Coronavirus: MHA tells border forces to adopt airport-like screening

New Delhi, Feb 14 : Amid novel coronavirus outbreak in China, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has directed the border guarding Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) to adopt airport-like screening procedures at the borders as preventive measures to deal with the deadly infection.

In an advisory issued this week, the MHA has instructed the ITBP, the SSB and other departments concerned to maintain alertness on the borders regarding novel coronavirus -- which originated in China's Wuhan city last year and has now been renamed by World Health Organisation as COVID-19.

Sources said that the advisory specifically mentioned directing the paramilitary forces and other departments to follow airport-like procedures at the border checkpoints. The advisory has been issued to the two paramilitary forces as the ITBP is mandated to guard the 3,488 km India-China border while the SSB is in-charge of guarding the 1,751 km India-Nepal and 699 km India-Bhutan borders.

Meanwhile, Indian port authorities have decided not to allow the disembarkation of crew of ships from China, as well as Hong Kong, Macau, Thailand and Singapore, to avoid the spread of the deadly coronavirus, officials said.

The restrictions came as the novel coronavirus death toll in China reached 1,367, up by 254, as total cases rose to 59,804. In Hubei, the infections have jumped by 14,840 as the death toll reads 242. Wuhan, the worst affected city is the capital of Hubei province.

Chinese health authorities on Friday said that 1,716 medical staff had been infected with the novel coronavirus, accounting for 3.8 per cent of the overall confirmed cases in the country. The novel coronavirus is a new strain of viruses that originated in Wuhan at the end of December and brought the city to a lockdown.

It also spread in more than 20 countries outside China and affected hundreds of people. India continues to take all preventive measures to avoid and contain the virus entering here. The Indian government is also cooperating and helping neighbouring countries including Maldives and Afghanistan. The government evacuated 654 people, including seven Maldivian nationals, from China.

(IANS)

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Coronavirus: MHA tells border forces to adopt airport-like screening