Speaking to indianexpress.com, Director of Public Health, K Kolandaisamy, said out of the 78 passengers, 10 are Chinese nationals.

The novel coronavirus (nCoV) scare has hit the state of Tamil Nadu. On Thursday, the state health department said 78 people who had returned from the coronavirus-hit China are under ‘house quarantine’ and are being monitored.

Speaking to indianexpress.com, Director of Public Health, K Kolandaisamy, said out of the 78 passengers, 10 are Chinese nationals. “We are focusing on hand-washing, surface cleaning, etc. Children and the elderly are advised not to venture into large crowds. People should avoid unprotected close contact with anyone developing cold or flu-like symptoms and should immediately seek medical attention if they have longstanding cold or fever,” he said.

State Health and Family Welfare Minister C Vijayabaskar said there is no need to panic as preventive measures have been put in place. “Public Health Department doctors are in touch with all the 78 on a daily basis. Nobody is affected; none of them is in a hospital. They are in their homes. They are in house quarantine,” Vijayabaskar was quoted as saying by PTI.

This development from Tamil Nadu comes hours after one student in Kerala, who just returned from Wuhan, tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Kerala health minister KK Shylaja Teacher said the student has been admitted to the Isolation ward in Thrissur District Hospital.

The Tamil Nadu government has set up a special Isolation Ward at Rajiv Gandhi Government Hospital for suspected cases of coronavirus. As per reports, the ward is to be equipped with six beds. A team of 10 doctors, 18 nurses, and 20 hospital staff have been kept on standby.

Health Secretary Beela Rajesh Wednesday met reporters at the Chennai airport and said separate immigration desks have been set up for passengers showing symptoms.

“All the authorities and stakeholders inside the airport have been briefed about the precautionary measures. We have screened around 15,000 passengers till now. The passengers traveling from China or any other country with symptoms like fever or cough or breathing trouble have been asked to fill a self-declaration form inside the aircraft. Ten separate immigration desks have been put up for travelers with possible symptoms. Thermal scanning is another process that has been set up at the airport. Passengers with any of the above symptoms will be examined by a team of five medical officers at the airport in a separate room. A dedicated ambulance has been placed inside the airport to shift the affected patients to the Isolation ward at Rajiv Gandhi hospital,” she said.

The Health secretary further said that apart from Chennai, symptomatic screening is being done at Coimbatore, Trichy and Madurai airports. LED screens and signage boards have been installed to enlighten passengers. “To keep the infection away, the medical staff have been provided with goggles, N-95 masks, body-suits, caps, footwear, etc. As many as 5,000 personal protection equipments and more than 1 lakh masks have been stocked for the medical staff,” she added.

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