New Delhi, March 19, 2020: No international flights will be allowed to land in India from March 22 for a week, the government announced today amid escalating measures to fight coronavirus. India had already suspended visas for the vast majority of foreigners seeking to enter the country.
In a notice hours before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address to the nation, the government also advised citizens above 65 to stay at home unless they are public representatives or doctors or government employees.
People have been advised to keep children below 10 at home. Railways and airlines have been asked to suspend all concessional travel except for students, patients and persons with disabilities.
States have been asked to enforce work from home for the private sector, except for emergency and essential services.
The total number of coronavirus cases in India rose to 173 on Thursday after 18 fresh cases were reported from various parts of the country, according to the Union Health Ministry.
A fourth death from coronavirus, that of a 70-year-old man who had travelled to Germany, was reported from Punjab today.
As part of its efforts to detect and prevent the spread of coronavirus, which has claimed over 8,000 lives globally and infected more than two lakh, the Centre has asked 50 per cent of its employees to work from home besides staggering working hours for its staff.
India remains at Stage 2 of the outbreak, which means the spread is through local transmission, which can be traced.
The health ministry said there is no evidence of community transmission yet, in which it is hard to tell how the patient contracted the virus.
Across the country, schools, colleges, theatres, malls and shopping areas have been shut down in large parts. Religious gatherings and weddings have been put off. In cities like Gurgaon and Mumbai, gatherings of more than 50 have been banned.
The coronavirus cases in India include 25 foreign nationals -- 17 from Italy, three from the Philippines, two from the UK, one each from Canada, Indonesia and Singapore. The figure also includes four deaths reported from Punjab, Delhi, Karnataka and Maharashtra.