India contains spread of Coronavirus: Vardhan
New Delhi: Hailing the efforts of states and medical practitioners for preventing the outbreak of Novel Coronavirus disease in the country, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said that India is prepared through its various timely measures and sturdy systems of surveillance for the Coronavirus.
"It's the outcome of good and effective co-ordination among ministries, robust surveillance system, network of laboratories to support diagnosis, upgraded medical facilities and trained health work force that the outbreak of life taking disease has been contained," Vardhan said while talking to reporters over the issue.
The minister further said all ministries and states have done commendable work, in particular Kerala, which has put up a sturdy system of surveillance.
"India has extended support to Maldives in testing samples and Bhutan in managing COVID-19. India has also agreed to support Afghanistan in testing samples. India is also extending help to China by sending essential items for combating COVID 2019 as per a commitment made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
He also praised the efforts of a high-level group of ministers consisting of Minister of External Affairs, Civil Aviation, MoS for Home Affairs, MoS for Shipping and MoS for Health & Family Welfare, which was constituted under his chairmanship to monitor the situation, for working in tandem.
One of the three medical students, who had tested positive for coronavirus infection and were treated at a hospital in Kerala, has been discharged after recovery. About the other two, the minister said that subsequent tests indicated significant reduction in "viral load".
"We are still waiting for confirmatory results before discharging them. They are stable and recovering and will be discharged soon," he said.
While talking to reports, Vardhan said that a total of 2,51,447 persons travelling in 2,315 flights have been screened so far. Besides, 15,991 people across the country have been kept on community surveillance. Of them, 497 have been identified as symptomatic cases and isolated while 41 have been hospitalised, he said.
The minister further said that India had evacuated 645 people, including seven Maldivians, from China's Wuhan city and quarantined them in two special camps. They will be kept under observation for a period of two weeks and discharged after they test negative for the virus, he said.
Meanwhile, two passengers, who arrived at Kolkata international airport from Bangkok, have been placed in isolation for suspected coronavirus. As per health ministry officials, a passenger named Himadri Barman was quarantined on Tuesday, and Nagendra Singh on Wednesday. Both passengers were sent to Beliaghata ID Hospital. In a related development, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Thursday said that the Indian mission in Tokyo is providing all assistance to the crew and passengers of the cruise ship that has been quarantined off the Japanese coast in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
"Our Embassy @IndianEmbTokyo is in constant touch with the crew and passengers of Diamond Princess off Yokohama, Japan, rendering all necessary support & assistance. Passengers & crew are currently quarantined by Japanese authorities," he said in a Tweet.
The cruise ship with 3,711 people on board arrived at the Japanese coast early last week and was quarantined after a passenger who de-boarded last month in Hong Kong was found to be the carrier of the virus on the ship. A total of 138 Indians, including passengers and crew, were on board the ship.
Vardhan further added that the surveillance at point of entries and in the community is the key to detect cases early, track the contacts and follow them up. Reiterating that the COVID19 is highly infectious, he said that the redeeming feature is that the case fatality is about 2 per cent in mainland China and less that 0.2 per cent outside China.