Coronavirus | Number of cases in India mounts to 31

A pedestrian wearing a face mask crosses a street in northern Tehran, Iran on March 1, 2020.   | Photo Credit: AP

After another man from Delhi with a travel history to Thailand and Malaysia tested positive, the total number of COVID-19 cases in India has climbed to 31, the Union Health Ministry said on Friday. “One suspected COVID-19 case has been confirmed as positive. He is stable and being monitored. The total number of confirmed cases in India now stands at 31. The contact list has been obtained and required follow-up action has been initiated as per protocol,” a Ministry official said.

According to a latest Ministry advisory, besides initiating universal medical screening of all international passengers irrespective of their nationality, it has also been advised that mass gatherings be avoided or postponed till COVID-19 is contained. All Ministries/ Department are also requested to exempt their employees to mark biometric attendance in Aadhaar Based Biometric Attendance System till March 31 and use attendance register as done prior to launch of biometric system.

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At a press conference on Friday, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Puri announced that government was in advanced stage of talks with the Iranian authorities to bring back Indians stranded there and send back the Iranian nationals from here. The first flight from Iran would bring around 300 swabs of Indians for testing. After this, those stranded would be allowed to come to India. 

The government had suspended flights to and from Iran in the wake of the outbreak. Three flights were operated by Iranian carriers each week to Delhi and Mumbai prior to the suspension.

“Korea, Iran, Italy are countries that have been severely affected by the outbreak. We are fully geared to screen passengers and also follow up cases. We now have the capacity to screen 70,000 passengers a day with minimal inconvenience or time delay to passengers,’’ Mr. Puri said.

DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) chief Arun Kumar said Iran’s Mahan Air would operate the flight to Delhi and carry Iranians back in the return flight. After its landing, it would be fumigated and disinfected through a process that would take 2-3 hours. Ground staff had been provided protective gear against the virus, he added.

COVID-19 | Centre exempts govt. employees from marking biometric attendance

Mr. Puri said, “Universal screening has started at all international airports in India to detect COVID-19 cases. Since January 18, 6.5 lakh passengers travelling in 6550 international flights have been cumulatively screened at 30 airports.”

In view of the outbreak -- Wings India 2020 aviation conference, which was scheduled for 12-15 March in Hyderabad with representatives from 100 countries expected to participate, would be massively truncated. Large public gatherings that were expected during the event would now not take place and instead they would be conducted through video- conferencing.


A missing Irish national, suspected of having been afflicted by coronavirus, was traced in a Bhubaneswar hotel on Friday morning. He would be kept in mandatory isolation in the hotel for 14 days as per the protocol, said the Bhubaneswar-based Capital Hospital Director Dr Ashok Patnaik. The businessman from Ireland on a business trip to India since February 26 was staying in a hotel in Bhubaneswar and on Thursday, he went to the Capital Hospital along with a local business associate for a check-up and advice after having mild fever and running nose for two days.

COVID-19 | Armed forces issue instructions to personnel

Positive case in Bhutan

A 76-year-old tourist from the United States has tested positive for COVID-19 in Bhutan, alarming Assam where he had spent a considerable time before visiting the Himalayan country. Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said the government would trace all the places the tourist had been to as well as the people he might have been in close contact with. “We are following all precautionary measures according to the Centre’s notice,” he added. 

5 more Army camps

The Army, as part of the national effort against COVID-19, would set up five quarantine camps across the country with facilities to house 250 people in each of them. The tentative locations identified are Jaisalmer, Suratgarh, Secundrabad, Chennai and Kolkata, Army sources said.

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2021 9:43:06 AM |

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