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Coronavirus: Centre steps up vigil in districts bordering Nepal


New Delhi: The Centre has stepped up vigil in districts bordering Nepal in view of a confirmed case of novel coronavirus detected there.

The Union Health Ministry on Monday said health teams have been deployed in areas along the border with Nepal at Panitanki in West Bengal and Jhulaghat and Jauljibi in Uttarakhand's Pithoragarh.

"Subsequent to confirmed #coronarvirus case in #Nepal, vigil strengthened at Panitanki (West Benal) entry point from Nepal," the Health Ministry said in a tweet on Monday.

"In response to confirmed case of #nCoV2019 in #Nepal, India has stepped up vigil in districts bordering Nepal. Health Teams deployed at BOP with Nepal at Jhulaghat and Jauljibi, Dist Pithoragarh, #Uttarakhand," it had tweeted on Sunday.

Central government hospitals in the national capital, AIIMS and RML Hospital, have set up isolation wards and kept beds ready to provide treatment to any suspected case of the novel coronavirus infection if the need arises.

Experts from the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) visited Dr RML Hospital here on Monday to inspect the isolation ward and review the hospital's preparedness for management and control of the nCoV2019 infection.

"A team led by Dr Sujeet Singh who is director of NCDC visited Dr RML hospital to review preparedness for management of nCoV2019. They inspected the isolation wards, reviewed biohazard disposals protocols, assessed availability of PPE marks," the Union Health Ministry tweeted.

As on 26th January, 29,707 passengers from 137 flights have been screened for novel coronovirus infection symptoms and no case has so far been detected in India.

Over 100 people have been kept under observation in Kerala and Maharashtra following screening for a possible exposure to the novel coronavirus as the Prime Minister's Office on Saturday reviewed India's preparedness to deal with any situation amid mounting global concern over rising cases in China.

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Saturday said samples of seven passengers have been sent to the ICMR-NIV Pune lab.

"Secretary (HFW) reviewed preparedness of agencies & hospitals in terms of orientation of health dept and other agencies; adherence of various prevention & managt protocols; awareness reg #ncov2020; self reporting; isolation wards; protective gear etc. She assured all support," the Health Ministry tweeted.

One person each from Thrissur, Thiruvananthapuram, Pathanamthitta and Malappuram and three from Ernakulam are in isolation wards of various health centres in the state.

A 24x7 NCDC call centre (+91-11-23978046) has been made operational to monitor the list of contacts furnished by the Ministry of External Affairs; provide details of district and state surveillance officers to those who seek them; and in case of any clinical query, direct the concerned to the relevant Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) officer. Thermal screening is being done at seven designated airports -- New Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Kochi.

The Union health minister has urged passengers who have a travel history to China since January 1, 2020, to come forward for self-reporting at the nearest health facility if they experience any symptoms such as fever, cough, respiratory distress, etc., and also inform their doctors.

Novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a large family of viruses that causes illnesses ranging from common cold to acute respiratory syndromes, but the virus that has so far killed 80 people and affected 2,744 in China is a novel strain and not seen before.

It has emerged from a seafood and animal market in China's Wuhan, and is suspected to have spread to as far as the United States. According to the World Health Organisation, the common symptoms of the novel coronavirus strain include respiratory symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.

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