Wuhan medical college student found positive for Cornoa virus in Kerala, 1,053 under observation

(Eds: Updates with fresh inputs) Thiruvananthapuram, Jan 30 (PTI) A positive case of Novel coronavirus has been detected in Kerala's Thrissur district and the patient kept in an isolation ward while the number of people under observation in the state rose to 1,053 on Thursday as the Left government scrambled to tackle the emergency.

The condition of the woman patient, a medical student from Wuhan university, was 'stable', state Health minister K K Shailaja told reporters here.

The woman, now in an isolation ward at the general hospital in Thrissur, is likely to be shifted to the Medical College Hospital there soon.

Health officials were awaiting a result of one more test -- Gene sequencing -- only after which it can be conclusively stated that the patient was affected with the virus, the minister said.

Three others, who had returned from China, are also in isolation wards in Thrissur, she said without giving any further details on them.

The union Health Ministry earlier in the day said a positive case of Novel coronavirus has been reported from Kerala and confirmed that the patient is a student of Wuhan University.

'Of the four students who returned from China, one of them has tested positive. We have taken all precautionary measures and there was no need to panic', Shylaja said.

Of the total 1,053 people under observation after travelling to China, as many as 247 arrived in the state on Thursday.

While 15 people, including seven who got admitted on Thursday, are under observation in isolation wards at various hospitals across the state, the remaining are under home quarantine, a medical bulletin said.

So far, a total of 24 samples have been sent to the National Institute of Virology in Pune for testing and 15 of them turned out to be negative while that of the woman tested positive.

Officials are yet to receive the rest of the results, the bulletin said.

Asserting that the state health network was capable of handling any emergency, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said: 'We have initiated a series of measures to tackle the emergency; contact tracing, case isolation, quality care and community engagement are being done diligently. Care must be taken to not spread rumours over social media,' he tweeted.

It was unfortunate that there was a confirmation of coronavirus in the state, but the state had earlier faced similar situations and has the experience to deal with it, he told reporters.

'We have that experience and well equipped to face this issue. Now one case has been confirmed. We are taking further steps. Its seems like one more test needs to be done.There is no need to panic but we need to stay vigilant,' Vijayan added.

Shailaja said even though the state has been vigilant since the past two weeks and has made necessary arrangements to deal with the situation, there is need to exercise utmost caution.

'We need to be very cautious as our neighbouring countries like Sri Lanka, Nepal have confirmed cases of corornavirus,' the minister said.

She urged those who have returned from China to approach the health ministry or hospitals and get themselves checked.

The Health minister and officials have rushed to Thrissur, where a high-level meeting is being convened to upgrade facilities at the medical college there to handle the situation.

Shailaja later tweeted:'We have survived the Floods and Nipah. We will survive Corona too. #we_shall_overcome'.

Kerala was devastated by two consecutive floods in 2018 when over 480 people had lost their lives and last year over 100 people had died of landslides triggered by torrential rains.

Nipah virus had claimed 17 lives in 2018. PTI RRT UD VS VS