‘Stay put wherever you are’: Govt advises Indian nationals in coronavirus hotspots

India has announced unprecedented steps to check the spread of coronavirus. It has virtually shut the country off to foreign tourists by suspending almost all visas till April 15.
A passenger wearing a face mask as a prevention against Covid-19 travels with others in a local train in Mumbai, on Thursday.(AP Photo)
A passenger wearing a face mask as a prevention against Covid-19 travels with others in a local train in Mumbai, on Thursday.(AP Photo)
Updated on Mar 12, 2020 05:19 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByHT Correspondent

The Indian government has asked its nationals to stay put wherever they are, as the country announced stringenet measures to curb the spread of coronavirus disease Covid-19.

“We advise to Indians - wherever they are, it is better to stay put,” said Dammu Ravi, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “They should travel only if they have compelling reasons,” he added.

Foreign ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar, meanwhile, said that India has received requests from Bhutan, Maldives, Iran and China for assistance such as medical equipment. “Some equipment sent to China, other requests are being considered,” he said.

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India, which has been announcing travel restrictions and other measures over the last few days, virtually shut itself to tourists on Wednesday after it put in place stringent visa restrictions. It suspended almost all the visas for entering to India till April 15. The decision, announced on Wednesday, was part of extraordinary new measures taken by the government to stave off Covid-19 pandemic, including invoking laws that give the federal administration powers over states to manage containment efforts.

“There has been 40 per cent reduction in the number of Indians returning to India in the past few days,” Raveesh Kumar said.

Talking about Italy, one of the coronavirus hotspots, the MEA officials said that a lot of Indian students who have completed courses want to come back. “But if they can, we would advise them to stay put,” said Ravi.

Earlier in the day, foreign minister S Jaishankar had said that Italy is an area of concern for the government.

“I would like to share with the Hon’ble Members that steps in this regard have already been initiated. It has been decided to make provision for testing primarily for students/compassionate cases in Italy and collect samples for testing. A medical team is being sent there from India. Those tested negative will be allowed to travel and will be quarantined on arrival in India for 14 days,” Jaishankar said.

Coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan city of China, has now spread to more than 90 countries and has killed over 3,300 people worldwide. The countries like South Korea and Italy have recorded the maximum number of cases of deadly virus, besides China.

The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases across India, including foreign nationals, has gone up to 73. Out of these 73 people, 56 are Indian citizens. With 17 coronavirus positive cases, the maximum number of cases in the country has been reported from Kerala.

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Monday, January 24, 2022