Cabinet Secretary holds meeting, plans underway to evacuate Indians from Wuhan
GN Bureau | January 28, 2020
As the coronavirus outbreak in China continues to claim lives, India has stepped up its precautionary measures.
The cabinet secretary on Monday reviewed the situation along with the secretaries in the ministries of health, external affairs, civil aviation, labour, defence, I&B, member-secretary, National Disaster Management Authority, and DG (Armed Forces Medical Services).
The cabinet secretary was informed that till then 137 flights had been screened, with total 29,707 passengers. Samples of 12 passengers were referred to NIV, Pune. No positive case has been reported so far, said an official release.
A decision was taken to initiate steps to prepare for possible evacuation of Indian nationals in Wuhan. Accordingly, the ministry of external affairs will make a request to the Chinese authorities.
Ministry of Civil Aviation and Ministry of Health will make arrangements for transport and quarantine facilities respectively.
The ministry of civil aviation has issued instructions to airlines for managing and notifying anybody reporting illness on all flights with direct or indirect connectivity to China.
The home affairs ministry will ensure that integrated check posts initiate screening of visitors across the Nepal border. States have been requested to provide health staff for these check posts. SSB/ BSF/Immigration officers manning integrated check posts have been sensitized.
The ministry of shipping will also initiate entry screening at the international ports having traffic from China.
The health ministry also held a review meeting on Monday with state officials to review the preparedness and screening in five states having border with Nepal. They have been asked to ensure that community level monitoring of passengers is undertaken through health staff.
Preeti Sudan, secretary (HFW), chaired a video conference with the chief secretaries and DG (Police) of the five states bordering Nepal (Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal and Sikkim) and principal secretary (health) of other states/UTs, to review their preparedness for prevention and management of coronavirus.
Sudan also informed the states/UTs that Dr Harsh Vardhan, union minister of health & family welfare, is closely and regularly monitoring the status of preparedness. He has written to the chief ministers of all states, requesting them to personally review preparedness measures in the matter.
Meanwhile, vice president M Venkaiah Naidu on Monday underscored the need for global cooperation for early detection of new viruses and to contain any serious fallout from outbreak of epidemics.
Addressing scientists and researchers of CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) in Hyderabad, he said the newly-discovered strain of Coronavirus was spreading across the nations and causing a major concern to health authorities. He pointed out that periodic outbreaks of epidemics and new viruses highlighted our vulnerability to diseases.
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