While the world is still recovering from the deadly disease Ebola which has no cure, World Health Organisation(WHO) raised alarm over another SARS-like virus’ outbreak which has been shaking the grounds of China. With four deaths and more than 200 cases reported across major cities in China including Beijing and Shanghai, WHO convened an Emergency Committee to explore whether the virus constitutes a public health emergency. This never-before-seen coronavirus, detected in the central Chinese city of Wuhan which infects with a pneumonia-like illness reportedly has no cure. After the discovery of the first case on December 31, 2019, the WHO along with the Chinese scientists have been under investigations who later linked the virus with the deadly SARS and MERS viruses which once shook the world.
With speculations that the number of cases reported may be higher than current reports, the virus is seen spreading it wings exponentially. The official Xinhua News Agency confirmed that the virus can pass from person-to-person making it hard for the scientist to bring situations under control. Reacting to the situations, President Xi Jinping stated that curbing the outbreak and saving lives was a top priority. On the other hand, authorities around the globe, including the United States have stepped up screening of travellers from China.
But how ready is India, a country with comparatively more population density? Reportedly health ministry has already been alarmed about the outbreak to take all necessary measures possible. In an official statement, the Union health secretary stated that they have issued orders to all states and Union Territories to review their preparedness in terms of isolation and ventilator management of patients with severe respiratory illness. The MEA has also been requested to disseminate travel advisory to Indian Embassies in China and adjoining countries. The ministry also stated that the National Institute of Virology, Pune, is all set to test samples of novel coronavirus (nCoV) on a priority basis. The civil aviation ministry was instructed to carry out thermal screening of passengers at the international airports in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Cochin.