The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare issued a fresh travel advisory on Monday urging people to refrain from visiting China amid concerns over the rapidly increasing death toll in the novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV).
“Travel Advisory further revised informing the public to refrain from travel to China and that anyone with travel history in China since January 15, 2020, and from now on could be quarantined,” said the statement released by the ministry.
The health ministry also informed that e-Visa facility for Chinese passport holders has been temporarily suspended and added that e-Visa already issued to Chinese nationals is not valid temporarily.
“The facility for submitting the application online for the physical visa from China is suspended,” the ministry said.
The new travel advisory has been issued in the wake of 56 new deaths taking the toll in China to 360, exceeding the 349 mainland fatalities from the 2002-3 SARS outbreak.
The ministry also advised contacting the Indian embassy in Beijing or consulate in Shanghai or Guangzhou in case of people having compelling reasons to visit India.
Earlier on Sunday, the Ministry had informed that apart from China, people coming from Singapore and Thailand were also screened at the airports.
There are two confirmed cases of novel Coronavirus in India. Both have been reported from Kerala.
Meanwhile, the death toll from the deadly novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) epidemic has jumped to 361 with the first fatality outside the country being reported in the Philippines.
The total number of infected cases has risen to 17,205.
The Union Cabinet Secretary on Sunday held a high-level review meeting on the preparedness for the novel Coronavirus with Secretaries of Health Department, Home Affairs, Civil Aviation, Health Research a National Disaster Management Authority. This was the sixth review meeting chaired by the Cabinet Secretary.
Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan had on Sunday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi is closely monitoring the current situation on the novel coronavirus, even as another person in Kerala tested positive for the deadly virus.
“PM is personally monitoring the situation. Various departments and ministries are cooperating with the Health Ministry. I have also written to all Chief Ministers to keep a close watch on developments on this front” the minister said, adding “till now we have tested 130 suspected cases out of which 128 cases have turned out to be negative, only two are positive.”
He also advised that “whether or not the persons who have travelled to these places are put under the suspected category, they must remain in home quarantine, that means, isolated in a room for at least two weeks.”
Meanwhile, the Union Ministry of Health informed that 58,658 passengers from 445 flights have been screened. 130 samples have been tested of which 128 have been found to be negative and the two positive cases found in Kerala are being monitored and are clinically stable.
The Kerala student, who has been admitted to the Thrissur Medical College is said to be stable and her condition is learnt to be “satisfactory”.
There are currently 20 people in Thrissur who are under observation in different hospitals.
Kerala Health Minister KK Shailaja said there are four cases of novel Coronavirus in Alappuzha Medical College who are in isolation ward of which one person has tested positive for the deadly virus.
The minister said that 120 people are under home quarantine in Alappuzha and advised that no public functions should be held at the houses of any of these people.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) has released information and advice to the public regarding the novel Coronavirus outbreak in China, which the world body has declared as a global health emergency.
“Antibiotics do not work against viruses, but only against bacteria,” the WHO said on its official website, noting that as it was a virus, antibiotics were not effective in preventing or treating it, reported Xinhua news agency.
However, if a patient is hospitalized for the virus, the person may receive antibiotics since “bacterial co-infection is possible”, the organization added.
Up till now, there is no specific medicine for preventing or treating the virus, but some particular cures are being studied and will be tested in clinical trials, the WHO said, adding that it was working with partners to help accelerate related research and development work.
“People of all ages” can be infected with the novel coronavirus, while the elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes and heart disease are more susceptible, the WHO said.
But the organization advised people to wash hands with soap and water after contacting pets, which can help protect them against “various common bacteria such as E.coli and Salmonella that can pass between pets and humans”.