New Delhi: All 324 Indian nationals who were brought back from coronavirus-hit Wuhan in China aboard a special Air India plane Saturday morning have tested negative for the deadly disease in the first round of screening.
However, the passengers, including women and children, will be put up at two specialised quarantine centres set up by the Army and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) for further observation, government sources told ThePrint.
The pilots and the crew of the Air India flight were also cleared for any symptoms of the virus, and went back to their hotels in the national capital, said the sources.
A joint team of Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS) and Airport Health Authority (APHO) besides doctors from the ITBP and Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital carried out the screening.
“A total of 220 passengers have been taken to the Army’s quarantine facility in Manesar near Delhi while 104 have been sent to the one set up by the ITBP in the national capital,” a source told ThePrint.
On Saturday, ANI reported that Chinese authorities offloaded six Indians in Wuhan prior to departure as they reported high temperatures during screening.
Indians were evacuated from Wuhan as the Chinese city has become the epicentre of the novel strain of coronavirus (n-Cov) that has no known cure so far. The epidemic has spread to over 20 countries with nearly 12,000 cases and 260 deaths — mostly in China.
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The Indian nationals brought back from China will be in quarantine for two weeks. The remaining Indians in Wuhan who will be brought aboard a second flight to evacuate them will also be put in quarantine upon their arrival.
The passengers being brought back will be first screened at the airport and then quarantined at Manesar. If any individual is suspected to be infected, he/she will be shifted to the isolation ward at Base Hospital Delhi Cantonment (BHDC).
The Army facility consists of accommodation barracks, administrative areas and medical facility area.
To prevent mass outbreak, the facility has been divided into sectors, each with a maximum capacity of 50 individuals. Each sector has been further subdivided into barracks. The population of sectors will not be allowed to intermingle with each other, Army officials told reporters.
Daily medical examination of all will be done at the medical facility area. The staff, health care workers and housekeeping, has been instructed to wear their personal protective equipment (PPE) — mask, eye shield, shoe cover, gown and gloves — at all times.
Rest of the visitors will wear a three-layered mask at all times.
Persons with no symptoms will be allowed to go home after 14 days, with their detailed documentation to be sent to the district/ state surveillance units for further surveillance.
Those found infected will be shifted to BHDC’s isolation ward for further medical exams and recovery.
Samples for viral confirmation will be sent to National Centre for Disease Control, Delhi and patients will be discharged only after clinical recovery and two successive negative samples tested for n-Cov.
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