16 Italian tourists among 28 positive cases of coronavirus in India

New Delhi: India recorded its biggest jump in coronavirus cases on Wednesday as 15 Italian tourists – who landed in Delhi last month – and one Indian, who was with travelling with them, tested positive for the illness, taking the total number of cases to 28. They were a part of a group of 23 Italians who traveled to Rajasthan last month. One of them – currently in Jaipur – tested positive on Tuesday; his wife has also tested positive.
If confirmed, this will be the biggest group so far in the country to be infected with the illness, which made an appearance in Wuhan city of mainland China in December and spread to more than 60 countries.
On Monday, two fresh cases of the disease were reported in Delhi and Hyderabad. The Delhi patient, 45, had recently gone to Italy, which is emerging as another hub for the outbreak.
According to sources, he was not screened at airport because he flew in from Austria, where the outbreak has not been declared serious. The crew of the Air India flight that flew him last week has been asked to stay in isolation at their homes for 14 days. A similar advisory has been issued to other passengers.
The affected passenger in Hyderabad -a techie from Bengaluru – had travelled on an IndiGo flight on February 20. The crew of the flight have been placed under observation.
Three others from Kerala – who contracted the virus last month – have been cured.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had tweeted that he had an “extensive review with (a) number of ministries and state governments regarding preparedness levels”. He said there was “no need to panic”. The government has set up a task force to monitor the situation.
On Wednesday morning, he said that he would not participate in any Holi events next week, citing experts. “Experts across the world have advised to reduce mass gatherings to avoid the spread of COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus. Hence, this year I have decided not to participate in any Holi Milan programme,” he wrote.
India has now stepped up preventative measures including barring visitors from Italy, Iran, South Korea and Japan, except diplomats and officials from international bodies.
Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan held a high-level meeting.
The symptoms of the coronavirus may appear any time between 2 and 14 days after the exposure. The symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Worldwide, the virus has infected around 90,000 people, of whom around 3,000 have died.