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Coronavirus update: No confirmed cases in India, Chinese top expert says outbreak may peak in 7-10 days

The Indian government said one suspected case in Jaipur, Rajasthan, had turned out to be negative.

January 29, 2020 / 11:34 PM IST

The government, on January 29, issued an advisory where it asked people to refrain from travelling to China due to the rise in cases being reported from China and travel-related cases appearing in many countries.

The number of deaths due novel coronavirus infection rose to 132 people, and almost 5,974 cases have been confirmed in mainland China, as the Wuhan coronavirus spreads across Asia and the rest of the world.

The government had stepped up its efforts to monitor the health of people coming into India, especially from China and South East Asia. Thailand had reported 14 confirmed cases of coronavirus.

The government said one suspected case in Jaipur, Rajasthan had turned out to be negative. So far there were no confirmed cases of coronavirus in India.

Sanjeeva Kumar, Special Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) held a meeting with states and Union Territories (UTs) to review preparedness for prevention and management of coronavirus.


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The government increased the list of airports for screening passengers for symptoms of coronavirus to 21. All states have reported that the thermal and symptomatic screening has been initiated at all identified airports.

The government said it had sensitised immigration and other staff members at the airports and deployed dedicated ambulances. Medical and para-medical staff are also deployed for round-the-clock service. Self-declaration forms are available and signage are being placed at all prominent places at all airports. Seven central teams have also visited the respective states and helped to strengthen their preparedness.

The government also identified isolation wards that have been readied to face any contingency. Personal Protection Equipment and masks are made available in adequate quantity in all the states.

The government asked states to regularly assess the requirement of personal protection equipment, masks etc., and undertake necessary procurement to ensure a sufficient supply. Tertiary hospitals are identified for these airports and the protocols for contact tracing are being followed. The timely collection and transportation of samples from suspected cases to the National Institute of Virolog (NIV), Pune is also being carried out.

The government is also considering possibility of airlifting around 400 students, mostly studying medicine in and around the city of Wuhan in China.

Another case of coronavirus also surfaced in Nepal, which raised concerns in India, due to the long and porous borders with the country. The second case also involved a person who had travelled to China earlier.

The government said it is taking adequate steps at the land check posts, and people contacts and meetings have been organised at villages in the bordering areas.

After Nepal, Sri Lanka became second country in India's neighbourhood to report a confirmed case of the coronavirus infection.

The Sri Lanka case relates to a 43-year old Chinese woman who was tested positive for the virus, and is said to be recovering well after receiving treatments.

Much remains to be understood about 2019-nCoV. The source of the outbreak and the extent to which it has spread in China are not yet known.

"While the current understanding of the disease remains limited, most cases reported to date have been milder, with around 20 percent of those infected experiencing severe illness," WHO said.

Zhong Nanshan, a renowned Chinese respiratory expert, warned that the novel coronavirus outbreak may reach its peak in one week or around 10 days, Chinese news agency Xinhua reported.

The Director-General of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, met China's President Xi Jinping in Beijing on January 28. They shared the latest information on the novel coronavirus 2019 (2019-nCoV) outbreak and reiterated their commitment to bring it under control

China has agreed for WHO's international experts to come to China and work with Chinese counterparts to help increase their understanding of the outbreak to guide global response efforts.

Both the WHO and China noted that the number of cases being reported, including those outside China, is deeply concerning. Better understanding of the transmissibility and severity of the virus is urgently required to guide other countries on appropriate response measures.

WHO appreciated Chinese efforts in response to the outbreak, the speed with which it identified the virus, and its openness in sharing information with the WHO and other countries. The WHO is yet to declare the coronavirus outbreak as a global public health emergency.

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Viswanath Pilla is a business journalist with 14 years of reporting experience. Based in Mumbai, Pilla covers pharma, healthcare and infrastructure sectors for Moneycontrol.
first published: Jan 29, 2020 08:09 pm
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