With India reporting at least six confirmed cases of coronavirus, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday reviewed the country’s preparedness to deal with the virus, while the Union health ministry issued a travel advisory suspending all regular and e-visas granted on or before March 3 to nationals of four countries.
“Had an extensive review regarding preparedness on the COVID-19 novel coronavirus. Different ministries and states are working together, from screening people arriving in India to providing prompt medical attention,” Modi said in a tweet.
In view of the emerging global scenarios regarding COVID19, the government issued the new advisory suspending all visas granted on or before March 3 to the nationals of Italy, Iran, South Korea, and Japan who have not yet entered India.
The advisory also suspended visas on arrival issued on or before March 3 to Japanese and South Korean nationals who have not yet entered India. Those requiring to travel to India due to compelling reasons may seek fresh visa from nearest Indian embassy/consulate, said the advisory.
Hotels and the authorities at tourist sites in Agra have been told to inform the office of the chief medical officer as soon as visitors from Italy, Iran, or China arrive so that they can be screened for coronavirus infection, an official said. The instruction came a day after an Italian tourist was tested positive for coronavirus in Jaipur. The 69-year-old man was part of a group of 20 tourists who were in Agra on Sunday.
Meanwhile, two private schools in Noida cancelled classes on Tuesday for the next few days as a precautionary measure after the father of a student tested positive for coronavirus, officials said.
One of the schools, where a student's father tested positive, said it would remain shut from March 4 to March 6. Earlier in the day, the school said it was postponing internal examinations scheduled for Tuesday due to some "unavoidable circumstances".
The board exams are not affected, the messages sent to the parents made clear.
The second school said it was suspending classes immediately till March 9 and sanitising its campus. Fumigation was underway at both schools.
Some family members of the Delhi-based man, who has tested positive for the coronavirus, have been shifted to Safdarjung Hospital for tests after they showed symptoms of the virus, health ministry sources said. Some other relatives were asked to remain quarantined at their homes only, the sources added.
The Delhi government said it was taking all possible steps to deal with coronavirus and was trying to get in touch with those who could be infected or were in contact with the infected man.
Addressing a press conference, Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain, flanked by Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, said: "COVID-19 is a new infection, but there is no need to panic.
We are taking all possible steps to keep Delhi safe. Isolation wards being readied in 25 hospitals, including 19 government and six private hospitals.