Tourists wearing protective masks pose in front of the Taj Mahal in Agra on Tuesday. (Photo Credit: Reuters )
With the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) virus spreading to more countries and two more confirmed cases reported in India, seaports and airports have been put under high alert. On Tuesday, two private schools in Noida were shut for next few days after father of one of their students tested positive for coronavirus, while several people, including his family members, were quarantined or kept in isolation as authorities stepped up prevention efforts including extending suspension of existing regular and e visas to nationals of four other affected countries.
Officials said the sample of an Italian tourist in Jaipur which was sent to National Institute of Virology, Pune was found to be positive after the first two tests gave contradictory results. With this, six cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the country so far. Three of the patients have recovered.
The 69-year-old Italian's wife also tested positive for the virus on Tuesday but her samples are being sent to Pune for another test. The couple has been kept in isolation at the Jaipur's Sawai Man Singh Hospital. Twenty-one Italian tourists and three Indian tour operators, who were in the same group as the couple, have been sent to an ITBP quarantine facility in Delhi on Tuesday for suspected coronavirus exposure, official sources said.
The Information and Broadcasting Ministry has urged all private radio and TV channels to give "adequate publicity" to the travel advisory issued by the Health Ministry in the wake of coronavirus outbreak.
The Health Ministry issued the travel advisory on Tuesday -- a day after two fresh cases of coronavirus were reported in India -- suspending all regular visas/e-visas granted on or before March 3 to nationals of Italy, Iran, South Korea, Japan, who have not yet entered India.
The advisory also suspends visa on arrival (VoA) issued by March 3 to Japan and South Korea nationals who have not yet entered India. In its advisory, the I&B Ministry has asked all the private satellite news channels and private FM radio channels to publicise the travel advisory. The channels can also run tickers on coronavirus, it said.
Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.
Why? Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands.
Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
Why? When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease.
Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth.
Why? Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.
Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.
Why? Droplets spread virus. By following good respiratory hygiene you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and COVID-19.
Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority.
Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on the situation in your area. Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also protect you and help prevent spread of viruses and other infections.
Stay informed on the latest developments about COVID-19. Follow advice given by your healthcare provider, your national and local public health authority or your employer on how to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.
Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on whether COVID-19 is spreading in your area. They are best placed to advise on what people in your area should be doing to protect themselves.
(Source: PTI and WHO inputs)