Special Isolation Ward set up at a hospital to provide treatment to any suspected case of coronavirus (CoV), in Hyderabad, Monday, Jan. 27, 2020. (PTI Photo)

Announcing a slew of measures to check any suspected cases of novel coronavirus, the government of Jammu and Kashmir Tuesday ordered screening of people at airports arriving from China, Nepal and other countries, where the confirmed cases of the virus have been reported.

As part of an action plan to prevent the spread of the virus in JK, the government ordered the establishment of a control room in the State Surveillance Office at Srinagar and Jammu, quarantine of suspected patients, advisory to all the districts and announcements to be made on railways stations, airports besides other measures.

The decisions in this regard were taken during an extraordinary meeting chaired by the Financial Commissioner, Health and Medical Education, Atal Dulloo at Civil Secretariat here to discuss the action plan to check the spread of coronavirus in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

The newly-identified coronavirus called 2019-nCoV has been spreading in China, and has claimed over 100 lives.

The FC said that adequate measures are being made to identify passengers with symptoms of the disease and directed the officers to make arrangements to isolate any suspected case to curb the spread of the virus. He said that an advisory will be issued to all the Deputy Commissioners of Jammu and Kashmir to step up their preparedness to tackle any suspected cases. The advisory includes designating of rapid response teams, enhanced surveillance, capacity for laboratory diagnosis, and earmarking isolation wards.

It said that isolation wards will be established at Government Medical Colleges of Jammu and Srinagar, Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) Soura and other districts where a special team of doctors and paramedics will be constituted and trained accordingly.

In the meeting, directions were issued for activating Multi-disciplinary Research Units (MRUs) at Government Medical College Jammu and Srinagar and the samples of the suspected cases to be drawn immediately and sent to the National Institute of Biologicals, Pune for confirmation.

Emphasising the need for adopting preventive measures, the FC directed for Information Education and Communication (IEC) strategy to be adopted so that people are educated about the preventive measures to be taken. He said that preventive measures are a key to success to contain the virus and asked for generating mass awareness through print and electronic media, hoardings at prominent places like hospital premises, airports and railway stations to detect the suspected cases with fever, cough, cold malaise etc.

The government also plans for distribution of pamphlets to be provided to the tourists coming from such destinations which are affected by the virus. It also said that awareness regarding personal hygiene, screening and detection cases at the community level will be started through ASHA workers.

The FC also directed the officers that sizable inventory of personal protection equipments, N-95 masks and other logistical arrangements be kept in place and buffer stock be also maintained.

Officer on Special Duty to FC, Dr. Shafqat Khan has been designated as nodal officer to coordinate with the Government of India and various health care institutions in JK to monitor all the activities regarding the spread of the disease.