Andhra Pradesh

Taking basic precautions is enough, say doctors

Officials debunk fears that inbound passengers can be carriers of nCoV

The Sri Venkateswara Ramnarain Ruia Government General Hospital (SVRRGGH) has set up an isolation ward for novel coronavirus (nCoV) cases at its Infectious Diseases Building.

Equipped with ventilators, the ward has been readied to treat even critically-ill patients. While no cases have been reported so far, doctors are on alert. Protocols and procedures have been put in place to isolate any suspected cases at the special ward.

"We are fully prepared for any exigency. The necessary equipment is in place. However, awareness is key. We have prepared some material and are displaying posters to create awareness among the public on prevention techniques, as it can help in curbing the spread of the disease," hospital superintendent N.V. Ramanaiah told The Hindu.

"It is difficult to identify nCoV as the initial symptoms are generally the same as common cold, cough and fever. However, if left unchecked, it will aggravate quickly and cause kidney failure and subsequently death. As of now, nothing more needs to be done other than wearing protective masks and maintaining personal hygiene," Dr. Ramanaiah said.

Nodal officer for the special ward, S. Subba Rao, said it would take at least 8-14 days for the symptoms to appear. It can spread through coughing and sneezing, Dr. Rao added.

Locals are worried about the presence of several Chinese citizens in the industrial clusters of Renigunta and Yerpedu near Tirupati and Sri City, both in Chittoor district. There are five Chinese firms operating in Sri City, while another six are in various stages of construction.

However, officials said that there is no cause for worry, as none of the employees working in the operational units have visited China in the recent past.

"We have sought information from the companies on the list of employees who had visited China and returned after January 15. No such case has been detected, but we have asked for their specific arrival date to be doubly sure," said Sri City Public Relations Officer C. Ravindranath. Though Renigunta and Sri City are nearly 80 km apart, media reports confuse one for the other which is causing undue panic, he said.

There are also fears that passengers arriving at the city airport after stopovers at international and domestic destinations might be carriers of nCoV, but officials said these fears are misplaced. "Tirupati does not have any direct international flights, and all connecting flights arrive here after landing at other major airports in the country - all of which already have mechanisms to screen inbound passengers," an airport official said.

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Printable version | Feb 23, 2020 11:40:45 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/taking-basic-precautions-is-enough-say-doctors/article30719613.ece

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