Coronavirus update: Two in Amritsar preliminary diagnosed positive for disease

Chandigarh: Two Indians who returned this week from coronavirus-hit Italy were preliminary diagnosed positive for the disease and they have been hospitalised in Amritsar city since their arrival, Punjab Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu said here on Saturday.

They have been admitted to Guru Nanak Dev Hospital in Amritsar.

“The preliminary test from the samples sent to (AIIMS) Delhi tested positive for the disease. Their samples have also been sent for the second confirmation to the Pune lab and the results of which will be out by Saturday evening or Sunday morning, the minister told the media here.

He said since a large number of people of Punjab are settled in Italy, the state government is extra cautious about their arrival to the state.

He said both were admitted to the isolation ward of the hospital after they showed symptoms of the disease on their arrival on March 3 at Sri Guru Ram Das Jee International Airport in Amritsar.

A total of 5,814 people with travel history of affected countries were properly screened by the Health Department. Nine persons are symptomatic as on Friday and their samples had been sent to the AIIMS in New Delhi.

The Cabinet minister said the situation is being closely watched and being monitored by state and district teams to avoid any outbreak.

The Punjab government on Friday night clarified that the coronavirus has not been declared an epidemic in the state and the Health Department had merely issued an advisory under the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, which provides for special measures to prevent outbreak or spread of any dangerous epidemic disease.

Clarifying that the press statement issued by the department on the issue earlier had inadvertently described Covid-2019 as an epidemic disease, an official spokesperson said later that there was absolutely no “epidemic” of the disease in the state.

The department had issued an advisory under the said Act only as a “temporary regulation” to combat the threat of the coronavirus, said the spokesperson, adding that there was no cause for panic at present and the situation was totally under control.

As of now, samples of two of the three persons who came from Italy to Hoshiarpur had been admitted to the GMCH in Amritsar after they tested positive in preliminary report of the AIIMS, Delhi.

The final reports were awaited from NIV, Pune, where the samples had been sent, said the spokesperson.

The spokesperson made it clear that while the advisory notification, listing the preventive and precautionary measures, was issued in line with the decisions taken by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh to ensure that the disease does not spread in the state, the government had not taken any decision to declare the disease an epidemic.

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