KOLKATA: An Italian couple was on Thursday admitted at the isolation ward of the Infectious Diseases & Beliaghata General Hospital with symptoms of Covid-19, sending state health officials into a tizzy. Italy has recorded the second highest number of nCoV-positive cases and deaths outside China, and 15 of the 74 confirmed novel coronavirus cases in India are Italian tourists.
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Bengal has not had any positive coronavirus case so far, but the two Italian suspected cases in the state’s nodal hospital for coronavirus, has sent alarm bells ringing.
Two foreign devotees have also been kept in isolation at a hospital run by Iskcon at Mayapur . The two – one from Malaysia and the other from Australia — had come to the Iskcon to attend the Gour Purnima festival. When they complained of fever they were promptly shifted to the Iskcon’s hospital and the district administration was informed.
The swab samples of all the suspected patients have been sent for confirmatory tests.
According to sources, the Italian couple, aged 35 and 33, arrived in the city on March 5. Officials at ID Hospital said the couple have shown symptoms of Covid-19 but their condition is stable.
“The couple’s samples were collected on Thursday soon after admission in our isolation ward and sent to ICMR-NICED for a confirmatory test,” said Anima Haldar, principal at ID&BG Hospital.
Like all suspects, they will continue to be monitored in the hospital isolation ward till the confirmatory test report comes, said Ajay Chakraborty, director health services. But the health department has started the process of tracking the duo’s travel route to detect the number of people they have come in contact with since their arrival. “We can’t take chances, especially when 15 of a 21-member tourist party from Italy tested positive just nine days ago,” said a source at Swasthya Bhawan.
During the day, one more suspect apart from the Italian couple was admitted in the ID & BG hospital. At present the hospital has five persons in its isolation ward. But in a huge relief, the sample of another suspect from the city that was sent to NIV Pune for reconfirmation, tested negative. As a protocol, any sample that tests positive to novel coronavirus in a lab in any other part of the country has to be forwarded to the NIV Pune for reconfirmation.
At ISKCON’s Mayapur headquarters, eleborate sanitisation of guest houses, temples, ashrams and temple compounds are being carried out. Devotees are also being screened. “The swab samples of the two foreign nationals who showed Covid-19 symptoms have been sent for confirmation. We are coordinating with district administration and state health government officials,” said spokesperson Subrata Das.