Coronavirus: Some travellers from high-risk countries escaped quarantine, says Maharashtra Health Minister

Rajesh Tope also stated that random testing for the disease was not possible because of the paucity of testing kits.

Published: 19th March 2020 06:23 PM  |   Last Updated: 19th March 2020 06:23 PM   |  A+A-

Pedestrians walk past closed shops at Dadar Vyapari Sangh in wake of the coronavirus pandemic in Mumbai Thursday March 19 2020. (Photo | PTI)


MUMBAI: Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope on Thursday admitted that a few people who visited a country considered to be high-risk escaped quarantine for coronavirus as they returned via another country.

He also stated that random testing for the disease was not possible because of the paucity of testing kits.

The Centre has put seven countries which have seen a large-scale outbreak of the virus in "negative" list, and passengers from these places are placed in compulsory quarantine whether they have any symptoms or not, he told a news channel.

"But recently, a person who visited Germany, which falls in the negative list, proceeded to the Netherlands and boarded a flight for Mumbai from there. He managed to leave the airport on return," the minister said.

"He should have been quarantined, but he managed to reach Pune. Later he developed symptoms and tested positive for Covid-19 disease," Tope said.

"This is putting other people's lives in danger," he added.

"I have now asked immigration officials to check last fifteen days' travel history of passengers landing in the state," the minister said, admitting to a loophole in the screening system.

Asked about the desirability of random testing for the virus, he said, "Supply of testing kits is an issue. We are not getting kits in large numbers, so random testing can not be undertaken."

Maharashtra has reported at least 47 coronavirus patients so far.

13-year-old boy, who ran away from a Mumbai shelter home has no symptoms of the coronavirus

A 13-year-old boy, who ran away from a shelter home in Mumbai on Wednesday morning and returned after a few hours feeling unwell, was later found to have no symptoms of the coronavirus, a police official said.

The boy was found coughing and sweating after his return and was kept in isolation at the shelter home run by an NGO in suburban Bandra, he said.

According to the police official, the NGO registered a missing person's complaint at the Bandra police station after the boy was not found in the shelter home.

Based on the complaint, the police registered an FIR under IPC section 363 (kidnapping).

"But, within a few hours we were informed by the NGO that the boy has returned with ill health and we helped him get medical help," the police official said.

"We decided to get him admitted to the Kasturba Hospital for suspected coronavirus infection. However, the civic-run hospital cleared him after a medical check-up," a functionary of the NGO told PTI.

"We will take him to Bhabha Hospital for further treatment," he said.

Around 35 children are housed at the shelter home, but the boy has been kept away from them as a precaution, the functionary added.

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