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Enough masks, equipment available to fight coronavirus menace, Health Minister tells GoM

Health Minister Dr Harh Vardhan told the ministerial panel on coronavirus that three patients from Kerala identified earlier have been released after treatment

twitter-logoJoe C Mathew | March 3, 2020 | Updated 02:05 IST
Enough masks, equipment available to fight coronavirus menace, Health Minister tells GoM
Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan

India has screened 5,57,431 passengers at the airports, and 12,431 at the seaports as part of its novel coronavirus (COVID-19) monitoring and management strategy, Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan informed a Group of Ministers (GoM) constituted to assess the situation.

Of the total of 3,245 samples that were sent out for testing, 5 samples were found to be positive, while the results of 23 are awaited. The rest were all found to be negative, the Minister informed. In its third meeting, the ministerial panel, which met in Delhi today were also told that of the five positive cases, three earlier patients from Kerala have already been discharged from the hospital. Two new positive cases, one from New Delhi and another from Telangana with travel history from Italy and Dubai, respectively, are under treatment, Vardhan further said.

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According to the Minister, 15 laboratories are functional and 19 more will be made operational soon to enhance the testing capabilities in the country. Reagents to test up to 25,000 samples are also available, Vardhan said. He advised Indian citizens to avoid non-essential travel to Singapore, Republic of Korea, Iran and Italy. People coming from Republic of Korea, Iran and Italy or having such travel history since February 10, 2020, may be quarantined for 14 days on arrival to India.

"We are monitoring the evolving global scenario. Restrictions may be further extended to other countries, as per the situation," the Health Minister added.

The minister also said that 112 people, inluding nationals from Myanmar (2), Bangladesh (22), Maldives (2), China (6), South Africa (1), the United States of America (1), and Madagascar (1) from Wuhan were evacuated and are kept at ITBP camp at Chhawla. All of them have tested negative in preliminary examination. He added that 124 people have been brought back from Japan on the morning of February 27, including 5 foreign nationals. They have also tested negative and are being kept at the Army facility in Manesar.

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All joint secretaries in Ministry of Health are assigned to assess the preparedness of states for COVID-19. In addition, more than 3,695 Gram Sabha meetings have been conducted in 21 Bordering Districts in 5 states (Uttarakhand, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Sikkim). As of now 10,24,922 individuals have been screened at the Nepal border. He further stated that the Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), N95 masks, etc, are available in adequate quantity.

The GoM was constituted to review, monitor and evaluate the preparedness and measures taken regarding management of COVID-19. The members of the GoM, headed by the Health Minister, include Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityananda Rai, Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilisers Mansukh Mandaviya, and Minister of State for Health & Family Welfare Ashwini Kumar Choubey.

ALSO READ:Coronavirus in Delhi: How to stay safe?

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