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    Coronavirus Outbreak: Death Toll Surpasses 1,000 In China; WHO Warns Of ‘Very Grave’ Global Virus Threat

    In India, universal screening has been made mandatory for all flights from China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Thailand

    The death toll from the coronavirus crossed 1,016 in China. According to the country’s National Health Commission, 2,478 confirmed new cases have been reported in the mainland.

    On February 10th, 2020, the Chinese government said a total of 42,638 cases have been confirmed till now.

    A team of World Health Organization (WHO) experts landed in China on February 11th, 2020. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO’s director-general, said they will “lay the groundwork for a larger international team,” which will join them “as soon as possible.”

    “The team will be working with their Chinese counterparts to make sure we have the right expertise to answer the right questions,” said Ghebreyesus.

    The death toll now exceeds the number of deaths reported from the SARS or severe acute respiratory syndrome outbreak in 2003, which killed 774 people.

    The WHO warned on February 11th, 2020 that the novel coronavirus was a “very grave threat” for the planet as it hosted the first major conference on fighting the epidemic.

    Around 400 scientists are taking part in the two-day international meeting in Geneva from February 11th, 2020 which will review how the virus is transmitted and possible vaccines against it.

    The WHO is convening a global research and innovation forum to mobilize international action in response to the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV). The forum is organized in collaboration with the Global Research Collaboration for Infectious Disease Preparedness.

    On the other hand, the Government of India has taken note of the outbreak of coronavirus in China and has taken measures to monitor the situation in the country As of now, three confirmed cases of novel Coronavirus disease have been reported from Kerala. All the cases are clinically stable.

    Screening of passengers has been initiated at all 21 airports. Universal screening has been made mandatory for all flights from China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Thailand.

    Instructions have been issued to park these flights at earmarked aero-bridges to facilitate screening.

    Screening has also been initiated at all major seaports and minor ports wherein crew and passengers from China are expected. Besides this, screening has been initiated in border crossings.

    Thermal scanners and handheld thermal detectors have been placed at 21 airports. Additional doctors, nurses and paramedic staff have been deployed at the airports for the smooth, effective and convenient screening of passengers.

    Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) has been geared up to track and follow up passengers coming from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore. National Institute of Virology, Pune is the nodal Laboratory for testing high-risk pathogens.

    14 other laboratories are also testing samples. “Sufficient stock of Personal Protective Equipments is maintained. A 24×7 Control Room has been activated. Government is monitoring the situation closely,” Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Minister of State (Health and Family Welfare) stated in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha on February 11th, 2020.

    Photo: Twitter

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