Aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Sunday ordered screening of passengers from four more countries- Nepal, Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia in order to further strengthen precautionary measures to avert entry of Novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
Now, fliers from as many as 10 countries would be screened at Indian airports. The move came after Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Guaba on Saturday chaired a high level meeting to review the status, actions taken and preparedness of States/UTs regarding management of Novel Coronavirus (COVID19).
Secretaries of Health and Family Welfare, Civil Aviation, Defence, Information & Broadcasting, DG AFMS and representatives from External Affairs, Home Affairs, Bureau of Immigration, Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and Army.
After a detailed review, in addition to the universal screening as per earlier advisories, universal screening at airports is now being planned for flights from Kathmandu, Indonesia, Vietnam and Malaysia, the officials had said.
“Also, in furtherance to the travel advisory issued earlier, citizens are advised to avoid all non-essential travel to Singapore," ministry of health and family welfare said in an official statement.
As on Saturday, 21,805 passengers have been brought under community surveillance. In addition, 3,97,152 flight passengers and 9,695 travellers at sea ports have been screened.
After the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared COVID-19 as global public health emergency, countries started restricted travel and reportedly trade as well. India has also been brooding over restricting export of some items including some medical items.
In response to a media query that India has prohibited the export of some medical items which are much needed in China the Official Spokesperson of Ministry of External Affairs Raveesh Kumar on Sunday said, “The precautions taken by India are in accordance with the WHO’s advisory about the outbreak of Corona virus infection, which is a global public health emergency. Some restrictions have been imposed on the export of certain medical equipment in view of the fact that these items are in short supply here too. Just like any other country, India with a billion plus population has the responsibility to take the necessary measures to combat the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak which if not properly managed can become a global risk."
However, responding to the needs of our Chinese friends, the Government had allowed a one time exemption for the export of some items which had been restricted for export, Kumar added.
Further, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had written to President Xi and offered assistance in the hour of need.
“In a humanitarian gesture of medical relief, a gift reflecting the solidarity of the people of India with the people of China, is expected to be delivered to Wuhan by a special flight. We have also called upon the Chinese authorities to allow Indian citizens and those of our neighbouring countries to return by the same flight. We hope that they will give it positive consideration," Raveesh Kumar.
According to the Johs Hopkins university’s live tracker of the disease at least 78,891 people remained affected with the virus mostly in China and over
2,467 have already died due to the coronavirus disease.