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Discourage troops from taking leaves: Home ministry advisory on coronavirus

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New Delhi, Mar 18: A day after a 34-year-old jawan in Leh tested positive for coronavirus, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Wednesday asked the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) to discourage its personnel from taking leaves.

As per the advisory, the leave granting authorities have been told to grant leave only on essential or compassionate grounds till situation improves.

Discourage troops from taking leaves: Home ministry advisory on coronavirus

"Troops returning from leave, especially from COVID hotspots or likely to be in contact with persons having international travel history may be screened and quarantined on arrival in the unit," it added.

34-year-old Army jawan in Leh tests positive for coronavirus, say sources

The advisory asks personnel to "avoid international or domestic air, bus or train travel for at least one month. Long-distance travel is biggest cause of spread".

Army has also asked the formations to regulate entry into canteens and essential item stores in shopping complexes. All non-essential stores have been asked to be shut down.

A 34-year-old soldier has tested positive for novel coronavirus in Leh, making it the first COVID-19 case in the armed forces. The soldier, a resident of Chuhot village in Leh, came in contact with his father who had already contracted the infection.

His father had returned from a pilgrimage in Iran by an Air India flight on February 20 and is in quarantine at the Ladakh Heart Foundation since February 29.

The soldier was on leave from February 25 and rejoined duty on March 2.

He was quarantined on March 7 and tested positive on March 16, sources said. The soldier has been isolated at the Sonam Nurboo Memorial (SNM) Hospital.

A total of 147 patients have been diagnosed with coronavirus in India so far. The affected persons have a history of travel to foreign countries including Italy and Iran - the two worst-affected nations after China, where the virus first emerged late last year.

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