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India under lockdown as confirmed cases of coronavirus jump to 73 now

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New Delhi, Mar 12: The total number of confirmed cases of novel Coronavirus, or Covid-19 in India now stands at 73, with two new fresh cases of coronavirus reported in Mumbai.

The number of cases in the country jumped after positive cases were reported from Karnataka, Kerala, and Maharashtra.

India under lockdown as confirmed cases of coronavirus jump to 68 now

The central government has stepped up measures amid rise in the number of coronavirus cases.

Coronavirus a pandemic: What does that mean and what changes now

The Union Health ministry in its latest update had accounted for only two cases from Maharashtra, both from Pune. Six new patients from the city have since been confirmed.

Meanwhile, India on Wednesday suspended all visas, except a few categories such as diplomatic and employment, till April 15 in a bid to contain the spread of novel coronavirus, according to an official statement.

The government also "strongly advised" Indians to avoid all non-essential travel abroad. The suspension will come into effect from 1200 GMT on March 13 at the port of departure. Visas of all foreigners already in India remain valid.

The decisions were taken at a meeting of a group of ministers held under the chairmanship of Health Minister Harsh Vardhan.

    NEWS AT 3 PM, 12th MARCH, 2020

    Following the meeting, the Bureau of Immigration in a statement said, "All existing visas issued to nationals of any country, except those issued to diplomats, officials, UN/International organisations, employment and project visas, stand suspended till April 15th, 2020. This will come into effect from 1200 GMT on March 13th, 2020 at the port of departure of any foreigner for onward journey to India."

    Visa-free travel facility granted to Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) card holders is also kept in abeyance till April 15, according to a similar official statement.

    Coronavirus: India suspends all tourist visas till April 15 in a bid to curb spread of virus

    Any foreign national who intends to travel to India for compelling reason may contact the nearest Indian Mission, the release said, adding that all incoming travellers, including Indian nationals, arriving from or having visited China, Italy, Iran, Republic of Korea, France, Spain and Germany after February 15 will be quarantined for a minimum period of 14 days.

    The government advised the incoming travellers, including Indian nationals, to avoid non-essential travel and told them that they can be quarantined for a minimum of 14 days on their arrival in India.

    "Indian nationals are strongly advised to avoid all non-essential travel abroad. On their return, they can be subjected to quarantine for a minimum of 14 days," it said. International traffic through land borders will be restricted to designated check posts with robust screening facilities. These will be notified separately by the ministry of home affairs, the release said.

    WHO declares COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic

    Provision for testing primarily for students/compassionate cases in Italy to be made and collection for samples to be organised accordingly. Those tested negative will be allowed to travel and will be quarantined on arrival in India for 14 days, the press release said.

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