A lift operator stands inside a dedicated lift for people suspected to be infected with the new coronavirus (File/AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar A.)
THREE SUSPECTED coronavirus patients at the Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) and one at the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, have all tested negative for the disease. Another suspected patient from Chandigarh with a recent travel history to Italy was admitted to the PGIMER on Thursday evening.
The three patients tested at PGIMER comprised a man from Mohali with a recent history of travel to Indonesia and Singapore, a woman from Zirakpur who had travelled to Bangkok and suffered from mild cough and fever, and another woman who had symptoms of mild cough. At GMCH- 32, a woman from Chandigarh had been admitted on Wednesday night with a mild fever and was tested negative on Thursday. All the samples from the suspected patients had been sent to the AIIMS, Delhi, for testing.
Another suspected patient from Panchkula, a resident of Sector 16 who had a recent travel history to Italy and Switzerland, has been advised to quarantine herself at home until her test results arrive. The woman is a doctor herself and showed no symptoms of the disease as yet.
With the number of positive coronavirus cases rising up to 30 in India as of Thursday night, the government has taken various measures to curb the spread of the virus. In Chandigarh, isolation wards and ventilators for treatment of coronavirus patients have been placed in PGIMER, GMCH- 32 and Government Multi-Specialty Hospital, (GMSH), Sector 16. The Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDPS) has been engaged in surveillance and contact tracing in the city. The IDPS is also surveying foreign guests from affected countries residing in hotels in Chandigarh.
Advisories have been issued and awareness programmes have been conducted to inform college and school students in the city. Apart from this, a series of awareness activities have been held to educate healthcare providers in the city on the COVID 19 virus. In Panchkula, Deputy Commissioner Mukesh Kumar Ahuja held a meeting with all medical professionals from local dispensaries to ensure that necessary precautions are taken and accurate information on the disease is disseminated amongst the general public. An isolation ward for potential coronavirus patients too has been set up at the Civil Hospital in Panchkula.
At the Chandigarh International Airport, each passenger is being screened using a non-contact infra-red thermometer. Each international passenger is also being asked to submit health forms to immigration authorities and a doctor stationed at the airport. An isolation room with dedicated toilet has been set up to keep suspected patients in isolation at the airport until he or she is transported to hospitals by the health department.
Furthermore, in the light of an increasing shortage of masks accompanied by a hike in prices of N95 and other face masks sold by pharmacists in the city, Health Director G Dewan has issued a letter asking chemists to stop hiking up mask prices. The letter claims that a team has been constituted to take action against defaulters who are "selling masks at higher prices or found hoarding these items".