Dr. Harsh Vardhan Briefs The Media On Novel Coronavirus (COVID19)
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Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health &Family Welfare addressed a press conference on the status update, actions taken and preparedness on Novel Coronavirus disease in India, here today.
“We have good and effective coordination among ministries, robust surveillance system, network of laboratories to support diagnosis, upgraded medical facilities, trained health workforce and media presence that can reach even remote areas. We have put all these resources at our disposal to prevent / contain outbreak of novel coronavirus in India”, said Dr. Vardhan.
In addition to the ministerial meetings, a video conference is being held every other day with the states to review their preparedness and actions.
Dr Harsh Vardhan stated that all Ministries and States have done commendable work, in particular Kerala, which has put up a sturdy system of surveillance.
Elaborating measures taken by the Government of India, Dr. Harsh Vardhan said that Advisories/ Guidelines have been issued to the States on surveillance, sample collection, packaging and transportation, infection prevention and control, and clinical management. The travel advisory is being updated as per the evolving situation.
He also informed that surveillance at Points of Entry (PoE) is continuing at 21 Airports, 12 major ports, 65 minor ports and at 6 land crossings.
So far at the airports a cumulative of 2, 51, 447 persons (2315 flights) have been screened, 3 suspected cases and 161 contacts have been identified.
5491 and 285 passengers and crew have been screened at major and minor ports respectively.
Total of 15991 persons are being followed up for a period of 28 days of which 3058 have completed 28 days of observation period.
497 suspect cases have been isolated. ICMR is providing the Laboratory support with NIV, Pune as the nodal laboratory and 14 other network laboratories.
This can be expanded to include 50 laboratories, if the situation so demands. So far 1071 samples have been tested, out of which 1068 were found negative and only 3 cases have been tested positive in Kerala.
In addition, clinical samples of the 654 evacuees at Manesar and ITBP camps have also been tested and all of them were found to be negative.
All the 3 positive cases from Kerala are the students from Wuhan, Hubei, China. The observation was started from 28th January, 2020 and they were reported positive on 3rd February, 2020 by NIV, Pune. States have been asked to ensure adequate provisions for isolation facilities and critical care especially for ventilator support.
Dr. Harsh Vardhan also informed that India evacuated 645 Indian persons from Wuhan city including 7 Maldivians, and quarantined them in 2 special quarantine camps and likely to be discharged once all of them test negative after a period of stay of 14 days.
Dr Harsh Vardhan further added that the surveillance at point of entries and in the community is the key to detect cases early, track the contacts and follow them up.
He reiterated that the COVID19 is highly infectious; however, the redeeming feature is that the case fatality is about 2% in mainland China and less that 0.2% outside China. Many of the epidemiological parameters of this disease are not known.