New Delhi/Mumbai: As fear looms over the Coronavirus outbreak, Union Minister Harsh Vardhan on Saturday rushed to the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) to discuss the deadly infection and its preventive management in India as 18 people are currently being held under observation.
The Ministry also said that it has operationalised a 24X7 call centre to monitor and answer queries regarding novel coronavirus.
The visit came a day after 11 people — seven in Kerala, two in Mumbai, and one each in Bengaluru and Hyderabad — were kept under observation in hospitals to check for possible exposure to the deadly novel coronavirus.
Seven others who returned from China have been kept under observation, Vardhan said on Saturday. Samples of these seven passengers have been sent to the ICMR-NIV Pune Lab.
The Health Minister has directed for multidisciplinary central teams to be sent to the seven states where thermal screening is being done at seven designated airports -- New Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Kochi.
Vardhan, who held a review meeting to analyse the preparedness for prevention and management of novel coronavirus in India, also spoke to the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand on Saturday and assured all support for screening at the border with Nepal, where a confirmed case has been reported.
As many as 1,789 passengers underwent thermal screening at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport in Mumbai for the coronavirus since January 19 and two of them were admitted to civic-run Kasturba Hospital in the city as a precaution, central and state officials said.
Maharashtra CM reviews steps
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday reviewed the steps taken to tackle Coronavirus, with focus on measures deployed at the state's airports to screen passengers, an official said. Thackeray also checked the facilities available with hospitals in Mumbai to fight the illness.
China has closed off almost 20 cities as it scrambles to contain a new virus that has killed more than three dozen people since January 11, with cases confirmed in several countries.
(With inputs from PTI)