Bengaluru, Feb 4: Following the three confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in Kerala, neighbouring Karnataka state government has stepped up its precautionary measures against the deadly pathogen and the border districts of Mangalore, Kodagu, Chamarajanagar, and Mysore have been put on high alert.
The State Health and Family Welfare Department has stepped up surveillance in the districts and has advised people to immediately report to the State Surveillance Unit if they develop any symptoms of the virus.
BG Prakash, State Joint Director (Communicable Diseases), said, "The State had geared up to tackle the virus. Of the 44 samples sent to the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune, 29 had tested negative and the results of 15 are awaited."
Asserting that the State has strengthened surveillance and control measures, Dr Prakash said, “Till date, 51 travellers from coronavirus-affected countries had been identified and 46 were under home isolation, four had left the country, and one had been admitted in the isolation ward at Karnataka Institute of Medical Sciences (KIMS) in Hubbali."
Meanwhile, the number of people visiting the Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases (RGICD) out of panic is increasing. “While we have been getting many inquiries, we collected only three samples on Monday. All those whose samples have been collected have been advised home isolation for 28 days,” said RGICD director C Nagaraja.
People can call 104 Arogya Sahayavani (call centre), where two seats have been reserved for receiving calls and guiding people. Till Monday, 312 calls had been handled, Dr Prakash said. Advising precautions, the doctor said people should follow cough etiquette by covering the nose and mouth using handkerchief/towel while sneezing/coughing, apart from frequently washing hands with soap and water.
"Those who have arrived from coronavirus-affected countries should remain under strict home isolation for 28 days from the date of arrival in India, irrespective of whether they are symptomatic or asymptomatic," he added
Meanwhile, after the third coronavirus case was confirmed in Kasargod, the state government has announced high alert in Mangalore.
Though there is no direct flight to China from Mangalore, several passengers from outside the country visit the city. As a precaution, the surveillance team is monitoring the district. Though no cases have been reported so far, the Department of Health and Family Welfare is extra cautious in the district. Airport officials have been directed to report anyone with the symptoms of Coronavirus at the airport, said DHO Dr Ramakrishna Rao.
Deputy Commissioner Sindhu B Rupesh has appealed to people to contact the Health Department if they come across anyone with the symptoms of Coronavirus. "KSRTC operates 40 buses with at least 240 trips a day from Kasargod to Mangalore. The same number of buses are operated by Kerala, too with about 12,000 to 14,000 passengers commuting daily," said KSRTC Divisional Controller Arun.
“We are in constant touch with all the medical colleges in the district. They have also been directed to keep isolation wards ready in case of emergency," added an official. (UNI)