Published On: Sun, Jan 26th, 2020

India reviews pandemic readiness amid growing concerns over Chinese coronavirus outbreak

Top Indian government officials have reviewed safeguards already in place and potential crisis response measures, in case the rapidly spreading coronavirus outbreak, which has already killed 56 in China, spills across the border.

On Saturday, Health Ministry officials briefed top cabinet members, including the home, foreign, defense and civil aviation secretaries, about the screening and other preventative measures being undertaken as more countries report 2019-nCoV infections.

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While nobody in India has tested positive for the new coronavirus yet, authorities routinely take samples from all travelers who show any respiratory disease symptoms. Over 20,000 passengers on 115 flights at seven international airports across India have been screened in recent days.

READ MORE: ‘Grave situation’: Xi says China can ‘win the battle’ against coronavirus, but spread is ‘accelerating’

In addition to thermal scanners set up earlier, several multidisciplinary teams comprising public health experts, clinicians and microbiologists were sent to airports in New Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Kochi on Sunday. According to Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, screening measures have also been increased at the border with Nepal, which reported the first coronavirus case on Friday.

The Health Ministry also issued a fresh advisory for travelers going to or returning from China, urging them to avoid close contacts and promptly seek medical attention, and report to the Indian Embassy, if they feel sick and have symptoms like fever and cough.

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