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Novel Coronavirus: PM constitutes GoM

Third positive case in Kerala, revised travel advisories issued

GN Bureau | February 4, 2020


#Dr Harsh Vardhan   #diplomacy   #health   #China   #Coronavirus   #cabinet secretary   #Kerala  
Special secretary (health) Sanjeeva Kumar inspected the screening facility at Delhi airport Monday evening. (Photo: @MoHFW_INDIA)
Special secretary (health) Sanjeeva Kumar inspected the screening facility at Delhi airport Monday evening. (Photo: @MoHFW_INDIA)

A third positive case of Novel Coronavirus has been reported from Kerala, even as the Indian authorities stepped up their efforts to meet the challenge of the virus outbreak from China. On the directions of the prime minister, a high-level Group of Ministers (GoM) has been constituted, and a fresh, revised travel advisory has been issued.

The patient in Kerala, third from the same state, has a history of travelling to Wuhan in China, authorities said in an official release. The patient tested positive for Novel Coronavirus on Monday and has been in isolation in a hospital. The condition of the unidentified patient is stable and being closely monitored.

Also on Monday, a GoM was set up comprising of health minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan, civil aviation minister Hardeep S. Puri, external affairs minister Dr. S Jaishankar, minister of state for home G. Kishan Reddy, minister of state for health Ashwini Kumar Choubey and minister of state for shipping Mansukh Mandaviya to review, monitor and evaluate the preparedness regarding management of Novel Coronavirus in the country. The GoM held its first meeting, chaired by Dr. Harsh Vardhan, at Nirman Bhawan.

A presentation of the status of the NCOV-2019 was made to the GoM. The preventive steps and measures taken for management of the new virus outbreak were presented, which included information about the revised travel advisories regarding the temporary suspension of the e-visa facilities.

Travel advisory has been revised informing the public to refrain from travel to China and that anyone with travel history in China since January 15, 2020 and from now on could be quarantined. Further, e-Visa facility for Chinese passport holders has been temporarily suspended, e-Visa already issued to Chinese nationals is also not valid temporarily and the facility for submitting the application online for the physical visa from China is suspended. It has been advised that people having compelling reasons to visit India should contact the Indian embassy in Beijing or consulate in Shanghai or Guangzhou. Instructions to comply with above travel advisory have also been issued to all national and international airlines operating from China by the Ministry of Civil Aviation.

The GoM was also informed about the two Quarantine Centres having 645 persons evacuated from Wuhan. The camps are being maintained by Armed Forces and ITBP. All inhabitants are medically examined on a daily basis.

In addition, they were also briefed that by Monday a total of 593 flights had been screened covering a total of 72353 passengers. The screening of passengers is on at 21 airports, international seaports and border crossings particularly with Nepal. Universal screening in all flights from Singapore and Thailand besides Hong Kong and China is being done. Further, 2815 people are presently under community surveillance in 29 States/UTs. Out of a total of 338 samples sent for testing, 335 have been found to be negative, 3 are positive, while 70 are being processed. The ICMR National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune has been made a nodal centre for coordinating diagnostics for Novel Coronavirus. 12 Regional Labs have been activated, standardized, and are testing the samples.

Dr P K Mishra, principal secretary to the PM, reviewed the situation relating to the Coronavirus in the country and the arrangements for the approximately 600 evacuees. National security adviser Ajit Doval, the principal adviser to PM, P K Sinha, cabinet secretary Rajiv Gauba, chief of defence staff General Bipin Rawat, and secretaries of other relevant ministries were also present.

The cabinet secretary also held a high-level review meeting on the preparedness for Novel Coronavirus with the secretaries of health, external affairs, home affairs, civil aviation, dept of health research, and representatives of ITBP, AFMS and NDMA. The top bureaucrat has held six review meetings so far.

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