Coronavirus update: Health Secretary reviews action taken and preparedness

Medics screen Indians who arrived in New Delhi from Wuhan on Sunday. The government has now evacuated more than 600 Indians from the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak in China (Photo: PTI)

To curb the spread of coronavirus, India is monitoring its outbreak at the highest level. Secretary (HFW), Preeti Sudan, recently chaired a video conference (VC) with Health Secretaries from States/UTs along with senior officials from Ministry of Shipping, Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Civil Aviation and Ministry of Tourism to review their preparedness for prevention and management of COVID-19.

Secretary (HFW) informed that various precautionary measures have been undertaken in close coordination with the concerned ministries at the central level. She added that the situation is under control in the country and is being regularly monitored by Prime Minister’s Office, Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare and Cabinet Secretary on a regular basis regarding the updates, status of preparedness and actions taken so far. In addition, the Group of Ministers is also reviewing the status; two meetings of the GOM have been held till date. States were informed that while the cases have not increased in the country, the vigil needs to be kept high. States were urged to keep enhancing the awareness among the masses for prevention through personal hygiene, and self-reporting in case of any travel from China and other identified countries.

States were advised to regularly fill the requisite information accurately and in timely manner on the portal which has been put in place as a special surveillance web tool to monitor the cases on a real time basis, and to help in national-level monitoring.

Secretary (Health) further elaborated that containment and prevention activities shall be taken up on utmost priority. All the states need to strengthen their rapid response teams to counter any eventuality. Also there needs to be role clarity and robust administrative structures in place at all Districts.

She informed that one patient, a student from Wuhan University, who tested positive for the COVID19 thereby becoming the country’s second such case, was on Thursday discharged from the isolation ward of the Alappuzha Medical College hospital, Kerala. She commended the efforts put on by all the States/UTs and various ministries to combat the situation arise due to COVID19 in India.

States/UTs have reported that the protocols and guidelines issued are being followed to avoid any eventuality. They further informed that the sufficient stocks for Personal Protection Equipments and masks have been procured.

States of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal and Sikkim bordering Nepal have been advised to strengthen the disease surveillance.

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