Indians at China virus risk, Govt issues advisory

New Delhi: Alarmed at the possible spread of ‘novel coronavirus’, India has issued an advisory for Indians traveling from China especially from the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where hundreds of Indian students live and study.

More than 500 Indian students study in Wuhan, mostly in medical universities in and around the city, which is known as China’s university town.

Many Indian students would be – or already are — traveling back to India for the Chinese New Year (CNY) holidays, which have already begun.

The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare issued an advisory for travelers visiting China.

“Travelers to China should follow simple public health measures at all times. They should observe good personal hygiene, practice frequent hand washing with soap, follow respiratory etiquette, cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing. Avoid close contact with people who are unwell or showing symptoms of illness, such as cough, runny nose, etc.

“Avoid contact with live animals and consumption of raw/undercooked meat. Avoid travel to farms, live animal markets or where animals are slaughtered. Wear a mask if you have respiratory symptoms such as cough or runny nose,” read the advisory.

Over 40 ‘novel coronavirus’ confirmed infection cases have been reported from China, of which one has died. One travel related case each has been reported in Thailand and Japan.

The clinical signs and symptoms are mainly fever with a few patients having difficulty in breathing. The mode of transmission is unclear as of now. However, so far there is little evidence of significant human-to-human transmission.

“All travelers to China, Wuhan city in particular, to monitor their health closely. Cover your mouth while coughing or sneezing, Don’t plan travel if sick. Seek medical attention promptly,” said the advisory.

According to the WHO, the situation is still evolving and preliminary investigations suggest a link to the seafood market.

Health Secretary Preeti Sudan said: “We are regularly reviewing the public health preparedness in the country since the news broke out. The public health preparedness is being reviewed on a day-to-day basis and the core capacities to timely detect and manage importation of the nCoV into the country are being strengthened further.”

State governments have also been advised to take necessary precautions. The Ministry is also in touch with the Ministry of External Affairs, and the immigration officers at the airports have been sensitized.

Agency reports said Thailand had found a second case of the new Chinese coronavirus as authorities’ ramp up checks on Chinese visitors, nearly a million of whom are expected for the CNY holidays next week.

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