- Number of people infected in India over 70
- All tourist visas suspended until April 15
- "Say no to panic, say yes to precautions": PM Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today tweeted no ministers in his government will go abroad in order to minimise the risk of being infected with the highly contagious novel coronavirus or COVID-19.
"Say No to Panic, Say Yes to Precautions. No Minister of the Central Government will travel abroad in the upcoming days. I urge our countrymen to also avoid non-essential travel. We can break the chain of spread and ensure safety of all by avoiding large gatherings," PM Modi tweeted.
"The Government is fully vigilant about the situation due to COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus. Across ministries & states, multiple steps have been proactively taken to ensure safety of all. These steps are wide-ranging, from suspension of Visas to augmenting healthcare capacities," he tweeted.
Say No to Panic, Say Yes to Precautions.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 12, 2020
No Minister of the Central Government will travel abroad in the upcoming days. I urge our countrymen to also avoid non-essential travel.
We can break the chain of spread and ensure safety of all by avoiding large gatherings.
The number of people infected with coronavirus in India has climbed to 73, the most being in Kerala at 17. The government has suspended all tourist visas until April 15 and said it would quarantine travellers arriving from seven virus-hit countries as it attempts to contain the spread of the new coronavirus. Diplomatic visas and visas for international organisations, employment and projects are exempt.
The move comes as the World Health Organisation declared the outbreak a pandemic.
While the majority of COVID-19 cases have been in China, the number of new infections has steadied there. Hotspots, however, have emerged in Italy, Iran and Spain.
All travellers, including Indian nationals, "arriving from or having visited China, Italy, Iran, Republic of Korea, France, Spain and Germany after February 15 will be quarantined for a minimum period of 14 days," the government said in a statement on Wednesday.
The number of COVID-19 cases in India has doubled to 73 in the past four days, increasing public fear and the government's state of alert. Many of the cases have been blamed on Indians who have travelled or worked in badly hit countries in Europe and the Middle East.
The visa decision was reached following a meeting of ministers led by Health Minister Harsh Vardhan. The government also "strongly advised" Indians against non-essential foreign travel, warning that they can be subjected "to quarantine for a minimum of 14 days."
Visa-free travel granted to Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) card holders -- some three million people, not nationals but from ethnic Indian families living abroad -- was put on hold until April 15.
With inputs from AFP