A total of eight patients, five of them in Mumbai, are under observation in Maharashtra for suspected coronavirus infection, a health department official said on Tuesday.
Six patients were already under observation and two more people, who complained of cough and mild fever, symptoms similar to the coronavirus, were put under medical watch on Tuesday evening, he said.
Five of them are in Mumbai-based Kasturba Hospital, while two are in Pune's Naidu Hospital, said Dr Pradeep Awate, the state's disease surveillance officer.
One patient has been admitted in Civil Hospital in Nanded district in the Marathwada region of central Maharashtra, he said.
So far, state officials have screened 3,997 people at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport here to check their possible exposure to the new virus which originated from China's Wuhan city, Awate said.
No positive case of the deadly virus has been found in Maharashtra yet.
We have appealed to people who have been to China and have returned after January 1 to report to government-run hospitals if they are suffering from cough and mild fever," he said.
"Every passenger who is under suspicion of contracting the disease is going to be observed for the next 28 days, the officer said.
"All developments are being documented and shared with higher authorities and also at the national level for better response, Awate said.
Every district in the state has a government-run hospital, where a separate ward has been set up to treat suspected cases of the deadly infection as part of the preparation to deal with any situation related to the coronavirus, he said.
Novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a large family of viruses that causes illnesses ranging from the common cold to acute respiratory syndromes. However, the virus that has so far killed 80 people and affected 2,744 in China is a novel strain and not seen before.
It has emerged from a seafood and animal market in Wuhan city and is suspected to have spread to as far as the United States.
According to the World Health Organisation, the common symptoms of the novel coronavirus strain include respiratory symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.