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Govt bans entry of passengers from EU nations, UK, Turkey

By The Assam Tribune

NEW DELHI, March 16 - With coronavirus cases swelling in the country, the government has on Monday banned the entry of passengers from EU countries, Turkey and the UK from March 18 till March 31.

Union health ministry officials also said four new COVID-19 cases � one each from Odisha, Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh and Kerala � were reported on Monday, taking the total number of cases in the country to 114. These cases include 10 discharged, three cured and two reported deaths.

The �contact-tracing activity� of the positive cases had led to the identification of more than 5,200 persons, who were kept under a rigorous surveillance, they added.

The government had earlier suspended all visas, barring a few categories such as diplomatic and employment, in an attempt to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

After a Group of Ministers (GoM) meeting, the government proposed a set of social-distancing measures to be in force till March 31, the officials told reporters.

�Travel of passengers from the member countries of the European Union, the European Free Trade Association, Turkey and the United Kingdom to India is prohibited with effect from March 18,� Joint Secretary in the Health Ministry Lav Aggarwal said.

�No airline shall board a passenger from these countries to India with effect from 1200 GMT on March 18. The airlines shall enforce this at the port of initial departure,� he added.

These temporary measures shall be in force till March 31 and reviewed subsequently, Aggarwal said.

The GoM held its seventh meeting on Monday and after detailed deliberations, social-distancing measures were proposed as a preventive strategy, he added.

The key measures proposed included closure of all educational institutions, gymnasiums, museums, cultural and social centres, swimming pools and theatres, Aggarwal said.

Students should be advised to stay at home and online education should be promoted, he added.

�Non-essential travel should be avoided. Buses, trains and aeroplanes to maximise social distancing in public transport, besides ensuring proper disinfection of services,� Aggarwal said. � PTI

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