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No Coronavirus Case in Gujarat So Far, Airport Screening in Place: Govt

For representation: Medical workers in protective gear talk with a woman suspected of being ill with a coronavirus at a community health station in Wuhan in central China's Hubei Province. AP

For representation: Medical workers in protective gear talk with a woman suspected of being ill with a coronavirus at a community health station in Wuhan in central China's Hubei Province. AP

The state government said it has stepped up efforts to bring back students from Gujarat, who are currently studying in China, following their appeal to the authorities to evacuate them at the earliest.

Ahmedabad: The Gujarat government has put in place a screening facility at Ahmedabad airport to detect possible cases of coronavirus and also set up an isolation ward in a civil hospital here to treat patients suspected of contracting the infection, officials said on Wednesday.

The state government said it has stepped up efforts to bring back students from Gujarat, who are currently studying in China, following their appeal to the authorities to evacuate them at the earliest.

While no case of suspected coronavirus infection has been found in Gujarat so far, the state health department has said that 10 persons from different parts of the state, who had recently visited China, have been kept under observation.

Chief Minister Vijay Rupani had said on Tuesday that around 100 students hailing from Gujarat had expressed their desire to come back from China due to the outbreak of novel coronavirus.

"The Gujarat government is in constant touch with the Centre over the issue of coronavirus. Chief Minister Vijay Rupani also spoke to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Tuesday when he was in the state," Gujarat Education Minister, Bhupendrasinh Chudasama said on Wednesday.

"We have been informed that the students will be brought back in a special plane," he said. "Bringing these students back is our top priority. Both Centre and state government is working together to make sure safe return of our students from China" said the minister. His assurance came at a time when several such students in China have made appeal to the government to evacuate them.

In a video message, one Mit Mordiya of Bhavnagar and two of his friends, urged the Centre and the Gujarat government to evacuate them from Nanchang, the capital city of Jiangxi Province in southeastern China.

"Three of us are studying in a university here. Though we are not infected with virus, we were not allowed to board a flight to Delhi, from where we were supposed to come to Ahmedabad. We were sent back from the airport, claiming that our body temperature is higher than the prescribed limit," Moradiya said in the video.

One Samir Bavaliya, a resident of Botad town, also urged the government to evacuate him at the earliest, as he lives in Wuhan, a city which has been under lock-down following the outbreak.

"I am studying MBBS in Wuhan. I have not stepped out from my hostel since the last one week. The situation is very serious here. I appeal the government to immediately find a way to evacuate us from here," Bavaliya said in a video message he had sent to his family in Botad.

The state health department has said 10 persons from different parts of state, who had recently visited China, were kept under observation.

Fortunately, they are out of danger as doctors haven't found any symptom of coronavirus, a government release said. As a precautionary measure in the wake of the outbreak of deadly coronavirus in China, a screening facility has been set up at Ahmedabad airport.

"If someone complains of fever or cough on their arrival here, the immigration officials will bring him to our mini-clinic at the airport. We also have a thermal scanner to check the body temperature. If doctors find a positive case, we will shift them to the civil hospital in an ambulance, which has been put on standby at the airport," a senior official said.

Notably, an isolation ward with all the required medicines and equipment has been created at the civil hospital, which has been designated as the 'base hospital' by the department to treat coronavirus cases.

Since ships from China also arrive at some major ports of Gujarat, such as Kandla, the health department has decided to create such screening facilities at all the major ports to screen the crew members, the official said.

first published:January 29, 2020, 19:53 IST