Coronavirus Outbreak: India Sets Up 24×7 Helpline; Death Toll Rises To 56 In China

20,000 people from 115 flights at 7 international airports have been screened


The government has set up a round-the-clock call centre to attend to the queries about the novel coronavirus (nCoV) as the death toll from the deadly outbreak in China reached 56.

“A 24×7 @NCDCgov Call Centre (+91-11-23978046) has been operationalised to monitor the list of contacts furnished by MEA; provide details of surveillance officers & in case of any query, direct concerned to relevant Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) officer,” the Union Minister for Health Harsh Vardhan said in a tweet.

Around 200 people are kept watch for possible exposure to novel coronavirus infection. 172 people in Kerala are under home surveillance and seven are kept in various hospitals. And three in Mumbai and one in Hyderabad have been kept under observation for possible exposure to novel coronavirus infection.

Union Minister Vardhan said that he has directed the formation of multidisciplinary central teams to be sent to seven states where thermal screening is being done at designated airports – New Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Kochi.

The Union Health Ministry also issued an appeal to those who have travelled to China since January 1st, 2020, to “come forward for self-reporting to the call centre, the nearest health facility” if they experience any symptoms such as fever, cough, respiratory distress, etc and also inform their treating doctor.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said in a tweet that the Indian Embassy in Beijing is constantly checking on the health and well-being of the Indians in China.

On January 25th, 2020, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) reviewed India’s preparedness to deal with the deadly coronavirus amid mounting global concern over the increasing number of cases in China and several other countries.

“So far, 20,000 people from 115 flights at 7 international airports have been screened. National  Institute of Virology labs all over the country are fully equipped to test the virus. All State and District health authorities have been alerted and are in the loop,” the PMO said in a statement.

In China, a total of 1,975 confirmed nCoV cases have been reported. Lockdown continues in Wuhan and 17 other cities in Hubei province. All bus, metro and ferry services have been suspended, and all outbound planes and trains cancelled in Wuhan – the epicentre of the outbreak.

As per local media reports, Xi’an city will ban long-distance buses to contain the deadly Coronavirus outbreak. Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for all-out efforts to prevent and control coronavirus outbreak.

Unfortunately, there is no vaccine for the new virus and the symptoms include fever, cough and difficulty in breathing. The World Health Organization has declared the new coronavirus an ’emergency in China’ but is yet to declare it global health emergency and has given its experts more time to gather information. 

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