New Delhi , Jan 17 : Witnessing deadly outbreak of Novel Coronavirus (nCoV) in China, the Centre is aggressively reviewing the situation in India. The Union Health Ministry is monitoring the situation in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO).
So far, the fatal virus has claimed 41 lives including one death from Wuhan city in China on till January 5. Till date, the deadly nCoV virus has very little evidence of significant human-to-human transmission. Although as per WHO's risk assessment, the risk for global spread has been stated as low, however, maintaining good hygiene is a key priority.
Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Dr Harsh Vardhan, said "We are closely monitoring the situation after the reports of 41 confirmed cases of novel Coronavirus (nCoV) in China. The Health Ministry has issued necessary directions to all concerned on laboratory diagnosis, surveillance, infection prevention and control (IPC) and risk communication."
"Our Integrated Disease Surveillance Program (IDSP) is geared up for community surveillance and contact tracing," he said.
The National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune and ICMR Laboratory is coordinating the testing of samples for nCoV in the country.
According to WHO, the situation is still evolving and preliminary investigations suggest a link to the seafood market. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, which cause illnesses to people and also circulate in animals including camels, cats and bats. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can also evolve and infect people.
Preeti Sudan, Secretary at the Union Health Ministry said "The Centre is reviewing the public health preparedness every day for timely detection if any and manage the importation of the nCoV into the country."
Preeti said "We have coordinated with Ministry of Civil Aviation and the airport officials have been instructed screening of international travellers from China at designated airports namely, Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata through thermal scanners. In-flight announcements are also being made for sensitising travellers."
"We are also in touch with the Ministry of External Affairs, and the immigration officers at the airports are being sensitized," Preeti said.
The hospital preparedness with regard to management and infection prevention control facilities has been also reviewed during high-level meetings and advisories, and IPC Guidelines have been shared with the States.
Adequate stocks of logistics including PPE is available. State governments have also been advised on the necessary precaution to be taken up on the issue.
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