Govt says no cases of coronavirus in India: What other nations are doing to prevent outbreak

coronavirus, outbreak, health, Wuhan, China, travelling, Indian Express news

The number of cases of a new coronavirus from Wuhan has risen over 400 in China and the death toll to 9, Chinese health authorities said Wednesday. (Source: AP Photo/Dake Kang)

With increase in the death toll from China's new flu-like rising to 17, India began taking precautionary steps to identify cases of coronavirus. A total 9,156 passengers from 43 flights were screened for the virus till Tuesday at seven identified airports including Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata, the Union Health Ministry said on Wednesday.

Till now, no cases have been detected through these screening efforts, Health Secretary Preeti Sudan said. Sudan further said the Indian Embassy in China has been regularly providing the health ministry with updates on the status of the infected cases in that country, PTI reported.

At least 17 people have died from the new coronavirus in China following an outbreak in the city of Wuhan and more than 470 cases have been reported globally, most in China. Thailand reported four cases, and South Korea, Japan, Taiwan and the United States one each. All involved residents of Wuhan or recent visitors to the city. Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said authorities are investigating one potential case of coronavirus in the northern border state of Tamaulipas, according to a report by Reuters.

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Chinese health authorities are urging people in the city of Wuhan to avoid crowds and public gatherings after warning that the new viral illness infecting hundreds of people in the country and causing at least nine deaths could spread further. "Evidence has shown that the disease has been transmitted through the respiratory tract and there is the possibility of viral mutation."

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US President Donald Trump said the country has a plan in place to contain the coronavirus outbreak. "We're in great shape and I think China is in good shape also," Trump told reporters on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos.

A thermal camera monitor shows the body temperature of passengers arriving from overseas at Incheon International Airport in Incheon, South Korea (Suh Myung-geon/Yonhap via AP)

Britain will start enhanced monitoring of all passengers who arrive on direct flights from the Chinese city of Wuhan to tackle the threat of coronavirus. Passengers on the three direct weekly flights to London's Heathrow Airport from Wuhan, the epicentre of the infection's outbreak, will be checked for symptoms and given advice about what to do if they become ill.

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Serbia will screen passengers arriving at Belgrade's Nikola Tesla airport using a thermal camera and is ready to quarantine anyone suspected of carrying the new coronavirus. "Persons with elevated body temperature would be quarantined and transferred to the Clinic for Infectious Diseases for monitoring."

Apart from human beings, coronaviruses can affect mammals including pigs, cattle, cats, dogs, martens, camels, hedgehogs and some birds. (Reuters)

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said the government had been very vigilant over the coronavirus, adding that the rapid flow of people across the border made the city highly vulnerable to the outbreak.

Singapore started screening all passengers arriving on flights from China to avoid transmission of the flu-like coronavirus, and advised travellers against non-essential travel to Wuhan.

North Korea is planning to suspend foreign tourism over coronavirus fears. Cha Yeonghyeong, head of the Dandong-based travel agency INDPRK, told Reuters the company was informed of the ban verbally by its North Korean counterpart.

(Inputs from PTI, Reuters)