The outbreak of coronavirus in Delhi, after India's first case detected in Kerala a few weeks ago, has triggered fresh wave of panic among people with them asking all sort of questions on the disease. Who needs to undergo the tests? What are the tests required? Where are they conducted? How much do they cost? Here's an attempt to address some basic queries:
When should you self-report?
If you have entered the country from any of the endemic areas and experience symptoms of cough and fever, you need to self-report to a designated government hospital that has been equipped with the appropriate isolation ward. Make a call to the 24-hour helpline number 01123978046, which is available on the website of National Centre for Disease Control https://ncdc.gov.in/ . On the helpline, they will ask you your full name and the location from where you are calling. They will give you details of the hospitals where you need to go and self-report. It will be a government hospital.
What is the process for tests?
The doctors at the hospital will diagnose and tell whether you need to undergo a test or not. The tests are free of cost. These include a nasal swab, a throat swab, a blood test and a chest x-ray. The swabs are sent to the National Institute of Virology, Pune and the test results are shared in 48 hours. If the person is found infected, he or she is kept in isolation for about 21 days. The swab is to check for coronavirus and the blood test is to see if there is any other infection.
What precautions to take?
The best protection, as ministry of health and family welfare suggested, is washing your hands frequently, maintaining social distancing, avoiding touching of eyes, nose and mouth, practicing respiratory hygiene by covering mouth and nose with either your bent elbow or better still with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, if anyone is experiencing fever, cough or difficulty in breathing, the medical help must be immediately sought. Most importantly, stay alert to flu symptoms and report to the doctor as soon as possible.
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