Cabinet Secretary reviews preparation to deal with coronavirus

PTI New Delhi, India Jan 30, 2020, 11.40 PM(IST)

File photo. Photograph:( AFP )

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A video conference with Chief Secretaries of the states and UTs was also taken by the Cabinet Secretary. 

Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba on Thursday reviewed the country's preparedness to deal with coronavirus as the first case was reported from Kerala.

A female medical student of a university in the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak, tested positive for the virus that has killed 170 people in China and is spreading worldwide.

"The patient tested positive for novel coronavirus and is in isolation in a hospital," the Health Ministry said. It added the student is stable and being closely monitored.

Priya Abraham, the director of ICMR-NIV in Pune, said 49 samples have been tested till now at the national institute of virology and one came out positive.

"The positive sample belongs to a student from Kerala who was studying in Wuhan. Now a next test is known as 'next-gen sequencing test' will be done on her sample and the final result will be declared till tomorrow evening," Abraham said.

Also read: Several countries seal border with China as coronavirus death toll increases

The Cabinet Secretary reviewed the preparedness with the ministries of Health, External Affairs, Defence, Home Affairs, Civil Aviation, Information & Broadcasting, Labour & Employment, and Shipping and it was decided that all travellers from China since January 15 will be tested for nCoV.

A video conference with Chief Secretaries of the states and UTs was also taken by the Cabinet Secretary, an official statement said.

"All those who have come from China after 15th January 2020 shall be tested as there is an incubation period for the virus," the health ministry said in a statement.

The Cabinet Secretary has stressed upon the need for 14 days' home isolation for all those who have returned from China, the statement said, adding that it is also advised that trip to China should be avoided.

During the meeting, it was also decided to augment the lab facilities.

Also read: India is ready to tackle coronavirus, maintaining close contact with Indians in China

The statement said six more labs will start functioning from Thursday at NIV Bengaluru Unit, (2) Victoria Hospital Campus, KR Road, Fort, Bengaluru (3), AIIMS, New Delhi (4), NCDC, Delhi (5) Kasturba Hospital for infectious diseases, Mumbai (8) NIV Kerala Unit.

Six more labs will start functioning by January 31, 2020, at ICMR, NICED, Kolkata (2) GMC, Secunderabad (3) KGMU, Lucknow (4) SMS, Jaipur (5) IGGMC, Nagpur (6) KIPMR, Chennai, it said.

Discharge portal for patients have been prepared by DGHS which is being disseminated.

It was decided to put up check-posts in relevant tourist locations for better surveillance, the statement said.

Gram panchayats are being organised to make people more aware regarding the symptoms, precautions and measures taken by the State Governments regarding prevention and management for nCoV in villages bordering Nepal.

States have also been advised to open control rooms, appoint a nodal officer and popularize the control room number.

A total of 43346 passengers from 234 flights at 21 airports have been screened for possible exposure to nCoV so far, the statement said.