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PM’s visit to Brussels put off as COVID-19 cases rise to 30

Preventive measure:NGO members distributing protective masks in Hyderabad on Thursday.Nagara GopalThe Hindu

Preventive measure:NGO members distributing protective masks in Hyderabad on Thursday.Nagara GopalThe Hindu  

Ghaziabad man tests positive; States asked to form rapid response teams

Owing to the recent global COVID-19 outbreak, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Brussels has been rescheduled, the Ministry of External Affairs said on Thursday. This development came as India reported another confirmed novel coronavirus case from Ghaziabad, taking the total to 30.

To prevent the spread of the virus, the Delhi government has now ordered the immediate closure of primary schools in the capital till March 31. “All Delhi government, aided, privateand schools run by civic bodies will remain shut,” said Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia. Delhi has also suspended biometric attendance.

Responding to questions about the India-EU summit, MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar told journalists that it was decided that delegates should not travel to each other’s countries.

Mr. Kumar said the summit would be rescheduled to a mutually convenient date, which is yet to be decided. The summit was expected to take place at the EU office in Brussels on March 13. On Wednesday, 10 new cases of coronavirus were reported from Brussels, taking the total number of cases in Belgium to 23. Mr. Kumar also said no case of any Indian being affected by the virus had emerged in Iran, and embassies across the world were on the job to help Indians.

Steps suggested

The Union Health Ministry on Thursday confirmed that India had a total number of 30 positive cases of COVID-19. “A man from Ghaziabad, with recent travel history to Iran, has tested positive for the virus, taking the total number to 30. We have now asked the States to form rapid response teams at district, block and village levels to contain the spread,” said a release by the Health Ministry.

The cases that India has reported so far include “three cases from Kerala, who have now been discharged. In addition, there are three cases from Delhi-NCR, [two with travel history from Italy, and one with travel history of Iran]; six contacts of the first Delhi case with travel history of Italy; one from Telangana with history of Dubai travel and Singapore contact; 16 Italians and one driver[Indian] who was with the Italian tourist group,” the Ministry said.

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