Primary schools in Delhi are temporarily closed until Tuesday, March 31, due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The Delhi government announced the decision on Wednesday, March 5, as a precautionary measure to prevent further spread of the virus. All public and private schools will be shut and some schools have taken an advance spring break. Similar measures may be implemented throughout the country if the outbreak continues to spread.
Visa suspensions remain in effect as of Friday, March 6, for individuals have traveled to or are nationals of Italy, Iran, South Korea, Japan, and China. Officials said that only diplomats, OCI cardholders, and aircrew are exempt from the restrictions. Anyone from the aforementioned countries requiring entry to India for compelling reasons must re-apply for a visa or e-Visa. The Ministry of Health also announced that all individuals arriving directly or indirectly from China, South Korea, Japan, Iran, Italy, Hong Kong, Macao, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Nepal, Thailand, Singapore, and Taiwan will be required to undergo medical screening at their port of entry. Officials similarly advised Indian citizens against travel to China, Iran, South Korea, Italy, or Japan, and against non-essential travel to other COVID-19 affected countries.
As of March 6, there are 31 confirmed COVID-19 cases in India, including 14 Italian tourists. Further spread of the virus is expected in the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On February 28, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the risk of spread and the risk of impact of the virus is "very high" at the global level.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Potentially impacted travelers are advised to monitor the situation, confirm travel itineraries, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments.
To reduce the general risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue - throw tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, seek medical care urgently and share your previous travel history with your health care provider.
In the case that symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness emerge either during or after travel, travelers are encouraged to seek medical attention and share their travel history with their health care provider. Travelers returning from China, South Korea, Italy, and Iran, who develop symptoms of pneumonia are advised to call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to avoid potential spread of the disease.