New Delhi, Jan 28 : The Centre has extended screening of passengers with travel history from China to 13 more airports, taking the total to 20 even as the Ministry of External Affairs has made a formal request to China for facilitating evacuation of Indian nationals from Wuhan.
Major countries, including India, are planning to send aircraft to evacuate their nationals from Wuhan where more than 100 people have died and thousands infected after outbreak of the deadly Coronavirus. Indians and other foreigners are unable to leave the city after the Chinese government sealed off several cities, effectively trapping tens of millions of people, in an effort to contain the spread of the virus.
"Our Embassy is in contact with the Chinese government. We are trying to evacuate people, most of whom are students, from Wuhan city by sending a plane. Efforts are on. I can assure you that the Government of India is working on it and very soon some solution will be found," External Affairs minister S Jaishankar said. India has begun preparations for the evacuation of its nationals affected by the situation arising out of the coronavirus outbreak in China's Hubei Province. The Ministry of Civil Aviation will make the necessary arrangements for evacuation after approval of the Chinese authorities is received, reports here said. On evacuation, these individuals will be kept in quarantine for 14 days. Meanwhile, the Indian Embassy in Beijing is in contact with the Indian nationals. Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, who met health ministry officials, told reporters that "every passenger coming from China is being screened at seven big airports. If we find any symptoms in anyone, we isolate that person. We are extending the thermal screening facility to 20 airports."
The Ministry of Health and the Cabinet Secretariat on Tuesday reviewed the status of preparedness regarding Coronavirus with senior officers of the Ministry. To ensure better scanning of nCoV carriers, the Health and Family Welfare Ministry is procuring more thermal scanners for faster screening. Four more labs, besides NIV Pune have been geared up for testing clinical samples. According to reports, three patients have been kept in isolation ward in Delhi-NCR for possible coronavirus exposure.
All three men aged, between 24 and 48 years, were admitted on Monday and their samples have been sent for testing to ICMR-NIV laboratory in Pune, Ram Moanohar Lohia Hospital medical superintendent Minakshi Bhardwaj said. However, it is yet to be confirmed whether they have contacted the fatal nCoV virus. Secretaries in the Ministries of Health, External Affairs, Civil Aviation, Shipping, Defence, I&B and Member Secretary, National Disaster Management Authority are participating in the reviews. Till yesterday, 155 flights have been screened (total cumulative passengers 33,552). Samples of 20 passengers have so far been tested by NIV Pune. All were found negative. Similarly, the Ministry of Shipping has initiated screening at all major ports. The Health Ministry is reviewing the preparedness and screening in all the states daily through video conferencing with Chief Secretaries and Health Secretaries, an official release here said. (UNI)