Health Ministry asks for thermal screening at international airports

Precautions aim to keep Novel Coronavirus out

January 20, 2020 10:11 pm | Updated 10:11 pm IST - NEW DELHI

A statement released by the Union Health Ministry on Monday maintained that various precautionary measures have been initiated to prevent the spread of Novel Coronavirus. The Health Ministry has written to the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) to facilitate thermal screening at the international airports of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Cochin.

Airlines are to follow the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) guidelines for managing and notifying anybody reporting illness on flights originating from China and disembarking in India. The MoCA has instructed in-flight announcements be made for India-bound flights.

According to the World Health Organisation’s assessment, the risk of the global spread of Novel Coronavirus that has been reported from China remains low as of now.

From Wuhan

“We have also written to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) to provide details of travellers from Wuhan city, who have sought a visa to travel to India since December 31, 2019, and to counsel the applicants while issuing visas. They have also been requested to provide daily details. As for E-visa issue, the Ministry of Home Affairs is being approached,” said a senior official.

The MEA has also been requested to disseminate a travel advisory in the local languages to Indian Embassies in China and adjoining countries for wider circulation and to inform passengers.

“States have been alerted to review their preparedness, identify gaps and strengthen core capacities in the area of surveillance, laboratory support, infection prevention and control, logistics, risk communication and, in particular, hospital preparedness in terms of isolation and ventilator management of critically ill patients with severe acute respiratory illness (SARI),” said a Ministry official.

In India, as of today, there are no cases detected via community surveillance or contact tracing, he said, adding that a travel advisory has been put up on Ministry’s website and Twitter handle for wider circulation.

Forty-one cases of Novel Coronavirus have been reported so far from China (as on January 11) this year, including one death.

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