Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Thursday addressed the media about the status and action taken by the government on the deadly Coronavirus. He said that travel advisories have been disseminated regularly by the government, along with guidance for self-reporting if symptoms are observed. He also mentioned that the Government of India is in touch with Japan regarding the two Indian crew members on board the quarantined Diamond Princess ship who have tested positive.
This address comes after high-level Group of Ministers (GoM) reviewed the current status, and actions for prevention and management of the Novel Coronavirus at Nirman Bhawan in Delhi.
Addressing the media, Harsh Vardhan said, "India was probably the first country to issue a travel advisory and to strengthen state machinery for a response to Coronavirus (COVID2019) on January 17 itself. Detailed guidelines were issued to all states."
He added, "The thermal screening was started at four international airports right after the travel advisory on January 17. This is now extended to 21 airports. Sturdy advisories for screening travellers across the Nepal border have been shared with the States bordering it. Travel Advisories have been disseminated regularly, along with guidance for self-reporting if symptoms are observed. Along with 645, seven Maldives citizens have been evacuated from Wuhan. They have been found to be negative for Coronavirus, and are being monitored."
"We are sending some medicines and supplies to China as a goodwill gesture in its efforts against the virus. We have a very strong surveillance mechanism under the Integrated Disease Surveillance Program (IDSP) network which does contact tracing for prevention of the spread of the Novel Coronavirus. Persons kept in isolation are for precautionary measure, and are not necessarily persons having the virus," he added.
Further speaking about the Indians stuck on the cruise ship off the Japan coast, he said, "All 402 people kept in Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) quarantine facility have tested negative and their condition is stable. Ship Diamond Princess (of Japan) has been quarantined. Two Indian crew members on board the ship tested positive. The Ministry of External Affairs is keeping a close watch on it. We are coordinating and in touch with Japan, but we cannot force them to send our people from there. Till date, 2,51,447 airport passengers have been screened. Screening also being done at 12 major and 65 minor ports."
"Total of 1756 samples have been tested so far. More than 4000 calls have been received on the 24*7 Control Room Helpline number. We have been extending help and support to Bhutan, Maldives, and Afghanistan. 3 persons who tested positive for coronavirus in Kerala now stable. We are monitoring the 3 cases in India very minutely. We have traced their contact history. We are really grateful that everybody is contributing. We are doing everything, so do not panic," Vardhan stated.