India bans incoming international flights for a week over virus

  • India
  • Thursday, 19 Mar 2020

Security guards explaining to commuters riding on scooter and motorbike that they must turn back at the entrance of the 'Mall of Amritsar' which has been closed amid concerns over the spread of the coronavirus, in Amritsar on Tuesday (March 19). - AFP

NEW DELHI: All incoming international flights to India will be banned for one week starting Sunday (March 22), the government said on Thursday (March 19) as it announced the latest raft of measures to combat the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

Ahead of a national address by Prime Minister Narendra Modi late on Thursday, the government said in a statement that "no scheduled international commercial passenger aircraft shall be allowed to land in India from March 22".

All citizens above 65 and children under 10 were advised to "remain at home".

States were also directed by the national government to enforce work from home policies in the private sector, apart from those in emergency or essential services.

Some government employees are set to stagger their shifts and alternate working in the office.

New Delhi has already suspended the visas of all incoming tourists and barred passengers of flights from the European Union, the European Free Trade Association, Turkey and the United Kingdom.

Travellers from several countries are also subject to a 14-day quarantine when they arrive in India.

Most schools and entertainment facilities, including cinemas, have already been closed across India, the world's second-most populous country with 1.3 billion people.

The Taj Mahal and other monuments have been closed to visitors.

The government says there have been 173 positive cases and four deaths from the virus.

Lav Agarwal, joint secretary at the health ministry, said Thursday there was "no community transmission of the virus in the country". - AFP
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