In a significant development, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), which has been medically heading India's fight against coronavirus, is holding a crucial meeting on the measures that have been taken so far. Earlier in the day, ICMR had confirmed that there is no community transmission of the Covid-19 virus yet. The development comes after ICMR tested 826 cases to check if there is any community transmission of the virus and found the results to be negative.
The ICMR is said to have shared details of the same with the Central government on Thursday. Had the results turned positive, it would have been a serious concern nationwide as other nations such as Italy, France, Iran are bearing the brunt of the community transmission of the virus leading to lockdown in their respective countries.
The high-level meeting is being attended by ICMR Director-General Dr Balram Bhargava and All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) director Randeep Guleria. It is also reported that discussions about community transmission are being held.
The government has announced numerous measures to combat the deadly virus. Thermal screening is being carried out at airports across the country. The Ministry has deployed around 30,000 - 35,000 personnel on community surveillance keeping a close watch.
The government has also allowed private testing facilities to test patients for Coronavirus, besides the already functional government testing facilities. Schools and other educational institutions, malls, cinema halls, pubs, gyms and swimming pools have been shut down in order to prevent the spread of the virus. Also, religious and spiritual places of pilgrimage and worship such as Vaishnodevi, Shirdi's Saibaba temple and Mumbai's Siddhivinayak temple among others have been shut down.
First detected in Wuhan in December 2019, COVID-19- the novel Coronavirus has affected nearly 173 countries in the world and one international conveyance-- the Diamond Princess cruise ship harboured in Yokohama, Japan. Presently, there are around 219,087 confirmed cases of COVID-19 which has led to the death of around 8,961 people. As there is no vaccine or specific antiviral medicine to treat COVID-19 yet, countries have been grappling with all possible mechanisms to contain its scope. So far, China, South Korea, Italy, and Iran have witnessed the most number of confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus.
On March 19, the total number of positive cases in India has reached 182. The maximum cases of the virus have been reported in Maharashtra and Kerala. The third death was reported in India on Tuesday in Mumbai's Kasturba Hospital. Earlier, two deaths were reported in Kalaburgi and West Delhi.
The Centre has “strongly advised” Indians to avoid all non-essential travel abroad. The government is also monitoring all suspected cases and has issued preventive advisories. Earlier on Saturday, the Central government decided to treat the deadly virus as a "notified disaster", and has since issued even more advisories and travel restrictions.