The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, on Saturday said that the Central Government is coordinating with the state governments in controlling the swine flu situation, and added that there is no need for panic or disrupt daily life.
Addressing the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort for the sixth consecutive year on the occasion of the country's 63rd Independence Day, Dr. Singh said some parts of India are facing increased cases of swine flu, but there was no need to panic.
"The Centre is working with the state governments to control the situation," he said, adding that the government had decided to issue new guidelines for diagnosis and treatment of suspected patients to calm fear among the people.
The Prime Minister's reassuring message on the health front came as the nation-wide Swine Flu toll rose to 26.
Swine flu claimed four more lives on Friday, two of them in Chhattisgarh (Raipur and Bilaspur) and one each in Pune and Bangalore.
Seventy-year-old Parubhai Shinde died in Pune, while 18-year-old youth Sitaram Varma died in Raipur. A 40-year-old CRPF constable succumbed to the flu in Bilaspur, while 55-year-old man Shivanna died in Bangalore.
Shivanna, who was the second person to die from the infection in Karnataka, had been admitted to Wockhart Hospital on August 12, and died on Friday morning, health officials said.
Shinde, who was admitted to a hospital in Pune four days ago following high fever and other symptoms of swine flu, died late last night, health officials said. The swine flu death toll in Pune has now risen to 15.
Varma was the first fatality in Chhattisgarh, while CRPF constable Y S Rao, who had recently been to Mumbai, died in Bilaspur on Friday.
Besides the deaths in Pune, one person each has died due to the viral infection in Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Nashik, Thiruvananthapuram, Chennai, Bangalore, Raipur and Bilaspur and two in Mumbai.
The deaths came as the Union Health Ministry issued revised guidelines on Friday specifying screening and testing module for the patients to contain the disease in the country.
The guidelines were finalised at a high-level meeting chaired by the Health Minister, Ghulam Nabi Azad in connection with the various actions taken by the government for containment and mitigation of H1N1 cases across the country.
As per guidelines, all individuals seeking consultations for flu-like symptoms would be screened at healthcare facilities-both government and private-or examined by a doctor and will be categorized under three categories, depending on their health status, as per an official release in New Delhi.
They will be given treatment and isolated as specified in the guidelines.
During the meeting, the Health Minister also discussed various guidelines and protocols developed by the World Health Organization in Geneva, Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, Atlanta, USA and National Health Service, United Kingdom.