Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Tuesday said that thermal screening of passengers for possible exposure to the deadly novel coronavirus (nCoV) infection will be undertaken at 20 airports across the country, adding that no case has been detected in India so far. At present, thermal screening is done at seven designated airports - New Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Kochi. Speaking about the spread of coronavirus in the country, Vardhan asked citizens to stay safe and take necessary precautions. He said that the health ministry 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.
The Centre has stepped up vigil in certain areas bordering Nepal after having received information of a confirmed case of nCoV detected there, he said. Travellers to and from China have been issued an extra advisory and have been undergoing special screening at airports in order to prevent the virus from spreading to other countries. Vardhan said he has also written to all state governments asking them to personally intervene and review the states’ preparedness to control and manage the spread of coronavirus.
All passengers who have a travel history to and from China since January 1, 2020, have been asked to come forward and self-report to their nearest health facility in case they experience any symptoms such as fever, cough or respiratory distress. However, reports of coronavirus cases at few places across the globe have been pouring in, including the recent case of three Delhi NCR residents being kept under observation in an isolation ward at the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital.
Special wards and isolation rooms have been created for treating patients who report the symptoms of coronavirus. Special teams of experts have been assigned to the top seven airports in the country for qualitative screening and testing of travellers. Along with this, the Union government has established and issued a helpline number for citizens to seek help in relation to coronavirus. The helpline number, (+91)11-23978046 is available for all who seek help from the government in case of emergencies regarding the virus.