COVID situation needs ‘exceptional’ response, says Jaishankar

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He also assured them that the government would facilitate the earliest possible return of their children in abroad.

The novel coronavirus cases in India are at 73 and this exceptional situation requires an exceptional response, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar said in Lok Sabha on Thursday (March 12).

Terming the outbreak a matter of concern, Dr. Jaishankar said travel at this time was not recommended as it only heightened the risk.”

Stating that steps were being taken to mitigate risks, he said, “I visited Srinagar recently and took the initiative to meet the parents of some of the students who are in Iran. Their anxiety at this time is completely understandable. I shared with them the details and the ground situation and urged them to be patient.”

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He said the government had promised them the earliest possible return of their children. “The sampling of these students has begun today,” he said.

In a reply to Bhagwant Mann in Lok Sabha, Jaishankar said, “Bhagwant Mann ji raised the issue of 30 students of Punjab who are stuck at an Italy airport. I would like to tell you that there aren’t only 30 students, there are many more from different parts of the country. I need to find a way of helping them and bringing them back.”

“We’re at it. Please understand that we can only bring them back if they are tested, they’ve to be tested. To test them, we’ve started sampling today as we can’t bring back untested people in a very severe epidemic situation as I have the responsibility of this country to worry about,” he said.

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said, “we sent our scientists and equipped lab to Iran to test for coronavirus. We were the first ones to bring back people from Wuhan; then, we brought back people from a cruise ship.”

“We are sharing details with states, our helpline are getting international calls,” Dr. Harsh Vardhan said.

The World Health Organisation declared coronavirus a ‘pandemic.’ India on Wednesday suspended all existing visas — except diplomatic, official, UN/International organisations, employment and project visas till April 15.The novel coronavirus cases in India are at 73 and this exceptional situation requires an exceptional response, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar said in Lok Sabha on Thursday (March 12). 

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