New Delhi, March 6 (IANS) The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has asked the states and union territories to reduce mass gatherings in order to avoid spread of novel coronavirus.
In a memorandum, released by the Health Ministry in response to query from states, it said that “experts across the world have advised to reduce mass gatherings to avoid the spread of COVID-19 novel coronavirus disease. In this view, it is advised that mass gatherings may be avoided or possibly be postponed till the disease spread is contained.”
The memorandum was released on Thursday.
The ministry further stated that in case any such mass gatherings were organised, “the states may take necessary action to guide the organisers on precautions to be taken as per the risk communication material already sent so as to avoid any Severe Acute Respiratory Illness (SARI) cases and influenza like illness (ILIs) including COVID-19”.
At least 31 confirmed cases have been reported so far from India, of which the previous three patients from Kerala have recovered. The patients include Italians and Indian nationals.
9 more airports to have thermal screening, total 30
In the backdrop of coronavirus spreading in India, thermal screening has been expanded to nine more airports in India besides the existing 21, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said on Friday.
Initially the thermal screening started in seven airports, including Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai.
The ministry also said that a day-long national level training workshop on COVID-19 was organised by the Health Ministry and World Health Organisation (WHO). The workshop was attended by at least 280 health officials from all states and hospitals of railways, defence, and paramilitary forces. It was also virtually attended by 1,000 nodes across the country.
Govt to ask pvt airlines to waive cancellation fee
The Civil Aviation Ministry will ask private airlines to give cancellation fee relief to passengers in the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.
National carrier Air India has already waived off cancellation fees.
Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said that the government will give suitable recommendations to private airlines for providing relief in cancellation and refunds.
“I am very happy to tell you that Air India has already waived cancellation charges. You know, Air India, is a little more subject to our persuasion. All the others are private sector carriers. All I can tell you that we will be making suitable recommendations to the private sector carriers,” Puri said here at a press conference.
The spread of deadly coronavirus has severely affected the travel and tourism sector with people cancelling their trips in the wake of rising fear. While flights on South East Asian routes connecting cities such as Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Seoul have seen sharp fall in passenger load, other international flights have also started witnessing poor bookings.
An airline executive said that flights to Gulf and Middle East have seen cancellations as well as 10-15 per cent dip in advance bookings.