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    Coronavirus Outbreak: Death Toll Crosses 811 In China, Over 37,000 Infected

    Universal screening for all flights from Singapore and Thailand besides Hong Kong and China is already ongoing at earmarked aero-bridges in India

    The death toll due to the deadly novel coronavirus (nCoV) outbreak in China has increased to 811, while the number of confirmed cases have crossed 37,000.

    A total of 2,656 new confirmed cases of the virus infection and 89 deaths on February 7th, 2020 from 31 provincial-level regions and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps were reported.

    According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the death toll now exceeds the number of deaths reported from the SARS or severe acute respiratory syndrome outbreak in 2003, which killed 774 people.

    The WHO is working with global expert networks and partnerships for laboratory, infection prevention and control, clinical management and mathematical modelling.

    On the other hand, the Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (H&FW) reviewed the current situation with concerned officials. Preeti Sudan, Secretary, Ministry H&FW discussed the present status and preparedness on the issues of spread of coronavirus disease.

    Universal screening for all flights from Singapore and Thailand besides Hong Kong and China is already ongoing at earmarked aero-bridges. The screening of passengers is going on in all 21 airports, International Seaports and border crossings.

    As of February 7th, 2020, 1636 flights and 176703 passengers were screened so far at 21 Airports. Ministry of Health & Family Welfare is extending all the possible support to the States/UTs in order to combat the situation arise due to coronavirus.

    1449 samples have been tested and 1446 samples were found negative except for three samples which had tested positive already from Kerala.

    The States/UTs are being put on the alert and adequate stock of Personal Protection Equipment and masks is available with the States/UTs, according to a PIB statement.

    7994 persons are presently under community surveillance in 32 States/UTs. The containment and prevention activities are being taken up on the utmost priority. All the states are continually strengthening their rapid response teams to counter any eventuality, the statement added.

    As per several reports, the virus is said to have originated in December 2019 in a food market in Wuhan that was illegally selling wildlife. Experts believe the lethal virus may have first originated in bats and then passed to humans via another animal species.

    The novel coronavirus infection first broke out in Wuhan and as of February 4th, 2020, it has spread to around 27 countries. The WHO has declared the coronavirus as a public health emergency of international concern. There is no specific cure or vaccine.

    WHO recommends

    The basic principles to reduce the general risk of transmission of acute respiratory infections include the following:

    • Avoiding close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections.
    • Frequent hand-washing, especially after direct contact with ill people or their environment.
    • Avoiding unprotected contact with farm or wild animals.
    • People with symptoms of acute respiratory infection should practice cough etiquette (maintain distance, cover coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues or clothing, and wash hands).
    • Within health care facilities, enhance standard infection prevention and control practices in hospitals, especially in emergency departments.

    The WHO does not recommend any specific health measures for travellers. In case of symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness either during or after travel, travellers are encouraged to seek medical attention and share their travel history with their health care provider.

    Photo credit: kyodonews.net

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