Coronavirus: India segregates passengers on arrival from 12 places, including Singapore

An Airport Authority of India spokesman said that segregation had been implemented across all its airports. PHOTO: AFP

NEW DELHI - India has started segregating air passengers from 12 places, including Singapore, on arrival up to the baggage pick-up point until they are screened, as the country continues to step up measures to prevent the coronavirus from spreading.

The world's second most populous country has so far detected 42 people with Covid-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus, including over a dozen Italian tourists.

An Airport Authority of India (AAI) spokesman said that segregation had "been implemented across all AAI airports".

This applies to passengers from China, South Korea, Japan, Italy, Iran, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Nepal and Indonesia.

According to AAI, such passengers will be "prohibited from mixing in health screening, immigration and conveyor belt areas" with those from other countries.

On Sunday (March 8), top officials, including from the Ministry of Civil Aviation, inspected the new screening procedures at the Indira Gandhi International Airport here.

AAI runs 23 international airports in India.

India has taken a number of measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

This includes initiating screening of passengers from China on Feb 17 and then extending it to the other 11 countries. But as the number of coronavirus cases has climbed, the government expanded thermal screening to all international arrivals and even domestic travellers.

All passengers coming in on international flights also have to submit self-declaration forms upon arrival. These forms include contact details and travel history that are to be submitted to immigration and health officials at the airports.

As of March 7, a total of 726,122 passengers had been screened from 7,108 flights at airports, according to the government.

Still, cases of coronavirus infection have been rising. On Monday, a three-year-old from the southern state of Kerala, who had recently travelled to Italy with her parents, was said to have been infected with the virus, Indian media reported.

India has also prohibited foreign cruise ships from docking at Indian ports, news agency ANI reported.

State governments have been rolling out their own initiatives, including shutting down schools.

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The Delhi High Court on Monday issued an advisory asking people to avoid crowding the court premises.

"One should avoid going to crowded places. Therefore, advocates, general public and litigants are requested to adhere to the guidelines/advisory issued by the Government of Delhi and avoid unnecessary overcrowding in the court premises," the advisory stated, according to Indian media.

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