Coronavirus: Three hospitals in India’s Mumbai close to new patients

People wearing facemasks amid concerns over the spread of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus stand outside a hospital with a special ward for the virus in Mumbai on March 17, 2020. (AFP)

At least three private hospitals in India's financial capital Mumbai have shut their doors to new patients on concerns of health workers getting exposed to the coronavirus, officials said on Thursday.

Around 70 medical staff were isolated at south Mumbai's Bhatia Hospital and were awaiting their test results for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, a spokeswoman told Reuters.

Staff became exposed to a patient complaining of stomach pain whom they treated with routine protective gear until he tested positive for the disease days later, according to Maharashtra state's United Nurses Association.

The 200-bed Bhatia hospital had "specifically identified all the staff that may have come directly or indirectly in contact with the positive patients," it said in a statement to Reuters.

It was not immediately clear how many patients were inside the hospital.

Mumbai has become India's coronavirus hotspot where 775 people have so far tested positive, making it the worst hit region in the country. India has so far recorded 5,865 cases of coronavirus, including 169 deaths.

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Similar scenes played out over the weekend at two other top private facilities in south Mumbai - Wockhardt Hospital and Jaslok Hospital that together have 700 beds and have not been taking any new patients after some nurses were exposed to the disease.

Several healthcare professionals at Wockhardt had tested positive, the hospital has said, adding that they were "unknowingly" exposed to the virus through a patient who was initially asymptomatic.

Jaslok said that possible exposure to a patient forced it to test nearly 1,000 of its staff who later tested negative. The hospital was still not open for out-patient or patient admission.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, which is in charge of declaring hospitals "containment zones" in the area, did not respond to a request for comment.

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Last Update: 07:02 KSA 10:02 - GMT 07:02
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