Tribune News Service
New Delhi, January 25
Amid a rapidly spreading and fatal Novel Coronavirus, Prime Minister’s Office on Saturday reviewed preparedness for testing and containment with no case yet detected in India.
PK Mishra, Principal Secretary to Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a meeting with Health Secretary and Civil Aviation Secretary to oversee preparations for any eventuality.
Health Minister Harsh Vardhan also separately held a review meeting and said no cases had been detected in India so far.
Vardhan said 11 patients had been isolated on symptomatic basis.
“Out of these 11, samples from four patients have tested negative for novel Coronavirus after tests at the National Institute of Virology Pune,” Vardhan said.
The Ministry in an important move today issued a 24X7 helpline number 01123978046 for patients who might want to enquire about the disease.
The Minister also urged people with travel history to China since January 1 to self report at the helpline number, to the nearest Heath centre or to their own doctor in case they experience symptoms like fever, cough and respiratory distress.
Vardhan today also said that he had spoken to Chief Minister Uttarakhand today and assured all support for screening at the border with Nepal, where a confirmed nCoV case has been reported.
“We are writing to the Chief Ministers of States requesting for their personal intervention to review the State preparedness for control and management of nCoV,” Minister said.
He has also directed for multidisciplinary central teams to be formed and sent to the seven states where thermal screening is being done at the seven designated international 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.
The teams will reach the tomorrow and will review 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, and will also visit the tertiary hospitals attached to the airports for reviewing the isolation wards and availability of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and masks.
Minister’s high level review meeting had senior officers of the Health Ministry, ICMR and National Centre for Disease Control.
“The situation is being closely monitored at the highest level for adequate preparedness. All the officials of my Ministry, concerned departments and States/UTs have been put on high alert for Novel Coronavirus. We are taking all required possible precautions to manage all possible scenarios,” Vardhan stated.
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