Centre screens 12,828 passengers, None found with Coronavirus

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In view of the fast-spreading deadly virus called Novel Coronavirus, the epic centre of which is in China, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Wednesday announced that as on date over 12,828 passengers from 60 flights have been screened for Novel Coronavirus symptoms, and no passenger has been detected in India so far.

According to a PIB communique, the Ministry has taken following actions on this issue of NCoV:

  • Secretary (H) is regularly reviewing the evolving scenario and preparedness status.
  • Secretary (H) has also written to the States/UTs to review their preparedness, identify gaps and strengthen core capacities in the area of surveillance, laboratory support infection prevention & control, logistics, risk communication and in particular, hospital preparedness in terms of isolation and ventilator management of critically ill patients of SARI.
  • Thermal screening is being done at the International airports of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Cochin. MoCA has asked airlines to follow International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) guidelines for managing and notifying anybody reporting illness on flights originating from China and disembarking in India. MoCA has instructed for in-flight announcements for India bound flights.
  • A travel advisory has been issued on 17th January and put up on Ministry’s website and also on the Twitter handle for wider circulation.
  • Port and Airport Health Organizations have been sensitized and thermal screening has been initiated at the international airports of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Cochin airports. The Airport Health Organizations at the airports of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Cochin have put up signages at prominent locations informing the public about self-reporting of illness. Immigration officers manning the counters have been sensitized at these airports.
  • MoHFW has written to State Governments of Maharashtra, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Kerala and Karnataka to review and strengthen preparedness measures at designated airports for provision of isolation and critical care facilities, linkages with VRDL network laboratories and adherence to infection prevention and control guidelines.
  • Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme has issued an advisory to all States/UTs for SARI surveillance to pick up any travel-related case reported in the community and follow up contacts of suspect/confirmed cases.
  • National Institute of Virology, Pune is fully geared up to test samples of NCoV. Ten other laboratories under Indian Council of Medical Research’s Viral Research and Diagnostics Laboratories network are also equipped to test such samples if a need arises.
  • Adequate stock of Personal Protection Equipment is being maintained by the Medical Stores Organization.
  • Rapid response teams of the States/UTs have been trained in the management of MERS-CoV outbreak (a similarly placed virus, reported from the Middle East) in the year 2014. More recently these Rapid Response Teams of all States/UTs, APHO/PHOs and Regional Directors of this Ministry have also been trained (in Nov.-Dec., 2019) on the management of high-risk pathogens in the context of Ebola virus disease outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
  • Ministry of External Affairs has also been requested to disseminate travel advisory (in local languages) to Indian Embassies in China and adjoining countries for wider circulation and passenger information. In view of the significant population of Indian students in China, MEA has been requested to provide details of such students.
  • Ministry of Home Affairs has been requested to share details of travellers from China who have been issued e-Visa since 31st December 2019.

The situation is being closely monitored by the top officials of the Ministry in close coordination with other concerned Ministries & Departments and States/UTs, the said the note.