Screening measures to detect coronavirus have been increased in Tamil Nadu in view of the rising number of countries which are reporting positive cases.
“There have recently been positive cases reported from Nepal, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia,” stated Dr K Kolandasamy, Director of Public Health (DPH), Tamil Nadu. In view of the large numbers of individuals who travel between India and these countries, airports throughout Tamil Nadu have been asked to implement screening measures for passengers arriving from these regions.
In addition to the four countries, passengers who arrive from China, Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore, Japan, and South Korea are also to be screened via thermal screening.
Travellers arriving from nations which have reported positive cases should meet officials upon arrival and be screened thoroughly. Thermal scanners are used to check core body temperature to assess if anyone has a fever. Those who are suspected to have contracted the infection will then be instructed to undergo a home quarantine for a period of 14 days. After this point, if there are no issues, the individual is cleared.
However should someone develop symptoms during the 14 day period (symptoms such as fever, cough, cold etc), they will then be admitted to a hospital for treatment and will be monitored.
Over 81,000 cases have been reported worldwide, with the death toll amounting to 2,746 as of Wednesday at the time of writing. Over 65,000 individuals have been screened in Tamil Nadu at airports in Chennai, Trichy, Madurai and Coimbatore. There have been no cases confirmed to be positive from the state.
India has so far reported three confirmed cases of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) from the state of Kerala. All three individuals made a full recovery and were discharged from the hospital.
Coronavirus disease is caused by a strain of a pathogen called the coronavirus. This is the same group of virus which caused the 2003 SARS outbreak and the 2013 MERS outbreak. There is no cure or vaccination available for COVID-19 currently. Personal hygiene and protective measures have been advised to prevent it. This includes the use of an N95 mask to prevent accidental inhalation of air droplets which contain the virus.
With new cases of coronavirus being reported from Iran, Italy and South Korea earlier this month, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the chief of the World Health Organisation warned countries to prepare for a possible pandemic, addressing the surge in cases in the three countries as “deeply concerning.”
Scientists are racing against time to develop a vaccine.
Earlier in February, Indian-origin Professor SS Vasan, a scientist in Australia and a group of other scientists were able to successfully grow the virus outside of China for the first time. This “batch” of the virus can potentially be used to develop a new vaccine against COVID-19. As per latest reports, vaccine samples to be presented for clinical trial submissions may be ready by late April.