NEW DELHI: The Health Ministry, which earlier extended its travel advisory to 12 more airports in addition to the current seven, on Saturday constituted several central teams to visit states and designated airports to review preparedness for control of life-threatening novel coronavirus outbreak. ''7 central teams will visit the states and designated airports to review preparedness for control of novel coronavirus,'' a Health Ministry statement said.
Sharing more information, the Health Minister said that seven more people who returned from China have been kept under observation following screening for possible exposure to novel coronavirus. He, however, said that no positive case has been detected in the country so far. Samples of these seven passengers have been sent to the ICMR-NIV Pune Lab, the Health Minister said.
Dr Harsh Vardhan directed the multidisciplinary central teams to visit the seven states where thermal screening is being done at the seven designated airports - New Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Kochi.
Vardhan, who held a review meeting to analyse the preparedness for prevention and management of novel coronavirus in India, also spoke to the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand on Saturday and assured all support for screening at the border with Nepal, where a confirmed case has been reported. The Health Minister also reportedly met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and discussed the situation regarding the novel coronavirus outbreak.
Under directions from Dr Harsh Vardhan, a 24x7 NCDC Call Centre (+91-11-23978046) has been made operational, the Union Health Ministry said on Saturday.
"The Call Centre will monitor the list of contacts furnished by 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," the ministry said.
Eleven people -- seven in Kerala, two in Mumbai and one each in Bengaluru and Hyderabad - who are among hundreds of passengers who returned from China in the recent days were under observation in hospitals to check for possible exposure to the deadly novel coronavirus.
As over 20,000 passengers returning from mainland China and Hong Kong underwent thermal screenings at the seven international airports of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Cochin.
The All India Institute of Medical Sciences(AIIMS) in Delhi has set up an isolation ward and kept beds ready for providing treatment to any suspected case of the respiratory infection. Coronavirus cases were first reported from Wuhan, the capital of central China's Hubei province. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has so far confirmed that 830 cases of coronavirus infection have been reported from China, along with nearly 41 deaths.
The coronavirus is a large family of viruses that causes illnesses ranging from the common cold to acute respiratory syndromes, but the virus in China is a novel strain and not seen before. It has killed several people so far and has caused alarm because of its similarity to SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome).