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India’s first case of coronavirus confirmed in Kerala

One of the Kerala students who returned from Wuhan has tested positive for Novel Coronavirus on Thursday.

The patient has been kept in the isolation ward of a hospital and is clinically stable and recovering, top sources in the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune and Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) confirmed.

She is being closely monitored, a release by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare earlier said.

This is the first confirmed case of nCoV in India so far. The outbreak of the infection has killed nearly 180 in China thus far with over 7,000 being infected.

The confirmation has come based on matching of the genome sequencing of virus shared by China present in serum samples collected from the patient, a senior official from the NIV said.

“We carried out the test following two testing protocols and both have confirmed the presence of the virus,” he added.

Till Thursday afternoon, 49 samples have been tested at the institute — 16 of which were from Kerala.

“The highest number of samples tested were from Kerala but the virus has been confirmed in only one person yet,” another official said.

Apart from NIV, four other laboratories under ICMR have been geared up for the test but so far all the samples are being taken to NIV only.

ICMR meanwhile said that while there was no need to panic, preventive measures should be followed “religiously”.

The student was among the ten persons under surveillance in isolation wards. The National Institute of Virology report confirming the infection was received on Thursday.

The patient, a medical student who had self-reported was reportedly in the first batch of students who returned from Wuhan, is currently in the isolation ward of the Thrissur General Hospital. She is set to be shifted to the Thrissur Medical College, according to the Kerala Health Minister KK Shailaja.

The Minister also said that she will be going to Thrissur along with the Kerala Health Secretary. The Kerala government is also planning to set up a lab to screen possible coronavirus cases in Alappuzha.

As of now, a total of 806 people are under observation – some at their homes – across Kerala.

The reports come at a time when eight Karnataka students from the Xuzhou Medical University are set to return after booking their flight tickets from January 31 after days of uncertainty as many flights were cancelled and they faced problems booking tickets too.

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