A total of 43 flights and 9,156 passengers have been screened for novel Coronavirus (nCoV) illness till January 21 and no cases have been detected through the efforts, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said on Wednesday.
“We are on alert and our preparedness is sturdy,” said Health Secretary Preeti Sudan. All the States have been alerted about the Ministry’s measures on nCoV reported in China . Passengers travelling from that country were being requested to report to the nearest public health facility in case they felt any symptoms.
“The Ministry has approached all States/UTs [Union Territories] to review their preparedness, identify gaps and strengthen core capacities needed to prepare for, detect and respond to possible outbreaks. Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme has been issued advisory to all States/UTs to pick up any travel related case reported in the community and follow-up contacts of suspect/confirmed cases,’’ said Ms. Sudan.
As part of the measures taken by the Ministries of Health and Family Welfare, and Civil Aviation, a travel advisory had been issued and posted on the Health Ministry’s website. It had also been shared on Twitter.
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“The National Institute of Virology, Pune, is fully geared to test samples of nCoV. Ten other laboratories under the Indian Council of Medical Research’s Viral Research and Diagnostics Laboratories network are also equipped to test such samples, if a need arises. Adequate stock of Personal Protection Equipment is being maintained by Medical Stores Organisation,’’ she said.
The Health Ministry has instructed the Airport Health Organisations in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Kochi for screening of passengers coming from mainland China. Signages have been put up at prominent locations in these airports for encouraging public about self-reporting of illness. Immigration officers manning the counters have been sensitised. Close coordination is being maintained with the Civil Aviation Ministry to coordinate the screening effort and dissemination of information to inbound passengers through in-flight announcements.