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Coronavirus: Union ministers not to travel abroad, Rashtrapati Bhavan closed for tourists, Delhi schools and cinemas shut till March 31

"I urge our countrymen to also avoid non-essential travel. We can break the chain of spread and ensure safety of all by avoiding large gatherings," PM Modi tweeted.

A day after the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic as the virus continued to spread across the world, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today took to Twitter to re-appeal to people of India not to panic. He has urged countrymen to avoid non-essential travel and large gatherings in order to minimise the risk of being infected with the novel coronavirus or Covid-19. “We can break the chain of spread”, assured Modi as he wrote that the Central Ministers have been directed not to travel abroad in the upcoming days.

“Say No to Panic, Say Yes to Precautions. No Minister of the Central Government will travel abroad in the upcoming days. I urge our countrymen to also avoid non-essential travel. We can break the chain of spread and ensure safety of all by avoiding large gatherings,” PM Modi tweeted.

“The Government is fully vigilant about the situation due to COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus. Across ministries & states, multiple steps have been proactively taken to ensure safety of all. These steps are wide-ranging, from suspension of Visas to augmenting healthcare capacities,” Modi said in his following Tweet.

The President of India, Ram Nath Kovind has also taken to Twitter to declare that as a precautionary measure against the spread of COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus, the Rashtrapati Bhavan will remain closed for exploratory tour visits from tomorrow, March 13, till further notice. Also, the Rashtrapati Bhavan Museum Complex (RBMC) and the Change of Guard ceremony will not be open to the public until further notice, read the President’s Tweet.

Moreover, in the wake of coronavirus outbreak in India, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday announced that all movie theatres will remain shut till March 31, according to ANI. The Delhi government also declared the coronavirus an epidemic. He said that all schools and colleges where exams are currently not being conducted will also remain shut in Delhi. He also declared that as a precautionary measure to control of coronavirus spread, all the public places in the city will be disinfected.

On Wednesday, the World Health Organisation declared COVID-19 a global pandemic after 1,18,000 confirmed cases and 4,291 deaths in 114 countries were reported. There have been 73 confirmed cases of coronavirus reported in India. 

Following the World Health Organization (WHO) declaration, India has scaled up its responses and put in place even stricter controls.

As a preventive measure, the Central government has virtually shut the country off to foreign tourists as it announced the suspension of all tourist visas and e-visas granted on or before March 11. All incoming visitors including Indian nationals are advised against non-essential travel because of the Coronavirus pandemic.

“All existing visas, except diplomatic, official, UN/international organizations, employment, project visas, stand suspended till 15th April 2020,” the union govt said in a statement. The order comes into effect from 1200 GMT on Friday, March 13.

India also announced that all incoming travellers, including Indian nationals, arriving from any destination and having visited China, Italy, Iran, Republic of Korea, France, Spain and Germany on or after February 15, 2020, shall be quarantined for a minimum period of 14 days with effect from March 13, 2020, at the port of departure of such traveller’s.

Owing to the Coronavirus pandemic, Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar, while speaking at the Lok Sabha Thursday ascertained that the Indian government cannot allow anybody to enter the country without being properly tested.

“We’re at it. Please understand that we can only bring them back if they’re 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,” claimed the EAM in Lok Sabha today.

Coronavirus is a deadly respiratory disease, the outbreak of which was first reported from Wuhan, China, on 31 December 2019. The transmission of the virus takes place when someone who is infected comes in contact with another person. According to medical experts, coughing, sneezing or even shaking hands with an infected person can cause exposure.

The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases across India, including foreign nationals, shot to 73. Out of these 73 people, 56 are Indian citizens.

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