Coronavirus: EAM Jaishankar Gives Reassurances, Updates on Action

Jaishankar also said that 6,000 Indians were stranded in Iran, and all efforts were being made to bring them back.

2 min read
Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar addressed the matter of coronavirus in the Lok Sabha on Thursday, 12 March.

Assuring the House that the government was taking necessary actions, he said, "Where specific interventions are required – as in the case of Wuhan in China, the Diamond Princess crew in Japan or now the pilgrims in Iran – we will take necessary action," as quoted by ANI.

He added that since this was an exceptional situation that required exceptional response, travel in itself is not recommended as it only heightens the risks.

Jaishankar said that while communities were understandably anxious, encouraging the observance of globally recognised precautions and procedures was important, adding that an excessive sense of alarm would only be detrimental.

6,000 Indians Stranded in Iran

Jaishankar also updated the Lok Sabha on the status of the people stranded in Iran, saying that 6,000 Indians were stranded including 1,100 pilgrims and 300 students, as per PTI reports.

He added that 229 out of 529 samples of the stranded Indians have tested negative for coronavirus, and the initial focus was on bringing back the pilgrims, mostly stranded in Qom.

However, there were operational constraints on evacuation as the Iranian system is strict, he said. He added that he had visited Kashmir recently, and had taken the initiative to meet the parents of some of the students stranded in Iran, assuring them of prompt action.


Can't Bring Back Untested People: Jaishankar Addresses Questions About Stranded Indians

He also responded to the questions being raised regarding Indians stranded worldwide.

"Bhagwant Mann ji raised issue of 30 students of Punjab who are stuck at Italy airport. I would like to tell you that there aren't only 30 students, there are many more from different parts of the country. I need to find a way of helping them and bringing them back," Jaishankar said, ANI reported.

“We’re at it. Please understand that we can only bring them back if they are tested, they have to be tested. To test them, we’ve started sampling today as we can’t bring back untested people in very severe epidemic situation as I have responsibility of this country to worry about.”
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar

Meanwhile, 73 total cases of coronavirus have been confirmed within India, including residents and foreign visitors. Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan also addressed the Lok Sabha, talking about the coronavirus testing facilities available in India.

(With inputs from ANI)

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