In the wake of reports of the coronavirus outbreak in China, the Tamil Nadu government announced the screening of passengers at all the airports and ports in the State. China has reported 2 deaths and over 50 cases of the virus, as of January 18.
Speaking to reporters at Pudukottai on Saturday, Health Minister C Vijayabaskar said, â€śWe have been notified about the virus in China and we have made arrangements for screenings at all airports. We have also taken necessary precautionary measures and so there is no need for people to worry.â€ť
Warning signs for coronavirus include fever, cough and breathing difficulties. More advanced cases could lead to pneumonia, kidney failure and death.
According to reports, the state has sent available educational material about the virus to the doctorsâ€™ body to ensure early detection of the virus. Tests for this new virus, that belongs to the same family as the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle-East respiratory syndrome (MERS), will be sent to the National Institute of Virology (NIV) lab.
The Union Health Ministry of India has also instructed screening of travellers from the neighbouring country at Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata airports using thermal scanners.
In a travel advisory issued by the Union health ministry, those visiting China are advised to avoid travel to farms, live animal markets or where animals are slaughtered, and refrain consuming "raw or undercooked meatâ€ť. The advisory asks travellers to China to follow some "public health measures at all times" like observing good personal hygiene, practice frequent hand-washing with soap and follow etiquettes like covering mouth when coughing or sneezing.
"If you feel sick within a span of one month after return from China: Report the illness to the nearest health facility and also inform the treating doctor regarding your travel history," the advisory states.
The WHO on Thursday stated that not enough is known about the novel coronavirus to draw definitive conclusions about how it is transmitted, clinical features of the disease, or the extent to which it has spread.
"The source also remains unknown," it said while urging all countries to be prepared to tackle the spread of the virus. "WHO encourages all countries to continue preparedness activities on the novel coronavirus," the global health body had tweeted.