Qatar has temporarily banned the imports of fresh, chilled and frozen vegetables and fruits from Kerala and urged Qataris and expatriates to avoid unnecessary travel to the southern Indian state until a Nipah virus outbreak stabilises.
The measures were announced on Friday in a statement by the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH), which explained it has taken a number of precautionary measures in co-operation with the entities concerned in Qatar regarding the Nipah Virus cases in Kozhikode and Malappuram districts of Kerala.
The MoPH has maintained strict control and surveillance at the various ports of entry to Qatar and urged residents not to travel to Kerala unless it is unavoidable until the spread of the disease is contained.
In addition, the MoPH has called on all travelers from Kerala to visit the nearest health centre or hospital immediately if they have any fever symptoms within six weeks of reaching Qatar.
The decision on the temporary ban on fruit and vegetable import from the southern Indian state was taken by the Joint Committee for Human Food Control until the Nipah virus situation stabilises.
The decision is part of the precautionary measures followed by the Committee in this regard and based on the recommendations of the World Health Organisation, which also stipulates that fruits should be washed and peeled before consumption.
The MoPH has also issued a circular to all the communication officers at all the hospitals and health centres across Qatar on the standard definition of the suspected cases and the mechanism of dealing with them in accordance with the guidelines for fighting infection to guarantee a speedy report of any suspected case.
The team concerned at the MoPH will receive related reports round-the-clock on its hotlines: 66740948 and 66740951.
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