As India's week-long ban on international commercial flights comes into effect on March 22, the Indian Embassy in the US has advised its nationals to stay safe and isolated to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.
A total of 230 people have died in the US due to the fast-spreading coronavirus pandemic by Friday evening. The number of confirmed cases has jumped to over 18,000. Coronavirus cases have been reported in all the 50 States in the US and District of Columbia as well as Puerto Rico.
According to the Johns Hopkins coronavirus tracker, the death toll from the virus globally has risen to 11,397 with more than 275,427 cases reported in over 160 countries and territories.
In its first COVID-19 advisory for Indian nationals in the US, the embassy on Friday urged them to stay safe and isolate themselves within their residential premises and follow the advisories updated on the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
Please follow social distancing norms and avoid any non-essential local travel. Approach the local health department officials in case you or your family member(s) experience any of the symptoms mentioned in the CDC website, the embassy said.
For extension of visa in the US during this restriction period, please refer to the website of US Citizenship and Immigration Services, it said.
The Indian embassy here and its diplomatic missions in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Houston, and Atlanta have been running a round-the-clock helpline service for its citizens, Indian students and those who had plans to travel to India.
Our Embassy and Consulates continue to function subject to local regulations. Our 24X7 helplines remain available. We stand together with you to face this challenge, Indian Ambassador to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu, said in a tweet.
All Indian nationals in the United States are requested to pay attention to and observe health advisories of local authorities in response to COVID-19. This is essential for the well-being of everyone, Sandhu said.
The Indian embassy, he said, has been in regular touch with Indian students and nationals as well as university and US authorities.
All nationals are requested to follow advisories; avoid non-essential travel and observe social distancing, he tweeted.
Please keep in mind that your actions will impact the well-being of your family members and fellow citizens. Our 24X7 helplines are active to assist you, he said.
The advisory was issued after US universities have taken measures to shut down the on-campus operations in a bid to contain the spread of coronavirus.
The embassy said that if a university has asked students to vacate, the people should contact the varsity administration to check whether they can continue to stay in on-campus housing.
"If your university is shutting down on-campus services, check with your university on how to avail your university's health services, student health insurance, international student services, and any other essential service(s) that may be impacted," the mission said.
Indian Embassy asks US to address Indian students' concern amid virus scare
The Indian Embassy has urged to the US government to mitigate the difficulties of the Indian students that they are facing in the wake of the closure of universities and educational institutions due to the fast spread of the deadly coronavirus.
More than 2,00,000 Indian students are enrolled in various academic institutions, mostly in science, medical and technology streams. Over 300 top American universities and colleges have shut down the campuses, moved classes online, and asked students to leave the hostel accommodation.
The Indian Embassy and its five consulates in its advisory urged Indian students to avoid all non-essential domestic or international travel.
"This is an unprecedented situation, but we can successfully manage it by taking decisions with a calm mind. Please take prudent health precautions and carefully review information and travel advisories," it said.
"As of 18 March 2020, if you are planning travel from the US to India, then you will be subject to medical screening upon arrival and you may be put in quarantine at a government-earmarked facility for a minimum of 14 days if required," the advisory added