Punjab’s first coronavirus case: NRI from Italy who evaded screening at Delhi

The man's condition is stable, while his wife and child have tested negative, authorities said.




AN NRI who reached Amritsar last week from Italy has been tested positive for coronavirus, becoming the first such case in Punjab, state Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu Monday said.

“The man who reached Amritsar by an Air India flight has tested positive for coronavirus. He had landed at Amritsar International Airport via Delhi on March 4 along with his two other family members,” Punjab Principal Secretary (Health) Anurag Aggarwal said.

The man’s wife and child, however, have negative. The two have been kept in isolation at an Amritsar hospital, Aggarwal added.

The patient, a resident of Hoshiarpur, had managed to evade screening at Delhi international airport, where he first landed in an Air India flight from Milan, the official said.

He and his family members were tracked to the Amritsar airport and admitted to a government hospital in Amritsar on being suspected of having coranavirus-affliction symptoms, Aggarwal said.

Their samples were subsequently sent to AIIMS, Delhi for investigation, in which the man and wife tested positive for afflictions. The samples were subsequently sent to the National Institute of Virology, Pune, which confirmed Monday that the man is suffering from coronavirus afflictions, said Agarwal.

The man’s condition is “stable”, Aggarwal said, adding his wife and child’s samples returned negative.

Earlier, Punjab government had written to Centre urging it to track all the passengers on the two flights that the trio took to first reach Delhi and then Amritsar.

Meanwhile, the state government issued a bulletin Monday stating that 10 persons with symptoms of the deadly virus have been admitted to various hospitals and their blood samples have been sent for testing.

The total number of patients who have tested negative are 58, while 1,388 are under observation at their homes, as on March 8.

As per the bulletin, a total of 2001 beds in quarantine and 950 for isolation have been set up at various hospitals in the state.

Mobile app to spread awareness

The Punjab government also launched a mobile application — Cova Punjab — to spread awareness about the precautions to be taken against coronavirus. Cova stands for Corona Virus Alert. He app has been developed by Department of Government Reforms and Public Grievances in consultation with Health and Family Welfare Department.

Punjab Chief Secretary Karan Avtar Singh, who launched the app, said it provides options to check for symptoms as provided by the government from time to time and follow the advice given thereafter.

The application also suggests the nearest hospital where people can report in case they show symptoms of the virus, he added.

Additional Chief Secretary (Governance Reforms) Vini Mahajan said the application can be downloaded from Android Play Store and iOS AppStore.

Masks, sanitisers sold in black

Health authorities in Punjab have failed to check black marketing of face masks, which were being sold at Rs 25 each as against the maximum retail price of Rs 5. Hand sanitisers are being sold at four-five times the original price.

On Monday, Youth Akali Dal distributed over 1,000 face masks in Chaura Bazar area for free.

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