Chandigarh, March 5, 2020 (Yes Punjab News)
Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Thursday reviewed the state’s preparedness to tackle the deadly Corona Virus (COVID-19), and directed the Health Department to keep close tabs on the situation triggered by the global spread of the virus.
The Chief Minister, who has decided to personally monitor the situation on day to day basis, has appealed to the people to keep away from congested and crowded places, as a preventive measure.
Captain Amarinder has ordered the health department to gear up, in mission mode, to deal with the virus. A State Rapid Response Team has been constituted, with four senior doctors, for the purpose. A control room has been established in each district, with District Rapid Response teams to maintain a 24X7 strict vigil. These are in addition to the state-level control room (phone numbers 88720-90029/0172-2920074) to response to any complaint/crisis.
Presiding over a high level meeting to review the arrangements to combat any exigency arising out of COVID-19, the Chief Minister today asked the Principal Secretary Health to immediately issue an advisory to educate people about the symptoms and precautions to be taken in view of the virus threat.
Captain Amarinder also asked the Chief Secretary to direct the Deputy Commissioners to instruct the field staff in their respective districts to assist the health department in its mass awareness campaign. The DCs should take active steps to avert a panic situation and to build confidence amongst the people.
Health and Family Welfare Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu informed the Chief Minister that at present, there were total 5795 persons in Punjab with travel history to affected countries. As on Thursday, 13 persons were found symptomatic for COVID-19.
The situation, however, was under control, and the department was fully geared to tackle any exigency, said Sidhu, urging people not to panic.
Briefing the Chief Minister about the preparedness, Principal Secretary Health Anurag Aggarwal said that the Department had already designated State Nodal Officer as the Surveillance Officer, with district nodal officers also in place to manage the situation. He further disclosed that 22 district hospitals and three Government Medical Colleges have been identified to deal with any emergency.
Isolation wards with bed strength of 649 had also been set up in these hospitals, and as many as 24 ventilators have been made available, of which 14 were in district hospitals and 10 in Government Medical Colleges.
The Amritsar Airport and Mohali International Airport had sounded an alert, with advisories prominently displayed for information of passengers. Information, Education and Communication (IEC) material was also on display at these airports, where Thermal Scanners had been installed and screening of the passengers had been initiated. Medical teams along with paramedics from Health Department had also been deputed.
Announcements are also being made for the information of self-declaration of passengers. Similarly, screening of passengers has also been started at Wagah/Attari Border check-post in Amritsar and Dera Baba Nanak check post at Gurdaspur. Non-contact thermometers have also been made available for screening of passengers at these check posts, besides displaying advisories and IEC material.
As per the information available, 70106 passengers have so far been screened at the airports/border check posts. These included 47671 at Amritsar Airport, 4943 at International Airport Mohali, 5401 Amritsar Wagah/Attari border check-post and 12091 at Dera Baba Nanak check-post. Daily reporting is being done from State Headquarters to the central surveillance unit, Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) Delhi.
The meeting was also attended by Medical Education and Research Minister O.P. Soni, Media Advisor to CM Raveen Thukral, Chief Secretary Karan Avtar Singh, Principal Secretary to CM Tejveer Singh, Principal Secretary Medical Education and Research D.K. Tiwari, Secretary Health Kumar Rahul and Special Secretary Health-cum-MD Punjab Systems Health Corporation Manvesh Singh Sidhu and Director Health Dr. Avneet Kaur.