New Delhi, Feb 10: Health and Family Welfare Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan on Monday informed the Lok Sabha that three positive cases have been reported so far from Kerala and the government was constantly monitoring the situation and taking all the necessary steps to avoid the spread of the novel Coronavirus.
The Indian Embassy and Consulates are also in regular contact with the Indian community in other parts of China and is keeping a constant track of their well-being, he said. ''In our country, three positive cases have been reported so far from Kerala. All these cases have travel history from Wuhan, China. They have been isolated and are reported to be clinically stable,'' he said making a statement regarding the response of the government to Novel Coronavirus outbreak in China.
The ever increasing magnitude of this outbreak calls for a concerted effort by not only health but all sectors of Government, he said, adding that the government has initiated a series of action to prevent entry of the disease and to contain it. In a coordinated operation with Ministry of Civil Aviation, Air India, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, two Special Air India flights were operated between Delhi and Wuhan on January 31 and 1 February that brought back a total of 654 passengers that included 647 Indian citizens (including two Indian Embassy officials who were on the ground in Wuhan to coordinate the evacuation operation) and seven Maldivian nationals.
As many as 369 symptomatic travellers have been referred to isolation facility and are being monitored. ''To ensure availability of critical items like Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and N95 masks, the exports of the same was also prohibited by Director General of Foreign Trade. A buffer stock of personal protective equipment & N95 masks is maintained by states as well as Union Government,'' he stated. Dr Vardhan said he was daily reviewing the situation, adding that a Group of Ministers consisting of Ministers of External Affairs, Civil Aviation and Ministers of State for Home Affairs, Shipping and Health & Family Welfare chaired by himself has been constituted to monitor the situation.
Cabinet Secretary has taken daily reviews with all related Ministries of Health, Defence, Ministry of External Affairs, Civil Aviation, Home, Textiles, Pharma, Commerce and other officials including with State Chief Secretaries. ''My own Ministry is constantly reviewing the evolving scenario. Video Conferences are being held with states every other day,'' he said. The Government of India has also taken several other measures to control the risk of novel virus infection spreading to India. As on February 9, a total of 37,198 confirmed cases and 811 deaths have been reported in China. A total of 354 confirmed cases have been reported outside China from 27 countries (including HK, Macao and Taiwan). The number of cases and deaths reported from China is showing an upward trend.
In view of a confirmed case in Nepal, the Government has initiated screening in all integrated check posts from Nepal in collaboration with Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, West Bengal, Sikkim and Bihar and Seema Shastra Bal (SSB) and Land Port Authorities. World Health Organization has declared this outbreak as a 'Public Health Emergency of International Concern' (PHEIC) on January 30. The main symptoms of coronavirus disease are fever, cough, and difficulty in breathing. There will be radiological evidence indicative of pneumonia. In 10 per cent to 20 per cent of cases, disease may become severe enough to require ventilatory support, he said. The case of fatality is around 2 per cent. (UNI)