Riyadh: An Indian nurse working in Saudi Arabia has tested positive for coronavirus, but with a different strain from the one that has claimed 18 lives in China, the Indian Consulate in Jeddah said on Thursday.
Earlier in the day, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs V Muraleedharan said an Indian nurse working at Al-Hayat hospital in Saudi Arabia was tested positive for coronavirus.
In a tweet, he said, "Update from @CGIJeddah: About 100 Indian nurses mostly from Kerala working at Al-Hayat hospital have been tested and none except one nurse was found infected by Corona virus. Affected nurse is being treated at Aseer National Hospital and is recovering well."
The minister said he spoke to the Indian Consulate in Jeddah after the Indian nurses were quarantined at the due to the coronavirus threat.
Update from @CGIJeddah : About 100 Indian nurses mostly from Kerala working at Al-Hayat hospital have been tested and none except one nurse was found infected by Corona virus. Affected nurse is being treated at Aseer National Hospital and is recovering well. @PMOIndia @MEAIndia https://t.co/jM0u5243GV— V. Muraleedharan (@MOS_MEA) January 23, 2020
Responding to his tweet, the Indian Consulate in Jeddah clarified that the nurse found positive for coronavirus was suffering for MERS-CoV and not 2019-NCoV (Wuhan).
"Dr Tarik Al Azraqi, Chairman, Scientific Regional Infection Control Committee, Aseer Region, has confirmed that d Indian Nurse being treated at Aseer National Hospital is suffering from MERS-CoV & not 2019-NCoV (Wuhan). We request everyone to refrain from sharing incorrect info," it said in the tweet.
The Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) was first identified in Saudi Arabia in 2012, while the 2019 Wuhan coronavirus is a novel one, meaning a member of the coronavirus family that has never been encountered before.
The coronavirus strain that emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan in Hubei province has so far infected over 630 people and left 18 others dead.
Confirmed cases have been reported from several regions including Xinjiang and Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, as well as in the US, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan also wrote to External Affairs minister S Jaishankar to take urgent steps in ensuring expert treatment and protection to those affected from the virus in Saudi.
There were media reports that the affected nurse was from Ettumannur in Kerala's Kottayam district.(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed - PTI)