NEW DELHI: The government on Thursday assured the Lok Sabha that it was taking efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19. While Health Minister Harsh Vardhan requested parliamentarians to help in spreading awareness about the deadly coronavirus, External Minister S Jaishankar said the government was trying to ensure the well-being of Indians stranded in Iran and Italy.
The government also said that the number of international passengers at airports had registered a sharp decline following the outbreak. Jaishankar assured the MPs that India was equipped to handle the pandemic. Reiterating that travelling in itself was not recommended, he said India is effectively addressing the problem by reacting responsibly and soberly to address the probelm without spreading panic.
With regard to the situation in Iran, he said that the embassy and consulates have reached out to the Indians in the country to ensure that they have access to adequate provisions. “There are around 6,000 Indian nationals in various provinces of Iran, of which around 1,000 are pilgrims from Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh. Around 1,000 are fishermen from Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat, and 300 are students — most of them studying medicine, and hence aware of precautions to be taken — from Jammu and Kashmir,” said the minister.
Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said the number of international passengers arriving at the country’s airports has reduced to around 62,000 per day from 70,000 in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak and the count might further come down to around 40,000 following the travel advisory issued on Wednesday.
There are 30 international airports in the country and on an average, they receive about 70,000 international passengers. So far, 10,57,506 passengers travelling on 9,862 flights have been screened.
Earlier, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla said there was no proposal to adjourn the House over coronavirus. Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu urged the members to reach out to people asking them to exercise caution without panicking, by maintaining sanitation and other measures as advised by the government and the World Health Organization. Naidu said members shall be careful while meeting and greeting people, especially while dealing with those who recently travelled to and out of the country, including foreigners.