Condition of Corona-infected nurses improves

Al Hayat Hospital
Al Hayat Hospital

By Hassan Cheruppa

Saudi Gazette

JEDDAH — The condition of two nurses — a Filipino and an Indian — who tested positive for MERS-Coronavirus at a hospital in Abha has improved.

“I spoke to the Indian nurse over phone to reassure her health,” said Indian Consul General Mohammed Noor Rahman Sheikh. Speaking to Saudi Gazette, he said that the Indian Consulate authorities are in constant touch with the director of health affairs and other officials in Asir region who have taken all the precautionary measures to contain the spread of the virus.

The nurse who has infected with the virus hails from Ettumanoor in Kottayam district of the southern Indian state of Kerala. She reportedly contracted the virus while caring for a nurse from the Philippines, who had tested positive for MERS.

Sheikh said that the nurse is among some 50 Indian nurses working at Al-Hayat Hospital in Khamis Mushayt and she has been shifted to the corona center of Asir Central Hospital following the infection.

“We have received information that no other nurses had contracted the virus and that Prince Turki Bin Talal, emir of Asir, has given necessary instructions to take all measures to contain the spread of the disease,” the consul general said.

Ashraf Kuttichal, president of the southern region committee of Overseas Indian Cultural Congress and member of the Indian Consulate Welfare Committee, told Saudi Gazette that the nurse has been shifted to hospital ward from the intensive care unit after her condition improved considerably.

Dr. Tareq Al-Azraqi, consultant internist at Asir Central Hospital and head of the infection control committee in the southern region, informed that the condition of the Filipino and Indian nurses have improved to the extent that there is no cause for concern.

Around 150 staff members of Al-Hayat Hospital, mostly expatriate nurses, have already tested negative for the virus while the procedures are under way to carry out tests of the remaining 85 staffers, Kuttichal said quoting the health department officials.

The social worker said around 30 nurses from Kerala were quarantined at their accommodation for some time after one of their inmates had tested positive for Coronavirus on Jan. 21. “The nurse had been caring for their Filipino colleague, a chronic patient who later tested positive for the virus,” he said.

V. Muraleedharan, India’s minister of state for foreign affairs, tweeted on Thursday that about 100 Indian nurses working at Al-Hayat Hospital have been tested and none except one nurse was found infected by Corona virus. “The affected nurse is being treated at Asir Central Hospital and is recovering well,” he said.

Meanwhile, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has written to the Ministry of External Affairs, seeking intervention in connection with the MERS-coronavirus outbreak among the nurses.

In a letter sent to S. Jaishankar, India’s minister of external affairs, he urged to take the matter seriously and ensure better treatment after communicating with the Saudi authorities.