Dr Harsh Vardhan speaking to ANI in New Delhi on Tuesday.
Dr Harsh Vardhan speaking to ANI in New Delhi on Tuesday.

No need to panic over coronavirus, no case detected in India: Harsh Vardhan

ANI | Updated: Jan 28, 2020 17:47 IST

New Delhi [India], Jan 28 (ANI): Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan on Tuesday said that there is nothing to panic as novel coronavirus has not been detected in India yet.
Speaking to ANI, Vardhan said that the government is in continuous talks with the Chinese government to bring back around 500 Indian nationals stuck in the neighbouring country.
"I request all people of the country not to panic as novel coronavirus has not come to India. We are cautioned and making all proactive preventive measures to keep our people safe. Anybody who is showing slight symptoms of flu is being kept under isolation. This does not mean that they are a case of coronavirus. These are just suspected ones and should be quarantined for some time for medical care. We are sending all suspected cases to the national institute of virology, Pune for testing. And so far all the results have come negative," he said.
"Three suspected coronavirus cases at RML hospital, are kept in isolation for prevention and medical care. They are not the case of nCoV so far. Our government is vigilant and Prime Minister Narendra Modi is taking regular updates on the situation. All states have been directed to follow the instructions to be prepared. In 2014, we were so strict and focused that our efforts did not let Ebola virus to enter India. I am also in regular touch with WHO," he said.
The government will expand the thermal screening facility to about seven more airports now.
"Till now, thermal screening of passengers coming from China via Hong Kong was being done at 13 airports. From tomorrow, it will be expanded to seven more airports. So till about 35,000 passengers have been scanned at the airports. The Ministry of Civil Aviation has been directed to do so. Awareness announcements are being done at the airports and signages have been put," the minister said.
According to the Health Minister, Integrated Disease Surveillance Program (IDSP) is geared up for community surveillance and contact tracing. The National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune and ICMR Laboratory is coordinating the testing of samples for nCoV in the country.
"We are also going to extend the laboratory testing facility to four more laboratories across the country. As of now, only NIV, Pune was doing testing of the samples. About 20 samples we have community level and sent to NIV Pune, but all the samples were found negative," he said.
A control room at the national level with phone number 011-23978046 is operational for any query, support, and assistance regarding coronavirus.
"To avoid any kind of health condition, I request all people of this country to follow the high standard of hand hygiene, do not go in crowded places, wear masks if you feel sick and contact your nearest doctor," Harsh Vardhan said.
In the wake of the virus outbreak, a total of 33,552 passengers arriving in India from China in 155 flights have been screened till Monday.
The virus for which there is no effective vaccine was reported on January 16 in Japan, the first case outside China and its territories.
The death toll from novel coronavirus in China skyrocketed to 106 on Tuesday.
Coronaviruses (nCoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.
Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, the infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and even death. (ANI)