Jammu and Kashmir Govt takes steps to tackle coronavirus

Jammu (NVI): The Jammu and Kashmir Government today announced a slew of measures to check suspected cases of coronavirus in the Union Territory while issuing orders regarding screening of people at airports arriving from China, Nepal, and other countries, that have confirmed cases of people infected by the virus.

As part of an action plan to prevent the spread of the deadly virus in J&K, control rooms will be set up in State Surveillance Offices in Srinagar and Jammu, suspected patients quarantined, and advisory will be issued to all the districts. In addition to this, announcements will be made on railways stations, airports, besides other measures.

The decisions in this regard was taken during a special meeting chaired by Financial Commissioner, Health and Medical Education, Atal Dulloo at Civil Secretariat here to discuss the action plan to check the spread of nCoV (novel coronavirus)in the UT.

The newly identified coronavirus called 2019-nCoV has been spreading in China, and has now reached several other countries claiming many lives. As per reports, 106 people have died so far due to the infectious disease.

The Financial Commissioner said that adequate measures are being taken to identify passengers with symptoms of the disease and directed all concerned officers to make arrangements to isolate any suspected case to curb the spread of the virus.

He said that an advisory will be 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.

It said that 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 constituted and trained accordingly.

In the meeting, directions were 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, the FC directed for Information Education and Communication (IEC) strategy to be adopted so that people are educated about the preventive measures to be taken. He said that 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.

The government also plans for distribution of pamphlets to be provided to the tourists coming from such destinations which are affected by the virus. It also said that awareness regarding personal hygiene, screening and detection cases at the community level will be started through ASHA workers.

The FC also directed the officers that sizable inventory of personal protection equipments, N-95 masks and other logistical arrangements be kept in place and buffer stock be also maintained.

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

The meeting was attended by Director, Health Services, Jammu, Dr Renu Sharma; Director, New Medical Colleges J&K, Dr Yashpal Sharma; Principal, Government Medical College, Jammu, Dr Sunanda Raina; Joint Director (Planning) H&ME, Madan Lal; and other officers.

Director Health Services Kashmir, Dr Samir Mattoo; Director SKIMS, Dr AG Ahangar; Principal, Government Medical College, Srinagar, Dr Parvaiz Shah and other Kashmir based officers attended the meeting through video conferencing.