Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union health minister said that India had not reported any positive cases of Coronavirus so far. Speaking to media persons at the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, on Tuesday, the minister assured that all precautions were in place with at least 35,000 people screened at various locations in the country till date.
"India doesn't have a single case of confirmed Coronavirus. All the samples of those who were tested, are negative," Dr Harsh Vardhan said. The minister appealed for more awareness and explained how various departments and state mnistries are combining efforts as preparedness for the Coronavirus.
Coronavirus, said to have originated in the Wuhan province of China has led to several countries taking precautionary measures. The virus with pneumonia like symptoms has led to 200 reported cases from Japan, Thailand and South Korea and at least 107 deaths in China.
The Health ministry's appeal comes amid growing panic about the Coronavirus with three people three people isolated and admitted at the Ram Manohar Lohia hospital in New Delhi after they were said to have shown symptoms. Harsh Vardhan explained that multi-disciplinary teams have been sent by the Centre to seven states where thermal screening is being conducted at airports.
"We have set up screening measures at seven airports - Delhi, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Calcutta, Hyderabad, Kochi, Bangalore and Chennai. All passengers who are returning or have in some way connected to travelling to China in the last month are being monitored, " the minister said. He added that nearly 35,000 passengers have been screened to date and 20 more airports will be added to the list of monitoring centres.
"Of those who were screened, 20 were said to have symptoms which warranted further tests. They were isolated, quarantined and necessary tests undertaken with all precautions," the minister said. "All of their tests are negative," he explained stressing that the Coronavirus had not entered India. The tests are being conducted at the National Institute of Virology, Pune and four more more laboratories, with the number set to increase to 10 more laboratories in the coming days.
Harsh Vardhan also announced the 24x7 National Centre for Disease Control Call Centre set up for the purpose of creating awareness and reporting of any cases. He asked residents to call the number +91-11-23978046 if they had any information about a person with recent travel history to China and showing symptoms.
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