Mumbai: In its response to the Centre's advisory, the Maharashtra government has put in place a comprehensive strategy to handle the coronavirus. Apart from screening at the airport to conduct tests and follow up action, the staff from the health department of the municipal corporations in the urban areas and medical staff from the district health offices in rural areas are regularly inquiring with the persons whose reports are negative and asking them to take due care.
Minister of Public Health Rajesh Tope told FPJ, ''About 3,997 passengers who had returned from China since January 1 were screened at the Mumbai airport of which 8 were admitted in the isolation wards as a precautionary measure in Mumbai (5), Pune (2) and Nanded (1). Of these eight, three passengers during the medical tests conducted by the Pune based National Institute of Virology are negative while reports of the other five will come tomorrow.'' The minister said there is not a single passenger whose report was positive.
Tope said four flights arrive per week from China and the passengers have to go through a thermal screening camera which is installed on tripod and one handy camera. They detect the temperature. ''Before deplaning, the passenger coming from China has to fill up a from declaring the state of his health and whether he or she is coming from caronavirus affected Wuhan province. The central team visits the airport in Mumbai and also meets every alternate day with the department of health officers to take stock of situation and suggest additional measures to be taken to handle the situation,'' he noted.
The minister said at present a throat swab culture test of all passengers coming from China in all over India is conducted at NIA, Pune. This is to diagnose bacterial infections in throat. ''The Centre has taken a decision to set up NIAs in Kerala, Hyderabad and Bangalore,'' he informed.
Tope said that the government has collected the list of passengers in Maharashtra arrived from China from January 1 and they are being contacted to know whether they or their family members are suffering from fever, cold or related sickness.'' A regular telephone call is made by the health department staff of civic bodies in cities and medical staff of district health offices in rural areas,'' he added.
Tope said that department is fully equipped to tackle emergency situation and isolation wards have been set up in Kasturbha hospital in Mumbai and Naidu hospital in Pune.