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Press Release by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare ( 13.03.2020)

March 13, 2020

The Government of India, along with States/UTs, has taken several preemptive, timely and proactive measures for prevention, containment and management of COVID-19.Continuous review and monitoring of the situation at the highest political and administrative levels perpetuated decisive preventive and pre-emptive actions in public interest such as travel restrictions, suspension of visas and self-quarantine measures.

Early establishment of point of entry surveillance and universal screening of passengers at airports and vessels at seaports, evacuation of Indian citizens from COVID-19 affected countries, adequate laboratory and quarantine facilities, have contributed immensely towards containment and management of COVID-19 in the country.

All essential facilities like community surveillance, quarantine, isolation wards, adequate PPEs, trained manpower, rapid response teams are being strengthened further in all States and UTs.

So far, the Government of India has evacuated 1031 persons including 48 nationals from countries such as Maldives, Myanmar, Bangladesh, China, US, Madagascar, Sri Lanka, Nepal, South Africa and Peru.

Till date, 890 evacuees from COVID-19 affected countries, have been discharged after 14 days isolation and having tested negative as per protocols.

The 654 evacuees from Wuhan, China on 1st February and 3rd February 2020 were discharged on 18th February 2020.

The 124 evacuees from Japan and 112 evacuees from China, have been discharged today after having tested negative for COVID-19 in the second round of tests.

The Government of India has relentlessly worked towards the evacuation of Indian nationals from any major COVID-19 affected country. India has sent scientists, equipment for labs, reagents and brought back samples for testing to the country. So far, 1199 samples have been collected in Iran and brought to India for testing.

A special flight operated by Indian Air Force brought back 58 passengers from Iran on 10th March 2020. India also facilitated Mahan Air flight to bring back people from Iran, and today one flight with 44 passengers has landed in Mumbai. These passengers are being kept in quarantine at the Navy facility in Mumbai. Another Mahan Air flight is expected to land tomorrow in Delhi. As per the need, more such special flights will be operated to bring back Indians who have tested negative. India is also coordinating treatment of positive people in Iran as per protocol.

The government has also sent a team of four doctors from the Ministry of Health to Rome. They have just reached Rome with sufficient material and reagents to collect samples of Indians there for onward testing in India.

In addition, total 11,71,061 passengers have been screened from 10,876 flights at 30 designated airports. 3,062 passengers and 583 contacts were identified and referred to IDSP/ designated hospitals. 42,296 passengers have been brought under community surveillance, out of which 2,559 were symptomatic and 522 hospitalized. 25,504 passengers have been additionally screened at major and minor seaports, and more than 14 lakh people have been screened at land ports.

As of today, there are 81 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country. Of these, 3 from Kerala were treated and discharged. In addition, 7 more from Safdurjung have also recovered. Of these confirmed cases, 64 cases are of Indian nationals, 16 Italian nationals and 1 Canadian national. Contract tracing of these cases is being actively pursued. So far, this has led to identification of more than 4000 contacts who have been put under surveillance.

The confirmed cases also include the first casualty of COVID-19 in the country. Death of a 76-year-old man from Karnataka is confirmed to be caused due to co-morbidities i.e. Asthma and Hypertension and he also tested positive for COVID-19. All the precautionary measures as per protocol, such as screening and home quarantine of the contacts, has been initiated by the State Health Department, Karnataka and is being monitored closely.

It is reiterated that Indian nationals are strongly advised to avoid all non-essential travel abroad and to refrain from travelling to countries reporting high cases and deaths as mentioned in the travel advisory issued by the Government. All incoming international passengers returning to India should self- monitor their health and follow the required DO’s and DON’Ts as detailed by the Government.

In case of any signs/ symptoms like fever, dry cough, difficulty in breathing etc. please visit a doctor or call the Ministry’s 24X7 Helpline - 011-23978046. Remember to wear a mask before stepping out to see the doctor.

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