The state government said that passengers would be counselled and quarantined immediately after their arrival at the Hyderabad airport.

Telangana sets up facilities people flying in from 7 countries to be kept in quarantineImage: Wikimedia Commons/Mark D Martin
Coronavirus Coronavirus Monday, March 16, 2020 - 17:08

In a major move, the Telangana government said that it had decided to quarantine all passengers (Indians and foreign nationals) who arrive at Hyderabad's Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA) from China, Iran, Italy, Republic of Korea, France, Germany and Spain, immediately after their arrival in the city. The passengers who are asymptomatic will be taken to government facilities in Vikarabad and Dulapally, whereas those with any symptoms will be kept in isolation in government hospitals and tested for coronavirus.

"This includes those who arrive through direct flights or via hubs like Dubai, Abu Dhabi or have a travel history to these seven countries after March 15," a memo from the Special Chief Secretary (Health and Family Welfare) said.

During the quarantine, if any individual develops symptoms, they would be immediately shifted to the designated hospitals after following the due procedure for isolation.

The state has set up quarantine facilities at Telangana State Forest Academy in Dulapally and Haritha Valley View Resorts at Ananthagiri Hills in Vikarabad district. The GMC Balayogi Athletic Stadium in Hyderabad’s Gachibowli is also being considered as an option.

With the travel restrictions in place, it is likely that the number of people coming in from these countries to Hyderabad will not be too high. 

The memo which was issued to the Director of Public Health and Family Welfare, the Airport Health Officer, Cyberabad Commissioner of Police, and several other senior officials said that this should be followed strictly.

The state government has taken two separate approaches for those who will be identified as symptomatic and asymptomatic. All symptomatic passengers are to be isolated and escorted to isolation facilities located at 52 hospitals including the state-run Gandhi, Osmania and Chest hospitals.

Those passengers who are asymptomatic will be sent to a quarantine facility for a period of 14 days. Asked if travellers will be kept there as well, a senior official in the know said, “It will depend on the passenger load.”

"The passengers should be counselled on the need for quarantine and the procedure being adopted. All symptomatic passengers will be isolated and escorted to isolation facilities at designated hospitals. All asymptomatic passengers will be sent to the quarantine facility for a period of 14 days," the memo stated.

Speaking to TNM, Director, Telangana Forest Academy, Munindra said, "We were asked to hand over certain buildings to the Medchal District Collector. We have already handed over three buildings which can accommodate around 200 people."

This comes a day after Telangana saw its third positive case of coronavirus – a 46-year-old man with a travel history to the Netherlands.

In a related development, the state government also ordered that it would begin identifying admissions in hospitals across the state due to Severe Acute Respiratory Infections (SARI).

"This will be used as a surrogate marker for COVID-19. A rising trend of SARI cases will trigger the need for further investigation for COVID-19," the government said.

Stating that surveillance will be done in hospitals where a majority of patients get admitted for severe respiratory problems identical to those seen in COVID-19, the government said that all teaching hospitals, district hospitals, area hospitals and corporate and other private hospitals were being identified as sentinel sites for surveillance.

"The reporting shall start retrospectively from March 8, 2020 to understand the baseline admissions of each facility," the order stated.

Earlier this week, Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao announced that all public gatherings in the state would be banned until March 31. It also said that educational institutes, cinema halls, pubs, bars, clubs, gyms, swimming pools, museums, zoo parks, indoor and outdoor stadiums would be closed.

Read: 

COVID-19: How Telangana govt is tracking migrant labourers who return from the Gulf

One year jail for spreading rumours on coronavirus, Hyd police warns  

With inputs from Charan Teja

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