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India quarantines the world for a month to fight coronavirus | India News

NEW DELHI: With the rapid spread of Covid-19 on all continents, and the WHO formally labeling the disease a pandemic, on Wednesday night the government decided to quarantine virtually the rest of the world, suspending all visas except for issued to diplomats, official, international UN organizations, employment and projects until April 15.

The exception to the suspension indicates that the staff of agencies such as the WHO or the UN and those considered important to Indian companies or government projects are distinguished from tourists and other travelers. Visa-free travel facilities for Indian Citizens Abroad cardholders will be suspended until the same date and a foreign citizen wishing to travel to India must indicate a compelling reason for an Indian mission.

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The decisions were announced after a group of ministers led by Health Minister Harsh Vardhan met to review and assess the situation of Covid-19 at home and abroad. Although the numbers in India are gradually increasing, the spread of the virus to more than 100 countries spurred the government’s decision to go for a “nuclear” response to the threat by significantly isolating India.

“This will take effect from 1200 GMT on March 13 at the port of departure,” said the new notice, as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in India reached 60 on Wednesday with 10 new cases, eight of Kerala and one from Rajasthan and Delhi. On Tuesday, the Health Ministry confirmed six new cases after 44 positive cases were officially declared on Monday.

The six new cases on Tuesday included three positive cases from Bangalore (with a history of travel from the US through Dubai), another from Bangalore with a history of travel from the US. UU. Through Heathrow and two positive cases from Pune (travel history from Dubai). More than 1,400 contacts have been monitored for these positive cases. In addition, 404 Indian contacts of the US citizen who tested positive for Covid-19 in Bhutan were identified and placed under surveillance in Assam.

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The main decision to suspend the visas, in addition to those notified so far, aims to protect Indian citizens by avoiding the importation of infected cases from outside the country, the main source of infection so far. The GoM met twice on Wednesday to review the status of the spread of the infection and prevention and management actions. The decision, however, will affect air travel, conferences and tourism trade even though they have already been affected.

“The recommendations of the secretaries committee chaired by the cabinet secretary were placed before the GoM. After detailed deliberations on preventive measures, actions taken and preparation for Covid-19, the GoM made the decisions, ”said the health ministry.

The notice also said that all incoming travelers, including Indian nationals, arriving or visiting China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, France, Spain and Germany after February 15 will be quarantined for a minimum of 14 days. .

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Indian citizens are strongly advised to refrain from “all non-essential travel abroad” and upon return may be quarantined for a minimum of two weeks. International traffic across land borders will be restricted to designated checkpoints with robust inspection facilities. In addition to the travel notice, the GoM also decided that all states and UTs be advised to invoke the provisions of Section 2 of the Epidemic Diseases Act of 1897, so that all warnings issued by the ministry of health are applicable.

Under the Act, any person who disobeys any regulation or order shall be deemed to have committed a crime punishable under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code.

Meanwhile, 83 people, including a baby and nine Indian-born foreigners, who arrived in New Delhi on an Air India flight on Wednesday from Italy, were quarantined at Army facilities in Manesar for the 14-month precautionary period. days.

“They will be monitored by doctors to detect any infection. After 14 days, those without symptoms will be able to go home with their detailed documentation sent to the district, to state surveillance units for further observation. The infected people will be transferred to the isolation room of Safdarjung Hospital, “said an official.

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