“The government's focus is on containing and controlling coronavirus,” the Ministry of External Affairs said on Thursday, 12 March and advised Indians to stay put wherever they are and travel only under compelling reasons.
“The government’s immediate concern is to contain and control coronavirus. There is no need to panic. We advise Indians to stay put wherever they are and only travel under compelling reasons.”Dammu Ravi, Additional Secretary, MEA and Coordinator (COVID-19)
"We have also not issued any guidelines to airlines to stop or reduce flights. It's a commercial decision, we leave it to them to decide," he added.
National carrier Air India on Thursday, decided to cancel all its flights to Kuwait till 30 April and curtail services to various other countries, including Spain, France and Sri Lanka.
While services to Rome (Italy) are being discontinued from 15 March to 25 March, flight operations to Milan (Italy) and Seoul in South Korea will remain suspended between 14 March and 28 March, an airline official said.
The decision came following the government suspending all visas, except a few categories such as diplomatic and employment, till 15 April to prevent the spread of coronavirus on Wednesday.
“We have received requests from Bhutan, Iran, the Maldives, Italy for assistance with masks and protective gears. We are processing it. Earlier, such request was received from China, and a package was sent,” he said.Dammu Ravi, Additional Secretary, MEA and Coordinator (COVID-19)
Anil Malik, the Additional Secretary from Ministry of Home Affairs, informed reporters that there has been a decline of 40 per cent in number of people travelling to India in the last 20 days.
"The number of people coming to India dropped by 40 per cent in the last 20 days, the number will come down further," he said.
Karnataka Minister for Health, B Sriramulu on Thursday night reported India’s first death due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. A 76-year-old man, from Karnataka’s Kalburgi, who passed away and was a suspected coronavirus patient, was confirmed to have had COVID-19, Sriramulu confirmed in a tweet.