Seven Indonesian nationals have tested positive for coronavirus in Telangana, taking the total number of confirmed cases in the state to 13.
The seven Indonesians were part of an 11-member delegation had travelled to Telangana’s Karimnagar from New Delhi by train on March 14. According to a bulletin issued by the state health department Wednesday night, the visitors were scheduled to attend a religious meeting in the state.
All the seven infected patients have been shifted to Hyderabad and are currently undergoing treatment at the state-run Gandhi Hospital. Hospital sources said their condition is now stable.
Earlier, a 22-year-old with travel history to Scotland, had tested positive and has been since admitted to the Gandhi Hospital. With the seven new cases, the total number of COVID-19 cases in the state has shot up to 13.
Meanwhile, health officials have begun contact tracing of people who may have come in contact with the infected Indonesians. They had travelled by train from New Delhi and arrived at Ramagundam town in Karimnagar district.
The latest development has triggered panic in the state, particularly in the light of the severity of the situation in Indonesia.
The death toll from COVID-19 jumped to 19 in Indonesia on Wednesday (March 18), the highest in Southeast Asia to date. The number of people infected has reached 227. A majority of the fatalities were recorded in Jakarta (12).
The spike in the number of deaths was due to hospitals not reporting fatalities from March 12 to 17, said Achmad Yurianto, the government spokesperson for the management of COVID-19 in Indonesia.
Lockdown in Karimnagar
The Karimnagar district administration, meanwhile, has asked people not to move out of their houses within the radius of three kilometres of the District Collectorate. The authorities have also asked business establishments, other than those selling essential commodities, to close down till further notice.
About 100 medical teams will take up house-to-house medical examinations of all inmates, said Backward Classes Welfare Minister Gangula Kamalakar. He said the Indonesian visitors were believed to have moved around the areas close to the Collector’s office for two days.
Anticipating the worst-case scenario, state health officials said they were in the process of putting in place infrastructure and healthcare facilities that would provide quarantine support to at least 22,000 international passengers in Telangana.
“We are planning for the worst-case scenario. We should be able to provide medical assistance to at least 1,000 COVID-19 patients. We are trying to create isolation facilities for at least 5,000 persons and have access to enough infrastructure to quarantine at least 22,000 patients across the state,” said Health Minister E Rajender.
Each quarantine facility will have access to enough number of doctors, nurses, paramedical staff and officials from the revenue department who will take care of non-clinical and logistical aspects like providing quality food, sanitation and ensuring that basic amenities are available to the quarantined, said the minister.
Meanwhile, in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, a coronavirus positive case was reported from Prakasam district on Wednesday, taking the total number to two in that state. The state health officials there said out of 109 persons screened for the virus so far, 94 have tested negative while the reports of the remaining suspected cases are yet to come.