The death toll from China’s coronavirus outbreak soared to 722 on February 8th, 2020. A total of 34,500 confirmed infection cases have been reported across the country.
The epidemic has prompted the Chinese government to lock down cities including Beijing and Shanghai, as anger mounts over its handling of the crisis. The usually week-long Lunar New Year holiday was extended by 10 days in parts of China.
On the other hand, replying to a question in Rajya Sabha, Minister of External Affairs, S Jaishankar said that 80 Indian students are still left in the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicentre of the virus outbreak.
He added that 10 of these students out of the total 80 Indian students still in Wuhan were running fever so the Chinese authority did not allow them to board the special Air India flight and the remaining 70 students stayed back voluntarily.
Jaishankar also mentioned that the Indian Embassy in China is constantly in touch with these students and their well being is monitored.
Meanwhile, amid reports that there are more than 200 Indians, both passengers and crew members, onboard the cruise ship Diamond Princess quarantined off Japan due to coronavirus, India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said, “we are closely following the developments.” As reported, 64 people aboard the Diamond Princess off Yokohama have tested positive.
“Many Indian crew and some Indian passengers are onboard the cruise ship Diamond Princess quarantined off Japan due to Coronavirus. None have tested positive, as per the latest information provided by our Embassy in Tokyo. We are closely following the developments,” he tweeted.
The Government of India is constantly monitoring the situation and is taking all the necessary steps to avoid the spread of the deadly virus. All 645 Indian evacuees from Wuhan, China have tested negative for coronavirus. India has so far reported three confirmed cases of nCoV from Kerala.
As of February 7th, 2020, a total of 1275 flights have been screened covering a total of 1,39,539 passengers, and 150 passengers identified with symptoms have been referred to isolation facilities. Teams of Specialist doctors were sent to all the airports to ensure effective screening and arrangement for isolation in the attached hospitals.
As per several reports, the virus is said to have originated in December 2019 in a food market in Wuhan that was illegally selling wildlife. Experts believe the lethal virus may have first originated in bats and then passed to humans via another animal species.
In view of a confirmed case in Nepal, the Indian government has initiated screening in all integrated check posts from Nepal in collaboration with states of UP, Uttarakhand, West Bengal, Sikkim and Bihar and Seema Shastra Bal (SSB) and Land Port Authorities.
Gram Sabhas have been conducted in villages adjoining the borders with Nepal to create awareness amongst people about the disease and precautions to be taken in collaboration with Panchayati Raj Ministry.
The novel coronavirus infection first broke out in Wuhan and as of February 4th, 2020, it has spread to around 27 countries. The World Health Organization has declared the coronavirus as a public health emergency of international concern. There is no specific cure or vaccine.
Photo credit: /nationalhealthmissionassam/