India Sets Up 24x7 Helpline for Coronavirus as Toll Shoots Up in China
New Delhi, India, Jan 26, 2020 - The government has set up a round-the-clock helpline to attend to queries about the novel coronavirus (nCoV) as number of fatalities and infected people rose across the world.
"If you seek any help, you may call to know details about District and State surveillance officers and in case any clinical query connect with Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) Officer," the Union ministry of health said in a tweet.
Anyone seeking information can call on the number 011-23978046.
The call centre will direct suspected cases to experts in their area and will also monitor details of passengers provided by the ministry of external affairs.
The ministry also issued an appeal to those who have travelled to China since January 1, 2020, to "come forward for self-reporting to the call centre, the nearest health facility" if they experience any symptoms such as fever, cough, respiratory distress, etc and also inform their treating doctor.
The health ministry has also formed seven central teams that will visit the states where thermal screening is being done at the seven designated airports at New Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Kochi.
The central teams, expected to reach the states on Sunday, shall consist of a public health expert, a clinician and a microbiologist.
They shall review the end-to-end preparedness for management and control of nCoV in the states including reviewing that the infection control, surveillance and other guidelines are being followed properly.
India had issued a new travel advisory on Saturday asking citizens to avoid all "non-essential travel" to China as a senior adviser to Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a meeting with top bureaucrats to review the country’s preparedness in tackling the outbreak of a deadly new virus that is rampaging through central China.
The death toll in China’s rapidly spreading coronavirus has climbed to 56 with authorities in the hard-hit central Chinese Hubei province on Sunday reporting 13 new fatalities and 323 new confirmed cases, pushing the countrywide total to 1985.
There has also been steady rise in the cases reported from Beijing and Shanghai, which stood at 51 and 40 respectively. The national health commission (NHC) said it has a record of 1757 confirmed cases of the virus reported from across 30 Chinese provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities.
At least 324 severe cases were reported until Saturday midnight; in all, there were 2684 suspected cases.
India is believed to have reached out to Beijing and help those stranded in Wuhan to leave the central Chinese city, which is the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak.
The United States, France and Russia have also moved on Saturday to get their citizens out of the country.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
Date Posted: Tuesday, January 28, 2020
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