Tamil Nadu Health Minister C Vijayabhaskar has said that officials have so far quanrantined at home 78 medical students from the State upon their return from Wuhan province, the epicenter of Coronavirus outbreak, in China, though none has tested positive.
They have nevertheless been isolated at home for 28 days to prevent spread of the virus, the Minister has said. This follows high alert in Chennai airport which received a lone passenger from a flight from Wuhan on Thursday night. Since then, airlines have suspended all flights to from that province. M Velam, a final year MBBS student told reporters that she wanted to stay back and help the affected people, but her parents urged her to come home.
The Chennai airport already has a medical team stationed there to screen arriving passengers. It takes blood samples from these passengers and sends them to Government Hospital in nearby Tambaram and to King Institute in Guindy for testing. The Chennai port has also been put on high alert. The port health authorities have so far screened 240 crew from 13 Chinese ships.
Chennai Port Trust chairman P Raveendran has said the Port Health Organisation got instruction on Jan 17 to screen ships and crew coming from China. As Chennai Ennore, Kattupalli and Karaikkal receive many ships, crew and passengers from China, Hong Kong and Singapore, the Union Health Ministry has issued an advisory asking all ports to be alert at points of entry.
Chennai port gets container ships and Raveendran has given standard operating procedure manual to all shipping agents and other personnel who handle passengers and crew. As the port expects more passengers from March, probably from evacuation from China, it has put a thermal scanner in place.