The central government has restricted all airlines to board passengers travelling to India from member countries of the European Union, the United Kingdom, European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and Turkey. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare issued an additional travel advisory on March 16 aimed at the further tightening of travel restrictions to prevent the coronavirus spread from high-risk areas.
The Health Ministry said that the additional travel restrictions will come into effect from 1200 GMT on March 18, 2020. The ministry directed that the airline should enforce the travel restriction at the port of initial departure. The government also expanded the scope of compulsory quarantine for a minimum period of 14 days for passengers coming from or transiting through UAE, Qatar, Oman, and Kuwait.
Indian has stepped up the measure against the coronavirus crisis as the cases continue to grow worldwide. According to the latest reports, India has confirmed 129 cases of coronavirus with two deaths due to the disease. At a media briefing on March 16, the ministry said that several social distancing measures have been proposed to combat the looming threat following detailed deliberations with Group of Ministers (GoM).
The important measures suggested under the advisory include the closure of all educational establishments including schools and universities, gyms, museums, cultural and social centres, swimming pools and theatres. The ministry has advised the students to stay and home and avail online education. It has also encouraged private sector organizations and employers to allow employees to work from home wherever feasible.
The government has advised restaurants to ensure handwashing protocol and proper cleanliness of frequently touched surfaces. It has asked to ensure physical distancing of a minimum one metre between tables and encourage open-air seating where practical with adequate distancing. The proposed interventions are part of preventive steps likely to be in force till March 31, 2020.