NEW DELHI: Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan held a high-level review with senior officials of the health ministry, Indian Council of Medical Research and the National Centre for Disease Control on Saturday to oversee the current situation, preparedness and steps being taken for prevention and management of Novel Corona Virus in India.
Government said that 11 people who had returned from China had been put under observation but samples taken from four of them have tested negative for the highly infectious virus at the ICMR- National Institute of Virology, Pune. Results are awaited for rest of the suspects and no nCoV--which often manifests through flu-like symptoms and fever--has been detected in the country so far.
“The situation is being closely monitored at the highest level for adequate preparedness,” said the health ministry.
It was also decided in the high-level meeting that multidisciplinary central teams will 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 shall consist of a public health expert, a clinician and a microbiologist and will reach the designated states tomorrow,” a statement by the ministry said.
These teams are mandated with the task of reviewing the end-to-end preparedness for management and control of nCoV in the states including that at the airports, for thermal screening and transferring of patients to hospitals for isolation.
They will also visit the tertiary hospitals attached to the airports for reviewing the isolation wards and availability of Personal Protective Equipment and masks among other things.
Under directions from Vardhan, a 24x7 NCDC call centre +91-11-23978046 has been made operational, said the ministry.
“The Call Centre will monitor the list of contacts furnished by Ministry of External Affairs; 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 officer,” the government added.
Vardhan also spoke to the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand on Saturday and assured all support for screening at the border with Nepal, where a confirmed case of the infection has been reported.
Meanwhile, in China, where the infection was first reported a few weeks back, 41 patients have died and nearly 1,300 case of nCoV have been confirmed so far.