India on Friday issued an advisory for Indians travelling from China especially from the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where hundreds of Indian students study, following the outbreak of a new virus that has claimed the life of two persons and infected dozens of others.
More than 500 Indian students study in Wuhan, mostly in medical universities in and around the city, which is known as China’s university town.
Many Indian students would be – or already are — travelling back to India for the Chinese New Year (CNY) holidays, which have already begun.
The ‘novel coronavirus’ was first detected in Wuhan and until now, all cases of the viral infection have been detected in people from Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province, or among those who travelled to the city.
Both deaths have been reported in Wuhan.
Agency reports said Thailand had found a second case of the new Chinese coronavirus as authorities’ ramp up checks on Chinese visitors, nearly a million of whom are expected for the CNY holidays next week.
Japan too has reported one case of the virus.
‘An infection with a novel coronavirus has been reported from China. As on 11th January, 2020, 41 confirmed cases have been reported so far, of which one has died,’ the advisory from the Indian embassy said.
‘Only travel-related cases have been reported (one each) in Thailand and Japan. The clinical signs and symptoms are mainly fever with a few patients having difficulty in breathing. The mode of transmission is unclear as of now. However, so far there is little evidence of significant human-to-human transmission,’ it added.
The advisory specifically mentioned those who are travelling from Wuhan.
‘All travelers to China (in particular Wuhan city) to monitor their health closely,’ it said.
It outlined a set of precautionary measures for them.
‘If you feel sick on flight, while traveling back to India: Inform the airlines crew about illness, seek mask from the airlines crew, avoid close contact with family members or fellow travelers,’ the advisory said.
The advisory added that if someone felt sick on flight or at the time of disembarkation, they should take the following steps: ‘Report to airport health authorities/immigration, follow the direction of the airport health officer’.
Keeping in mind, the incubation period of the virus, travellers from China should remember to take these steps: ‘If you feel sick with in a span of one month after return from China, report the illness to the nearest health facility and also inform the treating doctor regarding your travel history’.
The US’s State Department issued a travel advisory on Wednesday, alerting American citizens travelling to China especially Wuhan.
The alert referenced a ‘ Level 1 Alert’ by the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
Under the travel alert, the State Department advised citizens to ‘avoid animals’ and to ‘avoid contact’ with any sick people.
Chinese health authorities have said it is possible that the new coronavirus which has sparked fears of an outbreak as hundreds of millions begin travelling in China and outside for the upcoming CNY holidays could be passed through human contact but the risk of person-to-person transmission is low.
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