Situation on corona virus under control: Health Secy

New Delhi, Feb 7 (IANS) The situation over the novel coronavirus is under control in the country and is being regularly monitored by the Prime Minister’s Office, Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare and Cabinet Secretary on a daily basis,” Health Secretary Preeti Sudan said on Friday while chairing a video conference with officials.

The conference was attended by Health Secretaries from states and Union Territories along with senior officials from the ministries of Shipping, External Affairs, Civil Aviation, Tourism and Home Affairs.

It aimed at reviewing their preparedness for prevention and management of Novel Coronavirus. The Health Secretary also informed the officials that various precautionary measures had been undertaken in close coordination with the concerned ministries at the central level.

The secretary asked the states to enhance the awareness activities regarding the updated advisories. She advised that the States and UTs needed to stay on alert and be more vigilant. For this purpose a portal has been put in place as a special surveillance web tool to monitor the cases on real time basis. This will also help for national-level monitoring. She advised that all the States/UTs need to fill the data accurately and in a timely manner.

She said that “Universal” screening for all flights from Singapore and Thailand, besides Hong Kong and China at earmarked aero-bridges, the new visa restrictions and advisories are issued in view of the emerging scenario globally.

“Ministry of Human Resource Development has been requested to take adequate measures to spread awareness of hygiene among the students across the country. To which officials said that the states and UTs had been following the protocols and guidelines issued, in order to avoid any eventuality. They also informed the secretary that sufficient stocks for the Personal Protection Equipments and masks had been procured.

“Adequate IEC activities like hoardings at the State’s borders, pamphlet distribution, announcements etc are being undertaken to spread awareness about the symptoms and precautions” said one of the officials.

“The States bordering Nepal have informed that they have made all the necessary arrangements for screening of people transiting across the border. Orientation of the medical personnel and health officials has been conducted regularly. Special Gram Sabhas are being organised to boost awareness and sensitisation regarding the Novel Coronavirus diseases, its symptoms, preventive measures and reporting in the border villages.”

According to the Ministry, 1,275 flights and 1,39,539 passengers have been screened so far at 21 Airports. All 645 evacuees from Wuhan have been tested negative for nCoV. As of now 1232 samples have been tested and 1199 samples were found negative, 30 are under process and 3 samples tested positive (Kerala). 6599 persons are presently under community surveillance in 29 States and UTs.

The Health Secretary urged that all the states needed to strengthen their rapid response teams to counter any eventuality. Also there needs to be role clarity and robust administrative structures in place at all Districts.

Dr Ganga Khedkar, ‘G’ Scientist, Head of ECD (Epidemiology and Communicable Diseases) Division, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) informed the health secretary that laboratory at Guwahati Medical College, Assam has also being utilised now for testing of Novel Coronavirus.