New Delhi: India has, so far, screened 89,500 passengers from 777 flights at 21 airports for symptoms of the Novel Coronavirus (nCoV), a Union Health Ministry official said on Tuesday following a review meeting of Union Health Secretary Preeti Sudan with her counterparts in the states.
As part of the screenings at airports, 454 samples were tested, of which 451 samples were found negative and three samples were found positive, a note from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) said.
At present, a total of 3,935 passengers are under community surveillance in 29 states and union territories, the note added.
At the country’s seven international airports in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Cochin, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Chennai, aero bridges have been earmarked at dedicated gates to screen passengers from China, Singapore, Thailand and Hong Kong for nCoV.
Sudan said all states were required to strengthen their rapid response teams to counter any eventuality and a robust administrative structure was needed in place across all districts.
The meeting was held through a video conference to review preparedness for prevention and management of the virus. It was also attended by officials from the ministries of home, shipping, external affairs, civil aviation and tourism.
The Union health secretary said that to meet the increasing demand for additional manpower to undertake screenings, the states would have to provide health personnel and other logistic support to airport health officers (APHO).
The states bordering Nepal have informed that they are taking necessary measures and following up on the guidelines issued by the government on screening and management. States that do not have airports or seaports, such as Haryana, said special awareness drives at toll plazas, bus stations and railway stations are also being initiated.
Officials from Kerala, which has reported three positive cases — all of them students from Wuhan in China — said close monitoring and surveillance were underway across all administrative units in the state.
The officials said district collectors are also being included in the review process, adding that community engagement through focused awareness is a key component in containing the emergency situation in the southern state.
During the meeting, officials from the Ministry of Tourism said they were coordinating with hotel associations for wider self-reporting by travellers visiting religious and other tourist places in states.