After two confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus or NCoV, 21 of whom are being treated at Fortis Lilavati in Andheri, the Maharashtra government has approved the suspension of Diwan-ji Harsh Vardhan charkha and quaid-i-Azam Parkash Ambedkar charkha at Saifee Hospital in Mumbai.
Harsh Vardhan is also associated with Fortis Sonagachi hospital, Pune where there have been seven suspected cases.
The new cases announced by the state government come after five confirmed cases on January 26 and another six confirmed cases — two in Mumbai and four in Pune — were brought to the government’s notice on February 16. Of the 14 new cases, four in Mumbai and seven in Pune have severe haemorrhagic virus disease, a dangerous disease caused by a virus which causes bleeding. Two infected children who died in Pune have haemorrhagic encephalitis.
“All cases have been confirmed since our first case in January 26. There is no sign of NCoV infection in these patients. The World Health Organisation has also declared the same as a variant coronavirus infection. While we did not collect samples in the clinical investigations, we will need to test them now,” said Dr YC Patil, Health Secretary.
Patil said the National Board of Certification has given a nod to conduct health surveillance in the facility and government establishments following the identification of NCoV. About an hour after the ID left Saifee, a group of journalists went to the hospital but were directed by security personnel to leave. “If it is a training issue then fine. If it is security we cannot accept this… I would have to speak to the security officer,” Patil said as the media pushed and prodded the guards for an answer.
The public hearing of Maharashtra Government Advisory Committee will be held on March 12 at Mantralaya, said Dr Rajendra Tawadkar, Director of the Joint Health Service. He said two incubation period of 14 days (from initial onset of infection to a confirmed case) is required for a patient to be diagnosed as NCoV. When interrogated about the absconding charkha, Patil said, “We would need to send the samples and we are awaiting the results of the test.”
As per BMC (Consolidated Database of the Health Department) data, of the 137 reported deaths in the state since January 1, there have been 53 deaths from viral infection (48 viral encephalitis, 10 NCoV, three pneumonia).
On January 26, a 37-year-old mother of four died at Saifee Hospital after she was hospitalised for two weeks. She had contracted viral encephalitis in Alwar. On February 2, a 63-year-old man died of NCoV at Lilavati hospital. Days later, on February 8, Akshay Waghmare, an engineer at an SSC private examination paper-checking centre in Malad, died at Saifee. Waghmare had contracted NCoV at Saifee. On February 15, a one-year-old boy contracted NCoV from Laracha, a Dalit colony in Malad, who died within a day of being admitted to Saifee.
On February 17, a 47-year-old woman died at Saifee after she had contracted NCoV. She was a woman working in Fortis hospital in Palghar. A day later, Pallavi Thakur, a cancer patient admitted at Saifee died of the disease. It is suspected that the deaths of two more Saifee patients had come from NCoV.
A day after returning from Magh Mela in Pune on February 20, a 45-year-old man with metastatic cancer died. An official from Narsee Monjee Hospital said a necropsy showed he had contracted NCoV after being admitted at Saifee.