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India reviews preparations to tackle swine flu

India reviews preparations to tackle swine flu

Plans afoot to station a medical team round-the-clock at international airports.

New Delhi: The Indian government on Tuesday reviewed its preparations in the wake of the swine flu outbreak in various countries.

The disease has already killed 152 people in Mexico, where it originated.

An inter-ministerial meeting held in the national capital, chaired by Health Secretary Naresh Dayal, was attended by officials from the ministries of health, civil aviation and environment and forest and departments of chemicals and biotechnology.

"It was a review meeting to discuss the preparatory measures being taken by the government in the wake of the spread of swine flu in various countries," a health ministry official said.

According to the ministry, no swine flu cases have been reported in India so far.

India Monday asked its citizens to avoid "non-essential travel" to swine flu-affected New Zealand, Mexico, the US, Canada, Spain, France and Britain, and had put in place a scanning system for travellers coming from these countries.

"Discussions were held on implementation of a series of action that includes surveillance at ports and airports and monitoring through integrated disease surveillance units in all states. The health ministry will write to the civil aviation ministry recommending mandatory medical checks for travellers coming from these countries," the official said.

The health ministry has recommended a team of doctors should be stationed round-the-clock at international airports in India - at Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Cochin, Jaipur and Goa - to screen travellers, especially those coming from these countries.

A round-the-clock call centre with a toll-free number (1075) and another number (23921401) under the Integrated Diseases Surveillance Project have been set up to attend calls from people to report any influenza-like illness.

first published:April 28, 2009, 20:57 IST