Telangana Health Minister Etala Rajender on Wednesday said that the state government had taken all necessary steps to screen patients and prevent any spread of the deadly Coronavirus strain. He also requested the Centre to provide kits to the state government, to conduct the necessary tests to detect the disease in Hyderabad itself.
"In both Fever Hospital and Gandhi Hospital in Hyderabad, we have the latest lab facilities. If the Centre provides us with the required kits, we can conduct the testing here itself," Rajender said.
At present, samples taken in Hyderabad are being sent to the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune.
"We are now making special arrangements to send the samples to Pune and this is resulting in a delay of many hours. The Centre has said earlier that Hyderabad is well-equipped with labs and is also strategically located. Therefore, we requested them to provide us with the opportunity to conduct the testing here," the Health Minister said.
He was speaking to reporters a day after three teams from Union Ministry of Health on Tuesday visited Hyderabad to review the level of preparedness to deal with possible Coronavirus cases and suggested additional measures. On Wednesday, senior officials of the state government also conducted a review meeting.
Stating that many students from Telangana were pursuing medical courses in China's Wuhan province, which is the centre of the outbreak, Rajender said that they were being screened on arrival at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA) in Hyderabad.
A special officer, Dr Vijay Kumar, was appointed to oversee the arrangements in Telangana.
"We have taken all precautions. We request the people to maintain personal hygiene and consult a doctor if they are showing any symptoms of the disease. I also request people not to panic and get carried away by rumours, especially on social media," Rajender said.
In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak in China, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has accelerated its efforts to prevent the disease from entering India.
The Health Ministry has circulated advisories and signage across international ports and airports in India, including Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad and Kolkata.
The virus is currently assumed to be transmitted to individuals via close contact with an infected person. The most common symptoms of an infection are fever, cough, cold and runny nose. Breathing difficulties may be seen in more severe cases.