Eleven people in four cities of India have been kept under observation to check for possible exposure to the deadly coronavirus following their return from China. Reportedly, they showed mild symptoms of coronavirus infection — fever, cough and sore throat. Among the 11, seven are from Kerala, two in Mumbai and one each in Bengaluru and Hyderabad.
As per reports, the Union Health Ministry had informed that the ones in Mumbai, Hyderabad, and Bengaluru have tested negative.
India has intensified measures to check passengers for coronavirus. The Civil Aviation Ministry has directed seven international airports including Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata to make arrangements for the screening of passengers arriving from China in the wake of the outbreak. The Government of India informed that as of January 24, 20,844 passengers from 96 flights have been screened for coronavirus symptoms including 4,082 screened in 19 flights on Friday.
The outbreak of Coronavirus in the city of Wuhan has infected hundreds of people and killed as many as 41 people in China. The outbreak of the virus at a time when the nation celebrates Lunar New Year has created an atmosphere of fear. The Chinese government has imposed travel restrictions on a number of cities in Hubei province and people have been asked to wear face masks in public places.
Though the World Health Organization (WHO) has not yet classified the virus as an international emergency considering the low number of overseas cases, however, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has called it 'an emergency in China'.
The virus which originated in China has found its way to the European continent with France being the first to confirm three cases in the country. Australia has come on record to confirm its first case of the recently struck virus named as 2019-nCoV. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced the second case in the North American continent.
According to the World Health Organization, coronaviruses are a family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold due to viruses 229E, NL63, OC43, and HKU1, to more viruses MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome) and SARS-CoV (severe acute respiratory syndrome). Some experts say the newly struck virus may not be as deadly as other types of Coronavirus such as SARS, which killed nearly 800 people worldwide during a 2002-2003 outbreak that also originated from China.
These viruses are transmitted between animals and people. SARS, for instance, was believed to have been transmitted from civet cats to humans while MERS traveled from a type of camel to humans.
According to the WHO and CDC, symptoms of Coronavirus may include runny nose, headache, cough, sore throat and fever. In more severe cases, it may lead to pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death. Experts and researchers are yet to understand the destructive potential of the new virus and have yet not found a cure for the same.