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More than 12,000 passengers screened for Novel Coronovirus symptoms

More than 12,000 passengers from 60 flights that landed into India until Wednesday have been screened for novel Coronavirus. However, no passenger was found infected.

According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, thermal screening is being done at the International airports of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, and Cochin. Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) has asked airlines to follow the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) guidelines for managing and notifying anybody reporting illness on flights originating from China and disembarking in India. In-flight announcements for India bound flights have also been initiated.

The Airport Health Organizations at the airports of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, and Cochin have put up signages at prominent locations informing the public about self-reporting of illness. Immigration officers manning the counters have been sensitized at these airports.

The Health Ministry has written to Governments of Maharashtra, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Kerala and Karnataka to review and strengthen preparedness measures at designated airports for provision of isolation and critical care facilities, linkages with VRDL network laboratories and adherence to infection prevention and control guidelines.

Union Health Secretary has also written to the States/UTs to review their preparedness, identify gaps and strengthen core capacities in the area of surveillance, laboratory support infection prevention & control, logistics, risk communication and in particular, hospital preparedness in terms of isolation and ventilator management of critically ill patients of severe acute respiratory infection (SARI).

A travel advisory has already been issued on 17th January.

Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme has issued advisory to all States/UTs for SARI surveillance to pick up any travel-related case reported in the community and follow up contacts of suspect/confirmed cases.

National Institute of Virology, Pune is fully geared up to test samples of nCoV. Ten other laboratories under the Indian Council of Medical Research’s Viral Research and Diagnostics Laboratories network are also equipped to test such samples, if a need arises.

Adequate stock of Personal Protection Equipment is being maintained by Medical Stores Organization.

Rapid response teams of the States/UTs have been trained in the management of MERS-CoV outbreak (a similarly placed virus, reported from the Middle East) in the year 2014. More recently these Rapid Response Teams of all States/UTs, APHO/PHOs and Regional Directors of this Ministry have also been trained (in Nov.-Dec., 2019) on the management of high-risk pathogens in the context of Ebola virus disease outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Ministry of External Affairs has also been requested to disseminate travel advisory (in local languages) to Indian Embassies in China and adjoining countries for wider circulation and passenger information. In view of the significant population of Indian students in China, MEA has been requested to provide details of such students.

Ministry of Home Affairs has been requested to share details of travelers from China who have been issued e-Visa since 31st December 2019.

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