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New virus in China:

Health ministry seeks info on Indian visa applicants from MEA

Health Ministry has sought details of those who applied for Indian Visa in the wake of outbreak of an infection in China caused by a strain of virus.

In the wake of the outbreak of an infection in China caused by a new strain of virus, the health ministry has sought from the Ministry of External Affairs details of those who have applied for Indian visa since December 31 so that they can be counselled.

The MEA has also been requested to disseminate travel advisory to Indian Embassies in China and adjoining countries in local languages for wider circulation and passenger information, the health ministry said in a statement.

The Union health secretary has also written to states and Union Territories to review their preparedness, identify gaps and strengthen core capacities in the area of surveillance, laboratory support and in particular, hospital preparedness in terms of isolation and ventilator management of patients with severe respiratory illness.

Special secretary, health, on Monday reviewed the public health measures that need to be scaled in the context of spurt in cases reported by China.

According to chinese authorities, coronavirus has infected more than 220 people and resulted in the death of three persons in the country. WHO, in its risk assessment, said that the risk for a global spread of the infection remains low.

Various measures have been initiated by the Ministry of Health as a matter of abundant precaution and the secretary, health is constantly reviewing the developments, preparedness and response measures being undertaken by the ministry, an official statement said.

The health ministry has written to the civil aviation ministry for thermal screening of passengers at the international airports in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Cochin and the airlines to follow International Civil Aviation Organization guidelines for managing and notifying anybody reporting illness on flights originating from China.