Thiruvananthapuram: At least thirty nurses from Kerala were reportedly quarantined in a hospital in Saudi Arabia after one of them tested positive for deadly coronavirus that claimed several lives in China, said their relatives.
After the news surfaced, chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan sent a letter to external affairs minister Jayshankar seeking his immediate intervention. “Reports suggest some nurses working at the Al Hyat Hospital in Abha have contracted the virus. The MEA will have to intervene to ensure proper treatment and protection for them,” he said in the letter. Abha is the capital city of Asser province in southwest Saudi Arabia.
The incident came to light after some of the affected nurses called up their relatives back home and complained about their situation. “We have been herded in two rooms of the hospital for more than two days. No proper tests were done and we are not treated properly. We have also complained to Indian Embassy officials,” one of them told a Malayalam news channel over the phone.
As per details available, a 38-year-old nurse hailing from Ettumanoor in Kottayam was contracted the virus while treating a Filipino who had tested positive for the deadly virus. Later all nurses who came in contact with the affected nurse were isolated and put under observation. But quarantined nurses said it was a panic reaction and they were isolated without any tests or procedures.
Following the panic triggered by the outbreak of a new coronavirus, China has locked down its Wuhan city with a population of around 11 million people.
Sources in Beijing said that the government has shut down the city’s airport, railway stations, short distance ferries and long-distance coaches in Central China’s Wuhan city, following 18 deaths due to the 2019-nCoV, a new strain of coronavirus, previously not identified in humans.
The symptoms of infection include fever, cough and breathing problems.
Normal life in Wuhan has come to a standstill and the lockdown has caused panic among people, sources said.
Over 500 Indian students study in Wuhan city’s medical colleges in universities. However, Indian officials said most of them had left for home for the Chinese New Year holidays.