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Coronavirus: GoM holds meeting to discuss measures to contain infection

By PTI Updated: Feb 03, 2020 10:50 pm
Indian nationals who were airlifted from coronavirus-hit Hubei province of China’s Wuhan, undergo tests inside a quarantine facility set by up ITBP, at Chhawla area of New Delhi on Monday. (PTI)

New Delhi, Feb. 3 (PTI): A Group of Ministers (GoM) formed to review, monitor and evaluate the preparedness to contain the deadly coronavirus infection in the country held its first meeting on Monday.

The high-level GoM includes Union ministers Harsh Vardhan, Hardeep Puri, S Jaishankar, G Kishan Reddy, Ashwini Kumar Choubey and Mansukh Lal Mandaviya.

The ministers were apprised of the three confirmed cases reported from Kerala and the preventive steps and measures taken to contain coronavirus, the Ministry of Health said.

The GoM also took note of the government announcing a temporary suspension of the e-visa facility for Chinese travellers and foreigners residing in the neighbouring country and a fresh advisory saying anyone with travel history to China since January 15 can be quarantined.

“e-Visa facility for Chinese passport holders has been temporarily suspended, e-Visa already issued to Chinese nationals is also not valid temporarily and the facility for submitting the application online for the physical visa from China is suspended,” the ministry said.

They were also informed that 645 people evacuated from Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak, have been admitted to quarantine centres of the Army and the ITBP in and around the national capital. All inhabitants are medically examined on a daily basis, though none of them has tested positive for coronavirus, the ministry said.

The ministry has also advised that people having compelling reasons to visit India should contact the Indian embassy in Beijing or consulate in Shanghai or Guangzhou.

The Ministry of Aviation has also issued instructions to all national and international airlines operating from China to comply with the above travel advisory.

The GoM was also briefed that as of Monday, 72,353 passengers in 593 flights have been screened for the infection. Screening of passengers is ongoing in 21 airports, international seaports and border crossings, particularly with Nepal.

Universal screening in all flights from Singapore and Thailand, besides Hong Kong and China, is being done.

Further, 2,815 people are presently under community surveillance across the country.

Out of a total of 338 samples sent for testing, three are positive, 335 negative, while 70 are being processed, the health ministry said.

The ICMR National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune has been made a nodal centre for coordinating diagnostics for coronavirus. Twelve regional labs have been activated, standardised and are testing the samples.

“The GoM was also apprised that adequate materials like Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) and N95 masks are available and the situation is closely monitored in all states and union territories.

“The preparedness and actions are being reviewed at the highest level every day by the Union Health Minister and the Cabinet Secretary, in addition to Secretary (HFW). A 24×7 control room is operational (011-23978046). IEC material is prepared and widely disseminated through various channels of print, electronic and social media,” the statement said.

Five people among those evacuated from Coronavirus affected Wuhan admitted to a military hospital

Five people, who were among those evacuated from coronavirus-hit Hubei province, were on Monday admitted to a military hospital in the national capital after showing symptoms of cough and cold.

They were kept along with 247 others at a quarantine facility in Manesar set up by the Army, officials said.

The five people were shifted to the Army’s Base hospital after showing symptoms of cough and cold.

The symptoms of the coronavirus infection start with fever, dry cough followed by breathing problems, according to doctors.

Officials said samples collected from the five people were sent for various tests to AIIMS.

“We have received test result of one person and it is negative,” they said.

On Saturday, 324 Indians were brought back from Wuhan, while another batch of 323 Indians and seven Maldivians were evacuated from the Chinese city on Sunday.

All those evacuated from China are being housed at two quarantine facilities set up by the Army in Manesar and by the ITBP in Chawla Camp.

The death toll in coronavirus epidemic soared to 361 in China while the number of confirmed cases climbed to 17,205, according to Chinese government officials.

So far, India has reported three cases of coronavirus.

By PTI Updated: Feb 03, 2020 10:50:51 pm