Coronavirus: Rajasthan govt, hotels follow infected Italian tourists' trail

Topics Coronavirus | rajasthan | Tourists

Visitors wear protective masks in wake of the deadly novel coronavirus, at Government Gandhi Hospital in Hyderabad, Tuesday | PTI

Labs were analysing blood samples and hotel staff disinfecting rooms along the Rajasthan tourist trail followed by a group of Italian travellers, 16 of whom have now tested positive for coronavirus.

Rajasthan Health Minister Raghu Sharma told the assembly on Wednesday that at least 215 people came in contact with the Italian tourists who visited several places in the state from February 21 to 28.

A 69-year-old man was the first one in the group to test positive for coronavirus.

His wife too has tested positive for the virus at the Jaipur's Sawai Man Singh Hospital, where the couple is now admitted.

The other 14 members of the group and their Indian driver have been quarantined at the ITBP camp in Chhawla.

According to Union Health Ministry officials, the Italian tourists wanted to go back to their country after the first person in their group tested positive in Jaipur, but the authorities advised them to stay back.

Replying to an adjournment motion in the Rajasthan Assembly, Health Minister Raghu Sharma said swab samples of 93 people who came in contact with the Italian tourists have been collected.

Fifty-one of them have tested negative for the virus while reports of others are yet to arrive, he said.

He said 59 people in Jhunjhunu, 14 each in Jodhpur and Jaisalmer, 44 in Bikaner, six in Udaipur and 78 in Jaipur came in contact of the Italian group.

While the couple was admitted to the Jaipur hospital, others in the 26-member group, including three crew members, had left for Agra and then Delhi.

Earlier in the day, the Rajasthan government issued directions to the collectors and chief medical health officers of Jhunjhunu, Bikaner, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Udaipur and Jaipur districts to take public health measures at the places visited by the Italian tourists.

The officials have been asked to disinfect the rooms and the bus in which the group travelled from the time they arrived at the IGI airport in New Delhi to the hotels they stayed in the state.

The bus driver and cleaner will be home quarantined for 14 days.

"The officials have been asked to get detailed addresses of all who have stayed in these rooms and to do follow-up for health status and advice them for home quarantine for a total of 14 days," Additional Chief Secretary (Medical and Health) Rohit Kumar Singh said.

Tourist guides, helpers and hotel staff who had served or came in close contact with the group in any manner will also be home quarantined, he said.

Rooms will be disinfected with a solution of one per cent sodium hypochlorite while total mopping of all areas, handles, chairs, tables, etc. will also be done, the senior official said.

The minister told the assembly that though there is no prescribed medication or vaccine to treat the disease, the suspected patients in the state are being given swine flu medication as a precautionary measure.

Purchase orders have been given for 50,000 personal protective equipment kits and five lakh each of N95 and triple layer masks to deal with the problem, the minister said.

Informing about the measures taken by the state Health Department, he said teams have been alerted to thoroughly screen passengers at airports and rapid response teams have been formed in the medical colleges and associated hospitals.

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