An Air India passenger has tested positive for coronavirus.
An Air India crew who had flown a Vienna-Delhi flight on February 25 have been asked to stay in isolation at their homes for 14 days after the Union Health Ministry announced on Monday that a Delhi resident, who was a passenger on the aircraft, has tested positive for coronavirus.
“You are required to stay in isolation for 14 days at your respective homes and report to health authorities in case of any symptoms of coronavirus as a passenger was detected positive for coronavirus in your flight,” a memo from Air India to its crew said.
It’s not yet clear if a similar advisory has been issued to the passengers. The Boeing 787 aircraft which serviced the flight can carry over 200 passengers.
According to sources, the infected passenger was not screened at the Delhi airport because he flew in from Austria’s Vienna where the outbreak has not been declared serious.
He had travelled to Vienna by road from Italy and took the February flight to Delhi from there, sources said.
The revelation comes on a day when the government reported two new cases of the novel coronavirus, including the Delhi man, assuring that it has stepped up its efforts to detect and check the infection which has killed more than 3,000 people globally.
Rajasthan health minister Raghu Sharma said an Italian tourist has also tested positive for coronavirus in Jaipur.
The first sample collected from the tourist on February 29 tested negative but his condition deteriorated so a second sample was collected which tested positive on Monday, the minister said, adding, “Since there is a variation in the reports, samples have been sent to the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune for testing”.
India had earlier reported three cases from Kerala, including two medical students from Wuhan in China, the epicentre of the deadly novel coronavirus. They had self-reported on their return to the country and tested positive for the infection. They were discharged from hospitals last month after recovering.
Giving details of the fresh cases, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said the person from Delhi had travelled to Italy, while the other patient who has tested positive for the COVID-19 infection is from Telangana and has a recent travel history to Dubai.
“Both the patients had self-reported after they developed symptoms. They tested positive. They are stable and being closely monitored,” he told reporters.
The person in Delhi had self-reported at the RML hospital after returning to India while the one in Telangana had initially gone to a private medical facility and then was referred to a government hospital in the state, the minister said.
He also advised people to avoid non-essential travel to Iran, Italy, South Korea and Singapore and said India was in discussions with authorities in Iran and Italy, two countries badly affected by the infection, to evacuate Indians there.
The novel coronavirus or COVID-19, which originated in China, has spread to over 60 countries, including the US, Italy and Iran.
Italy reported Monday a jump in the number of deaths from the coronavirus to 52, with more than 2,000 people infected, most of whom were in the country’s northern Lombardy region.