No Novel Coronavirus case detected in country so far, says Minister

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan speaks during a press conference in New Delhi. File

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan speaks during a press conference in New Delhi. File   | Photo Credit: PTI

Samples of these seven passengers have been sent to the ICMR-NIV Pune Lab.

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Saturday held a review meeting with officials to analyse the situation, preparedness and steps being taken for the prevention and management of the Novel Coronavirus (nCoV). 

“The situation is being closely monitored at the highest level for adequate preparedness. All the officials of the Ministry, departments concerned and States/UTs have been put on high alert for Novel Coronavirus. We are taking all required possible precautions to manage all possible scenarios,’’ said Dr. Harsh Vardhan.


“We are reviewing and monitoring the preparedness on a daily basis and are in touch with the World Health Organisation (WHO) officials for technical support and guidance.”

“No nCoV case has been detected in the country so far. However, 11 persons have been put under observation; out of samples taken from them, the samples of four passengers have been confirmed to be negative for nCoV by the ICMR-NIV Pune lab. One of the Mumbai patients has tested positive for Rhinovirus, one of the routine common cold virus,’’ he said.

The Minister said he spoke with the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand and assured all support for screening at the border with Nepal, where a confirmed nCoV case had been reported. “We are also writing to the Chief Ministers requesting for personal intervention to review the preparedness,’’ noted the Minister.

The Ministry directed for multi-disciplinary Central teams to be formed and sent to the seven States where thermal screening is being done at the seven designated airports (New Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Kochi).


“The central team will consist of a public health expert, a clinician and a microbiologist. The teams shall reach the respective States on Sunday. They shall review the end-to-end preparedness for management and control of nCoV including that at the airports, for thermal screening and transferring of patients to hospitals for isolation, and shall also visit the tertiary hospitals attached to the airports for reviewing the isolation wards and availability of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and masks etc. They shall also review whether the infection control, surveillance and other guidelines are being followed. The teams shall coordinate with the State Health Secretaries to explore all avenues for further supporting and strengthening the States’ preparedness,’’ said a health official.

Also a round-the-clock National Centre for Disease Control Call Centre (+91-11-23978046) has been made operational.


“The call centre will monitor the list of contacts furnished by the MEA; provide details of district and State surveillance officers to those who seek them; and in case of any clinical query, direct the concerned to the relevant Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) officer. The Union Health Minister has urged the passengers who have a travel history to China since January 1, 2020 to come forward for self-reporting to the nearest health facility if they experience any symptoms such as fever, cough, respiratory distress etc. and also inform their treating doctor,’’ said the official.

An advisory has also been issued to all States/UTs for Severe Acute Respiratory Infection (SARI) surveillance to pick up any travel-related case reported in the community and follow up contacts of suspect/confirmed cases. 

“The National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune is fully geared up to test samples of nCoV. Ten other laboratories under the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)’s Viral Research and Diagnostics Laboratories (VRDL) network are also equipped to test such samples, if a need arises,’’ noted a release issued by the Ministry. 

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Printable version | Apr 9, 2020 1:37:07 AM |

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