, we can conduct the testing here itself."
"We are now making special arrangements to send the samples to Pune and this is resulting in a delay of many hours. The Centre has said earlier that Hyderabad is well-equipped with labs and is also strategically located. Therefore, we requested them to provide us with the opportunity to conduct the testing here," he added.