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New Delhi, March 7, 2020
The Government today said there more persons had tested positive for novel coronavirus (COVID-19), taking the total number of confirmed cases in India to 34 so far.
A press release from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said the new cases include two from Ladakh with travel history to Iran and one from Tamil Nadu with travel history to Oman.
With these, the total number of cases being currently treated in hospitals is 31. All of them are stable. Three cases reported in late January and early February in Kerala have been cured and discharged from hospital.
So far as the American national found positive in Bhutan is concerned, more than 150 contacts have been put under IDSP surveillance, the release said. The American had visited India earlier.
In addition, 108 samples of Indians in Iran have been received today morning. These samples are being tested at the laboratory in AIIMS. Also, six scientists from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) have been stationed in Iran. Equipment and reagents, worth approximately Rs. 10 crore have been dispatched to enable them to set up a lab there.
The release said a total of 7,26,122 passengers from 7,108 flights have been screened at airports. Between yesterday morning and today, a total of 73,766 passengers from 573 flights have undergone screening at airports, it said.
As many as 52 laboratories are now operational across the country for testing COVID-19 virus. An additional 57 laboratories have been provided with Viral Transport Media and swabs for sample collection.
In order to spread awareness, a special COVID-19 mobile phone caller tune was launched by all telecom operators with basic infection prevention messages played when a caller dials-out. Over 117.2 crore subscribers of BSNL, MTNL Reliance Jio, Airtel and Vodafone-Idea are being progressively reached out to through SMSs and Call Backs, the release added.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi reviewed the situation with regard to coronavirus and the action taken so far by various Ministeries.
The meeting was attended by Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare, Dr S Jaishankar, Minister of External Affairs, Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Minister of State for Health & Family Welfare, Rajiv Gauba, Cabinet Secretary, Vinod K Paul, Member Niti Ayog and Gen Bipin Rawat, Chief of Defence Staff besides the Secretaries of Health, Pharmaceuticals, Civil Aviation, External Affairs, Health Research, Home, Shipping, NDMA and other officials..
Secretary, Health and Family Welfare made a presentation on the current scenario and action taken by Ministry of Health & Family Welfare and other supporting Ministries with respect to preparedness and response to COVID 19.
The presentation emphasized on the core areas of surveillance at point of entry and community, laboratory support, hospital preparedness, logistics and risk communication.
Secretary, Department of Pharmaceuticals conveyed about the availability of sufficient stocks of medicines, Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API) and other consumables for use in India.
Issues related to need for continued vigil at all airports, seaports and land border crossings, community level surveillance as per protocol, and ensuring availability of sufficient beds for isolation was discussed.
Harsh Vardhan emphasized the need for effective coordination with states for timely response. Member, Niti Ayog emphasized the need for increasing surge capacity for hospitalization. The request obtained for evacuation of Indians from Iran was highlighted.
Modi, while complimenting all departments for the work taken up so far, mentioned that India has to be prepared in its response as per the evolving scenario.
All departments should work in convergence and action shall be initiated for creating awareness in community about the disease and the precautions to be taken. He exhorted the officers to identify best practices for COVID-19 management from across the world and within the states and ensure their adoption.
He mentioned that in view of opinion of experts, people should be advised to avoid mass gatherings as far as possible and be made aware of Dos and Don’ts. He directed that an immediate exercise be taken up to identify sufficient locations for quarantine and also for critical care provisioning in case the disease spread.
Officials were instructed to plan for early testing and evacuation of Indians from Iran. He highlighted the need for advance and adequate planning and timely response as critical for managing this infectious disease from a public health perspective.