New Delhi, Jan 17 (IANS) The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Friday issued an advisory for travellers visiting China in the wake of the Novel Coronavirus outbreak in the neighbouring country.
The advisory said: “Travellers to China should follow simple public health measures at all times. They should observe good personal hygiene, practice frequent hand washing with soap, follow respiratory etiquette, cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing. Avoid close contact with people who are unwell or showing symptoms of illness, such as cough, runny nose etc. Avoid contact with live animals and consumption of raw/undercooked meat. Avoid travel to farms, live animal markets or where animals are slaughtered. Wear a mask if you have respiratory symptoms such as cough or runny nose.”
As on January 11, 41 Novel Coronavirus (nCoV) confirmed infection case have been reported from China, of which one has died. One travel related case each has been reported in Thailand and Japan.
The clinical signs and symptoms are mainly fever with a few patients having difficulty in breathing. The mode of transmission is unclear as of now. However, so far there is little evidence of significant human-to-human transmission.
The advisory also said: “All travellers to China, Wuhan city in particular, to monitor their health closely. Cover your mouth while coughing or sneezing, Don’t plan travel if sick. Seek medical attention promptly.”
The travellers were also advised to inform the airlines crew about illness and seek a mask from the crew and avoid close contact with family members or fellow travellers if they feel sick on flight, while travelling back to India.
The ministry confirmed that they are closely monitoring the situation after the reports of 41 confirmed cases of the nCoV including one death from Wuhan, China on January 5.
According to the WHO, the situation is still evolving and preliminary investigations suggest a link to the seafood market.
Health Secretary Preeti Sudan said: “We are regularly reviewing the public health preparedness in the country since the news broke out. The public health preparedness is being reviewed on day-to-day basis and the core capacities to timely detect and manage importation of the nCoV into the country are being strengthened further.”
She added: “The situation is being monitored in consultation with WHO and keeping in view the limited human to human transmission the risk at global level is perceived to be low.”
In view of precautionary measures, the Ministry of Health has ordered screening of international travellers from China at designated airports namely, Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata through thermal scanners.
State governments have also been advised to take necessary precautions. The Ministry is also in touch with the Ministry of External Affairs, and the immigration officers at the airports have been sensitised.