India reported the first confirmed case of the Coronavirus infection on 30 January 2020 in the state of Kerala. The affected had a travel history from Wuhan, China. Two more cases were also confirmed in Kerala and are reported to be clinically stable. The Indian government arranged for the evacuation of 366 Indian citizens from Wuhan in a special Air India flight on 31 January 2020. The passengers are placed under quarantine for a period of 14 days. A second batch of 330 passengers, including seven Maldivian citizens evacuated by the government, arrived from Wuhan on 01 February 2020. All the passengers are currently being monitored. Thermal screening has been installed at all major international airports in India, including those in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, and Cochin. As on 06 February 2020, 138,750 passengers from 1,265 flights have been screened at various Indian airports.
23 states/UTs including New Delhi have issued orders allowing only essential services to operate in 75 districts with confirmed COVID-19 cases until 31 March 2020. The focus is on closure of all activities except essential services such as hospitals, telecom, pharmacy, provision stores. PM Modi called for ‘Janata curfew’ on 22nd March, 2020 from 7 AM-9 PM, urging people to stay home except those in essential services, enforcing public-led social distancing interventions. In consultation with medical professionals, detailed advisory has been issued for all health establishments to avoid non-urgent hospitalization and minimize elective surgeries.
Prime Minister interacted with all Chief Ministers to strategize ahead considering extension of lockdown for tackling COVID-19. PMO sanctioned INR 15,000 crores COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health System Preparedness Package; INR 7,774 crores for immediate response and rest medium term support (1-4 years). WHO is supporting Government in assessment of ‘Dedicated COVID-19 hospitals. As of now, Government of India has set up more than 550 dedicated facilities with >1 lakh isolation beds and >11,000 ICU beds have been set up. For capacity building of the front line health workers, AIIMS, New Delhi has been commissioned by Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW) for Webinars on COVID-19 together with WHO and partners. Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has directed all States/UTs to provide necessary Police Security to Doctors and Medical Staff undertaking surveillance, detection, quarantine and all activities against COVID-19.
Travelers displaying symptoms of the infection are being separated by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare’s Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) and directed to isolation facilities. The IDSP has been testing their samples. The Ministry of Health announced on 06 February, 2020 that all 645 evacuees from Wuhan tested negative. Two quarantine canters have been set-up to isolate any passengers showing symptoms of the infection. One centre is located at Manesar, Haryana, and is managed by Armed Forces Medical Services, while the second is located at Chawla Camp in Delhi and is managed by Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP).
The National Institute of Virology, Pune, and ten other laboratories under the Indian Council of Medical Research’s (ICMR) Viral Research and Diagnostics Laboratories network are equipped to test samples. The ICMR has tested 510 samples as of 06 February, 2020 of which three tested positive. The Indian government issued a travel advisory on 17 January 2020 to the general public to refrain from travelling to China and avoid contact with anyone with travel history to China since 15 January 2020. The government also temporarily suspended e-Visa facility for Chinese passport holders and noted that already issued e-Visas are temporarily invalid. Online application for physical visa from China has also been suspended. Any persons trying to visit India under compelling circumstances have been advised to contact either the Indian embassy in Beijing or the Indian consulate in Shanghai or Guangzhou.