Amid the deadly Coronavirus (Covid-19) breakout, with 8 cases being confirmed in India so far, Uttar Pradesh Health Minister Jai Pratap Singh stated that the UP government has sent samples of 23 families to the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune. Singh informed that several isolation wards have been set up and foreign nationals from affected countries are being screened at the airport.
Speaking to Republic TV on Tuesday, Health Minister Jai Pratap Singh said, "The UP government has been on alert since the very start. All visiting foreign nationals are being screened at airports and at border checkpoints. Hospitals and medical institutions have also set up isolation wards in case of emergencies."
Reflecting upon the recent cases confirmed in Agra, Singh said, "When a family who was visiting Italy returned to Delhi, it was reported by medical officials that they might be suffering from the disease. When the information was conveyed to officials in Agra, we sent samples from 6 families to the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune. In total, we have sent samples of 23 families to the NIV. As soon as we get a confirmation on that, we will prepare further reports accordingly."
Furthermore, the Health Minister added, "There is no vaccine for coronavirus as of now. There is only one precaution, that is to wash your hands regularly and ensure that your throat is not dry. Please don't confuse normal flu which is due to the change in weather with coronavirus."
The Government issued an advisory related to the virus on Tuesday. In the advisory dated March 3, 2020, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has suspended all regular visas granted to nationals of Italy, Iran, South Korea and Japan issued on or before March 3, with immediate effect. Visas granted to foreign nationals who have travelled to China, Iran, Italy, South Korea and Japan on or after February 2 and have not entered India yet have also been suspended.
Diplomats, officials of UN and other international bodies have been exempted from any restriction, however, their medical screening is compulsory. As per the advisory issued, passengers of all international flights entering India are also required to furnish a duly filled self-declaration stating their personal information and travel history. Meanwhile, Indian citizens are advised to refrain from travelling to China, Iran, the Republic of Korea and Italy and other Covid-19 affected areas.