Coronavirus in Saudi Arabia; Expat Nurse Tested Positive

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At least thirty nurses from Kerala were reportedly quarantined in a hospital in Saudi Arabia after one of them tested positive for deadly coronavirus that claimed several lives in China, said their relatives.

After the news surfaced, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan sent a letter to external affairs minister Jayshankar seeking his immediate intervention. “Reports suggest some nurses working at the Al Hyat Hospital in Abha have contracted the virus. The MEA will have to intervene to ensure proper treatment and protection for them,” he said in the letter. Abha is the capital city of Asser province in southwest Saudi Arabia.

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The incident came to light after some of the affected nurses called up their relatives back home and complained about their situation.

Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedahran said the condition of the affected patient was stable and embassy officials are monitoring the situation. “More than 100 Indian nurses are working in the hospital and thirty of them are under observation. No fresh case has been reported,” he said in Delhi.

As per details available, a 38-year-old nurse hailing from Ettumanoor in Kottayam has contracted the virus while treating a Filipino who had tested positive for the deadly virus. Later all nurses who came in contact with the affected nurse were isolated and put under observation. But quarantined nurses said it was a panic reaction and they were isolated without any tests or procedures.

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