Coronavirus: Tamilnadu on high alert

Chennai: The novel coronavirus has caused global scare and several countries have stepped up the virus scrutiny and in Tamilnadu, all the airports and ports are on high alert to screen the microorganism.

Travellers with fever and cough have come under the scanner upon entering Tamilnadu and reports state that a formal alert is yet to be issued by the government.

The World Health Organisation verified the new strain outbreak ”novel coronavirus” or ”2019-nCoV” in a traveler with pneumonia from Wuhan, China, who was identified by Thai officials on 8 January and the official confirmation was received the immediate next day.

The health body released a statement where it had said that the possibility of cases being identified in other countries was not unexpected, and reinforces why WHO calls for on-going active monitoring and preparedness in other countries.

”WHO has issued guidance on how to detect and treat persons ill with the new virus. The genetic sequencing shared by China enables more countries to rapidly diagnose patients.”

In India, a total of 9,156 passengers from 43 flights were screened for novel coronavirus infection till Tuesday at the seven identified airports including Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata, the Union Health Ministry said on Wednesday.

Till now, no cases have been detected through these screening efforts, Health Secretary Preeti Sudan said.

”As on 21 January 21, a total of 43 flights and 9156 passengers have been screened for novel coronavirus illness. Till now, no case has been detected through these screening efforts. We are on alert and our preparedness is sturdy,” Sudan told PTI, while updating on the measures taken by the government for community surveillance and contact tracing.

Sudan further said the Indian Embassy in China has been regularly providing the health ministry with updates on the status of the infected cases in that country.

”The Embassy has informed that a total of 440 cases of pneumonia with novel coronavirus were confirmed in China and nine people have died till Wednesday. Cases have been reported in 14 provinces (including Taiwan) and municiplalities as well,” the Health Secretary said.

She also stated that passengers travelling from China are being requested to report to the nearest public health facility in case they develop any symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, runny nose, sore throat.

WHAT IS IT

The new strain, Novel Coronavirus (nCoV), belongs to the same family as the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).

According to WHO, common signs of the virus infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, the infection can lead to pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.

The global organisation stated that no definitive conclusions can be drawn about the transmission of the virus and added that there is no vaccine or specific treatment.

NT Bureau