Coronavirus: 100 under observation in Kerala & Maharashtra, death toll rises to 80 in China

Coronavirus: 100 under observation in Kerala & Maharashtra, death toll rises to 80 in China
Members of the media have their temperature checked before attending a news conference by the State Council Information Office about the outbreak of the new coronavirus in Beijing, China, Sunday. Photo: REUTERS/Thomas Peter

Shanghai: The death toll from China's new coronavirus grew to 80 on Monday as residents of Hubei province, where the disease originated, were banned from entering Hong Kong amid global efforts to halt the rapid spread of the outbreak.

The number of deaths from the flu-like virus in Hubei province climbed from 56 to 76 overnight, health commission officials said, with four deaths elsewhere. The total number of confirmed cases in China had risen about 30% to 2,744.

Over 100 people have been kept under observation in Kerala and Maharashtra following screening for a possible exposure to novel coronavirus (nCov).

Over 29,700 passengers from 137 flights were screened for novel coronavirus infection at seven identified airports across India till Sunday but no positive case was detected, the Indian Health Ministry said.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Office on Saturday reviewed India's preparedness to deal with any situation amid mounting global concern over rising cases in China.

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Saturday said samples of seven passengers have been sent to the ICMR-NIV laboratory in Pune.

One person each from Thrissur, Thiruvananthapuram, Pathanamthitta and Malappuram and three from Ernakulam are in isolation wards of various health centres in Kerala.

Coronavirus: 100 under observation in Kerala & Maharashtra, death toll rises to 80 in China
People wearing face masks select vegetables at a supermarket, as the country is hit by an outbreak of the new coronavirus, in Beijing, China, Sunday. Photo: REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

The Union Health Minister has directed multidisciplinary central teams to go to the designated airports in New Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Kochi where thermal screening is being done.

Vardhan, who held a review meeting to analyse the preparedness for prevention and management of nCoV in India, also spoke to Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat and assured him of all support for screening at the border with Nepal.

Vardhan has urged the passengers who have a travel history to China since January 1, 2020, to report to their nearest health facility if they experience any symptoms such as fever, cough, respiratory distress, etc.

On Saturday, the Union Health Ministry also issued a fresh advisory asking the passengers to follow certain dos and don'ts if they are in China or travelling or returning from China.

Coronavirus: 100 under observation in Kerala & Maharashtra, death toll rises to 80 in China
Worshippers wear masks to prevent an outbreak of a new coronavirus as they make offerings of incense sticks during a Lunar New Year celebration at Che Kung Temple, in Hong Kong, China, Sunday. Photo: REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

The advisory stated that during their stay in China, if they feel sick and have fever and cough, they should cover their mouth while coughing and sneezing, seek medical attention promptly and report to the Indian Embassy in China.

The advisory also said that if they feel sick on flight while travelling back to India from China, they should inform the airline crew about their illness, seek mask and self-reporting format from the airline crew.

In such a case, the advisory said, avoid close contact with family members or fellow travellers and follow other directions of crew and airport health officer.

According to the advisory, 28 cases have been confirmed outside Chinese mainland -- 5 in Hong Kong, 4 in Thailand, 3 each in Taiwan and Singapore, 2 each in Macao, Japan, South Korea, United States and Vietnam, and 1 each in Nepal and France.

The newly identified coronavirus has created alarm because much about it is still unknown, such as how dangerous it is and how easily it spreads between people. It can cause pneumonia, which has been deadly in some cases.

The virus, believed to have originated in a seafood market in Wuhan that was illegally selling wildlife, has already spread to cities including Beijing and Shanghai.

China's cabinet said it would extend the week-long Lunar New Year holiday by three days to February 2 in a bid to slow the spread of the virus. The Hubei city of Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak, is already under virtual lockdown, with severe restrictions on movement in place in several other Chinese cities.

Coronavirus: 100 under observation in Kerala & Maharashtra, death toll rises to 80 in China
A health worker uses an infrared thermometer to check the temperature of a tourist who arrives at Bangkok's Don Mueang Airport, Thailand, Saturday. Photo: REUTERS/Panumas

Beijing has called for transparency in managing the crisis, after public trust was eroded by a cover-up of the spread of SARS, a coronavirus that originated in China and killed nearly 800 people globally in 2002 and 2003.

(With inputs from reuters and PTI)

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