India is prepared to deal with Novel Coronavirus: Health Minister


New Delhi: Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Thursday said India is prepared through its various timely measures and sturdy systems of surveillance for Novel Coronavirus.

Elaborating measures taken by the Government of India, Vardhan said that Advisories/ Guidelines have been issued to the States on surveillance, sample collection, packaging and transportation, infection prevention and control, and clinical management.

He also informed that surveillance at Points of Entry (PoE) is continuing at 21 Airports, 12 major ports, 65 minor ports and at 6 land crossings.

So far at the airports a cumulative of 2, 51, 447 persons (2315 flights) have been screened, 3 suspected cases and 161 contacts have been identified. 5491 and 285 passengers and crew have been screened at major and minor ports respectively.

The Minister said that the Rapid Response Teams have been trained by this Ministry in all States for managing emergencies due to high-risk pathogens.

He informed that India evacuated 645 Indian persons from Wuhan city including 7 Maldivians, and quarantined them in 2 special quarantine camps and likely to be discharged once all of them test negative after a period of stay of 14 days.

India has extended support to the Maldives in testing samples and Bhutan in managing COVID-19.

India has agreed to Support Afghanistan in testing samples. India is also extending help to China by sending essential items for combating COVID2019 in China.

Harsh Vardhan further added that the surveillance at point of entries and in the community is the key to detect cases early, track the contacts and follow them up.

He reiterated that the COVID19 is highly infectious; however, the redeeming feature is that the case fatality is about 2% in mainland China and less than 0.2% outside China.

Many of the epidemiological parameters of this disease are not known.