The passengers of flights having direct or indirect connectivity with China will be given "health cards" to certify that they are not infected with the deadly coronavirus, Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba was told today at a meeting of top central government officials, convened to review India's preparedness to deal with a possible outbreak of the virus in the country.
At the meeting it was decided that steps may be taken to prepare for the possible evacuation of Indian nationals in Wuhan, the Chinese city worst affected by the virus. "Accordingly, Ministry of External Affairs will make a request to the Chinese authorities," a government statement read.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation and the Ministry of Health will make arrangements for transport and quarantine facilities respectively.
"The Health Ministry also held a review meeting earlier today with Chief Secretaries to review the preparedness and screening in 5 states having border with Nepal. They have been asked to ensure that community level monitoring of passengers is undertaken through health staff," it added.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation is issuing instruction to airlines for managing and notifying anybody reporting illness on all flights with direct or indirect connectivity to China, the statement read, adding it will also distribute "health cards to all flights with direct or indirect connectivity to China".
The Ministry of Home Affairs will ensure that integrated check posts initiate screening of visitors across Nepal border, the officer was told.
Passenger of 137 flights were screened till Sunday. Samples taken from 12 passengers were referred to the National Institute of Virology, Pune, but none were found to be positive for coronavirus, it said.
80 people have died in China, mostly in Hubei province, because of the virus. The virus has spread outside China with Thailand and Hong Kong reporting eight cases of infection. The United States and Macau have five each; Taiwan, Australia, Singapore and Malaysia each have reported four; France and Japan three each; Vietnam and South Korea two apiece, and one each in Canada and Nepal.
Wuhan, the city of 11 million people, is in the state of a lockdown as the Chinese authorities are not letting anybody in or out of the city to contain the virus. Several Indians, mostly students, are stranded in the city.