Coronavirus deaths exceed SARS, Health Secretary reviews preparedness as India gears up

New Delhi: Secretary of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Preeti Sudan, took a review of the current situation yesterday with concerned officials, discussing the present status and preparedness on the issues of the spread of the Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). China, where the epidemic began, reported an additional 89 deaths on Sunday, bringing the total number of people killed by the fast-spreading virus to 811 in the mainland. The global death toll for the new coronavirus currently stands at 813, including one death in the Philippines and another in Hong Kong.

That number exceeds the global number of deaths from SARS, which killed at least 774 people and infected 8,096 people worldwide in 2002 and 2003, according to data from the World Health Organization (WHO).

Universal screening for all flights from Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong and China is ongoing at earmarked aero-bridges. The screening of passengers is now on at all 21 airports, international seaports, and border crossings. As of yesterday, 1,636 flights and 1,76,703 passengers were screened at 21 Airports.

The Ministry of Health & Family Welfare stated it is extending all possible support to States and UTs in order to combat the situation arisen due to Novel Coronavirus. Information, education, communication (IEC) activities like installing hoardings at state borders, pamphlet distribution, and announcements are being undertaken to spread awareness about the symptoms and precautions.

Orientation of the medical personnel and health officials is also being conducted regularly, the Ministry shared, stating that special Gram Sabhas are being organised to boost awareness and sensitisation regarding the novel coronavirus diseases, its symptoms, preventive measures, and reporting in the border villages.

1,449 samples have been tested and 1,446 samples were found negative except for 3 samples from Kerala which tested positive.

States & UTs are being put on alert and adequate stocks of personal protection equipment and masks have been made available. 7,994 persons are presently under community surveillance in 32 States & UTs.

Containment and prevention activities are being given utmost priority and all states are continually strengthening their rapid response teams to counter any eventuality, the Ministry shared.

The Chinese National Health Commission said on its website that 2,656 new cases were confirmed as of end Saturday. This brings the total number to 37,198 in mainland China.

First reported to WHO in late December, the new virus is believed to have originated from a seafood market in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei. It has since infected more than 35,000 people worldwide, the majority of them in mainland China. According to WHO’s latest situation report, nearly 300 cases have been reported in 24 countries, mostly in Asia.

Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak, accounts for most of the deaths and cases around the world. The cumulative number of deaths in the province reached 780 after an additional 81 deaths were recorded as of end Saturday. The Hubei Provincial Health Committee said there were an additional 2,147 new cases, bringing the total confirmed cases to 27,100.

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The ID Staff

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