India reviews readiness to deal with pandemic amid growing concerns over China coronavirus outbreak
Top Indian government officials have reviewed the safeguards already in place and potential crisis response measures, in case the rapidly spreading coronavirus outbreak, that already killed 56 in China, spills across the border.
Health ministry officials have briefed top cabinet members, including home, foreign, defense and civil aviation secretaries on Saturday, about the screening and other preventative measures being undertaken as more and more countries report 2019-nCoV infections.
While nobody in India has tested positive for novel coronavirus yet, authorities routinely take samples from all travelers who show any respiratory disease symptoms. Over 20,000 passengers on 115 flights at seven international airports across India have been screened in recent days.
In addition to thermal scanners set up earlier, several multidisciplinary teams that comprise public health experts, clinicians and microbiologists were sent to the airports in New Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Kochi airports on Sunday. According to health minister Harsh Vardhan, screening measures have also been increased at the border with Nepal, which reported the first coronavirus case on Friday.
The health ministry also issued a fresh advisory for travellers going to or returning from China, urging them to avoid close contacts and promptly seek medical attention, and report to the Indian Embassy, if they feel sick and have symptoms like fever and cough.
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