In view of the deadly novel coronavirus outbreak in China, the government on Wednesday issued an updated travel advisory saying the existing visas (including e-visa already issued) are no longer valid for any foreign national travelling from China.
In the travel advisory, the Health Ministry again asked people to refrain from travelling to China in view of the coronavirus outbreak in its Hubei province and said travellers on return from the neighbouring country could be quarantined.
The coronavirus outbreak had claimed 491 lives in China till Tuesday, while the total number of those affected by the deadly virus stood at 24,324, according to Chinese health officials.
On February 2, India temporarily suspended e-visa facility for Chinese travellers and foreigners residing in China in view of the coronavirus outbreak in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.
Wednesday's advisory said anyone with travel history of China since January 15 could be quarantined.
'Intending visitors may contact Embassy in Beijing (firstname.lastname@example.org) or the Consulates in Shanghai (Ccons.email@example.com) and Guangzhou (Visa.firstname.lastname@example.org) to apply afresh for an Indian visa.
'The Indian Embassy in China continues to remain contactable 24x7 on two hotline numbers +8618610952903 & +8618612083629 and the dedicated email - email@example.com. Indian nationals in need of any assistance may get in touch with the Embassy on these hotlines and email,' the advisory said.
For any queries related to nCoV, people can call on the 24x7 helpline number +91-11-23978046 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org, it said.
Meanwhile, the cabinet secretary held a high-level meeting to review the actions taken for the management of nCoV and preparedness of states.
The meeting was attended by secretaries of Health, External Affairs, Civil Aviation, Pharma, Dept of Health Research, Member Secretary of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), and other officials from Home, Commerce, Defence ministries and Army.
Health Ministry officials said a total of 741 samples were screened for nCoV, out of which 738 tested negative and three were found positive.
Besides, testing of 342 samples is under process, they said, adding that 5,123 people across the country are under home surveillance.
All three confirmed cases of nCoV in India have been reported from Kerala, where nearly 2,000 people are under observation in hospitals and homes.
The three persons, all natives of Kerala and medical students of Wuhan University, had recently returned to India.
On Tuesday, five people with suspected symptoms of nCoV were admitted to the isolation ward of RML Hospital in New Delhi, sources said.
Currently, there are 12 patients who have been admitted to the hospital with nCoV-like symptoms and their test reports are awaited, the hospital sources said.
On the directions of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a Group of Ministers (GoM) has been formed to review, monitor and evaluate the preparedness to contain the deadly nCoV infection in the country. The GoM had held its first meeting on Monday.
The Health Ministry has said that various precautionary measures have been undertaken in close coordination with the ministries concerned at the central level.
Five people of the 248 who were shifted to the Army's Base hospital after they showed symptoms of cough and cold have tested negative for coronavirus.
Also, five out of the 406 people evacuated from nCoV-affected Wuhan, who are admitted at the Safdarjung Hospital, have tested negative.
As many as 401 people have been quarantined at the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) facility in Delhi's Chhawla area since last week after they were brought in two batches from Wuhan onboard separate Air India flights.
All those admitted to quarantine centres of the Army and the ITBP in and around the national capital are medically examined on a daily basis, though none of them has tested positive for coronavirus, health ministry officials said.
As part of India's preparedness, passengers arriving from Thailand and Singapore, besides China and Hong Kong, are being screened for possible exposure to nCoV at all the 21 airports.
Screening is also being conducted at international seaports and border crossings.
So far, coronavirus has spread to Thailand, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Malaysia, Taiwan, Vietnam, Macau, the Philippines, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, the United States, Canada, Germany, France, Britain, Italy, Russia, Finland, Spain, the United Arab Emirates and Sweden.
Avoid frozen meat; shaking hands: Delhi govt advisory
The Delhi government on Wednesday issued a health advisory on the novel coronavirus (nCov) and prescribed do's and dont's for the public to ward off any infection, including avoiding frozen meat, officials said.
A round-the-clock control room has also been set up at the Directorate General of Health Services' headquarters to address queries related to the virus.
India has so far reported three positive cases of nCoV from Kerala, after its outbreak in China's Hubei province.
In its health advisory, the Delhi government has asked people to exercise caution, like cleaning hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub; covering nose and mouth while coughing; sneezing using tissue; avoiding close contact with anyone with cold or flu like symptoms; avoiding frozen meat, besides isolation of symptomatic patients for at least 14 days.
Among the do's prescribed to people, the government has asked them to frequently wash hands with soap and water; avoid crowded places; stay more than an arm's length distance from persons sick with flu; take adequate sleep and rest; and drink plenty of water and consume liquid diet and eat nutritious food, the advisory said.
It also said "persons suffering from influenza-like illness must be confined at home" and those suspected with such illness must consult a doctor.
On the don'ts, it has advised people to not touch eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands; avoid hugging, kissing and shaking hands while greeting people in public; not spit in public places; avoid excessive physical exercise and disposal of used napkin or tissue paper in open areas; not touching surfaces usually used by public such as railings, door gates, avoid smoking in public places; and not go for unnecessary testing.
A 24x7 control Room has been established at DGHS (HQ), and people may contact it on following number for any query relating to the nCoV -- 011-22307145, 22300012, 22300036.