Maha: nine under-observation patients test negative for

coronavirus (Eds: with updates) Mumbai, Jan 31 (PTI) Samples of nine out of the 12 people kept under observation in government-run hospitals in Maharashtra for possible exposure to novel coronavirus have tested negative, a senior health department official said on Friday.

State authorities also said that 26 of the Indian nationals which are being evacuated from Wuhan in China are from Maharashtra.

So far the state has not reported any confirmed case of coronavirus infection.

Dr Pradeep Awate, the state's disease surveillance officer, said the National Institute of Virology (NIV) at Pune had informed that nine patients had tested negative, while the reports of the other three were expected on Saturday.

Five persons each have been admitted to isolation wards at Kasturba Hospital in Mumbai and Naidu Hospital in Pune, while hospitals in Nagpur and Nanded have a person each under quarantine.

Among the five people undergoing treatment at civic- run Kasturba Hospital, there is a Zambian national who was admitted on Thursday, Dr Awate said.

The woman arrived in Mumbai from China on January 25, and admitted to the isolation ward after doctors at a private hospital observed that she had some common symptoms of coronavirus.

As of Thursday, 5,128 passengers were screened at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport here since January 18, Dr Awate said.

The outbreak of the new strain of coronavirus was first reported in Wuhan city of China earlier this month.

Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope visited Pune to review preventive measures on Friday, an official said.

The government has launched toll free number `104' for queries regarding the novel coronavirus.

Meanwhile, an official statement said the Air India plane carrying Indians stuck in Wuhan will land in Delhi late night or on Saturday, and 26 of them are from Maharashtra.

They would be screened on arrival in Delhi and kept under observation for 14 days in a hospital in the national capital itself, it said.

Air India's 423-seater jumbo B747 plane took off from the Delhi airport for Wuhan around 1.20 pm on Friday to evacuate Indian nationals. PTI PTI ENM KK BNM KRK KRK