A total of 82 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus have been reported in India so far, the Union health ministry said on Friday (March 13). This includes 65 Indians, 16 Italians and one Canadian national, it said.
The central government has brought 42,296 passengers under community surveillance, said Lav Agarwal, joint secretary, Union health ministry while briefing the media on the current situation over the deadly COVID-19 outbreak.
“Till now, there are 82 confirmed cases in India, out of which 65 are Indians, 16 Italians and one Canadian national,” said Agarwal. “The government has brought 42,296 passengers under community surveillance, out of which 2,559 were symptomatic and 522 hospitalised, including 17 foreign nationals,” he said.
The health ministry official said the contact tracing of these cases is being actively pursued. “So far, this has led to identification of more than 4,000 contacts who have been put under surveillance,” he said.
He said 124 evacuees from Japan and 112 from China are being discharged from Friday onwards after they tested negative for the coronavirus in the second round of test.
On the increase in prices of masks in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, the official said the government will take drastic action if needed. “If masks are sold at exorbitant prices then states can take action as per law. If needed, we will take drastic action on abnormal increase in price of masks,” he said.
Agarwal clarified the coronavirus outbreak in India is not a health emergency. “We are trying to support initiative taken by the state in terms of managing the situation,” he said while speaking about the invocation of the Epidemic Act by the Centre.
Meanwhile, the home ministry said Indo-Bangladesh passenger buses and trains will remain suspended till April 15. “Along Indo-Nepal border, four check posts will remain operational. Visa-free entry will continue for Bhutan and Nepal nationals,” added MHA official Anil Malik.
An Air India plane will fly to Milan, Italy to bring back Indians stranded there, said Rubina Ali, joint secretary, ministry of civil aviation. “The flight would take off tomorrow (March 14) afternoon and would be landing on Sunday morning at Delhi Airport,” she said.
Around 220 students are stranded in and around Milan, said the ministry of external affairs, adding that it is the country’s priority to bring them back. “If any other students are left behind, they can contact our missions. We will see what we can do next,” said MEA official Dammu Ravi.