NEW DELHI: India’s monkeypox tally touched eight on Tuesday with two more cases being confirmed — one in Kerala and the other in Delhi.
The case in Kerala is of a 30-year-old man who returned last week from the UAE. The state’s monkeypox tally has now touched five. Notably, all of them have a history of travel to the UAE.
A senior official from the health ministry said the government has written to the UAE officials to intensify screening and ensure that people exhibiting symptoms of monkeypox are not allowed to board flights.
After Kerala, Delhi has the highest number of monkeypox cases in the country. The latest confirmed case in the state is a 30-year-old Nigerian with no recent history of travel, officials said. “The Nigerian national was in contact with another Nigerian national who was confirmed positive for monkeypox on Monday,” said an official. Delhi’s tally of monkeypox is three at present. he added.
The Delhi government has, in view of the rising number of cases of the viral infection, directed five hospitals — two government and three private — to designate beds for isolation and management of suspected and confirmed monkeypox cases in the state. This is in addition to the 20 beds designated for isolation and treatment of monkeypox cases at Lok Nayak hospital.
Other states are also designating beds in hospitals equipped to deal with the viral infection.
Health minister Mansukh Mandaviya told Parliament on Tuesday that India reported the first case of monkeypox on July 14 but the government, learning from its experience in managing the Covid pandemic, had issued guidelines for surveillance and management of the viral infection to all states on May 31 itself, when the cases of monkeypox started to emerge in non-endemic regions.
“The government has taken several steps to prevent the spread of monkeypox, from an awareness campaign in collaboration with state governments to setting up a national task force to monitor the development of diagnostics and vaccines,” Mandaviya said.
He added that there is “no need to panic” about monkeypox, which is “not a new disease” and spreads only through “deep and close contact”. The health minister was speaking during the question hour in Rajya Sabha.
“Monkeypox spreads through deep contact. The disease can spread from mother to child and from husband to wife also and not just any specific community,” Mandaviya said, in reply to a question on whether the disease affected the LGBT community.