Chinese national hospitalised in Dhaka with cold, fever amid coronavirus scare

  • Senior Correspondent,
    Published: 2020-01-27 22:44:57 BdST

A Chinese national has been hospitalised with a cold and fever in Dhaka amid growing fears over an outbreak of a novel coronavirus which has originated in China.

The health directorate has decided to run tests on him as a precaution after confirming the development on Monday.

Since its outbreak in Wuhan, the death toll from the virus in China has risen to 81, prompting countries around the world to step up preventative measures.

Airports in Bangladesh have also installed thermal scanners alongside other screening measures for travellers from China in a bid to prevent the virus from spreading.

According to health experts, the symptoms of the coronavirus virus infection -- which can cause pneumonia in some cases -- include fever, coughing and difficulty with breathing.

On the hospitalisation of the Chinese national, Director General of Health Services Abul Kalam Azad said, "He has come from China and has a history of travelling to his native country. We can't put it down as a case of the virus but since he has been hospitalised, we will run a blood test as additional precaution."

Aside from undergoing thermal screenings for fever, travellers from China are also being given health cards and asked to contact the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research or IEDCR if they have fever within 14 days from arrival.

But as on Sunday, the IEDCR did not detect the presence of the virus in any of the over 2,000 people they have tested.

Meerjady Sabrina Flora, a director at the IEDCR, however, would not be drawn to comment on the hospitalisation of the Chinese national.

"The hospital has informed us of the matter. If we believe that it is necessary to run tests on the sample then we will do so."

The total number of confirmed cases of the virus in China has risen to 2,744, about half of them in Hubei province, whose capital is Wuhan – the epicentre of the outbreak.

While a small number of cases have been confirmed in more than 10 countries, linked to people who travelled from Wuhan, no deaths have been reported elsewhere.

Bangladesh is yet to confirm any case of the virus.