Over 9,000 passengers screened for coronavirus

New Delhi (IANS) Over 9,000 passengers from 43 flights have been screened at various international airports in India in the wake of outbreak of Coronavirus (nCoV) in the City in China. No case of nCoV has been detected so far here in India.

"As of January 21, a total of 43 flights and 9,156 passengers have been screened for novel Coronavirus illness. Till now, no case has been detected through these screening efforts. We are on alert and our preparedness is sturdy," said Preeti Sudan, Secretary, Health & Family Welfare, on Wednesday.

The nCoV was first reported in China.

She also stated that passengers travelling from China are being requested to report to the nearest public health facility in case they feel any symptoms.

As part of the measures taken by the Ministries of Health & Family Welfare, and Civil Aviation, a travel advisory has been issued and posted on the Health Ministry's website and Twitter handle for wider circulation.

Earlier on Tuesday the Ministry of Civil Aviation had extended the screening of passengers coming in from China to four more airports -- Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Cochin -- to combat the threat of nCoV.

The screening has been underway at Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata airports. The precaution is being taken in view of the recent outbreak of pneumonia caused by novel coronavirus in Wuhan city in Hubei province of China.

The ministry had said that thermal screening of passengers would be undertaken at airports. Provision of space at the pre-immigration area with logistics to install thermal cameras would be made at these airports and airlines staff would bring the passengers to the health counters before immigration check.

"In order to facilitate early isolation, in-flight announcements will be made by the airlines (which are directly coming from any airport in China, including Hong Kong) requesting passengers with history of fever and cough and history of travel to Wuhan City in last 14 days to self-declare at port of arrival or to state health authorities," it said.

Sudan said the Health Ministry was constantly reviewing the evolving scenario working closely with the Ministry of Civil Aviation, Ministry of External Affairs, Department of Health Research and the Indian Embassy in China.

The World Health Organisation is being consulted for updates on technical inputs. Series of meetings have been taken to review the evolving scenario, preparedness in terms of disease surveillance, laboratory support, infection prevention & control, logistics, risk communication and in particular, hospital preparedness and need for coordination and collaboration with other Ministries, Sudan said.

The Ministry has also approached all States and Union Territories to review their preparedness, identify gaps and strengthen core capacities needed to prepare for, detect and respond to possible outbreaks.

The Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme has issued an advisory to pick up any travel-related case reported in the community and follow up contacts of suspect/confirmed cases.

The National Institute of Virology, Pune has been assigned to test samples of nCoV. Ten other laboratories under 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.

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