Amid rising coronavirus cases in India, the government on Friday decided to screen all passengers coming from the US, Australia, and UK at 30 designated airports and also assess their risk profile for either quarantine or isolation.
The Union Health Ministry has shot off a letter in this regard to all chief secretaries, airport health organisations and officers concerned saying universal screening is being expanded "in view of local transmission of the disease, increase in the number of cases and deaths being reported in Australia, UK, and USA".
Passengers arriving from 12 countries including China, South Korea, Japan, Italy, Iran, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Nepal, and Indonesia are already being screened.
Coronavirus cases in India rose to 223 on Friday after 50 more people were infected with the fast-spreading virus in various parts of the country, according to health ministry data.
Among those found positive for coronavirus are 32 foreign nationals, including 17 from Italy, three from the Philippines, two from the UK, one each belonging to Canada, Indonesia, and Singapore.
The figure also includes four deaths -- one each from Delhi, Karnataka, Punjab, and Maharashtra.
"The total number of active COVID-19 cases across India stands at 196 so far," the ministry said, adding that 23 others have been cured/discharged/migrated while four have died.
Delhi has so far reported 17 positive cases, which includes one foreigner, while Uttar Pradesh has recorded 23 cases, including one foreigner.
Maharashtra has 52 cases, including three foreigners, Kerala has recorded 28 cases which include two foreign nationals and Karnataka has 15 coronavirus patients.
The number of cases in Ladakh is 10 and four in Jammu and Kashmir.
Telangana has reported 17 cases, which includes nine foreigners.
Rajasthan has reported 17 cases, including two foreigners. Gujarat has reported five cases so far.
Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Uttarakhand have reported three cases each.
West Bengal, Odisha, and Punjab each reported two cases while Puducherry, Chhattisgarh, and Chandigarh reported one case each. In Haryana, there are 17 cases, which includes 14 foreigners.