Flyers from abroad to be tracked in Jharkhand
The Jharkhand government has ordered district-level rapid response teams be formed to track people with overseas travel history after taking the experiences of Bengal and Odisha into account in view of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Principal health secretary Nitin Madan Kulkarni ordered all deputy commissioners in 24 districts to form rapid response teams at blocks to ensure visitors with overseas travel history were abiding by the 14-day home-quarantine rule.
Under the Jharkhand State Epidemic Disease (Covid-19) Regulations, 2020, any person violating it will be eligible for a fine of Rs 1,000 or imprisonment up to six months or both. Also, the person will be immediately sent to the nearest quarantine centre.
The urgency comes from cases in Odisha and Bengal. A youth with overseas travel history from Bhubaneswar had flouted quarantine rules from Delhi airport and travelled on a train from Delhi to Bhubaneswar where he later developed novel coronavirus symptoms.
In Bengal, a student from Calcutta with travel history to the UK flouted the home-quarantine advice, went out and met people. The youth, during the screening at Calcutta airport, displayed no symptoms of the infection, but later was also found to have Covid-19.
Dr Praveen Kumar Karn, Jharkhand state epidemiologist, said a directive had been sent to all DCs to constitute rapid response teams at blocks.
“The teams will track those who come to a place with travel history abroad. We understand most visitors with a history of travel abroad must have undergone thermal screening at international airports (over 20 in the country) and also a quarantine period at those places for 14 days. But we are not taking any chances, especially after incidents in Odisha and Bengal,” said Karn.
The senior health official said that special powers had been given to the rapid response teams, each of which will be led by a magistrate rank officer under The Jharkhand State Epidemic Disease (Covid-19) Regulations, 2020.
“Each team with magistrate rank officers, block development officers and local cops will have the power to force a person with overseas travel history into a quarantine centre if he or she is found violating the 14-day home-quarantine rule and going to public places or meeting a large number of people at home,” said Dr Karn.
As per state health department, 533 beds at quarantine centres have been set up at various parts of Jharkhand in addition to isolation centres at medical colleges, district hospitals and several private hospitals.
Till March 19, reports of 50 samples have been found negative for novel coronavirus while results are awaited of five samples (two in RIMS, Ranchi and three in MGM Medical College Jamshedpur).
State surveillance officer Dr Rakesh Dayal said all get-togethers and mass gatherings have been postponed by the government till April 14. He advised children not to play outside. If they do, parents should strictly ensure they wash hands with medicated soap/hand washes at home.