Dubai: Two private schools in Noida were shut on Tuesday, hotel staff placed under quarantine and visa rules revised as India stepped up measures to fight the spread of coronavirus.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a review of the country’s preparedness and urged the people not to panic and instead take basic protective measures. The Civil Aviation Ministry too conducted a meeting with all airports to review and update guidelines.
On Tuesday, the Hyatt Regency Delhi asked its staff to be under self-quarantine for 14 days after a person who dined at their La Piazza restaurant last week was diagnosed with coronavirus, agencies reported. The restaurant also started conducting temperature checks for all colleagues and contractors entering and exiting the building.
Two private schools in Noida were shut on Tuesday and several people, including family members of the Delhi man who tested positive for the virus, quarantined as authorities stepped up prevention efforts.
One of the schools, where the Delhi man’s son is a student in a primary class, said it would remain shut from March 4 to March 6, while the other said it would be closed till Saturday. The man had thrown a birthday party last week for the child, triggering fears that those who attended it, including some students and his relatives, might be at risk.
Samples from five students from the school have been taken to check if anyone has been infected, Noida’s Chief Medical Officer Anurag Bhargava said.
The other patient who tested positive for the coronavirus infection, a 24-year-old techie, is admitted in Hyderabad and had recently travelled to Dubai and Bengaluru. Karnataka Health Minister B. Sriramulu said that a medical team is monitoring the health condition of all the people who had come in contact with the software engineer. Out of 88 people who came into contact with him, 45 were admitted to government-run Gandhi Hospital, Telangana Health Minister Etela Rajender said. He said samples from these people were collected and the results were awaited.
Officials said the sample of an Italian tourist in Jaipur which was sent to National Institute of Virology, Pune was found to be positive after the first two tests gave contradictory results. The 69-year-old man, part of a group of 20 tourists, is admitted at an isolation ward of the SMS Hospital, PTI reported.
With this, six cases of Covid-19 have been reported in the country so far.
IndiGo crew members placed in home observation
Four IndiGo crew members, who were on a Dubai-Bengaluru flight on February 20 with the coronavirus-infected Hyderabad resident, have been under home observation since March 2, the airline said on Tuesday.
Air India confirms passenger had coronavirus
Air India on Tuesday confirmed that a passenger who flew on a Vienna-Delhi flight on February 25 has tested positive for coronavirus.
“This is for the attention of passengers who flew on AI154 Vienna-Delhi of 25th Feb 20. One of the passengers has tested positive for #coronavirus. Please follow the protocol notified by the Ministry of Health regarding Corona Virus,” Air India tweeted.
Revised visa rules
The Union Health Ministry on Tuesday said all regular visas/e-visas granted on or before March 3 to nationals of Italy, Iran, South Korea, Japan, who have not yet entered India, stand suspended in view of the emerging global scenarios regarding Covid-19.
Visa on arrival (VoA) issued on or before March 3 to Japanese and South Korean nationals, who have not yet entered India, have also been suspended.
It also said diplomats, officials of the UN and other international bodies, OCI cardholders and aircrew from the above countries are exempted from such restriction on entry. However, their medical screening is compulsory.
“Passengers (foreign and Indian) other than those restricted, arriving directly or indirectly from China, South Korea, Japan, Iran, Italy, Hong Kong, Macau, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Nepal, Thailand, Singapore and Taiwan must undergo medical screening at port of entry,” it said.
It asked all Indian citizens to refrain from travel to China, Iran, South Korea, Italy and asked them to avoid non-essential travel to other Covid-19 affected countries.
Maritime exercise postponed
The Indian Navy has postponed its biggest multilateral naval exercise - Milan 2020 - in the Indian Ocean which was scheduled to be held from March 19 to March 28. An Indian Navy officer said the decision was taken after the outbreak of the virus outside China.
India, the world’s main supplier of generic drugs, has restricted the export of 26 pharmaceutical ingredients and the medicines made from them, including paracetamol, as the coronavirus outbreak plays havoc with supply chains, Reuters said.
Indian drugmakers rely on China, the source of the virus outbreak, for almost 70 per cent of the active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) for their medicines. Industry experts say they are likely to face shortages if the epidemic drags on.
Railways dedicates ward
The Indian Railways has dedicated a ward specially for clinically suspected cases at the Northern Railway Central Hospital in the national capital.
“One dedicated ward for clinically suspected cases has been established at Northern Railway Central Hospital New Delhi with personnel protective disposable dress for both paramedics and patients,” Northern Railway spokesperson Deepak Kumar said.
- with inputs from agencies