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CORONAVIRUS SCARE: 13 Italian tourists on Amritsar visit sent to Delhi

Move taken after they refused to stay in quarantine for 14 days in a city hospital; none diganosed with deadly virus symptoms
By HT Correspondent | Hindustan Times, Amritsar, Amritsar
PUBLISHED ON MAR 06, 2020 10:50 PM IST

Thirteen Italian tourists, who checked into a hotel near the Golden Temple in Amritsar on Thursday, were sent to the national capital on Friday by the local administration and health department teams after they were kept in isolation overnight for fear of being possibly infected with coronavirus.

The tourists, who landed at the Delhi international airport on February 28, reached Amritsar after having visited Hyderabad, Allahabad, Chandigarh and Haridwar.

They decision to send them outside Punjab was taken after they refused to stay in quarantine for 14 days in an Amritsar hospital, officials said. The Italian nationals will fly back to their country from Delhi, they added.

The Indian government has imposed travel restrictions on people from high-risk coronavirus nations like Italy, Iran and South Korea, besides screening travelers from China and Japan.

Civil surgeon Dr Prabhdeep Kaur Johal said, “We received information that the tourists are moving around the hotel without wearing masks. Since they were from a high-risk country affected by coronavirus, we decided to conduct their screening and medical test. Teams of the district administration and health department sealed the hotel and restricted the exit of all the tourists from their rooms.”

“But none of them was diagnosed with any of the coronavirus symptoms. As a precaution measure, we asked them to stay quarantine for 14 days in an Amritsar hospital, but they refused to do so,” Dr Johal added.

She had earlier said they received communication from the department that the tourists were Iranian. However, they were found to be from Italy after officials verified with them in the hotel.

Sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) Vikas Hira said the tourists were came to Amritsar from Haridwar and were to stay in the city till Friday.

At least 31 people, including 16 Italian nationals, have been infected with COVID-19 in India so far.

(With agency inputs)

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