Cabinet Secretary reviews preparedness

JAMMU: Cabinet Secretary, Rajesh Gauba on Thursday held video conference with Chief Secretaries and Health Secretaries of states and union territories to review their preparedness to deal with the novel Coronavirus amid mounting global concern over increasing number of cases in China.
The meeting was co-chaired by the Health Secretary, Foreign Secretary and other senior functionaries of Government of India, an official spokesperson said.
Financial Commissioner, Health & Medical Education, Atal Dulloo along with concerned officers of Health Department attended the meeting on behalf of Jammu and Kashmir.
Cabinet Secretary while interacting with Chief Secretaries/Health secretaries of the states/UTs sought details from them with regard to the level of preparedness they have made for prevention and management of the disease.
The states have been asked to follow the guidelines issued by Union Health Ministry including surveillance and contact tracing, surveillance at entry points, sample collection, packaging and transport, clinical management protocol and infection prevention and control in healthcare facilities.
Gauba asked for setting up of control rooms, appointing a nodal officer and giving due publicity to the helpline number as already advised by the Health Ministry.
“The States/UTs have been asked to disseminate need for putting travellers in home isolation at least for 14 days those who have history of travel to China especially Wuhan after January 15 so that these persons do not get mixed with the general population. Also, samples from of all such persons need to be collected and sent for testing at the designated laboratories, a list of which has been circulated by the Health Ministry,” it added.
The states/UTs have been asked to review their preparedness on daily basis, identify gaps and strengthen hospital preparedness by having isolation and critical care facilities, linkages with VRDL network laboratories and adherence to infection prevention and control guidelines. The Health Secretaries were advised to make ready isolation wards at the major hospitals with all necessary support required for its operations.
The Cabinet Secretary advised the State/UT Governments to review their preparations after every two days so that any gap if found is covered in time. He also asked them to be in regular touch with Union Health Ministry for any support and assistance.
A detailed presentation was made by the Health Ministry briefing about the steps that have been taken by Government of India and further what needs to be done by State/UT Governments.
It was informed that screening of passengers has been initiated at 21 Airports having international flights, international seaports and border crossings with Nepal. NIV Pune is working as nodal laboratory while as testing of samples has been initiated in 10 other labs in the country including Kerala, Mumbai, Delhi, Nagpur, Secunderabad, Bengalore, Lucknow, Jaipur, Chennai and Kolkata. The Health Ministry has also opened up a Control Room which is operating 24X7 at national level.

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