Amid Covid fear, India-EU summit off

Virus cases rise to 30 | Ghaziabad man tests positive after return from Iran

Amid Covid fear, India-EU summit off

Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, March 5

As the global spread of the novel coronavirus continued and India saw its 30th Covid-19 case — a man from Ghaziabad with travel history to Iran — Prime Minister Narendra Modi today deferred his visit to Belgium for a summit with the European Union leaders that had been scheduled for later this month.

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Foreign Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said the health authorities of both countries suggested that travelling must not take place at present and “so it has been decided that the summit will be rescheduled on a mutually convenient date”.

Back in India, the total number of Covid-19 cases reached 30 today. These include the previous three cases from Kerala, who have now been discharged.

In addition, there are two cases from Delhi (including the Paytm staffer working in Gurugram), one from Ghaziabad, six Agra-based family members of the first Delhi case with a travel history to Italy; one case from Telangana with travel history to Dubai and 16 Italians plus their one Indian driver from Jaipur.

In some respite today, two suspected contacts of the positive case from Hyderabad tested negative at National Institute of Virology, Pune. Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said 14 Italian cases (two infected Italians are in isolation in Jaipur) are lodged in a hospital near Delhi and all positive Indian patients are stable and are being monitored. Currently, 92 samples are under testing for Covid with the government dismissing reports of a positive case from Raipur saying his sample is under test and he’s in home isolation. The Raipur resident recently returned from Kenya through Dubai and insisted on getting tested at the airport.

With 25 of the current positive cases in India reporting a travel history to Italy or contact with someone who has entered India from Italy, the government today expanded visa restrictions for persons travelling from Italy or South Korea.

This measure will be enforced from March 10 and is temporary till the Covid cases subside, the government clarified. Meanwhile, Delhi Deputy CM Manish Sisodia ordered closure of all primary — government, aided and private schools — until March 31 to prevent unnecessary travel by young children and also large gatherings.

The Health Minister in his update to both Houses of Parliament said prevention of cluster cases in Agra was a matter of challenge since six people of a family had been infected by one Delhi patient who returned from Italy.

Later, Special Secretary (Health) Sanjeeva Kumar said India was observing community transmission requiring the involvement of district collectors in containment.

Vardhan told Parliament that in addition to managing travel-related cases, additional challenge was to contain clusters due to local transmission that required resource-intensive containment operations.

The government also designated District Collector as the nodal officer at field level for containment operations with the onus equally shifting to states to pick up cases and isolate them. Vardhan said there was no cause for panic and the PM was personally monitoring containment efforts.

Vardhan also held a meeting with private hospital managers to seek their help for managing and containing the spread of the virus.


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Screening Stepped up in India

12 major seaports
65 minor ports
6,241 flights
6,11,167 flyers screened
31 labs activated in addition to National Institute of Virology in Pune

80,270 confirmed cases in China, 2,981 deaths
12,857 confirmed cases outside China, 220 deaths in 78 countries

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