The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Three of a family down with virus

Mumbai, April 21: With three Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) cases reported from Pune, the threat from the coronavirus in India has become serious. The number of SARS patients, after the first case was reported from Goa, now stands at four.

The three, of a family, had returned from a tour of Indonesia in time for a wedding. Among them was the bride, Julie D’Silva, who is now down with the virus in Siddharth hospital in Pune. She was to be married today. The others have been identified as Stanley D’Silva, Julie’s elder brother, and Vimla, her mother.

Announcing that the D’Silvas had tested positive for SARS, state health minister Digvijay Khanvilkar said the patients had been isolated. They may have been infected during a visit to Southeast Asia, which has reported many cases. “The family was here for the marriage and had come from their visit to Jakarta sometime ago. The marriage has now been postponed,” he said.

The patients had got themselves admitted to the hospital four days ago. While Stanley came to the hospital on April 17, his mother and sister followed suit two days later. However, it was only after the results of their blood test, done at the Pune-based National Institute of Virology, came in today that the family was declared SARS-affected and quarantined.

Stanley and his family had taken a flight from Jakarta before reaching Mumbai on April 8. According to them, the flight had a SARS patient on board who was deplaned in Singapore, where the plane halted for 15 minutes.

“We are investigating and trying to find out the details of their arrival and meetings with people,” Khanvilkar said.

Strangely, the minister said Stanley has “already recovered and his mother and sister are on their way to recovery”. He added that a separate ward for SARS patients had been created in the David Sasoon hospital in Pune. The minister was also quick to lay the blame for incidences of SARS at the door of the Centre.

“It is the Union government which should lay down stricter rules for those coming in from countries in Asia where SARS has hit hard,” he said.

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