With foreigners accounting for 70 percent of tourists to Puducherry, a former French colony, Chief Minister V Narayanasamy on Monday said his government has intensified their screening at all entry points of the UT amid a global outbreak of coronavirus affliction.
The chief minister said his government has adopted a multi-pronged strategy to ensure that Puducherry yields no space to coronavirus, spreading across the country as well now.
The chief minister earlier chaired a Health Department meeting to review the measures taken to insulate Puducherry against the deadly virus.
After the meeting, he told reporters that various health agencies including the Health Department, the centrally-administered JIPMER, besides the government and private medical colleges and hospitals are working under a common action plan to prevent the spread of the disease.
He said that Puducherry, being a former French colony, receives a large number of foreign tourists, besides domestic ones, and steps were being taken to screen them all.
“Foreigners account for 70 percent of the total tourists visiting Puducherry and we are taking specific care to screen them at the airport, railway stations and bus terminals,” said Narayanasamy, adding those coming in private vehicles too are being screened.
The chief minister said 14 of the 16 persons examined so far for suspected coronavirus affliction have tested negative while the test results for other four persons were awaited.
He said the centrally-administered JIPMER had a testing lab and blood samples are regularly being sent to the lab.
Both the Puducherry government”s general hospital and JIPMER have set up separate isolation wards, the former with ten beds, which would be used in case any patient testing positive for the disease needed to be quarantined, he said.
“There were reports on paucity of masks. We would procure them immediately to meet the shortfall,” he said.
“Nothing would be left to chance. Awareness drive through TV, AIR, special campaigns and distribution of pamphlets on do”s and don”ts would be launched on a war footing to ensure that people protect themselves against the onslaught of the disease,” the chief minister said.
Workers attached to the ASHA programme, health staff and volunteers too have been pressed into service for intensive checking of people at vulnerable places, he said, adding that awareness drives are being taken to apprise people in villages as well of various preventive measures.
The meeting was attended among others by Puducherry Chief Secretary Ashwani Kumar and health secretary besides the officials of the Directorate of Health and Family Welfare service and JIPMER.