Andhra Pradesh ensures all steps, says no need to panic on coronavirus

K S Jawahar Reddy
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K S Jawahar Reddy
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Amaravati: Andhra Pradesh registered one positive case of COVID-19 and the person along with his family members and those who visited the family...

Amaravati: Andhra Pradesh registered one positive case of COVID-19 and the person along with his family members and those who visited the family recently were quarantined, the government said adding that there was no need to panic and steps were being taken to tackle any eventuality.

Speaking to media here on Friday, special chief secretary, medical and health department, K S Jawahar Reddy said the person who tested positive hails from Nellore and had recently returned from abroad. He along with his family members, their maid and her family members were quarantined.

A screening unit is in place at Vijayawada, while a full-fledged testing facility is being set up at Tirupati while quarantine wards will be made available at Visakhapatnam, he said.

The medical and health department has taken up a cluster containment strategy and is implementing it in the Nellore district.

Upon identifying a positive case, in a radius of one kilometre, as many as 20,000 households have been screened for the presence of the virus and there were no positive symptoms.

Across the state, 564 people, who have been abroad were put under isolation. While 331 of them are still under observation, 12 are in hospitals.

"As part of the precautionary measures, the state government has identified two quarantine facilities at Tirupati and Visakhapatnam, which can accommodate 500 and 200 people respectively.

All foreign returnees are advised home isolation for 14 days and contact a helpline for medical advice prior to visiting a hospital," he said.

The state is well equipped to treat the cases of coronavirus and established testing laboratories at Svims Tirupati and GGH Vijayawada.

With the approval of ICMR, screening and confirmatory tests are being done at Svims Tirupati and screening test alone in Vijayawada.

Proposals were also made for Kakinada hospital for processing screening tests. As on date, 56 hospitals have been identified with isolation wards and district level.

Rapid response teams were also formed along with taskforce teams. Public are advised not to panic and take necessary precautions by maintaining hygiene.

People who are experiencing symptoms like cough, fever, breathlessness are advised to contact 104 helpline or call centre 0866-2410978.


Do's and Don'ts

All foreign returnees are advised home isolation for 14 days and stay away from family members too.

♦ The waste generated (food wastes, masks, etc.,) by these members has to be packed in double bags and sprinkle with bleaching powder on top, left about an hour before disposal.

♦ The foreign returnees are advised to contact the doctor through 104 helpline for medical advice prior to visiting a hospital.

♦ As far as the general public is concerned, they are advised not to come in contact with any of the close relatives returning from foreign countries.

♦ Not to spit in public places and cover your nose with a handkerchief while sneezing or coughing.

♦ Do not touch mouth, nose or eyes with hands and wash hands with soap frequently.

♦ Contact a helpline for medical advice prior to visiting a hospital.

Now, anyone can be detained, isolated

The state government has invoked the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, in view of the rising Covd-19 cases in the state for better management and prevention of the disease.

This was disclosed by the special chief secretary, medical and health department, K S Jawahar Reddy here on Friday. This Act authorises the authorities to detain persons to isolation and take other preventive measures.

The Epidemic Diseases Act was passed in 1897 with the aim of better preventing the spread of "dangerous epidemic diseases". It evolved to tackle the epidemic of bubonic plague that broke out in the then Bombay state at the time.

The Governor General of colonial India conferred special powers upon the local authorities to implement the measures necessary for the control of epidemics.

According to the provisions of Section 2 of the Act, which describes the powers of the government, "When the state government is satisfied that the state or any part thereof is visited by or threatened with an outbreak of any dangerous epidemic disease; and if it thinks that the ordinary provisions of the law are insufficient for the purpose, then the state may take, or require or empower any person to take some measures and by public notice prescribe such temporary regulations to be observed by the public.

The state government may prescribe regulations for inspection of persons travelling by railway or otherwise, and the segregation, in hospital, temporary accommodation or otherwise, of persons suspected by the inspecting officer of being infected with any such disease." (5: p 2).

Section 2A empowers the Central government to inspect any ship leaving or arriving at any port and for detention thereof, or of any person intending to sail therein, or arriving thereby.

Section 3 states, "Six months' imprisonment or 1,000 rupees fine or both could be charged out to the person who disobeys this Act."


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