New Delhi, March 2 (IANS) Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Harsh Vardhan assured that India is fully prepared to deal with the coronavirus threat after the country recorded two positive cases on Monday and that there was no need to panic.

At least two positive cases of novel coronavirus have been reported in India. One is in the national capital itself while another was reported from Telangana.

Briefing the media at a press conference about preparations to deal with the disease, he said: “We are fully prepared for any situation that arises over Novel Coronavirus.”

The Minister also said there is no need to panic.

“As a doctor, I would suggest to follow personal hygiene but I don’t think that people need to panic here and wear a mask all the time at every nook and corner, out of fear. It is completely up to them if they want to wear (one) or not.”

About the patients who have tested positive on Monday for the disease, he said both of the cases came to the ministry’s knowledge through self-declaration forms given by the patients.

Health Secretary Preeti Sudan said: “They called us on our helpline numbers. The patient in Telangana had gone to a private hospital first but is currently admitted in a government hospital.”

The minister also informed the media that at least 1,186 people, who have a travel history of Iran, have been kept under community surveillance in the view of the spread of the disease in that country at present.

As Sudan said the disease has spread in 66 countries, Harsh Vardhan said: “We are keeping a keen watch on the evolving global scenario, and are in touch with the Ministries concerned for necessary timely measures. Pharmaceutical resources are adequately available too.”

He also advised people to avoid non-essential travel to Italy, Singapore, Thailand, apart from China. Depending on the scenario evolving globally, travel restrictions to more countries than at present could be imposed as a precautionary measure, he said.

Harsh Vardhan said that screening is underway at the India-Nepal border. “25,738 persons are under community surveillance of Integrated Disease Surveillance programme (IDSP) network. As many as 5,57,257 passengers have been screened. 15 labs are operational for testing samples.”

The ministry also said that they received at least 6,300 phone calls, including 698 international calls, on their helpline number, regarding novel coronavirus.




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