Home / News / India /  Coronavirus leads to first death outside China, Kerala gets a second case

New Delhi: A second person was diagnosed with the deadly coronavirus in India on Sunday even as the first death outside of China was reported in the Philippines, prompting many countries to take stringent steps, including travel restrictions, to limit the spread of the disease.

“The (second Indian) patient has tested positive for novel coronavirus and is in isolation in the hospital," the Union health ministry said in a statement on Sunday.

The second patient is also from Kerala and had travelled to China. Last week, a student from Kerala, studying in China’s Wuhan University, tested positive. The health of the student is stable, the government said.

Many countries have suspended flights to China or are denying entry to foreigners, who had recently been to the country, where the virus was first identified in December and has killed 304 people. The respiratory disease has spread rapidly to infect more than 14,500 people around the world. With the World Health Organization declaring the outbreak a global health emergency last week, countries can choose to close their borders, cancel flights, screen people arriving at airports or take other protective measures.

On Sunday, the Indian embassy in Beijing said all e-visas issued to residents in China for travel to India have been suspended and will no longer be considered a valid travel document. The Indian government also warned its citizens against travelling to China and in case they do so, travellers will be quarantined on their return.

“Such outbreaks are not only a health issue—the response, including temporary shutdown of public transport and restrictions on movement, have caused major disruption to operations and, therefore, business continuity," said Neeraj Balani, managing director of International SOS, India.

“Organizations who have operations in China, need to educate their workforce to keep them well and up to date with precautionary hygiene advice and travel restrictions," he said.

Meanwhile, the Philippine department of health said a 44-year-old man from Wuhan, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak, died eight days after being admitted to the hospital.

The Indian government has evacuated more than 600 Indians from Wuhan using two Air India flights. The evacuees are being monitored at two special quarantine facilities built by the Indian Army and Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP).

One of the two quarantine facilities is at the ITBP camp in south-west Delhi’s Chhawla. The other is at Manesar near Gurugram and is being managed by the Armed Forces Medical Services.

The second Air India flight carrying 323 Indians and seven Maldivians from Wuhan landed in Delhi on Sunday morning. The first flight evacuated 324 Indians.

Officials said none of those admitted to the two quarantine facilities have tested positive for the coronavirus. Five doctors from Delhi’s Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, who accompanied the evacuees on the first flight, were also present on the second flight.

IndiGo, India’s largest airline, has suspended all three flights between India and China. Air India has suspended its Delhi-Shanghai flight and curtailed operations on the Delhi-Hong Kong route.

Cabinet secretary Rajiv Gauba held a review meeting on Saturday on the preparedness for tackling the coronavirus outbreak.

As of Sunday, 58,658 passengers from 445 flights were screened, according to the Union health ministry.

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