Coronavirus: Central team to visit Maha, no confirmed case found in state

(Eds: Adds health minister's quote) Mumbai, Jan 30 (PTI) With ten persons quarantined in three hospitals across Maharashtra for possible exposure to novel coronavirus, a central health ministry team is likely to visit the state to take a review of preparedness for tackling the disease, an official said on Thursday.

State health minister Rajesh Tope assured that no confirmed case of coronavirus infection has been found in Maharashtra so far.

Twenty-seven persons are under observation in the state and as a precautionary measure 10 of them have been quarantined -- six at Kasturba Hospital in Mumbai, three at Pune's Naidu Hospital and another at a hospital in Nanded.

'A team of Centre's health department is likely to visit Mumbai in coming days as more and more cases of suspected novel coronavirus are surfacing,' a senior state official told PTI.

'All the suspected coronavirus patients will continue to be kept under observation for at least 28 days,' the official said, adding that the number is likely to go up.

When asked about the purpose of the central team's visit, the official said, 'It is aimed at taking a review of the preparedness for prevention and management of the disease.

The team will also give some critical inputs.' Speaking to reporters in Aurangabad, health minister Tope said 4,790 people had been screened for symptoms of the infection at the Mumbai airport as of Wednesday.

'There is no confirmed patient of coronavirus in the state. Four flights land every week from China. We are scanning passengers for symptoms of coronavirus,' he said.

The government had earlier appealed to those who returned from China after January 1 to report to state-run hospitals if they were suffering from cough and mild fever.

Novel coronavirus belongs to the coronavirus family that causes illnesses ranging from the common cold to acute respiratory syndromes. The new virus strain is believed to have emerged from a seafood and animal market in Wuhan city of China. PTI ND AW NP KRK KRK