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Coronavirus: Govt . issues fresh travel advisory

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By PTI Updated: Feb 02, 2020 11:07 pm
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Indian nationals after they were brought by an Air India aircraft from China’s coronavirus-hit city of Wuhan, stand in a queue at a quarantine facility set up by ITBP, at Chhawla area in New Delhi on Sunday. (PTI)

New Delhi, Feb. 2 (PTI): The government on Sunday issued a new travel advisory asking people to refrain from travelling to China in view of coronavirus outbreak in its Hubei province and said travellers on return from the neighbouring country could be quarantined.

In its advisory, the Health Ministry also said anyone with travel history of China since January 15 could be quarantined.

The decision of issuing a new travel advisory was taken at a high-level review meeting held by the Cabinet Secretary on the preparedness to deal with novel coronavirus which has now spread to 25 countries.

Secretaries of Health, External Affairs, Home Affairs, Civil Aviation, Dept of Health Research, and representatives from ITBP, AFMS and NDMA attended the meeting.

As on Sunday, 58,658 passengers from 445 flights have been screened for nCoV symptom. A total of 142 symptomatic travellers picked up by the IDSP have been referred to the isolation facilities.

As many as 130 samples have been tested of which 128 have been found to be negative so far.

India has so far reported two positive cases of nCoV from Kerala.

“Two positive cases found in Kerala are being monitored and are clinically stable,” the health ministry said.

India temporarily suspends e-visa facility

India on Sunday temporarily suspended e-visa facility for Chinese travellers and foreigners residing in China in view of the coronavirus outbreak that has killed more than 300 people, infected over 14,000 others and spread to 25 countries.

“Due to certain current developments, travel to India on e-visas stands temporarily suspended with immediate effect,” the Indian Embassy here announced.

This applies to holders of Chinese passports and applicants of other nationalities residing in the People’s Republic of China. Holders of already issued e-visas may note that these are no longer valid,” it said.

All those who have a compelling reason to visit India may contact the Embassy of India in Beijing or the Indian consulates in Shanghai or Guangzhou, as well as the Indian Visa Application Centres in these cities,” it said.

India has evacuated 647 Indians and seven Maldivian citizens by special flights from coronavirus-hit Wuhan city.

Air India’s jumbo B747 made two flights to Wuhan city – the ground zero of the coronavirus epidemic. In the first flight on Saturday, 324 Indians were evacuated and on Sunday another 323 Indians and seven Maldivian citizens were flown back.

The e-visa facility for Chinese nationals was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to China in 2015 as a confidence building measure as well as an attempt to ease visa restrictions to attract more Chinese tourists.

India airlifts 323 more citizens, 7 Maldivians from China’s virus-hit Wuhan

India on Sunday airlifted a second batch of 323 stranded Indians and seven Maldivian citizens from China’s coronavirus-hit Wuhan city, taking the total number of people evacuated to 654, Indian officials said.

Air India’s jumbo B747 made two flights to Wuhan city – the ground zero of the coronavirus epidemic that has killed more than 300 people, infected 14,380 others and spread to 25 countries, including India, the US and the UK.

In the first flight on early Saturday, 324 Indians were evacuated and on Sunday another 323 Indians and seven Maldivian citizens were flown back.

Four Indians could not board the second flight after they reported high temperatures, Misri told PTI.

Officials said that six Indians could not board the first flight as they were stopped by the Chinese immigration officials after they reported high temperature.

They may be quarantined to undergo tests to determine whether they have symptoms of the coronavirus, officials said.

Twenty-five others stayed back, Misri said, adding that there may still be about 100 Indians who remained in Hubei province for which Wuhan is the provincial capital – the city where the virus first emerged in late December.

Ahead of the evacuation, the Indian Embassy had informed its stranded citizens that they have to undergo health tests before boarding the flight and also undergo a 14-day quarantine in special camps after reaching India.

Misri said that it was one of the most complex operations for the Indian officials as the entire evacuation process had to be conducted in Wuhan and Hubei province, which were under total lock down with all transportation including private vehicles banned as part of measures to curb the virus.

The entire operation needed to be conducted about 500-km away, he said.

Indian diplomats Deepak Padmakumar and M Balakrishnan were on the ground to coordinate evacuation operations with the Chinese, he said.

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By PTI Updated: Feb 02, 2020 11:07:26 pm