The authorities at Calcutta airport and port have been put on high health alert to screen all new arrivals in the city. The government has decided to convene an urgent meeting at Medical College and Hospital on Thursday to draw up a plan of action to counter the SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) virus sweeping Southeast Asia.
Health officials from the Airports Authority of India, all chief medical officers of health, the director and officials from the School of Tropical Medicine (STM) and health department officials will sit together to chalk out the next course of action. “The virus is extremely dangerous and has a very short incubation period. We are, however, equipped to handle any case,” claimed STM acting director Joyshree Mitra.
The state government has also received data from the World Health Organisation (WHO) on measures to control the killer virus. Medical College and Hospital superintendent K.K. Adhikari said his medicine department is on alert to tackle cases of viral pneumonia.
A medical team at the city airport is screening all new arrivals. “We had isolated one person who had arrived from one of the affected cities, but we later learnt that he was not infected,” a medical officer said.
Port officials said they had detected a few bacterial pneumonia cases in the past few days, but did not find any trace of the dreaded virus. Each entrant is being thoroughly screened.