Coronavirus: J&K govt to screen passengers from China, Nepal at airports

Srinagar: Waking up to coronavirus epidemic, Jammu and Kashmir government on Tuesday ordered screening of all people arriving from China, Nepal and other countries at airports to prevent the virus from spreading in the union territory.

The government has also decided to distribute pamphlets among the tourists coming from such destinations which are affected by the virus.
The government has ordered establishment of Control room in the office of State Surveillance Office at Srinagar and Jammu, quarantine of suspected patients, advisory to all the districts and announcements to be made on railways stations, airports besides other measures.

The decision in this regard was taken during an extraordinary meeting chaired by Financial Commissioner, Health and Medical Education, Atul Dulloo to check the spread of Corona Virus in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

The newly identified coronavirus called 2019-nCoV has been spreading in China, and has now reached several other countries claiming many lives.

“Adequate measures are being made to identify passengers with symptoms of the disease and directed the officers to make arrangements to isolate any suspected case to curb the spread of the virus”, said Dulloo.

Plus advisory is being issued to all the Deputy Commissioners of Jammu and Kashmir to step up their preparedness to tackle any suspected cases. The advisory includes designating rapid response teams, enhanced surveillance, capacity for laboratory diagnosis and earmarking isolation wards.

“Isolation wards will be established at Government Medical Colleges of Jammu and Srinagar, Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) Soura and other districts where a special team of doctors and paramedics will be deployed and trained accordingly”, an official spokesman said.

Directions have also been issued for activating Multi-disciplinary Research Units (MRUs) at Government Medical College Jammu and Srinagar and the samples of the suspected cases to be drawn immediately and sent to the National Institute of Biologicals, Pune for confirmation.
Emphasizing the need for adopting preventive measures, Dulloo called for Information Education and Communication (IEC) strategy to be adopted so that people are educated about the preventive measures to be taken.

“Preventive measures are a key to success to contain the virus and asked for generating mass awareness through print and electronic media, hoardings at prominent places like hospital premises, airports and railway stations to detect the suspected cases with fever, cough, cold malaise etc”, he said.

Awareness regarding personal hygiene, screening and detection cases is being launched at the community level through ASHA workers.
Dulloo directed the officers that sizable inventory of personal protection equipment, N-95 masks and other logistical arrangements be kept in place and buffer stock be also maintained.

Officer on Special Duty to Financial Commissioner, Dr Shafqat Khan has been designated as nodal officer to coordinate with the Government of India and various health care institutions in J&K to monitor all the activities regarding the spread of the disease.

Ishfaq Ul Hassan

An accredited journalist with 22 years of professional experience, Ishfaq-Ul-Hassan has worked as a reporter based in Kashmir for two decades. He has covered various beats including militancy, politics, defence, minorities, social issues, religious groups and women issues in Kashmir. He had previously worked as Special Correspondent in Jammu and Kashmir for DNA (Daily News and Analysis) Newspaper for 13 years. Ishfaq is also associated with the New Delhi- based television company `Asia Pacific Communication Associates’ which produced the famous series “Subah-Bakhar-Kashmir” for satellite Kashmir channel of Doordarshan. In 2004, he was awarded the Charkha-Sanjoy Ghosh Fellowship for Peace and Development for his research on families divided across the LOC in Kashmir.

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