A high-level group of ministers (GoM) reviewed current status, and actions for prevention and management of novel coronavirus in New Delhi on Monday. Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, who chaired the meeting, said that adequate measures are being taken to combat COVID-19. The deadly virus has claimed 2,912 lives in China alone, and more than 3,000 worldwide. He advised people to take precautions, and report to the nearest public health facility or call the Health Ministry in case any symptoms arise.
Speaking to media after the meeting, Harsh Vardhan said that Indian citizens need 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, Vardhan said.
"We are monitoring the evolving global scenario. Restrictions may be further extended to other countries, as per the situation," he added.
In the meeting, a presentation of the status of the COVID-19 was made to the ministerial group. The preventive steps and measures taken for management of COVID-19 disease in India were presented, which included information about the various travel advisories in view of the evolving global situation regarding COVID-19.
Harsh Vardhan informed that universal screening is being done for the travellers from 12 countries for all the flights from China, Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Malaysia, Nepal, Indonesia, Iran and Italy at the earmarked aero-bridges. He added that the passengers are being screened at 21 airports, 12 major seaports and 65 minor seaports and land crossings particularly bordering Nepal.
"So far 5,57,431 passengers have been screened at the airports, and 12,431 at the seaports. Passengers are further monitored under community surveillance through IDSP network on a daily basis. Also, 25,738 passengers are under community surveillance of the IDSP network. 15 labs are functional and 19 more will be made operational soon," he mentioned.
Reagents to test up to 25,000 samples have been made available. Total of 3,245 samples were sent out for testing, of which 3,217 were found negative, 5 samples positive and 23 are under testing, he added.
Earlier in the day, two more cases of coronavirus were detected in New Delhi and Telangana. The patients had travelled to Italy and Dubai before they were tested positive. Apart from this, three students from Kerala were tested positive for COVID-19, but they were later discharged from hospital after treatment.
The central government has constituted the GoM to review, monitor and evaluate the preparedness and measures taken to tackle the novel coronavirus outbreak in the country.
By Chitranjan Kumar
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