India prepares for Corona Virus-Steps of Health Ministry
India has been closely monitoring the happenings in China after more than 200 cases were confirmed to be infected with Corona virus (a new stain). The increase in numbers is mainly because more than millions travel for Lunar New Year in China.
On January 17, 2020 Thailand reported to have found the first case of the virus following Japan.
India is preparing itself after it has learnt from WHO (World Health Organization) that the infections of the virus are linked to sea food market. Managing the importation of the virus into the country is being strengthened.
International travelers from China are being examined thoroughly using thermal scanners. These are currently being done at Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata international terminals.
The Health Ministry has issued directions to laboratory diagnosis, infection prevention and surveillance of the virus.
The other measures of Health Ministry is as follows
- Ministry of External Affairs has been requested to provide details of travelers from Wuhan city where the virus is spreading rapidly
- The states have been instructed to increase area of surveillance and laboratory support infection prevention and control.
- The Joint Monitoring Group operating under DGHS (Directorate General of Health Services) meets to assess risks. WHO attends the meeting and provides regular updates.
- GoI has issued travel advisory
- National Institute of Virology, Pune has been appointed the nodal agency to test the virus samples.
- Rapid Response Teams that are trained in MERS-CoV outbreak have been set up in states and union territories.
Sea Food Scenario in India
The chances of India being the victim of the virus is minimal. This is because India’s imports of sea food are highly limited. According to 2018 report of MPEDA (Marine Products Export Development Authority), India exported sea food (fish predominantly) worth of 6,923 million USD and imported 138 million USD. USA is the predominant import destination of India according to MPEDA. Import of sea food from other countries is miniscule or negligent. As far as China is considered, Japan is its leading importer of sea food from China, followed by USA, Hong Kong and Korea.
Though chances are minimal, India is preparing itself to encounter the situation.