Army sets up quarantine facility in Manesar for 300 students returning from Hubei

New Delhi, Jan 31 (PTI) The Indian Army has set up a quarantine facility in Manesar near Delhi to keep around 300 Indian students being evacuated from China's Hubei province in view of the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Separately, border-guarding force ITBP has set up a 600-bedded facility in southwest Delhi's Chhawla area to quarantine and provide basic medical care to those suspected to have been affected by the coronavirus.

An additional 50-bedded critical care facility has also been set up at the Safdarjung Hospital in the national capital, a Union Health Ministry statement said.

Officials said the Indian Army has created the facility near Manesar where the students can be monitored for any signs of infection for a duration of two weeks by a qualified team of doctors and staff members.

An Air India flight was sent to Wuhan on Friday to bring back the Indian students stuck in Hubei province, the epicentre of the outbreak.

The flight is expected to reach India on Saturday morning.

The death toll in the coronavirus outbreak in China has climbed to 213, with the number of confirmed cases totalling 9,692, according to the Chinese authorities.

Hubei province has reported 5,806 confirmed cases, including 204 deaths. Many countries, including India, have reported confirmed cases of the infection in travellers coming from China.

Indian Army officials said the procedure of screening and quarantining of people being evacuated from China will comprise two steps.

The first one will be at the Indira Gandhi International airport, followed by their detailed screening at the Manesar facility, an official said.

'If any individual is suspected to be infected, he/she will be shifted to the isolation ward at Base Hospital Delhi Cantonment (BHDC),' he said.

Any individual with any sign of fever, cough or any respiratory distress will be directly transferred to BHDC.

People who have no symptom of the coronavirus infection but have met any suspected coronavirus-infected person will be escorted in an earmarked vehicle directly to the quarantine facility.

An individual without any symptom(s) or contact will also be sent to the quarantine facility, the officials said.

The screening at the airport will be done by a joint team of the Armed Forces Medical Services and the Airport Health Authority (APHO).

The facility in Manesar consists of accommodation barracks, administrative areas and medical facility area.

To prevent a mass outbreak, the facility has been divided into sectors and each of them will have a maximum capacity to keep 50 people.

Each barrack has been further subdivided into more barracks and people from separate sectors will not be allowed to mingle with each other.

Officials said daily medical examination of all students will be done at the facility and all the staff, healthcare workers and housekeeping staff must wear their personal protective equipment (PPE) at all times.

PPE consists of masks, eye shields, shoe covers, gowns and gloves.

'Rest of the visitors and all students will wear a three-layered mask at all times. After 14 days, persons with no symptoms will be allowed to go home with their detailed documentation sent to district/state surveillance units,' said the official.

He said those found infected will be shifted to BHDC's isolation ward for further medical exams and recovery.

The facility at Manesar will be administered by a nominated Officer In Charge (OIC). PTI MPB PLB IJT