To counter the threat of the pneumonia virus sweeping across Southeast Asia, the state government has decided to select a hospital on the outskirts of the city to combat cases of SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome).
“We will identify the hospital shortly. All hospitals have been asked to report SARS cases immediately,” acting director of the School of Tropical Medicine Jayshree Mitra said on Thursday. Mitra chaired a meeting with senior health officials and airport deputy director (health) Asit Chowdhury.
Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said at Writers’ Buildings on Thursday that the government was in talks with the Centre and the state health department was on the alert.
A team, comprising doctors and health officials, will rush to the city airport or the port in case the medical team there identifies an SARS patient. Chowdhury said passengers were being screened at the airport. Port officials had also been asked to be careful about arrivals to the city.
Keeping in mind that a mystery disease had swept North Bengal, killing 55 persons two years ago, the health department is looking for records. But urban development minister Asok Bhattacharya regretted that documentation of the treatment was not immediately available.
At Thursday’s meeting, health officials decided to issue a formal appeal to the people. “We have not yet found a single case of SARS. There is no reason to panic,” Chowdhury said.