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Wed 4 Mar 2020 02:12 PM

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India puts all arriving international passengers under COVID-19 watch

Total number of confirmed coronavirus infection cases in India has jumped to 20

India puts all arriving international passengers under COVID-19 watch
Man uses a thermographic camera to screen the head of people at Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport in Kolkata. Image: Ministry of Civil Aviation/AFP

India has announced a slew of additional measures including mandatory submission of self declaration forms for all passengers arriving by international flights in India  and export restrictions on certain essential active pharmaceuticals amid concerns over the new coronavirus.

India has also suspended all regular visas and e-visas issued to nationals of Italy, Iran, South Korea, and Japan issued on or before March 3, in addition to the earlier visa cancellation to Chinese nationals.

The federal health ministry convened a high level meeting in Delhi on Wednesday to deliberate on various steps required to taken to contain the spread of the virus, as also to assess the readiness of hospitals and other infrastructure to deal with the emerging situation.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also held a review meeting to monitor the situation.

The total number of confirmed coronavirus infection cases in India jumped to 20 on Wednesday, according to federal health ministry officials. This includes 14 Italians who were part of the tour group in which one of them has been tested positive for the infection in Jaipur on Monday, and were quarantined at a facility on the outskirts of Delhi-NCR.

Another 5 suspected cases are reported from Agra in Uttar Pradesh.

As many as 459 passengers of the Italian luxury cruise ship 'Costa Victoria', which was docked in Kochi, were screened for respiratory symptoms and fever on Wednesday.

COVID-19 has also hit Indian corporate sector, with companies such as Tata Motors deciding to scale down production due to disruption in its supply chain, while some of the mobile set companies including Chinese Xiaomi and Realmi have called off their new launch plans in Delhi.

The fear of COVID-19 is also said to have led to shortage of masks and hand sanitisers in medical stores across various cities in India.

Governor of India’s central bank and Prime Minister Modi on Tuesday have sought to assuage concerns of the banking and financial markets, as also the Indian industry over the possible economic impacts of COVID-19.

Reserve Bank of India governor Shaktikanta Das has said the central bank stands ready to take appropriate actions to ensure orderly functioning of financial markets and preserve financial stability.

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