Thiruvananthapuram: Ninety nine more people who returned to Kerala from China on Saturday have been kept under surveillance by health officials in the state for possible exposure to novel coronavirus (nCoV).
With this, a total of 179 people in the state are under surveillance.
The Prime Minister's Office on Saturday reviewed India's preparedness to deal with any situation amid mounting global concern over rising cases in China.
The coronavirus epidemic has so far claimed 41 lives and infected nearly 1,300 people in China. Wuhan, a Chinese city of 11 million people, is where the virus is believed to have first emerged.
The virus has spread to Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Nepal, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam and the US as of Thursday. Japan on Friday reported a second confirmed case.
Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said no positive case has been detected in the country so far though samples of seven passengers have been sent to the ICMR-NIV Pune lab. A 24x7 call centre has been made operational.
As many as 172 people in Kerala are under home surveillance and the other seven are under observation at various hospitals across the state, news agency PTI reported quoting a senior health official.
"We have sent their blood and respiratory specimen samples to the National Institute of Virology, Pune," he said.
The official also said the health department has assigned a health worker for the 172 people.
One person each from Thrissur, Thiruvananthapuram, Pathanamthitta and Malappuram and three from Ernakulam are in the isolation wards of various health centres in the state.
"These seven people, who had shown mild symptoms of fever, cough and sore throat, were being treated at various health facilities in the state," the official said.
Meanwhile, NoRKA Roots (Non Resident Keralite Affairs) said Keralites in various Chinese cities that are fighting the coronavirus are safe.
The state government agency said all possible assistance has been made available to the Indian community in Wuhan city, which is the epicentre of the outbreak.
"Supermarkets and food supply chains are operational in Wuhan. The Embassy has ensured that assistance is being made available to all the Indians there.
In case of emergency, people can contact the Indian embassy through hotline numbers- 8618612083629 and 8618612083617," the agency said, quoting the embassy.
NoRKA, in a release, said the officials were in touch with the students, including from Kerala in Sichuan University and had issued various advisories.
It also said that the condition of the Malayali nurse in Saudi Arabia, who was diagnosed with the infection, was improving and hoped that she would be discharged in two days.
On Friday, health officials had tracked down 80 people who had returned to Kerala from China over the past few days and kept them under surveillance
The government on Friday advised those under home surveillance to remain at home for 28 days from the date of their departure from China.
Health officials were also directed not to mingle with anyone for the safety of their near and dear ones.
If they show any symptoms of fever, cough and breathing problem, then health officials should be immediately informed, they had said.
(With inputs from PTI)