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AIIMS, RML Hospital Set Up Isolation Wards for Treating Suspected Novel Coronavirus Infection Cases

AIIMS Director Randeep Guleria said that hospital preparedness with regard to management and infection prevention control facilities has been also reviewed.

PTI

Updated:January 24, 2020, 9:41 PM IST
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AIIMS, RML Hospital Set Up Isolation Wards for Treating Suspected Novel Coronavirus Infection Cases
File photo of All India Institute of Medical Sciences building. (PTI Photo)

New Delhi: The Centre-run All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and the Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) Hospital in the national capital have set up isolation wards and kept beds ready for providing treatment to any suspected case of novel coronavirus infection.

Novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a large family of viruses that causes illnesses ranging from the common cold to acute respiratory syndromes, but the virus that has so far killed 25 people and affected 830 in China is a novel strain and not seen before.

It emerged from a seafood and animal market in China's Wuhan, and is suspected to have spread to as far as the United States.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the common symptoms of the novel coronavirus strain include respiratory symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.

The medical superintendent of RML Hospital Dr Minakshi Bhardwaj confirmed that an isolation ward has been set up to provide treatment or to keep under observation any suspected cases of novel coronavirus infection.

AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria said, "We have an isolation ward and we have beds kept ready for providing care and treatment for suspected coronavirus cases in Delhi or elsewhere in India."

"All precautionary measures -- in terms of personal protection equipment for healthcare workers to prevent the spread of the disease while treating infected patients -- are in place."

Guleria and Bhardwaj said that their hospital's preparedness with regard to management and infection prevention control facilities have been also reviewed.

"If need be, we have the capacity to increase our isolation ward facilities and provide treatment to such patients," the AIIMS director said.

As a precautionary measure, people should maintain good standards of hand hygiene, avoid travelling in crowded places and use masks. Any person having slight symptoms of cough, fever and weakness should immediately report to the nearest health facility, he said.

According to Dr Guleria, as of now there is no definite treatment, antibiotics or vaccines available for combating the particular virus strain and only supportive treatment for pneumonia is given. One has to follow preventive medication strategies, he said.

The Union health ministry that 20,844passengers from 96 flights have been screened for novel coronavirus infection symptoms till Friday and three persons have been put under observation. No positive case has been detected in the country so far, it said.

Three persons who returned from China have been kept under observation after they were screened for novel coronavirus infection.

Of the three, two persons have been kept under observation at a Mumbai hospital while one person is under watch at a hospital in Hyderabad for possible exposure to the respiratory virus which has infected a large number of people in China, a senior health ministry official said.

WHO on Thursday said the deadly virus outbreak in China and beyond does not yet constitute a global emergency as it urged Beijing to keep its lockdown of some 20 million people "short".

"I am not declaring a public health emergency of international concern today," WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters on Thursday after a two-day emergency meeting in Geneva on the issue.

The global health body has confirmed that the new virus can be passed between people, at least those in close contact. Chinese health officials warned it could mutate and spread further.

The health ministry has asked states and union territories to review hospital preparedness in terms of isolation and ventilator management of critically ill patients, identify gaps and strengthen core capacities in the area of surveillance and laboratory support, an official statement said.

Thermal screening is being done at the international airports of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Cochin.

The civil aviation ministry has asked airlines to follow International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) guidelines for managing and notifying anybody reporting illness on flights originating from China and disembarking in India. Also, a travel advisory was issued on January 17 which was put up on the ministry's website and also on the Twitter handle for wider circulation.

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