Coronavirus scare: Authorities to segregate passengers from 12 countries at airports
New Delhi, March 7 (PTI): Passengers from 12 countries will be segregated from other passengers till the conveyer belt areas at airports, an official said on Saturday, amid rising concerns over coronavirus infections.
This is part of a series of measures initiated by the Indian authorities to curb spreading of coronavirus, against the backdrop of more than 30 people testing positive for the infection in the country.
An Airport Authority of India (AAI) spokesperson said passengers from 12 countries would be segregated at international airports.
Passengers from arriving from China, South Korea, Japan, Italy, Iran, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Hongkong, Vietnam, Nepal and Indonesia would be segregated from other arriving passengers, he said.
According to the spokesperson, the passengers from the 12 countries would not be allowed to mix with other passengers during “health screening, immigration and conveyer belt areas”.
On Saturday, Civil Aviation Secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola along with AAI Chairman Arvind Singh, DGCA chief Arun Kumar and others reviewed the status of screening activities done at airports to check for coronavirus infections.
“It was suggested that sufficient arrangements to be ensured across all intl airports.
“Universal screening of passengers, disinfecting of aircraft and airport terminal & safety of ground staff and security personnel to be ensured,” AAI said in a tweet.
Currently, screening of passengers coming from all parts of the world is being carried out at 30 airports.
52 labs made functional across India for coronavirus testing
In the wake of 31 confirmed cases of coronavirus in India so far, the Union health ministry has made functional 52 laboratories for testing samples while 57 labs have been designated for helping in sample collection for COVID-19 to enhance capacity for diagnosis and detection of the disease.
“Following the increase in load of screening samples from suspected cases with symptoms and travel history to the affected countries, the Department of Health Research/ICMR has commissioned 52 laboratories for COVID-19 testing in India,” an official said.
As on March 6, a total of 4,058 samples from 3,404 individuals have been tested by the network. This includes testing of 1,308 samples from 654 individuals evacuated from Wuhan, China and quarantined at ITBP and Manesar Camp and tested twice on days 0 and 14.
Subsequently, another 236 individuals evacuated from Wuhan and Diamond Princess Ship, Japan on February 27 were tested on day 0. Repeat testing will be done on day 14.
Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Friday sought strict action against those charging inflated prices for face masks. During a review meeting on coronavirus outbreak, he stressed on the importance of states keeping quarantine facilities, isolation wards and testing labs in active readiness.
Vardhan held the meeting with health ministers and chief secretaries of all states and Union Territories, central ministers and representatives from organisations concerned through video conferencing and underlined the importance of communicating with the masses and rasing awareness about steps to prevent spread of the virus.