NEW DELHI, March 3 - Two private schools in Noida were shut on Tuesday for next few days and several people, including family members of the Delhi man who tested positive for the virus, quarantined or kept in isolation as authorities stepped up prevention efforts including extending suspension of existing regular and e-visas to nationals of Italy, Iran, South Korea and Japan who have not yet entered India.
On February 4, India had cancelled the existing visas for Chinese nationals and foreigners who had visited the neighbouring country in the preceding two-week period, following the outbreak of Coronavirus which has now spread to over 60 countries and claimed over 3,100 lives. Over 90,000 have been infected.
Officials said the sample of an Italian tourist in Jaipur which was sent to National Institute of Virology, Pune was found to be positive after the first two tests gave contradictory results. The 69-year-old man, part of a group of 20 tourists, is admitted at an isolation ward of the SMS Hospital.
With this, six cases of COVID-19 have ben reported in the country so far.
As concerns over the spread of the virus mounted after two more persons tested positive on Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held an extensive review on the preparedness. He urged the people not to panic and instead take basic protective measures.
The Civil Aviation Ministry too conducted a meeting with all airports to review and update guidelines.
Sources said the patient from Mayur Vihar in Delhi, who had travelled to Italy recently, was shifted to a quarantine ward at Safdarjung Hospital on Sunday night.
One of the schools in Noida, on outskirts of Delhi, where the Delhi man�s son is a primary class student, said it will remain shut from March 4 to March 6, while the other said it will be closed till Saturday. The board exams are not affected, the messages sent by the schools to the parents made clear.
It came to light that the man had thrown a birthday party last week for the child, triggering fears that those who attended it including some students and his relatives might be at risk.
Samples from five students from the school have been taken to check if anyone has been infected, Noida�s Chief Medical Officer Anurag Bhargava said.
Fumigation was underway in both the schools and a Health Department team led by Noida�s Chief Medical Officer visited the site, an official said.
While some family members of the man, an accountant and others who came in contact with him were asked to remain quarantined at their homes in Delhi and Agra, six others from Agra with �high-viral load� have been kept in isolation at Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi and their samples sent to NIV, Pune, officials said.
Contact tracing of the people who came in contact with the six is simultaneously being done through the Integrated Disease Surveillance Program (IDSP) network, the Health Ministry said in a statement.
Hotels and the authorities at tourist sites in Agra have been told to inform the Office of the Chief Medical Officer as soon as visitors from Italy, Iran or China arrive, so that they can be screened for coronavirus infection, Agra Chief Medical Officer Dr Mukesh Vats told PTI.
The other patient who tested positive for the COVID-19 infection, a 24-year-old techie, is admitted in Hyderabad and had recently travelled to Dubai and Bengaluru.
Karnataka Health Minister B Sriramulu said that a medical team is monitoring the health condition of all those people who had come in contact with the software engineer.
India had earlier reported three cases from Kerala, including two medical students from Wuhan in China, the epicentre of the deadly novel coronavirus. All the three have recovered.
�It has come to our knowledge that the coronavirus-hit person in Hyderabad had gone from Bengaluru. Therefore, all the members in the house where he had stayed have been identified and are under watch,� Sriramulu tweeted on late Monday night. � PTI