In what is the first confirmed case of an Indian national contracting coronavirus, a Keralite nurse working in Saudi Arabia reportedly tested positive to the virus on Thursday. V Muraleedharan, Union Minister of State for External Affairs, confirmed this on Twitter and added that of the 100 Indian nurses working at Jeddah’s Al-Hayat hospital, only one has tested positive to the coronavirus. The affected nurse is under treatment at Aseer National Hospital and was recovering well, he said in the tweet.
Update from @CGIJeddah : About 100 Indian nurses mostly from Kerala working at Al-Hayat hospital have been tested and none except one nurse was found infected by Corona virus. Affected nurse is being treated at Aseer National Hospital and is recovering well. @PMOIndia @MEAIndia https://t.co/jM0u5243GV
- V. Muraleedharan (@MOS_MEA) January 23, 2020
Earlier, it was reported that Kerala Chief Minister Pinnarayi Vijayan had written to Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar urging him to take necessary steps for treatment of the nurses reportedly suffering from the coronavirus in Saudi Arabia. The chief minister had requested the ministry to communicate with Saudi Arabian authorities after news broke that the nurses from Kerala working in hospitals there had contracted the coronavirus.
The dreaded virus has resulted in 17 deaths and affected over 600 people, with the outbreak causing maximum damage around China’s Wuhan and Huanggang cities in the Hubei province, PTI reported. Around 700 Indian students, mostly studying medicine in universities around China, had expressed concerns over their well-being after the outbreak, leading to the Indian Embassy setting up hotlines to assist them in case of emergency, the report added.
An official release said that since the coronavirus outbreak, the Embassy of India had received queries from the Indian students and nationals residing in and around Hubei province and from their relatives in India. And added that the embassy is in contact with the Chinese authorities and monitoring the situation closely. As per the embassy release, Chinese authorities have assured Indians of all assistance and government-run supermarkets and food delivery and e-commerce services were reportedly functioning in Wuhan.
The embassy has started two hotlines on the following numbers: +8618612083629 and +8618612083617. Also, the embassy in its release has advised Indians in China to monitor the embassy’s social media accounts - Twitter: @EoIBeijing, and, Facebook: India in China - to keep a track on the situation.
To ensure the safety of foreigners in their country, the Chinese authorities had assured assistance to consular offices of foreign missions, PTI reported.
China has taken drastic measures to contain the virus and virtually sealed Wuhan and Huanggang cities to further prevent the virus from spreading.