Coronavirus: India-Nepal Border Put On High Alert

Coronavirus: India-Nepal Border Put On High Alert

Jan. 27, 2020, 7:13 a.m.

Bihar, Utterpradesh, Uttarakhanda and West Bengal deployed medical teams at various entry points along the Indo-Nepal border. According to Indian media, India’s border points began working on Sunday to screen people coming into India.

The health departments put all the districts sharing borders with Nepal on alert after a student was tested positive for coronavirus in the neighboring country.

The guideline issued by the Union ministry of health and family welfare along with a pro forma was also shared with all the districts late on Friday evening. “A student from Nepal, who had been to Wuhan, was tested positive for the virus. As a result, the seven districts sharing borders with Nepal have been alerted,” said state health department principal secretary of Bihar Sanjay Kumar.

The other five districts are Sitamarhi, Kishanganj, Supaul, Madhubani and West Champaran. According to reports, Nepal confirmed the first case of deadly coronavirus on Friday after a student studying in Wuhan was tested positive for it.

The Times of India reports that the state health department has also asked airports to remain alert as many tourists come to Bihar from China as well. The health department has also sent reporting formats to health institutes in all the districts. A protocol has been introduced for sending daily health status of passengers under observation.

As per the format, state surveillance unit will collect the line list or email IDs of passengers coming from coronavirus-hit countries from airports or the ministry of external affairs. They will then share the list with district surveillance units at least for the next 28 days.

With the scare of the deadly novel coronavirus (nCoV) reaching Nepal in the last few days, the West Bengal government has decided to deploy health teams in all the three major entry points along the Indo-Nepal border in Darjeeling district from Sunday to screen people entering India.

“Medical teams in all the three entry points along the Indo-Nepal border in West Bengal would start working from Sunday,” said Dr Pralay Acharya, chief medical officer of health in Darjeeling district.

The Hindustan Times reports that the thousands of people, including traders, tourists and patients coming for treatment to Siliguri in Darjeeling district, enter India from Nepal almost every day. Some of the major entry points include Pashupati fatak, Panitanki and Galgalia through which people from Nepal can enter West Bengal. Among these Panktanki is the busiest.

“It would be hard to screen everyone entering India. The teams would display banners to make people aware. People coming from Nepal would be asked to report to the medical teams if they are suffering from fever and other ailments. If we detect any suspicious symptoms such as fever, cough and shortness of breath among others they would be referred to the nearest block hospital,” said a senior health official of Darjeeling district.

Health officials also said that an isolation ward has been set up at the North Bengal Medical College and Hospital for patients coming with symptoms of the virus.

Union health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan has written to the Chief Ministers of states requesting their personal intervention to review the preparedness for control and management of nCoV, said health ministry in a statement on Saturday.

Seven central teams will visit seven states where thermal screening is being done at the seven designated airports including Kolkata’s Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International airport.

The team comprising a public health expert, a clinician and a microbiologist will visit Kolkata on Sunday. They will review the end-to-end preparedness for management and control of nCoV in the state including reviewing that the infection control, surveillance and other guidelines are being followed properly or not. The teams will also visit the tertiary hospitals attached to the airports for reviewing the isolation wards and availability of personal protective equipment and masks etc.

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