GoM set up to monitor situation related to new coronavirus
04 February 2020
The centre has constituted a high level group of ministers to monitor and review the situation arising from the new coronavirus cases in the country and the arrangements for the approximately 600 evacuees from China.
The high level GoM, comprising union minister of health and family welfare Dr Harsh Vardhan, minister of civil aviation Hardeep S Puri, external affairs minister S Jaishankar, minister of state for home G Kishan Reddy, minister of state for health and family welfare Ashwini Kumar Choubey, and minister of state for shipping Mansukh Lal Mandaviya, will review, monitor and evaluate the preparedness regarding management of the novel coronavirus in the country.
The GoM, set up on the directions of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, held its first meeting on Monday.
Amidst complaints complain of shortage of water, unhygienic conditions at the Manesar camp where 350 students brought from China’s Wuhan province, the epicentre of the deadly virus outbreak, principal secretary to PM also reviewed the situation and arrangements for the 600-odd evacuees
Reports from Manesar said lack of toilets and acute water shortage in the quarantine facility for ‘novel coronavirus (nCov)’ at Manesar, Haryana, have left in the lurch over 350 male students who arrived from China over the last two days
The review meeting by P K Mishra, principal secretary to the prime minister, was also attended by National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, principal adviser to the prime minister PK Sinha, cabinet secretary Rajiv Gauba, Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and secretaries of other relevant ministries.
The first meeting of GoM was held at Nirman Bhawan to review the preparedness and steps taken by the ministries of health, shipping, external affairs, civil aviation and home affairs. It was chaired by union minister of health and family welfare, Dr Harsh Vardhan.
A presentation of the status of the NCOV-2019 was made to the GoM. The members were also apprised of the three cases reported from Kerala, one of which was confirmed on Monday. The preventive steps and measures taken for management of novel coronavirus disease in India were presented, which included information about the revised travel advisories issued yesterday regarding the temporary suspension of the e-visa facilities.
Travel advisory has been revised informing the public to refrain from travel to China and that anyone with travel history in China since 15 January 2020 and from now on could be quarantined. Further, e-visa facility for Chinese passport holders has been temporarily suspended, e-visa already issued to Chinese nationals is also not valid temporarily and the facility for submitting the application online for the physical visa from China is suspended. It has been advised that people having compelling reasons to visit India should contact the Indian embassy in Beijing or consulate in Shanghai or Guangzhou.
The GoM was also informed about the two quarantine centres having 645 persons evacuated from Wuhan. The camps are being maintained by Armed Forces and ITBP. All inhabitants are medically examined on a daily basis.
In addition, they were also briefed that as of today, a total of 593 flights have been screened covering a total of 72,353 passengers. Screening of passengers is ongoing in 21 airports, international seaports and border crossings particularly with Nepal. Universal screening in all flights from Singapore and Thailand besides Hong Kong and China is being done.
Further, 2,815 people are currently under community surveillance in 29 states/UTs. Out of a total of 338 samples sent for testing, 335 have been found to be negative, 3 are positive, while 70 are being processed. The ICMR National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune has been made a nodal centre for coordinating diagnostics for novel coronavirus. Twelve Regional Labs have been activated, standardised, and are testing the samples.
The GoM was also apprised that adequate materials like personal protection equipment (PPE) and N95 masks are available and the situation is closely monitored in all the states/UTs. The preparedness and actions are being reviewed at the highest level everyday by the union health minister and the cabinet secretary, in addition to secretary (HFW). A 24x7 control room is operational (011-23978046). IEC material is prepared and widely disseminated through various channels of print, electronic and social media. Daily press briefing by ministry of health is being undertaken to update the public.