Stricter visa, travel rules; 58 evacuees from Iran brought back
GN Bureau | March 11, 2020
Indian authorities have been making all attempts to contain the spread of COVID-19, with the number of confirmed cases reaching 50.
After the 44 positive cases declared Monday, on Tuesday three positive cases were reported from Bengaluru (with travel history from the US via Dubai), one more from Bengaluru with travel history from the US via Heathrow, and two positive cases from Pune (with travel history from Dubai). Three of the total cases – earlier patients from Kerala – have been discharged.
Of the 50 cases, 34 are Indian nationals and 16 are Italians. Meanwhile, there was speculation about two deaths reported from Murshidabad and Ladakh Monday, but both were found to be negative for COVID-19, an official release said.
More than 1,400 contacts have been put under surveillance for these positive cases till date. Also, 404 Indian contacts of the US citizen tested positive for COVID-19 in Bhutan have been identified and put under surveillance in Assam.
The cabinet secretary on Tuesday held a meeting with the secretaries of the concerned ministries and departments to review the status, actions, preparedness and management of COVID-19 cases in the country.
An advisory was issued for all incoming international passengers retuning to India to self-monitor their health and follow the recommended Dos and Don’ts, since more than 100 countries across the world now have reported cases of COVID-19 and travellers to these countries, or any person having travelled abroad, might possibly have come in contact with people affected with COVID-19 during their stay there or even while in transit at airports.
The advisory also calls for passengers with travel history to China, Hong Kong, Republic of Korea, Japan, Italy, Thailand, Singapore, Iran, Malaysia, France, Spain and Germany to undergo self-imposed quarantine for a period of 14 days from the date of their arrival, and their employers to facilitate work-from-home for such employees during this period.
With respect to restrictions on visa, besides the already issued instructions, all regular visas (including e visas) which have been granted to nationals of France, Germany and Spain on or before March 11 and where these foreigners have not yet entered India stand suspended. Regular visas (including e visas) granted to all foreign nationals who have travel history to these countries on or after February 1 and who have not yet entered India also stands suspended. Visas of all foreigners already in India remain valid and they may contact the nearest FRRO/FRO through e-FRRO module for extension/conversion etc of their visa or grant of any consular service, if they choose to do so. A notification to this effect is being issued by the Bureau of Immigration (BOI).
Further, in continuation of already issued advisories on travel to India citizens, India citizens are strongly advised to refrain from travelling to France, Spain and Germany.
The first batch of 58 evacuees from Iran arrived today with 25 men, 31 women and two children on board. All the evacuees are monitored and clinically stable presently.
Meanwhile, union health & family welfare minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan on Tuesday called up the health ministers of Delhi, Haryana, Kerala, Telangana, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Punjab, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh as well as Lt. Governors of Ladakh, and Jammu & Kashmir to ascertain the health status of the COVID-19 affected patients kept in isolation centres in hospitals.
While monitoring the COVID-19 situation from his office, Dr. Harsh Vardhan also spoke to a few patients through video calls to enquire about their health and their satisfaction with the treatment being given at the isolation wards. While speaking to the patients, he conveyed that though he wanted to visit them personally, he was dissuaded by the hospital authorities for the visit as they felt that such a visit may hinder regular treatment arrangements for the patients. He also extended Holi greetings to them.
He lauded the efforts being made by the states and stated that with consistent and coordinated efforts of the central government and the states/ UTs, valuable lives of not only Indians but also foreign nationals visiting India, have been taken care off. Dr. Harsh Vardhan exhorted the health ministers and LGs to continue keeping a close watch on the status of patients as well as the emerging situation.
He also urged them to spread awareness about COVID-19 amongst the general public and persuade them to avoid crowded gatherings as well as follow basic principles of personal hygiene and prevention that have been widely propagated by the government of India in its various advisories through all means of communication. He assured full support to the state health ministers and the LGs about taking care of any urgent requirement of the States/UTs to combat the spread of the disease.
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