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Surveillance system in place along B'desh border in Bengal

Surveillance system in place along Bdesh border in Bengal

Kolkata: The West Bengal Health department, in the wake of the growing Coronavirus threat, has put in place a surveillance mechanism in Hili, Petrapole and Gede areas along the India-Bangladesh border, a senior official said.

People entering the country from Bangladesh would be screened at these important checkpoints, as some among them might have visited China in the recent past, he said.

"We need to keep an eye on those entering India through these borders. Among them, there could be some who have recently travelled to China. We must conduct a medical test on them, before allowing them entry," the official said.

Ajay Chakraborty, the director of health services, had a few days ago visited the bordering areas to oversee the medical facilities available there. The state Health department had last month initiated similar measures in Mirik, Pashupati market and Panitanki village along India-Nepal border. Nepal confirmed its first case of Coronavirus a week ago. On Friday, surveillance was also heightened in the Tangra area — the city's China Town. "People in Tangra have relatives in China. If someone happened to have visited China recently, authorities at the city airport must have screened them. We are, however, conducting another survey to be absolutely sure," another senior official at the state health department said.

The state government has also decided to set up isolation wards at seven medical establishments, besides the Beliaghata ID hospital, where precautionary measures are already in place. "These medical establishments have been directed to appoint one nodal officer to look after the preparations, and take a quick decision in case a Coronavirus case is reported," he said, adding that all hospitals have been asked to keep adequate number of gloves and face masks in store.

The Bengal government has also launched two helpline numbers - (033) 23412600 and 1800313444222 - for people seeking help and information on the respiratory illness.

"The call centre numbers would be active 24x7. Doctors will be available to advice callers on the steps that should be taken and the tests that

need to be conducted if someone complains of Coronavirus symptoms," the official added.

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