Hundreds of good samaritans have come forward to support a 45-year-old school teacher from India who is undergoing treatment for a new strain of pneumonia outbreak spreading in the Chinese cities of Wuhan and Shenzhen, becoming the first foreigner to have contracted the mysterious SARS-like coronavirus.
Preeti Maheshwari is a primary school art teacher at the International School of Science and Technology, Shenzhen. She was admitted to the Shekou Hospital on January 11. On Monday, the hospital confirmed that the 45-year-old patient - a mother of two- is undergoing treatment for the novel coronavirus infection (2019-nCoV).
She is currently on external respiratory support, ventilators, dialysis, and blood purification process. Preeti Maheshwari's family in the meantime have posted an appeal for financial aide requesting help.
"The cost of the treatment is increasing day by day and currently the treatment is costing us 10 Lac Chinese Yuan which is Rs. 1 crore in Indian currency and we need funds to continue the treatment and save her life," the family of the Indian national wrote on a fund-raising website.
Till now three people have died since the detection of the novel coronavirus infection (2019-nCoV) last month in Wuhan. The virus reportedly has now spread to Beijing and Shenzhen.
India in the meantime has issued an advisory to its nationals visiting China. "An infection with a novel coronavirus has been reported from China. As of 11th January 2020, 41 confirmed cases have been reported so far." it said.
The discovery of the coronavirus strain in the central city of Wuhan has caused alarm due to its connection to the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome(SARS), which claimed 650 lives across mainland China and Hongkong in 2002-2003.
As of now, the Chinese authorities have maintained that there are 45 patients infected with coronavirus strain, but there are fears that the number could be much higher, considering how Wuhan is a major transport hub with a population of 11 million.
According to a research paper published by scientists with the MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis at Imperial College in London, the number of patients infected with the virus strain in the city was likely closer to 1,700.