A coronavirus testing centre will be established at the King Institute of Preventive Medicine, Guindy, in two days.
A testing kit is being despatched from the National Institute of Virology in Pune, and after running necessary quality tests, it will be put to use, Director of Public Health K. Kolandaswamy said.
He added that this would be part of the plan of the Union Health Ministry to set up 10 more coronavirus testing facilities in the country.
“We are continuing our surveillance measures, and have taken up daily monitoring of the situation. As of now, 78 travellers from China have been advised home quarantine, for 28 days, in the State,” said Health Secretary Beela Rajesh.
With Kerala reporting the country’s first case of novel coronavirus (nCoV), Tamil Nadu is continuing its surveillance measures. Apart from the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital (RGGGH), the Health Department has set up isolation wards at the Government Kilpauk Medical College (KMC) Hospital and the Tambaram Government Hospital, apart from wards in district headquarters hospitals.
The Directorate of Public Health (DPH) and Preventive Medicine has issued an advisory for the public on the symptoms of the nCoV, and the precautionary measures to be taken. The directorate continues to insist on regular handwashing and surface cleaning in public places.
Dr. Kolandaswamy, after inspecting an isolation ward at the Coimbatore Medical College Hospital, told reporters that the Union Health Ministry had directed States to send samples of those coming from Wuhan to the National Institute of Virology, Pune, for testing.
He said officials of the Central government held video-conferencing with all States on coronavirus, and have asked all to be vigilant. In its advisory, the directorate has asked people to avoid travel to China. Persons, who have recently visited China and experience symptoms of cold, cough and fever, should approach the nearest government hospital.
Wards in both RGGGH and KMC have six beds each. All required equipment, including ventilators and emergency medications, are available.
R. Jayanthi, RGGGH dean, said they have identified 10 doctors, 20 staff nurses and 20 paramedical staff to work at the isolation ward. Adequate personal protective equipment, masks and gloves have been kept ready, she added.
Airport, port on alert
While screening measures are in place at the Chennai airport, the Chennai port has procured thermal scanners, personal protective equipment and N95 masks. Officers of the Port Health Organisation are maintaining strict vigil and 100% screening of ships and crew coming from China, according to a press release.
In Coimbatore, the administration has stepped up surveillance as the district shares a boundary with Palakkad and other parts of Kerala. A senior Health Department official said that a 21-member special team had been constituted to handle people with symptoms of the virus. “The special team was formed as part of a plan to reduce exposure of the virus, if reported, to more people,” said G. Ramesh Kumar, deputy director of health services, Coimbatore.
The Chennai Port and Port Health Organisation conducted a meeting that was attended by representatives from the port, Customs, immigration, Navy, Indian Coast Guard, container terminals and shipping agents. They discussed standard operating procedures to be followed for evacuation, isolation and treatment in the event of any suspected cases. The Chennai Port Hospital has earmarked an isolation ward and dedicated ambulance to meet emergency requirements.