Bengal deploys medics at Indo-Nepal border crossings to check coronavirus
With the scare of the deadly novel coronavirus (nCoV) reaching Nepal in the last few days, the West Bengal government has decided to deploy health teams in all the three major entry points along the Indo-Nepal border in Darjeeling district from Sunday to screen people entering India.
“Medical teams in all the three entry points along the Indo-Nepal border in West Bengal would start working from Sunday,” said Dr Pralay Acharya, chief medical officer of health in Darjeeling district.
Thousands of people, including traders, tourists and patients coming for treatment to Siliguri in Darjeeling district, enter India from Nepal almost every day. Some of the major entry points include Pashupati fatak, Panitanki and Galgalia through which people from Nepal can enter West Bengal. Among these Panktanki is the busiest.
“It would be hard to screen everyone entering India. The teams would display banners to make people aware. People coming from Nepal would be asked to report to the medical teams if they are suffering from fever and other ailments. If we detect any suspicious symptoms such as fever, cough and shortness of breath among others they would be referred to the nearest block hospital,” said a senior health official of Darjeeling district.
Health officials also said that an isolation ward has been set up at the North Bengal Medical College and Hospital for patients coming with symptoms of the virus.
The virus has already killed 54 people in China and infected almost 2000 people. At least 28 cases have been reported from outside of mainland China including one from Nepal.
Union health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan has written to the Chief Ministers of states requesting their personal intervention to review the preparedness for control and management of nCoV, said health ministry in a statement on Saturday.
Seven central teams will visit seven states where thermal screening is being done at the seven designated airports including Kolkata’s Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International airport.
The team comprising a public health expert, a clinician and a microbiologist will visit Kolkata on Sunday. They will review the end-to-end preparedness for management and control of nCoV in the state including reviewing that the infection control, surveillance and other guidelines are being followed properly or not. The teams will also visit the tertiary hospitals attached to the airports for reviewing the isolation wards and availability of personal protective equipment and masks etc.
An isolation ward has also been set up at the Infectious Diseases (ID) Hospital in Kolkata, the referral hospital in the city for such cases.