Coronavirus Outbreak: Here’s what India has done to prevent deadly nCoV virus

Mayank Kumar

As China is grappling with the endemic Coronavirus that has hurt its economy and stature on the global stage, India doesn't seem to be off guard against a potential pandemic. "Government has taken note of the outbreak of Novel Coronavirus in China and has taken measures to monitor the situation in India. Government is monitoring the situation closely.", stated the Minister of State (Health and Family Welfare), Ashwini Kumar Choubey in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.

In pursuit of protecting its citizens stuck in the Wuhan city of the Hubei province in China where the Novel Coronavirus broke mayhem, India carried out landmark evacuation programmes. The Air India planes have evacuated around 645 students from Wuhan and they have been placed in two quarantine centres. 243 students have been kept under isolation at Manesar while other 402 have been insulated at Chawla Camp. The samples collected from all evacuees have tested negative which augurs well for the objectivity of the mission. The government also appraised that all evacuees are under observation and found to be clinically stable.

As things stand now, three positive cases of Novel Coronavirus have been reported from Kerala in the individuals who have either visited China or were studying in Wuhan. However, they are responding well to the treatment and are currently clinically stable.

As things stand now, three cases of Novel Coronavirus have been reported from Kerala in the individuals who have either visited China or were studying in Wuhan. However, they are responding well to the treatment and are currently clinically stable.

The government has stepped up the screening processes at different entry zones such as ports, airports and border crossing points. The government has started screening of passengers at all 21 airports for the passengers from all flights coming from China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Thailand. The government has also equipped these airports with thermal scanners and handheld thermal detectors.

Airport authorities have been issued instructions to park these flights at earmarked aero-bridges to facilitate screening. Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) has been put to task to follow up passengers coming from the above mentioned sensitive locations. The government has tasked the National Institute of Virology, Pune as the nodal laboratory to test these fatal pathogens. The government has also carried out training programmes for the officers posted at ports, airports and border checkpoints to alert the management on higher risk pathogens such as Coronavirus and Ebola.

Panchayati Raj Ministry has organised gram sabhas in villages adjoining the borders to create awareness about the disease and the prescribed precautions to prevent the spread of Coronavirus. To prevent the language barrier from creating a communication hiatus, the government has prepared risk communication material in regional languages as well. The Ministry of Health has been issuing daily briefs which are being shared through social media throughout the day as well as expert advice has been broadcasting on radio and television medium for wider outreach. The Ministry of Health has set up a  24×7 operational control coom (011-23978046).

The government has constituted a committee headed by the Union Health Minister which comprises the Minister of External Affairs, Minister of Civil Aviation, Minister of State of Home Affairs, Minister of State of Health and Family Welfare, Minister of State of Shipping. The committee had its first meeting on February 3. The Cabinet Secretary has been asked to organise multiple meetings with ministries such as Health, Defense, MEA, Civil Aviation, Home, Textiles, Pharma, Commerce and other officials including with State Chief Secretaries to bring about a proper communication channel to avert the deadly disease on Indian soil.