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The careful and the careless: The scene outside the H1N1 screening centre at Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital in New Delhi on Sunday.
NEW DELHI: Thirteen new cases of swine flu, including five children aged between three and nine, were reported in the Capital on Sunday, taking the total positive cases under treatment to 58. Of the 13 patients, 12 are reported to be human-to-human contact cases while a 31-year-old man had recently travelled to Singapore.
Delhi Health Minister Kiran Walia said: “So far 228 swine flu cases have been confirmed in Delhi, of which 23 are admitted in hospitals and 35 are under home quarantine. The remaining 170 have been discharged after being cured.”
“Allowing home quarantine has taken the load of mild cases from hospitals and we are monitoring the progress of these cases as the duration of treatment in home quarantine is five days. People are panicking because the symptoms of swine flu and common influenza are similar,” she added.
The Delhi Cabinet at a review meeting on Sunday decided to issue an advisory to all schools to take precautions and not close down.
Delhi Health Secretary J. P. Singh said: “While an advisory to take precautionary measures has been issued to all schools, no directions to close down schools have been issued. Individual schools are free to shut down if they deem it necessary after informing the Directorate of Education.”
Mr. Singh said the Cabinet expressed satisfaction with the facilities being provided to tackle the disease outbreak and that there was no need to rope in private hospitals for testing or treatment.
“We have a capacity of over 200 beds for swine flu patients across 14 government hospitals in the city and this capacity can be increased by another 200 beds within a notice of six hours. We also have 14 screening centres and 20 quick response teams to take care of people coming in contact with infected persons,” he added.
However, the Union Government’s announcement to empower two additional testing labs at the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences and the Patel Chest Institute for checking of samples is yet to be implemented.
“We are still awaiting more details on how these labs would be operationalised. They have been given the certification, but it is not clear whether patients would be required to approach these labs directly for testing or go through the National Institute for Communicable Diseases,” said Prof. Walia.
Meanwhile, Sanskriti School, where three students have tested positive for swine flu, will remain closed for a week and re-open on August 17.
Delhi Public School, East of Kailash, will also remain shut from Monday and reopen on August 17.
Sanskriti School Principal Abha Sehgal said: “One student of Class VIII who returned from Singapore but did not join the school has tested positive apart from two other students of Class IV and Class XI. As a precaution, we are keeping the school closed for a week. The school was also shut for a day last week to sanitise the environment.”
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