The Indian government has announced on Wednesday evening, that all visas are now suspended with the exception of certain categories to prevent the spread of the coronavirus outbreak.
All schools, colleges, movie theatres and other public gatherings are now closed until 31 March to help contain the spread of the virus, city’s Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Thursday.
Anyone that travels to India could be subject to 14 days in quarantine and the government are warning against “non-essential travel.”
RR Gangakhedkar from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said he is confident of India’s capability in controlling the outbreak.
He added, “We don’t have data to support the theory that the coronavirus won’t be as effective in summers.
“The NIV [The National Institute of Virology] can undertake more than 2,000 tests per day. But we have only tested 6,000 cases in the past one month or so. So we already have the capacity.”
In a media briefing on Thursday officials from several departments of the government said there is no need to panic.
Gangakhedkar was asked over allegations that the health authority are unable to detect coronavirus related deaths, he said “this is not true.”
“Our surveillance system is strong and we are able to quickly identify any symptomatic patients.
“Coronaviruses are difficult to isolate. But our first step to isolate has been successful.
But he cautioned it will take more than a year before the “vaccine was ready for human trials.”
“It would be near impossible for India to force its citizens into mass quarantine and hospitalise people in numbers like China,” said the BBC’s Soutik Biswas.
India currently has 73 confirmed cases, with one death and four people have recovered.
India is the second most populated country of the world after China, and the population of India is projected close to 1.37bn.
India accounts for a meagre 2.4% of the world surface area of 135.79m square kms yet it supports and sustains a staggering 17.75% of the world population.
It is estimated that by 2024, India will most likely overtake China to become the most populous country on the earth with 1.44bn people.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has now categorised the deadly coronavirus outbreak as a global pandemic.
Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the WHO said, “WHO has been assessing this outbreak around the clock and we are deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity, and by the alarming levels of inaction.
“We have therefore made the assessment that COVID19 can be characterized as a pandemic.
“WHO’s mandate is public health. But we’re working with many partners across all sectors to mitigate the social and economic consequences of this covid-19 pandemic.
“This is not just a public health crisis, it is a crisis that will touch every sector – so every sector and every individual must be involved in the fight.