6 under watch in Goa for suspected coronavirus infection

(Eds: Updates with fresh details) Panaji, Jan 30 (PTI) The Goa government on Thursday said six people are under surveillance for suspected coronavirus infection and one of them has been admitted to the isolation ward at the Goa Medical College and Hospital (GMCH).

Health Minister Vishwajit Rane said samples of the person admitted at the GMCH have been sent to Pune-based National Institute of Virology (NIV) for testing and reports are awaited.

In a statement issued here late in the night, he said, 'A total of six travellers are under surveillance for suspected coronavirus infection in Goa. Of them, one has been isolated at the GMCH and the other five are asymptomatic and being monitored on a daily basis.' The minister said the state has received print material from the Centre about the coronavirus and it has been distributed to peripheral health centres.

He said awareness about the deadly virus, whose outbreak was reported from Wuhan city of China, is also being created through print and other mediums.

Rane said a health help desk has been set up at the international airport at Dabolim, around 25km from here.

The tourism department has issued advisory for the coronavirus to the hotel industry, he added.

Earlier in the day, Rane said he has urged the Union Health Ministry to install thermal scanners at the state's lone airport to detect suspected cases of the novel coronavirus.

He said passengers arriving in Goa by cruise ships at Mormugao Port Trust harbour should also be screened for the infection.

A thermal scanner checks the body temperature of a person and shows if he/she has symptoms of viral infections.

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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