Thirty other nurses, all of them from Kerala, have been quarantined and kept under observation at a hospital in Saudi Arabia for fear of being infected by coronavirus. A recent statement by Saudi Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (SaudiCDC) has debunked reports that an Indian nurse was tested positive for the virus on Thursday.
According to earlier reports, the nurse believed to be infected hailed from Kottayam’s Ettumanoor in Kerala and was working at the Asir Abha Al Hayat National Hospital in the country. She and the other nurses were reportedly were exposed to a Filipino woman at the hospital who had coronavirus.
One of the nurses told a Malayalam channel over the phone that they have been asked to sit separately in two rooms of the hospital.
Minister of State in the External Affairs Ministry K Muraleedharan has tweeted that the government is in touch with the Indian Consulate in Jeddah over the Indian nurses under observation at Al-Hayat Hospital. They are in touch with hospital management and the Saudi Foreign Ministry. Have asked our Consulate to provide all possible support.
Spoke to @CGIJeddah on Indian nurses quarantined at Al-Hayat Hospital, Khamis Mushait, Saudi Arabia due to Corona virus threat.— V. Muraleedharan (@MOS_MEA) January 23, 2020
They are in touch with hospital management and Saudi foreign Ministry. Have asked our Consulate to provide all possible support. @MEAIndia @PMOIndia
He later tweeted an update, stating that 100 nurses, mostly from Kerala, have been tested and only one nurse was found to be infected by Coronavirus. The affected nurse is being treated at Aseer National Hospital and is recovering well, the minister added.
Update from @CGIJeddah : About 100 Indian nurses mostly from Kerala working at Al-Hayat hospital have been tested and none except one nurse was found infected by Corona virus. Affected nurse is being treated at Aseer National Hospital and is recovering well. @PMOIndia @MEAIndia https://t.co/jM0u5243GV— V. Muraleedharan (@MOS_MEA) January 23, 2020
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has written to the Ministry of External Affairs asking for intervention and support to be given to the women.
State Health Minister KK Shyalaja has said those who have returned from China should inform district medical officers besides instructing officials to step up surveillance in all four airports — Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, Kozhikode and Kannur — in the state.
The outbreak was first detected in China’s Wuhan city at a meat market. Officials have confirmed that snakes are the most likely source of the infection.
The virus causes a respiratory infection, and people who have been exposed have been developing symptoms of pneumonia. The symptoms of infection include high fever, difficulty in breathing, among others. Detection becomes difficult as these symptoms mimic the flu or a bad cold.
The Chinese government confirmed that 17 deaths had taken place due to infection with the virus and that 571 cases have been confirmed, while over 300 people are suspected to have contracted the infection.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation has begun the screening of passengers coming in from China to seven airports in India - Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Cochin - in a bid to thwart the threat.
Editor's note: It was earlier reported that an Indian nurse in Saudi Arabia was infected with Coronavirus. This story was updated on Friday after latest reports indicated that she had not been infected.