New Delhi, Feb 13 : Health and Family Welfare Minister Dr.Harsh Vardhan on Thursday said that all resources at our disposal are being used to prevent / contain outbreak of novel coronavirus in India,' he stated.
Political commitment at the highest levels, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is leading the government’s response against Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID2019). Addressing a press conference here on the status update, actions taken and preparedness to tackle Novel Coronavirus disease in the country, Dr Vardhan said, 'India is prepared through its various timely measures and sturdy systems of surveillance for Novel Coronavirus'. Dr Vardhan stated that a high level Group of Ministers consisting of Minister of External Affairs, Minister of Civil Aviation, Minister of State for Home Affairs, Minister of State for Shipping and Minister of State for Health & Family Welfare has been constituted under his Chairmanship to monitor the situation.
He added that regular reviews are held with Ministries of Health, Defence, External Affairs, Civil Aviation, Home, Textiles, Pharmaceuticals, Commerce, Panchayati Raj and other officials, including State Chief Secretaries. 'We have good and effective co-ordination among ministries, robust surveillance system, network of laboratories to support diagnosis, upgraded medical facilities, trained health work force and media presence that can reach even remote areas,” he said.
In addition to the ministerial meetings, a video conference is being held every other day with the states to review their preparedness and actions. Dr Vardhan said that all Ministries and States have done commendable work, in particular Kerala, which has put up a sturdy system of surveillance. Elaborating on measures taken by the Government, Dr Vardhan said Advisories/ Guidelines have been issued to the States on surveillance, sample collection, packaging and transportation, infection prevention and control, and clinical management. In fact, India was possibly the first country to issue a travel advisory on 17th Jan, 2020 itself. All these guidance documents are available on the website of MoHFW. The travel advisory is being updated as per the evolving situation. 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 has been screened at major and minor ports respectively. Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) is carrying out community vide surveillance of passengers travelling from China, Singapore, Thailand, South Korea and Japan. Total of 15991 persons are being followed up for a period of 28 days of which 3058 have completed 28 days of observation period. 497 suspect cases have been isolated. ICMR is providing the Laboratory support with NIV, Pune as the nodal laboratory and 14 other network laboratories. This can be expanded to include 50 laboratories, if the situation so demands. So far, 1071 samples have been tested, out of which 1068 were found negative and only 3 have tested positive in Kerala. In addition, clinical samples of the 654 evacuees at Manesar and ITBP camps have also been tested and all of them were found to be negative. All the 3 positive cases from Kerala are the students from Wuhan, Hubei, China. The observation was started from 28th January, 2020 and they were reported positive on 3rd February, 2020 by NIV, Pune. States have been asked to ensure adequate provisions for isolation facilities and critical care especially for ventilator support.UNI