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Outbreak of Novel Coronavirus in China

As per WHO update (as of 11th January, 2020) in all, 41 cases of Novel Coronavirus have been reported so far from China [including one death (further update is awaited)]. As per WHO risk assessment, the risk for global spread, as of now, remains low.

Various measures have been initiated by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, as a matter of abundant precaution.

1. Secretary (H) is constantly reviewing the evolving scenario, developments, and preparedness and response measures being undertaken by the Ministry.

2. Spl. Secretary (H) took a review meeting on 20th January, 2020 in the context of spurt in cases reported by China and the public health measures that need to be scaled up.

3. MoHFW has written to Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) to facilitate thermal screening at the International airports of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Cochin for the airlines to follow International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) guidelines for managing and notifying anybody reporting illness on flights originating from China and disembarking in India. MoCA has instructed for in-flight announcements for India bound flights.

4. MoHFW has also written to Ministry of External Affairs to provide details of travelers from Wuhan city who have sought visa to travel to India, since 31stDecember, 2019 and to counsel the applicants while issuing visa. They have also been requested to provide daily details. As for E-visa issue Ministry of Home Affairs is being approached.

5. Ministry of External Affairs has also been requested to disseminate travel advisory (in local languages) to Indian Embassies in China and adjoining countries for wider circulation and passenger information.

6. Secretary (H) has also written to the States/UTs to review their preparedness, identify gaps and strengthen core capacities in the area of surveillance, laboratory support infection prevention & control, logistics, risk communication and in particular, hospital preparedness in terms of isolation and ventilator management of critically ill patients of severe acute respiratory illness (SARI).

7. The Joint Monitoring Group (JMG) under the Chairmanship of DGHS has met twice (on 8th and 15th January, 2020) to assess the risk and review the preparedness and response mechanisms to manage any case that might get imported to India. WHO, being represented in the JMG is providing Ministry with regular updates and technical information.

8. A travel advisory has been issued and put up on Ministry’s website and also on the Twitter handle for wider circulation.

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