India on alert as two fresh coronavirus cases detected

India on alert as two fresh coronavirus cases detected

New Delhi: Two fresh novel coronavirus cases have been detected in India while the sample of an Italian tourist, suspected to have contracted the disease, is being tested for COVID-19 as the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare strengthened precautionary measures across the country.

“One positive case of COVID-19 has been detected in New Delhi, and one has been detected in Telangana. The person from Delhi has a travel history from Italy, while the one from Telangana has a travel history from Dubai…Both the patients are stable and being closely monitored,” the Ministry said in a statement.

All visas (regular and e-visas) issued to nationals of Italy, Iran, South Korea and Japan on or before Tuesday have been suspended. They may not enter India from air, land or seaport. Those requiring to travel to India due to compelling reasons, may seek fresh visa from nearest Indian Embassy/Consulate,” the government said in a statement.

An urgent meeting of the high-level Group of Ministers (GoM) was held under the chairpersonship of Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan to take stock of the situation and to analyse preparedness in case of an emergency situation.

“Indian citizens need to avoid non-essential travel to Singapore, Republic of Korea, Iran and Italy. People coming from Republic of Korea, Iran and Italy or having such travel history since February 10 may be quarantined for 14 days on arrival to India. We are monitoring the evolving global scenario. Restrictions may be further extended to other countries, as per the situation,” he told reporters.

Universal screening is being done for travellers from 12 countries for all flights from China, Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Malaysia, Nepal, Indonesia, Iran and Italy at the earmarked aero-bridges. Passengers are being screened at 21 airports, 12 major seaports and 65 minor seaports and land crossings particularly bordering Nepal, he said.

The ministry’s helpline number for any queries on COVID-19 is 011-23978046. People can also mail to ncov2019@gmail.com.

Earlier the Italian tourist, who had arrived in Jodhpur in Rajasthan, initially tested negative for the virus but a second test came out positive. He is under treatment at a hospital in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, and his samples have been sent to Pune National Institute of Virology (NIV) for final testing. Nearly 15 doctors and supporting staff who treated him initially will also be tested, authorities said.

With this, the total cases reported in the country have become six. The initial three cases were reported in the southern state of Kerala. All the three were completely cured of the disease and discharged from hospital.

The global death toll due to COVID-19 surpassed 3000 even as the virus infected more than 89, 000 people since it emerged in December.

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