Goa Health Minister Vishwajit Rane on Wednesday rubbished rumours that Goa has reported its first case of the deadly COVID-19 and urged people not to panic. He assured that medical reports of the quarantined patient are yet to come, so there is no confirmed case reported in the coastal state as yet.
"It is wrong news. There is absolutely no reason to panic. The final report hasn't yet come, we're waiting. All future information will be given only by Dr Utkarsh (state epidemiologist) as per protocol," he said.
The Health Minister was reacting to an alleged hoax call to the health department claiming that one person had tested positive for COVID-19. "We are trying to trace the number from which the hoax call was made," he added.
The report of a 48-year-old woman from Kerala who has been quarantined for suspected exposure to novel coronavirus in Goa since Thursday is awaited, health officials said.
She is currently in the isolation ward of Goa Medical College and Hospital and her sample has been sent to NIV in Pune, an official said. Other 65 people are under home observation in the state, he added.
Meanwhile, as per data available, 14,875 passengers were screened at Goa airport, including 344 on Sunday, March 15. The state government has set up a 30-bed isolation ward in GMCH, while 16 beds have been kept aside at sub-district hospital in Chicalim, 12 in sub-district hospital in Ponda and 12 in Margao's TB Hospital in Margao.
Goa Health Minister Vishwajit Rane on Monday, March 16, said isolation wards would be set up in the state's private hospitals to combat the novel coronavirus threat. The coastal state, a tourist haven, has no Covid-19 patient as yet, and samples of 19 people tested for suspected exposure had returned negative while one report was awaited.
"The Directorate of Health Services will identify additional isolation wards in private hospitals. We will also make the use of Sterillium (hand disinfectant) mandatory at entry and exit of hospitals," he said after chairing a review meeting.
"Primary health centres will have separate flu corners and segregate OPDs for common cold and cough. We have also invoked the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 which gives us better powers to carry out preventive measures," Rane added.