Corona impact: Centre to introduce thermal imagery equipment in airports and seaports

GIS mapping of disease hotspots to check spread of the virus

The Central government has decided to enhance the level of preparedness to tackle the outbreak of the corona virus, by stepping up emergency measures. At an inter-ministerial meeting on Wednesday, the government said it would look to introduce universal screening at all international airports and seaports through use of thermal imagery equipment.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has been asked to work closely with state governments, including relevant district administration officials, to ensure compliance with screening protocols at integrated check-posts on India’s land borders. National Informatics Centre would provide the requisite support to the Bureau of Immigration and Ministry of Home Affairs in this regard. The decision was taken at a meeting chaired by PK Mishra, the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister.

Ministry of Health is also co-ordinating the activation of a GIS mapping of ‘disease hotspots’ and availability of medical facilities, along with relevant agencies and government departments. The Ministry of Health briefed the meeting on the positive impact of a 24 hour medical help-line, operational across the country since January 23, 2020, with ten dedicated telephone-lines, that has so far received over 6000 phone calls.

It was highlighted that participation of the communities and local bodies is essential to combat the public health challenge posed by the virus. It was decided to explore the greater involvement of private sector.

Decisions were also taken to rapidly implement opening of proper testing, isolation and quarantine facilities in various parts of the country, down to the district level, in partnership with the state governments. Ministries such as Defence, Railways and Labour would also seek to support and supplement the efforts of the Health Ministry through use of their facilities and hospitals.

To disseminate information to the general public in a timely manner, including relevant advisories of ‘Do’s and Donts’ Ministry of Information and Broadcasting was tasked to work closely with Ministry of Health, Ministry of Human Resource Development and NDMA. For this purpose, Ministry of Health has started a system of regular daily briefings by their spokesperson, so as to ensure access to real time data for the public.

The meeting was attended by the Cabinet Secretary, Foreign Secretary, Secretaries of Ministries of Health, Civil Aviation, Information and Broadcasting, Shipping, Tourism, Chairman (Airport Authority of India), Secretary (Border Management), MHA and senior officials from Defence forces, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), Niti Ayog and the Prime Minister’s Office.

In light of the public health experts’ recommendation to avoid big public gatherings, it was decided that all government departments and ministries should consult the Ministry of Health before organising conferences and international meetings in the country at present.

[Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay]