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With a high rise in the outbreak of coronavirus cases in China’s Wuhan, the health ministry has written to external affairs ministry seeking details of travelers from Wuhan city who have sought visa to travel to India before December 31, 2019.

The health ministry also asked the external affairs ministry to counsel the applicants while issuing visa.

Moreover, the external affairs ministry has also been requested to disseminate travel advisory (in local languages) to Indian Embassies in China and adjoining countries for wider circulation and passenger information, the health ministry said in a statement.

“A travel advisory has been issued and put up on Ministry’s website and also on the Twitter handle for wider circulation,” the statement added.

The union health secretary has also written to the states and union territories to review their preparedness, identify gaps and strengthen core capacities in the area of surveillance, laboratory support infection prevention & control, logistics, risk communication and in particular, hospital preparedness in terms of isolation and ventilator management of critically ill patients of severe acute respiratory illness .

“Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme has issued advisory to all States/UTs for SARI surveillance to pick up any travel related case reported in the community and follow up contacts of suspect/confirmed cases,” the statement said.

According to the statement from the health ministry, the National Institute of Virology, Pune is fully geared up to test samples of novel coronavirus (nCoV).

“Ten other laboratories under Indian Council of Medical Research’s Viral Research and Diagnostics Laboratories network are also equipped to test such samples, if a need arises,” it added.

The health ministry also claimed that adequate stock of personal protection equipment is being maintained by medical stores organization.

The health ministry has also written to Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) to facilitate thermal screening at the International airports of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Cochin for the airlines to follow International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) guidelines for managing and notifying anybody reporting illness on flights originating from China and disembarking in India.

It may be mentioned that Chinese authorities have confirmed human-to-human transmission of the new coronavirus.

Over 200 persons have been affected by the coronavirus in China.

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