Deputy Commissioner V. Ponnuraj has issued an order to all private colleges in the district to quarantine incoming foreign students for a week after seven outstation students in the city were found to be infected with the A(H1N1) virus.

“Whoever comes from abroad, whether they have symptoms or not, will have to be quarantined for a week,” he said and added that compliance with the order would be monitored by a special team.

Speaking at a special review meeting held here on Thursday, Mr. Ponnuraj said that the order would be despatched by his office on Friday and colleges would be expected to follow the guidelines from Saturday.

Expressing disappointment with the low turnout of representatives from private medical and engineering colleges at the meeting, he said, “They seem to be least concerned about the task on hand. They are only interested in making money and have displayed a total lack of social commitment through their absence.”

Reacting to a college representative’s plea that a very short notice had been given by the district administration about Thursday’s meeting, he said, “At least we gave you notice, but the virus will not give you prior notice. This is an emergency and we expect everybody to react accordingly.” He directed his staff to issue show-cause notices to the managements of colleges that skipped the meeting.

Mr. Ponnuraj said that Mumbai and Pune were a potential secondary source for the spread of the virus into the district. “We need to start screening passengers on domestic flights as well,” he said and directed health officials to launch public awareness programmes at bus stops and railway stations.

Stating that a special A(H1N1) helpline would be set up soon, he said, “People can call this helpline for questions and to inform us about suspected cases.”

Keywords: swine fluA(H1N1)helpline

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