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COVID-19: govt. for universal screening

Mounting concerns:Members of the Italian tour group being taken to the ITBP's quarantine facility at Chhawla camp in Delhi on Tuesday.PTI

Mounting concerns:Members of the Italian tour group being taken to the ITBP's quarantine facility at Chhawla camp in Delhi on Tuesday.PTI  

Testing facilities to be opened at district level

Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister P.K. Mishra on Wednesday chaired a crucial meeting called to discuss ways to combat the deadly COVID-19, where it was decided to introduce universal screening at all international airports in the country.

The meeting was attended by the Cabinet Secretary, the Foreign Secretary, the Secretaries of Ministries of Health, Civil Aviation, Information and Broadcasting, Shipping, Tourism, the Chairman (Airport Authority of India) and the Secretary (Border Management), MHA.

Officials from defence forces, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), NITI Aayog and the Prime Minister’s Office also attended.

Two major changes have been made to further enhance the government’s level of preparedness. These include introduction of universal screening at all international airports and sea-ports through use of thermal imagery equipment and mandatory filling of declaration forms of places visited by tourists and travellers returning from abroad.

It was also decided to rapidly implement opening of proper testing, isolation and quarantine facilities down to the district level, in partnership with State governments.

Ministries such as Home, Defence, Railways and Labour would work with the Ministry of Health through the use of their facilities and hospitals, the meeting decided.

While efforts to contain the spread were appreciated, it was decided to enhance effectiveness of the steps taken by adopting a pan-government approach, in partnership with the States. The meeting took note of the confusion among the people over lack of proper knowledge of the virus. The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting is entrusted with disseminating information in a timely manner, including relevant advisories and ‘dos and don’ts’.

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