The death toll from the novel coronavirus (nCoV) rose to 106 in China on January 28th, 2020. The number of confirmed cases now stands at 4,515. Meanwhile, India has stepped up vigil in districts bordering Nepal in view of a confirmed case of novel coronavirus detected in the neighbouring country.
The transmission ability of the virus is getting stronger and infections could continue to rise. China has banned wildlife trade nationwide in markets, supermarkets, restaurants, and e-commerce platforms from January 26th, 2020.
Lockdown measures and restricts of travel continue in China to curb its spread. Travel restrictions have been tightened across the country and wearing masks in public is now been made mandatory in some cities. Total lockdown have been imposed in Wuhan, and the Hubei province it is located in.
The nCoV causes severe acute respiratory infection and is believed to have emerged from illegally traded wildlife at a seafood market in Wuhan. There is no specific cure or vaccine.
The WHO has declared the new coronavirus an ’emergency in China’ but is yet to declare it global health emergency and has given its experts more time to gather information.
On the other hand, back in India, the Cabinet Secretary reviewed the situation arising out of NCoV outbreak in China.
137 flights have been screened (total cumulative passengers 29707) till January 27th, 2020 in wake of the virus outbreak. The samples of 12 passengers were referred to the NIV Pune, however, no positive case has been reported so far.
The Cabinet Secretary instructed the Ministry of Civil Aviation to issue of instruction to airlines for managing and notifying anybody reporting illness on all flights with direct or indirect connectivity to China; facilitate in-flight announcements and distribution of health cards to all flights with direct or indirect connectivity to China.
The Ministry of Home Affairs have been instructed to ensure that integrated check posts initiate screening of visitors across the Nepal border and the States have been requested to provide health staff for these check posts. The SSB/ BSF/Immigration officers manning integrated check posts have been sensitized.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Shipping have been instructed to initiate entry screening at the International ports having traffic from China.
The Health Ministry also held a review meeting with Chief Secretaries to review the preparedness and screening in five states having a border with Nepal, in addition to Pr Secretaries (Health) of other states. They have been asked to ensure that community-level monitoring of passengers is undertaken through health staff.
During the meeting, it was decided that steps may be taken to prepare for the possible evacuation of Indian nationals in Wuhan. Accordingly, the Ministry of External Affairs will make a request to the Chinese authorities. The Ministry of Civil Aviation and the Ministry of Health will make arrangements for transport and quarantine facilities respectively.
As many as 436 people who have returned from China, mainly the Wuhan province, have been kept under observation in Kerala for suspected exposure to the flu-like virus. 3 patients isolated in Delhi hospital and similar cases have been reported in Haryana.
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