India's ace badminton player, Parupalli Kashyap has reached out to the Union Government and Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan amid various travel bans and advisories due to the Coronavirus outbreak. Kashyap is stuck in Birmingham, England, without knowing where he should be travelling next.
Sir @drharshvardhan we are in Birmingham for a tournament and we are not sure about our situation considering the health advisory issued yesterday. Can we please speak to you urgently? .@NSaina @srikidambi @pranaav6 @sikkireddy @bwfmedia @YonexAllEngland— Parupalli Kashyap (@parupallik) March 12, 2020
Speaking to Republic TV on Thursday afternoon, he said, "We are scheduled to play the Swiss Open next week and are scheduled to travel in a couple of days to Basel so we are not sure if we have to travel for that tournament or no. Few of us are in close contention to qualify for the Olympics so we are not sure what to do about that since tournaments are being held anyway. There is no regulation from BWF whether any tournament is being cancelled. Basically, they have put it up to us if we want to play."
He further added, "If we are back to India right now, will we be quarantined for 14 days? Or if we are back from Swiss Open next week, are we in quarantine for 14 days. Because if we quarantined, then we cannot play India Open which is scheduled in two weeks' time. If we come back after Swiss, then we miss India Open in Delhi and the Malaysia Open. So, this is the question, do we travel back immediately right now or can we play the Swiss Open?"
On Wednesday evening, the Union Government announced that all existing visas, barring diplomatic, UN/International Organisations, employment and project visas, will stand suspended till April 15, 2020.
This advisory also applies for people with visa-free travel, and to OCI cardholders, whose visa-free access will be temporarily suspended with effect from March 13, 2020. However, the statement mentioned that any foreign national who intends to travel to India for any compelling reason may contact the nearest Indian Embassy for further clarity or guidance.
The Ministry of External Affairs has also appointed an additional secretary level rank official as nodal officer to coordinate efforts at the global level regarding the spread of COVID-19.
73 cases have been reported in India so far. No deaths due to coronavirus have been reported so far.
Globally, around 4,600 people have died due to Coronavirus, with the epicentre being in China. The virus has infected around 1,26,000 people globally and has now spread to North America, South America, Europe, New Zealand, and to more than 100 other countries.