New Delhi: The government has urged people with travel history to China since January 1 this year to voluntarily report themselves to authorities if they experience symptoms related to the deadly novel coronavirus (nCoV) such as fever, cough and respiratory distress.
It said it has set up a 24x7 helpline (+91-11-23978046) to attend to public queries on the virus strain that had been not been encountered before. It has killed 41 people and infected more than 1,300 people in China and is reported to be spreading to several other countries.
Officials said on Friday that 11 people, who returned to India from China in recent days, have been put under observation in Kerala, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad for possible exposure to the virus.
The health ministry said the helpline will monitor the list of contacts furnished by the Ministry of External Affairs, provide details of district and state surveillance officers to those who seek them and direct the public to the relevant surveillance officer for any clinical query.
The ministry also asked travellers, who are in China or returning to India from there, to follow certain "Dos and Don'ts".
During stay in China, if they feel sick and have fever and cough, they should cover their mouth while coughing and sneezing, seek medical attention promptly and report to the Indian Embassy in China, the ministry advisory said.
If travellers feel sick on flight, when returning to India, they should inform the airline crew, seek mask, avoid close contact with family members or other travellers and follow directions.
Twenty-eight cases of the novel (new) coronavirus have been confirmed outside Chinese mainland 5 in Hong Kong, 2 in Macao, 3 in Taiwan, 4 in Thailand, 2 in Japan, 2 in South Korea, 2 in the US, 2 in Vietnam and 3 in Singapore and 1 each in Nepal and France, the advisory said.
The virus has emerged from a seafood and animal market in China's Wuhan city.
The common symptoms of the novel coronavirus strain also include shortness of breath and breathing difficulties, according to the World Health Organisation.