Union Health Secy directs state chief secretaries to review preparedness to tackle novel corona virus

New Delhi , Jan 21 : After an outbreak of the deadly novel coronavirus (nCoV) in China, the central government is taking precautionary measures to tackle such viruses.

As per WHO update, at least 41 cases of novel coronavirus have been reported so far from China including one death till January 11, prompting the union health ministry to initiate various measures to prepare for and respond to possible disease importation in India.

Preeti Sudan, Union Health Secretary has written to all State Chief Secretaries and Union Territories. She said "The health ministry continues to closely monitor the situation and has reviewed the risk assessment for India and core capacities needed to prepare for and respond to a possible disease importation."

Sudan directed all state governments to review their preparedness, identify gaps and strengthen the area of surveillance, laboratory support infection prevention and control, logistics, risk communication and in particular, hospital preparedness in terms of isolation and ventilator management of critically ill patients of severe acute respiratory illness (SARI).

"Airport Health Organisations at major international airports have started entry screening to isolate and manage suspect cases," she said.

On Monday, a high-level review meeting was held at the health ministry. The secretary (health) has written to Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) to facilitate thermal screening at the International airports of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Cochin for the airlines to follow International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) guidelines for managing and notifying anybody reporting illness on flights originating from China and disembarking in India. MoCA has instructed for in-flight announcements for India bound flights.

All major international airports with connectivity to China will have advisory prominently displayed for self-reporting by travellers who are ill at the time of disembarkation," said Sudan.

Sudan has also requested the Ministry of External Affairs to disseminate travel advisory (in local languages) to Indian Embassies in China and adjoining countries for wider circulation and passenger information.

According to the health ministry, Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme has issued advisory to all States and UTs for SARI surveillance to pick up any travel-related case reported in the community and follow up contacts of suspect/confirmed cases. Meanwhile, the National Institute of Virology(NIV), Pune is fully geared up to test samples of nCoV, if a need arises.


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Union Health Secy directs state chief secretaries to review preparedness to tackle novel corona virus