New Delhi: On the directions of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a high level Group of Ministers (GoM) was constituted to review, monitor, and evaluate the preparedness and measures taken regarding management of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in India. A meeting of the GoM was held here yesterday under the chairpersonship of Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare.
A presentation of the status of COVID-19 was made to the GoM. The actions taken for prevention and management of COVID-19 in India were presented, which included information about the various travel advisories in view of the evolving global situation regarding COVID-19, including the additional two issued on 10 March. As a measure of prevention, it was reiterated that as per the travel advisory, passengers with travel history to China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan, Italy, Thailand, Singapore, Iran, Malaysia, France, Spain, and Germany should undergo self-imposed quarantine for a period of 14 days from the date of their arrival, and their employers should facilitate work-from-home for such employees during this period.
The meeting was attended by Secretaries and other senior officials of the relevant Ministries and Departments.
Preeti Sudan apprised the GoM that States & UTs are advised to do rigorous IEC and make people aware about the precautions, symptoms, and helpline numbers. The identification of additional quarantine facilities, development of isolation wards, training of health workers & doctors are also being undertaken by States & UTs. Regular hand-holding, monitoring, advisories, guidelines etc. is being done with the States & UTs.
Sudan reiterated that universal screening is underway for travellers from 12 countries for all flights from China, Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Malaysia, Nepal, Indonesia, Iran, and Italy at the earmarked aero-bridges.
The Group of Ministers undertook elaborate discussions on various other precautionary measures which may be considered in the interest of the citizens of India. The group expressed their satisfaction with the actions taken, preparedness and efforts put together by various Ministries and Departments, and States & UTs to combat Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).
The Cabinet Secretary also took a meeting with Secretaries of the concerned Ministries, representatives from Army, ITBP, here yesterday. It was decided that all States & UTs should be advised by the MoHFW to invoke provisions of Section 2 of Epidemic Disease Act, 1897, so that all advisories being issued from time to time by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare and states & UTs are enforceable. Also, 83 passengers who arrived from Italy yesterday were quarantined at the Army Facility at Manesar.
Hardeep S. Puri, Minister of Civil Aviation; S Jaishankar, Minister of External Affairs; Nityananda Rai, Minister of State (MoS) for Home Affairs; Mansukh Mandaviya, Minister of State (I/c) for Shipping, Chemicals and Fertilisers; and Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Minister of State for Health & Family Welfare; along with other members of the GoM were present at the meeting.
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