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Coronavirus: Tamil Nadu hotels asked to have quarantine wards for emergencies

VELLORE: As the threat of coronavirus looms large across the country, the Health department has instructed the district officers to establish quarantine wards at hotels where visitors from foreign countries could be kept isolated for observation in case of emergencies.

“The Health Secretary has sent a communication today (Wednesday) asking the officials of the department to take steps for setting up emergency quarantine rooms in hotels,” a senior officer told TNIE. “It is aimed at isolating visitors from overseas countries, in case, they are down with symptoms of the virus.”

The move is also expected to help in dealing with the space crunch in hospitals where only a limited number of beds is available for isolation wards. The emergency quarantine rooms will be setup in hotels in consultation with hoteliers, Health department officers and Indian Medical Association.

Meanwhile, medical colleges and government district headquarters hospitals have already set up special quarantine wards for treating people with symptoms and infections.

The Health Department officers have intensified surveillance of returnees from overseas countries including China and taken up intensive awareness campaign to combat COVID-19.

Those who return from overseas countries are directed to keep indoors for a period of 28 days. “In combined Vellore district, 20 persons who had returned from various countries including China have been kept under house quarantine.

Twenty others have completed the 28-day compulsory house observation,” according to KST Suresh, Deputy Director of Health Services, Vellore.

The health wing of Vellore Municipal Corporation is also keeping a close vigil on foreign returnees. City Health Officer T Manivannan said, “As many as 8 persons are kept under house observation within the periphery of the municipal corporation.”

In Tiruvannamalai district, seven persons are house-quarantined while 30 others completed the 28-day house observation. According to R Meera, Deputy Director of Health Services, Tiruvannamalai, “As of now, only seven persons are house-quarantined in the district. We are keenly monitoring their health and have advised them to not stray out.”

Three including a toddler quarantined in Tiruchy

TIRUCHY: Three passengers, including an 11-month-old baby, were admitted to the isolation ward at MGMGH (Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Government Hospital) after taking up screening tests at Tiruchy International Airport, on Wednesday.

Two were from Malaysia and one was from Sharjah. At present, the isolation ward in Tiruchy is having no such suspected or confirmed cases.

Sources said that the airport has started screening all international passengers from Tuesday onwards. Earlier, it was done only for passengers from Malaysian and Singapore.

After the confirmation of two more infected cases, the Government of India has decided to increase the screening of passengers from more countries. Hence, we are screening passengers from Malaysia, Singapore, Sharjah, Dubai, Srilanka and other countries too,” said a health official. Officials added that health officials were working round-the-clock at the desk.

“We have provided face mask to all the airport employees who are likely to get into direct contact with passengers. We are also using thermal screening. Suspicious cases are forwarded to the isolation ward,” they said.  Also, sources said that international passengers were asked to fill in declaration forms, which would be sent to health officials for assessing.

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