In a bid to rescue stranded Indian citizens abroad due to the coronavirus outbreak, the Ministry of External Affairs has set up a special cell to coordinate issues related to Covid-19. Additional Secretary Dammu Ravi has been appointed as the point person coordinating the response to the virus. In a notice issued on Sunday, the MEA also informed that it has set up helplines that are proactively responding to queries over phone, emails and even social media to reach the Indian community abroad.
"External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla are also personally monitoring the situation," the notice read.
The virus spread, which has been declared a 'pandemic' by the World Health Organisation (WHO), has so far claimed 5,844 lives across the globe.
Amid the global outbreak of the deadly Coronavirus, 218 Indians, including 211 students from Milan, were brought back to the National Capital by an Air India flight on Sunday. All will be quarantined for 14 days. Minister of State for External Affairs, V. Muraleedharan also took to his official Twitter handle and shared the news. The MoS also reiterated the Government of India's commitment to reach out to Indians in distress globally.
Post their landing in Delhi, the batch of 218 evacuees from Milan were shifted to Indo-Tibetan Border Police's Chhawla isolation camp for 14 days. "All the 218 evacuees from Milan are being taken to our quarantine facility in southwest Delhi's Chhawla area. They will be there for over a fortnight as per quarantine procedures," an Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) spokesperson said.
According to the latest figures available on Sunday, the total number of positive cases of Coronavirus in India has soared up to 107 as per the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Along with it, two deaths have been reported in Kalaburagi and West Delhi respectively. India has suspended all visas, barring for a few categories such as diplomatic and employment apart from keeping in abeyance the visa-free travel facility to OCI cardholders till April 15.
Moreover, the Centre has “strongly advised” Indians to avoid all non-essential travel abroad. The government is also monitoring all suspected cases and issued preventive advisories.
Taking into consideration the rising number of Coronavirus cases, the Central Government on Saturday decided to treat the deadly virus as a "notified disaster."