Thermal screening for novel coronavirus will be extended to 20 airports: Health minister
New Delhi: Thermal screening of passengers for possible exposure to the deadly novel coronavirus (nCoV) infection will be extended to 20 airports from the existing seven, said Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Tuesday and confirmed no case has been detected in India so far.
Vardhan said the government has made four more laboratories functional other than NIV-Pune for testing samples and it will be extended to 10 labs in the coming days.
"Four labs of @ICMRDELHI 's Viral Research & Diagnostics Lab Network (at Alleppey, Bengaluru, Hyderabad & Mumbai) activated for testing samples.This is in addition to @icmr_niv, Pune," tweeted the Health Ministry.
"Like in 2014, because of our alertness we prevented Ebola from entering the country, we are making all efforts and taking all possible measures to ensure there are no cases of nCoV here," Vardhan said.
At present thermal screening is done at seven designated airports New Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Kochi.
Around 35, 000 passengers have been screened at these airports so far, Vardhan said.
He said samples of 20 persons which have been tested for nCoV so far have all resulted negative.
The Centre has stepped up vigil in areas bordering Nepal in view of a confirmed case of nCoV detected there, he said.
He also said the MEA is in touch with the Chinese government to bring back Indian citizens.
Vardhan said he has also written to all chief ministers, requesting them for personal intervention to review the states' preparedness for control and management of the spread of the virus.
The health minister has urged the passengers who have a travel history to China since January 1, 2020, to come forward for self-reporting to the nearest health facility if they experience any symptoms such as fever, cough, respiratory distress, etc., and also inform their treating doctor.
Three persons with a travel history to China have been kept under observation at an isolation ward of RML Hospital here for a possible exposure to novel coronavirus, officials said.
The Prime Minister's Office on Saturday reviewed India's preparedness to deal with any situation amid mounting global concerns over rising cases in China.
A 24x7 NCDC Call Centre (+91-11-23978046) has been made operational to monitor the list of contacts furnished by the Ministry of External Affairs, provide details of district and state surveillance officers to those who seek them, and in case of any clinical query, direct the concerned to the relevant Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) officer.
On Friday, the Health Ministry also issued a fresh advisory asking the passengers to follow certain dos and don'ts if they are in China or if they are travelling or returning from China.
The advisory stated that during their stay in China, if they feel sick and have fever and cough, then they should cover their mouth while coughing and sneezing, seek medical attention promptly and report to the Indian Embassy in China.
It said if they feel sick on flight, while travelling back to India from China, they should inform the airline crew about their illness, seek mask and self-reporting format from the airline crew, avoid close contact with family members or fellow travellers and follow other directions of crew and airport health officer.