324 Indians have been evacuated from Wuhan and brought to New Delhi. (Photo Credit: File/IANS)
New Delhi :
Passengers arriving from Thailand and Singapore will be screened at airports in addition to those coming from China and Hong Kong for possible exposure to novel coronavirus (nCoV), the Union Health Ministry said on Saturday. The decision was taken at a high-level review meeting held by Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba here on the preparedness to deal with the virus amid mounting global concern over increasing number of cases in China and several other countries.
"Apart from passengers coming from China and Hong Kong, passengers coming on flights from Singapore and Thailand shall also be universally screened at the airports, henceforth," the ministry said.
The secretaries of Health, Civil Aviation, Textiles and Pharmaceuticals among others attended the meeting. The cabinet secretary has held five review meetings so far. As of Saturday, a total of 52,332 passengers from 326 flights have been screened for the nCoV infection symptoms.
The Union Health secretary also held a video-conference to review the process of screening passengers from different countries. "A total of 97 symptomatic travellers picked up by the IDSP have been referred to the isolation facilities. 98 samples have been tested, of which 97 have been found to be negative. The earlier positive case found in Kerala is being monitored and is stable," the Health Ministry said.
India has reported a positive case of nCoV from Kerala. A female medical student of a university in the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak, has tested positive for the virus that has claimed over 250 lives in China.
324 Indians Evacuated From Wuhan Quarantined At Army, ITBP Facilities
As many as 324 Indians, evacuated from Wuhan, on Saturday reached New Delhi on board Air India’s jumbo B747 aircraft and were admitted to two quarantine facilities set up by the Army and the ITBP, though none of them have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, officials said.
The plane, carrying 211 students, 110 working professionals and three minors, reached Delhi around 7.30 am, they said, adding that none of them have tested positive for the coronavirus as yet. Another flight of the airline, which departed for the Chinese city from here around 1.37 pm to bring back Indian nationals, reached Wuhan around 5.40 pm on Saturday, the officials said.
Out of the total 324 who landed here this morning, 88 women, 10 men and six children were brought to the special quarantine facility of the ITBP in southwest Delhi’s Chhawla area, ITBP spokesperson Vivek Kumar Pandey said. The Army has also set up a quarantine facility in Manesar near Delhi to keep around 300 Indians being evacuated from China’s Hubei province in view of the coronavirus infection outbreak.
Separately, border-guarding force ITBP has set up a 600-bedded facility in southwest Delhi’s Chhawla area to quarantine and provide basic medical care to those suspected to have been affected by the virus. The officials said the Indians evacuated from China will be monitored for any signs of the infection for a duration of two weeks by a qualified team of doctors and staff members.
The virus has killed 259 people in China with total confirmed cases surging to 11,791 amid stepped up efforts by a number of countries to evacuate their nationals from Hubei province, officials said on Saturday.