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India's response to coronavirus pre-emptive, pro-active, graded: Govt


New Delhi, Mar 28: India's response to COVID-19 has been "pre-emptive, pro-active and graded", the government said on Saturday, brushing aside the allegations that the 21-day nationwide lockdown was announced without any planning.

The government said it had already put in place a "comprehensive response system" at its borders much before the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the coronavirus as a public health emergency of international concern on January 30.

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The government has come in for criticism that the lockdown was done without planning and also for the fact that migrant labourers are stranded across the country without resources.

The government said the screening of incoming air passengers followed by suspension of visas and ban on international flights was done much ahead of any other country.

"Thermal screening of incoming international passengers from China and Hong Kong was started on 18th January, much before the first case of coronavirus was detected in India on 30th January," it said.

"India's response to COVID-19 has been pre-emptive, pro-active and graded," the government said.

While citing the examples of Italy and Spain, which started screening of travellers 25 days and 39 days respectively after first reported cases, it said it took a number of proactive measures and shared the chronology of the steps taken by it.

The statement that "prosperous Indians" were allowed to return without screening, is "preposterous", the government said.

"The government took swift action to put in a place a comprehensive and robust system of screening, quarantine and surveillance are part of its robust response to the public health crisis right from the beginning.

"This covered every traveller, Indians returning after business, or tourism, students as well as foreigners," it said.

Screening of passengers took place at 30 airports, 12 major and 65 minor pots and at land borders, the government said, adding over 36 lakh passengers have been screened.

It said states have been regularly requested to maintain and further improve upon the surveillance so that the coverage is complete and there are no gaps.

"A meticulous system has enabled states to track down individuals who tried to avoid surveillance or who did not follow quarantine measures," the government said.

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