Straits Times reported yesterday that India is currently screening passengers on flights coming from Singapore and Thailand.
India, a country that shares a border with China and has a growing population of 1.33 billion people, imposed restricted travel from China as a precautionary measure to curb the spread of the virus.
So far, there has been three cases of Indian students returning from Wuhan who were tested positive for the virus and are quarantined in the southern state of Kerala.
Given the alarming situation, the Indian government has decided to extend thermal screening to all passengers coming in from Singapore and Thailand. Last week, it started screening passengers arriving from China and Hong Kong.
According to information provided by the Indian government, there are over 500 weekly flights between India and Singapore, with direct flights to 15 cities.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) of India has issued a letter to the civil aviation and health authorities instructing that all passengers arriving from China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Thailand be screened by the Airport Health units once they have stepped out of the aerobridge.
The DGCA letter said passengers would be allowed to move towards immigration only after screening and clearance by medical staff.
According to the India’s Health Secretary, Preeti Sudan, a total of 89,500 passengers of 777 planes had been screened at 21 airports earlier this week.
Further restrictions imposed
Yesterday, following a meeting of the Cabinet Secretary, the Indian government has imposed further restrictions of travel from China and released an updated travel advisory as the death toll in China grew.
This comprises the invalidation of existing visas and e- visas of any foreign nationals travelling from China.
Additionally, India has placed 600 evacuees from Wuhan in two quarantine centers in and around Delhi. They also include nationals from the Maldives.
On Wednesday, the Indian Health Ministry had tweeted that 5,123 people are under “home surveillance” as a precaution. The test results of 342 individuals are still pending.
Update on #Novelcoronavirus:
Total of 741 tests done for #nCoV2020. Of these 738 have tested NEGATIVE, and 3 found positive. 342 are under process.
Also, 5123 people are under home surveillance.@PMOIndia @drharshvardhan @AshwiniKChoubey @PIB_India @DDNewslive @airnewsalerts
— Ministry of Health (@MoHFW_INDIA) February 5, 2020
However, authorities say the key focus remains on travelers coming in from China.