CM reviews measures to tackle coronavirus; rapid response team set up
Chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh on Thursday reviewed the state’s preparedness to tackle the deadly coronavirus (COVID-19) and directed the health department to keep close tabs on the situation.
The chief minister, who has decided to personally monitor the situation on day-to-day basis, has appealed to the people to stay away from congested and crowded places, as a preventive measure. He also ordered the health department to gear up, in mission mode, to deal with the situation.
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 8872090029/0171-2920074) to respond to any complaint/crisis.
Presiding over a high-level meeting to review the arrangements to combat any exigency arising out of COVID-19, the CM on Thursday 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.
He 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 among the people.
Health and family welfare minister Balbir Singh Sidhu informed the CM that there were a total of 5,795 persons in Punjab with travel history to affected countries. “As on Thursday, 13 persons were found symptomatic for COVID-19. However, the situation is under control, and the department is fully geared to tackle any exigency,” said Sidhu, urging people not to panic.
Principal secretary, health, Anurag Aggarwal said the department had already designated the state nodal officer as the surveillance officer, with district nodal officers also in place to manage the situation. 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, 70,106 passengers have so far been screened at the airports/border check posts. These included 47,671 at Amritsar Airport, 4,943 at International Airport Mohali, 5,401 Amritsar Wagah/Attari border check-post and 12,091 at Dera Baba Nanak check-post. Daily reporting is being done from state headquarters to the central surveillance unit, IDSP Delhi.
The meeting was also attended by medical education and research minister OP Soni, media adviser to CM Raveen Thukral, chief secretary Karan Avtar Singh and principal secretary to CM Tejveer Singh.
Chief secy issues instructions to dist heads
The government on Thursday cautioned all the deputy commissioners, commissioners of police, SSPs and civil surgeons to be alert and keep close tabs on the suspected cases.
At the same time, the DCs have been asked to ensure that the people of the state must not panic and they should be sensitised on do’s and don’ts to check coronavirus spread, an official release said.
Chief secretary Karan Avtar Singh gave these instructions during a video conference with all the DCs, SSPs and the civil surgeons. He took stock of the ground situation and the preparedness of health and other departments to cope with the situation arising out of the spread of COVID-19 in India.
Additional chief secretary Vini Mahajan, principal secretary, health and family welfare, Anurag Aggarwal, principal secretary, medical education and research DK Tiwari, principal secretary, food and civil supplies KAP Sinha, principal secretary, transport K Siva Prasad and additional director general, intelligence, Varinder Kumar were among those present.