India, Philippines confirm first cases of coronavirus

Foreign Desk Report

NEW DELHI: India and the Philippines confirmed the first cases of coronavirus on Thursday. While the Philipines confirmed the virus in a woman who travelled to the country from Wuhan, China, in India the first case of novel coronavirus was confirmed. India said a patient in the southern state of Kerala had tested positive for novel coronavirus, the first case in the country of the virus which originated in China and has so far killed 170. The patient was a student of Wuhan University in China, India’s government said in a statement. The patient is stable and in isolation at a hospital, the statement added. A senior Indian government official said bringing Indian nationals from Wuhan, the epicentre of the virus, was not the best option due to the risk of infection but increased pressure from the citizens, most of them students, and their parents had forced them to keep an aircraft on standby. This week, India readied a state-carrier airplane to travel to Wuhan but was waiting for a nod from Chinese authorities who were trying to sequence the whole evacuation process. “Only those nationals who don’t have the virus will be airlifted, they will be brought into a quarantine facility outside Delhi,” the official said, requesting anonymity. Demands from South Asian nationals intensified after countries such as the United States and Japan began pulling out their nationals. The Philippines also confirmed its first case of the new virus that has infected thousands in China. Health Secretary Francisco Duque said the 38year-old Chinese woman had traveled to the Philippines from Wuhan, China, via Hong Kong on January 21. She sought treatment on January 25 due to a mild cough. Duque said at a news conference the woman was confirmed positive from test results on Thursday and currently has no symptoms.