Maharashtra prepares for Coronavirus threat, with launch of two 24X7 helplines
Maharashtra on Thursday gave a leg up to its preparations to battle a possible coronavirus outbreak in the state by launching two separate helpline numbers- one for the residents of the state and other for Mumbai residents-- while the chief minister assured everyone to follow WHO guidelines and not panic.
Maharashtra government announced the launch of a dedicated helpline number 020-26127394, which can be accessed 24X7 by residents who want to report a suspected case or symptoms of the infection that has been detected in 30 people across the country so far.
Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) also announced the launch of a four-digit 24x7 helpline number—1916-- to report coronavirus cases in the city.
The announcements come on a day when the chief minister, Uddhav Thackeray, assured people about the state’s readiness and said they must not panic. “No need for people to panic and wear masks,” PTI quoted Uddhav Thackeray as saying on Thursday evening.
Uddhav said there were no positive cases in Maharashtra but the state needed to be on alert for the next couple of weeks- the period over which the symptoms of the virus are believed to appear after contracting infection.
“Municipal corporations & administration of the state are on alert. We have to be more careful in the next 10 to 15 days.
Uddhav also invoked Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s name to advise people to celebrate Holi in a subdued manner while avoiding big gatherings.
“It is advised to avoid big gatherings during Holi as already requested by PM Modi,” he said during a press conference in Mumbai on Thursday.
Earlier in the day, Uddhav had assured worried lawmakers in the state assembly over the threat posed by the virus.
“I want to appeal to people that do not panic due to this, we had also tackled swine flu earlier in the state. Just stick to the precaution advisory issued by the government,” he had said in the assembly.
The chief minister said that the strength of the medical staff conducting thermal screening at the airports in the state will be increased.
In order to spread awareness about the disease that has now inflicted several countries in the world after originating from China’s Wuhan province, the Mumbai municipality has decided to put up hoardings disseminating information on fighting the disease as per WHO guidelines at important places like roads and outside schools.
Uddhav had earlier in the day told MLAs that he was monitoring the situation with daily review meetings with the health department.
“Earlier we had only one centre for the coronavirus test in Pune NIV now, this has been increased to Nagpur and Pune, so now, we have three such centres in Maharashtra,” he had said.
He added that all the private hospitals had been instructed to make isolation wards for coronavirus patients.