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India Steps Up Vigil on Borders After Nepal Confirms 1st Coronavirus Case, Screens 29,707 Passengers

Over 100 people have been kept under observation in Kerala and Maharashtra following screening for a possible exposure to novel coronavirus (nCov).


Updated:January 27, 2020, 12:03 AM IST
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India Steps Up Vigil on Borders After Nepal Confirms 1st Coronavirus Case, Screens 29,707 Passengers
A thermal screeening device for passengers arriving in India from China including Hong Kong in view of outbreak of Novel coronavirus (CoV) in China, at T3 of IGi airport in New Delhi. (Image: PTI)

New Delhi: Over 29,700 passengers from 137 flights were screened for novel coronavirus infection at seven identified airports in the country till Sunday but no positive case was detected, the Union Health Ministry said.

"Total of 29,707 passengers from 137 flights screened. 4,359 passengers of 22 flights screened today. No case of #coronarvirus found till date, " the ministry tweeted.

Over 100 people have been kept under observation in Kerala and Maharashtra following screening for a possible exposure to novel coronavirus (nCov) as the Prime Minister's Office on Saturday reviewed India's preparedness to deal with any situation amid mounting global concern over rising cases in China.

"In response to confirmed case of #nCoV2019 in #Nepal, India has stepped up vigil in districts bordering Nepal. Health Teams deployed at BOP with Nepal at Jhulaghat and Jauljibi, Dist Pithoragarh, #Uttarakhand," another tweet by the Ministry said.

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Saturday said samples of seven passengers have been sent to the ICMR-NIV laboratory in Pune. One person each from Thrissur, Thiruvananthapuram, Pathanamthitta and Malappuram and three from Ernakulam are in isolation wards of various health centres in Kerala.

The Union Health Minister has directed multidisciplinary central teams to go to the designated airports in New Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Kochi where thermal screening is being done.

Vardhan, who held a review meeting to analyse the preparedness for prevention and management of nCoV in India, also spoke to Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat and assured him of all support for screening at the border with Nepal.

Vardhan has urged the passengers who have a travel history to China since January 1, 2020, to report to their nearest health facility if they experience any symptoms such as fever, cough, respiratory distress, etc.

On Saturday, the Union Health Ministry also issued a fresh advisory asking the passengers to follow certain dos and don'ts if they are in China or travelling or returning from China.

The advisory stated that during their 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 advisory also said that if they feel sick on flight while travelling back to India from China, they should inform the airline crew about their illness, seek mask and self-reporting format from the airline crew.

In such a case, the advisory said, avoid close contact with family members or fellow travellers and follow other directions of crew and airport health officer.

According to the advisory, 28 cases have been confirmed outside Chinese mainland — 5 in Hong Kong, 4 in Thailand, 3 each in Taiwan and Singapore, 2 each in Macao, Japan, South Korea, United States and Vietnam, and 1 each in Nepal and France.

Novel coronavirus is a large family of viruses that causes illnesses ranging from common cold to acute respiratory syndromes. The virus, which has so far killed 56 people and affected 1,975 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.

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