Coronavirus India: What India Has Done So Far To Combat Coronavirus
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In a bit to combat the menace of novel coronavirus in India, the Central government has been taking key steps to contain the spread of the disease across the country. So far, the three confirmed cases of deadly virus has been detected in Kerala.
From having regular discussions with the PMO, inter-ministerial meetings, conducting thermal screenings at the airports, the government has been taking chain of vital strategies as a preventive measure to fight the infection.
High level Group of Ministers Constituted On Directions of PM:
On the directions of Prime Minister, a high-level Group of Ministers (GoM) has been constituted including Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare to review, monitor and evaluate the preparedness to stop Coronavirus (nCoV) at initial stage in India.
Dr P K Mishra, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister reviewed today the situation relating to the novel Coronavirus in the country and the arrangements for the approximately 600 evacuees. National Security Adviser, Sh. Ajit Doval, Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, and secretaries of other relevant ministries were also present.
The first meeting of GoM was held today at Nirman Bhawan to review the preparedness and steps taken by the Ministries of Health, Shipping, External Affairs, Civil Aviation and Home Affairs. It was chaired by Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare, Dr. Harsh Vardhan.
A presentation of the status of the nCoV 2019 was made to the GoM. The members were also apprised of the three cases reported from Kerala, one of which was confirmed today. The preventive steps and measures taken for management of Novel Coronavirus disease in India were presented, which included the temporary suspension of the e-visa facilities.
Travel Advisory Issued Requesting People To Refrain From Travel To China:
Travel Advisory has been revised informing the public to refrain from travel to China. Advisory states that if anyone with travel history in China since 15th January 2020 and from now on could be quarantined. Further, e-Visa facility for Chinese passport holders has been temporarily suspended. e-Visa already issued to Chinese nationals is also not valid temporarily.
The facility for submitting the application online for the physical visa from China is suspended. It has been advised that people having compelling reasons to visit India should contact the Indian embassy in Beijing or consulate in Shanghai or Guangzhou.
Instructions to comply with travel advisory have also been issued to all national and international airlines operating from China by the Ministry of Civil Aviation.
Evacuated Over 600 Indians Including Students From Wuhan:
The GoM was also informed about the two Quarantine Centres having 645 persons evacuated from Wuhan. These passengers were evacuated from Wuhan city in China in two shifts by Air India flights along with 7 Maldives citizens. After evacuation, the camps are being maintained by Armed Forces and ITBP. All inhabitants are medically examined on a daily basis.
In addition, a 50-bedded critical care facility has been set-up at Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi for critical care of the patients. All persons admitted to both the quarantine facilities will be monitored on daily basis for a period of 14 days.
Thermal Screenings And Help Desks At 21 Airports:
Experts are screening passengers traveling from China at 21 Airports in India through thermal screenings. Help desks have been installed at airports to provide assistance and information on Coronavirus.
Medical teams are sensitizing people through gram sabhas across the country. Awareness messages are being circulated in multiple regional languages.
Till today, a total of 593 flights have been screened covering a total of 72353 passengers. Screening of passengers is ongoing at 21 airports, international seaports and border crossings particularly with Nepal.
Universal screening in all flights from Singapore and Thailand besides Hong Kong and China is being done. Further, 2815 people are presently under community surveillance in 29 States/UTs.
Dedicated Isolation Wards:
States/UTs reported that isolation wards have been made identified and readied to face any contingency as a preparedness action against Novel Corona Virus (nCoV) in case anybody is scanned positive here.
Tertiary hospitals are also identified for airports and the protocols for contact tracing are followed. Timely collection and transportation of the samples from suspected cases to NIV, Pune is being done.
Over 10 Virology Labs Got Fully Equipped To Conduct Tests:
Out of a total of 338 samples sent for testing, 335 have been found to be negative, 3 are positive, while 70 are being processed.
The ICMR National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune has been made a nodal centre for coordinating diagnostics for Novel Coronavirus. 12 Regional Labs have been activated, standardized, and they are testing the samples.
PPE Made Available:
Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) and masks are available in adequate quantity in all the States/UTs. States need to regularly assess requirement of personal protection equipment, masks etc., and undertake necessary procurement to ensure sufficient supply.
The GoM was also apprised that adequate materials like Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) and N95 masks are available.
The situation is closely monitored in all the States/UTs. The preparedness and actions are being reviewed at the highest level everyday by the Union Health Minister and the Cabinet Secretary, in addition to Secretary (HFW).
A Control Room Set-up At National Level:
A 24×7 Control Room is operational (011-23978046). IEC material is prepared and widely disseminated through various channels of print, electronic and social media. Daily Press briefing by Ministry of Health is being undertaken to update the public.