As India registered its 29th confirmed coronavirus case, the Union Health Ministry asked states on Thursday to form rapid response teams at the district, block and village levels, to curb cases of community transmission.
India had started out strong with just three imported cases of the novel virus-- all quarantined in Kerala. However, just as news of their complete recovery made headlines, a bomb dropped with two other cases-- one in New Delhi and one in Telangana with travel histories to other infected countries. Soon after, an Italian tourist and his wife were found to test positive. The infected people were travelling with 21 other Italian tourists, a majority of whom on Wednesday were found to have contracted the virus. Now, the total number of confirmed cases in the country has surged to 29.
Precautionary measures have been extraordinarily amped up. Since 4 March, screening of all foreign nationals has been mandated and has already commenced in most airports. This provision will also be carried out on seaports.
“Since, in addition to COVID 19 cases related to travel, some cases of community transmission have also been observed, it has been decided to involve district collectors and states have been asked to form rapid response teams as the district, block and village levels,” the ministry said.
Health Minister Harsh Vardhan in the Parliament said that 28,529 persons across the country are being screened for COVID-19. He will also be holding a meeting with key partners in the evening.
Meanwhile, the widespread scare has resulted in a shortage of face masks and hand sanitizers in medical stores. Masks that are available are being sold at a much higher price than the MRP.