Coronavirus Latest Updates: As the number of confirmed coronavirus cases reached 31 in India after a Delhi man with a history of travelling to Thailand and Malaysia tested positive on Friday, researchers say they have identified a protein present in the human body which is important for the entry of the novel coronavirus into lung cells, an advance that may lead to a novel drug target for preventing the deadly disease. Total number of novel coronavirus cases has now touched 98,123, including 3,385 deaths, across 87 countries, news agency AFP reported.
The Union Health Ministry has asked states to set up rapid response teams at the district, village and block levels as cases of community transmission of the disease have been observed, reported PTI.
In this cluster containment approach, rapid response teams consisting of health officials are to promptly check and sensitize every household within 3-kilometre-radius of the infected person’s house and all those who have come in contact with the individual, health ministry officials said.
In Delhi, Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan held a meeting with private hospitals to assess the preparedness in dealing with coronavirus. He met Delhi Health Minister Satyendra Jain and civic body officials urging them to augment facilities of isolation wards in hospitals if cases of COVID-19 continue to rise.
The Ministry of External Affairs has said that arrangements are being made to facilitate the return of 2,000 stranded Indians from Iran in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak through normal aviation channels. MEA Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar confirmed that so far there are no Indians infected with the virus in Iran. He added that the Indian Embassies across the world are on the job wherever there has been an outbreak of coronavirus. As far as the Indian Embassy in Iran is concerned, he said it was broadcasting regular updates and continued to be in touch with all the Indians in that country, including fishermen.
Earlier, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had said that an Indian medical team was reaching Iran to set up its first clinic at Qom by the evening to start screening for coronavirus. He informed that the Iranian tourists in India had arrived before coronavirus outbreak and there is no provision for them to return as no flights are operating between Indian and Iran at present. There was no need to panic, said Jaishankar, adding that tourists would be able to leave once flight services resume.
Regarding the preparedness to tackle the COVID-19 outbreak, MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar informed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was himself monitoring the situation and personally taking a lot of interest in the preparedness of India to deal with the situation. Kumar said that a group of ministers is holding regular meetings, and both the Ministry of External Affairs and Ministry of Health are involved in it. The Indian Embassies across the world were on the job wherever multiple coronavirus cases have been detected and 24/7 networks have been opened for people to connect to them, Kumar added.
In Delhi, authorities ordered the immediate closure of primary schools until March 31 and launched efforts to trace people who came in contact with the Paytm employee from Gurugram who tested positive for coronavirus.
A senior Delhi health department official was quoted by PTI as saying that of the 91 people with whom the Paytm employee had come in contact with in Gurgaon, 17 are from Delhi.
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