Two persons who returned from China have been kept under medical observation in Mumbai for possible exposure to the novel coronavirus which has infected a large number of people in the neighbouring country, said officials on Friday.
As many as 1,789 passengers underwent thermal screening at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport here for the coronavirus since January 19 and two of them, who had travelled to China, have been admitted to civic-run Kasturba Hospital in Chinchpokali, they said.
Till now, no cases of the deadly infection have been detected through these screening efforts, a health department official said.
"No passenger was found positive (for the virus) during thermal scanning with history of visit to Wuhan city of China in the last 14 days," he said.
Coronavirus cases were first reported from Wuhan, the capital of central Chinas Hubei province.
In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak in China, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has created an isolation ward at its Kasturba hospital.
"The isolation ward has been created for diagnosis and treatment of persons suspected to have the coronavirus infection," said Dr Padmaja Keskar, executive health officer of the BMC.
Keskar said the two persons under observation at the hospital have mild cough and exhibited cold-related symptoms.
Further details about the persons kept under surveillance were awaited.
She said doctors at the Mumbai international airport have been asked to send travellers returning from China to the isolation ward if they show any symptoms of the coronavirus.
"All private doctors in the city have been asked to alert us (the BMC) if they observe symptoms of the coronavirus in anyone who has returned from China," she said.
According to Kasturba Hospital sources, they have received detailed instructions from the Maharashtra government about the coronavirus and how to deal with the illness and they have been instructed to strictly follow those.
Apart from Kasturba Hospital, quarantine facilities have also been provided at Naidu Hospital in Pune, the officials said.
The coronavirus is a large family of viruses that causes illnesses ranging from the common cold to acute respiratory syndromes, but the virus that has killed people in China is a novel strain and not seen before.
Common symptoms of the novel coronavirus strain include respiratory symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties, according to the WHO.
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