Suspected coronavirus cases must be treated in isolation: Health Minister Harsh Vardhan

New Delhi: Addressing the outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) disease in China and some other countries, and outlining the actions taken by the Government of India in combating the epidemic, the Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare, Harsh Vardhan, stated that the World Health Organization (WHO) had declared the outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) on 30 January 2020.

Many of the epidemiological parameters such as incubation period, mode of transmission, subclinical infection, and period of virus shedding are still being researched, Vardhan stated, adding that once a person is exposed to the infection, it may take about 2 weeks to develop the illness.

The main symptoms of novel coronavirus disease are fever, cough, and difficulty in breathing, and there will be radiological evidence indicative of pneumonia, the Minister observed, adding that in 10% to 20% of cases, the disease may become severe enough to require ventilatory support and the case fatality is around 2%.

Human-to-human transmission has been noticed in the cases of Coronavirus and it spreads through droplets or aerosols in persons having close contact, he stated, remarking that public health implications of the reports that the virus has been found in faecal samples of infected patients are being worked out. All suspected or probable cases of Coronavirus must be treated in isolation with barrier nursing and universal precautions to prevent the further spread of disease, the Minister urged.

In India, three positive coronavirus cases have been reported so far from Kerala. All these cases have a travel history from Wuhan, China. They have been isolated and are reported to be clinically stable.

China, where the epidemic began, reported an additional 89 deaths on Sunday, bringing the total number of people killed by the fast-spreading virus to 811 in the mainland. The global death toll for the new coronavirus currently stands at 813, including one death in the Philippines and another in Hong Kong.

That number exceeds the global number of deaths from SARS, which killed at least 774 people and infected 8,096 people worldwide in 2002 and 2003, according to data from the World Health Organization (WHO).

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The ID Staff

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