India extending help to China by sending essential items for combating nCoV
NEW DELHI, Feb 13 (AGENCIES): One of the three medical students, who had tested positive for novel coronavirus infection and were treated at a hospital in Kerala, has been discharged after recovery, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said on Thursday.
About the other two, he said subsequent tests indicated significant reduction in “viral load”.
“We are still waiting for confirmatory results before discharging them. They are stable and recovering. They will be discharged soon,” Vardhan said. A high-level Group of Ministers, constituted on the directions of the prime minister, held its second meeting to review the current status and actions for prevention and management of the novel coronavirus, named COVID-19 on Thursday.
Addressing a press conference, Vardhan said a total of 2,51,447 persons travelling in 2,315 flights have been screened so far.
Besides, 15,991 people across the country have been kept on community surveillance. Of them, 497 have been identified as symptomatic cases and isolated while 41 have been hospitalised, Vardhan said.
The minister said 645 Indians and seven Maldivians evacuated from China’s Wuhan city kept at the quarantine facilities set up by the Army and Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) in and around Delhi, have tested negative for coronavirus. They will be kept under observation and their samples will be re-tested on day 14 of the quarantine period before being discharged, Vardhan said.
Vardhan further said India has extended support to Maldives in testing samples and to Bhutan in managing the disease.
“India has also agreed to support Afghanistan in testing samples. India is also extending help to China by sending essential items for combating nCoV as per a commitment made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a goodwill gesture,” Vardhan said, adding he was briefed by Union Minister of State for Chemical and Fertilizers Mansukh Mandaviya at the GoM meeting that the ministry has stocked up medical supplies and personal protection equipments and other required materials in case of an outbreak in India.
He added that regular reviews are being held with Ministries of Health, Defence, External Affairs, Civil Aviation, Home, Textiles, Pharmaceuticals, Commerce, Panchayati Raj. Other central and state officials are also part of the review process.
The situation is monitored by the PMO on regular basis, Vardhan said. Vardhan said the Indian government is in touch with the Japan government regarding the two Indian crew infected with coronavirus on board a cruise ship off the Japanese coast.
“They have been hospitalised,” Vardhan said. The ship’s quarantine period will get over on February 19, he said, adding the Ministry of External Affairs is keeping a close watch on it.
Passengers arriving from Thailand and Singapore, besides China and Hong Kong, are being screened for possible exposure to the respiratory virus at 21 identified airports.
The health ministry has asked people to refrain from travelling to China in view of the coronavirus outbreak and said travellers on return could be quarantined. In an updated travel advisory, the health ministry said that the existing visas, including e-visas already issued, are no longer valid for any foreign national travelling from China.
He also informed that surveillance at Points of Entry (PoE) is continuing at 21 airports, 12 major ports, 65 minor ports and at six land crossings. Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) is carrying out community based surveillance of passengers travelling from China, Singapore, Thailand, South Korea and Japan.
The ICMR is providing the laboratory support with NIV Pune as the nodal laboratory and 14 other network laboratories. This can be expanded to include 50 laboratories, if the situation so demands.
So far 1,071 samples have been tested, out of which 1,068 were found negative and only three have already tested positive in Kerala, the minister said as he elaborated on how the ministry had traced their contact history.
He also stated that the Rapid Response Teams have been trained in all states for managing emergencies due to high risk pathogens. There is outreach to every village in the districts adjoining Nepal border through Gram Sabhas.
The death toll from the coronavirus outbreak rose to 1,310 China on Thursday while the number of those affected by the deadly virus has spiralled to 48,206.