UAE asks citizens to refrain from travelling to India

By Eudore R. Chand

ABU DHABI 13 March 2020: The UAE has called on its citizens to refrain from travelling to India at present time, following recent concerns on the new coronavirus, Covid-19, outbreaks in a number of countries.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said, “The decision comes in implementation of the instructions issued by the Indian government, which stated that all foreigners holding Indian visas of all kinds will be barred from entering India until further notice as a precautionary measure taken by the Indian government to reduce novel Coronavirus spread.”

The UAE Embassy in New Delhi requested UAE citizens currently in India to register on the ministry’s ‘Twajudi’ service and contact the embassy at +91 81819 11111, said Wam.

India evacuates non-Indians from Covid-19 countries

NEW DELHI: India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare announced on Wednesday that it had evacuated 948 individuals from coronavirus, Covid-19, affected countries.

The ministry said 900 of those it had evacuated – using special planes and trained personnel – were Indian nationals. The remaining individuals hailed from Maldives, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Madagascar, Sri Lanka, Nepal, South Africa, the United States, Peru and China.

The evacuation of the foreign nationals by the Indian government were considered as part of a “humanitarian gesture” to ensure the safety and well-being of the global community, the ministry noted.

The evacuees were brought to New Delhi, and placed in isolation facilities for 14 days, the Indian health ministry affirmed, noting that the individuals were so far tested twice for coronavirus.

According to the ministry, individuals were evacuated from various coronavirus hotspot countries, of which 58 individuals were evacuated from Iran, 324 from Wuhan city in China, and 112 from the rest of Hubei province in China.

The ministry also coordinated the evacuation of 330 individuals from other Chinese cities, as well as 124 from Japan.

India is not leaving anything to chance and preparing quarantine and treatment facilities on a big scale, fearing the eventuality of a spread in the coronavirus disease. The Indian Army and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police have created two isolation and treatment facilities capable of housing up to 800 people near the national capital of Delhi.

These facilities are in addition to several hospitals that have been asked to set apart designated floors for isolating suspected Covid-19 patients.

There are currently 68 active cases of Covid-19 in India.

Saudi halts travel to EU and 12 other countries

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has announced travel restrictions from European Union countries along with 12 others in a bid to combat the spread of coronavirus, Covid-19.

The Saudi Press Agency quoted an official from the Kingdom’s Ministry of Interior as saying that the decision was taken as a preventative and precautionary measure by the country to contain and mitigate the spread of the pandemic.

All flights coming from the 26 EU nations as well as Switzerland, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Sudan, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Eritrea, Kenya, Djibouti, and Somalia have been temporarily halted, the agency reported.

The official also noted that all travel undertaken by land from the Kingdom of Jordan has been halted, however, commercial and freight flights from Jordan continue to operate. They explained that humanitarian and exceptional cases would still be able to cross the Kingdom’s borders.

The Saudi official noted that a 72-hour grace period for Saudi residents with valid residency permits currently outside of the Kingdom to return immediately, before the travel restrictions take hold.

The flight restrictions imposed exclude health care workers from the Philippines and India who work in the Kingdom. Evacuation, cargo and trade flights will continue as normal, while undertaking the necessary precautions, SPA reported the official as saying.

Kuwait announces eight new coronavirus cases

KUWAIT: Kuwait announced on Thursday eight new people tested positive with the coronavirus in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of persons infected with the virus to 75.

According to the Kuwait News Agency, Ministry of Health spokesman Dr. Abdullah Al-Sanad said five of the new cases were Egyptian nationals and they tested positive after they came in close contact with a person who came from Azerbaijan.

He added in a daily press briefing the three others were Kuwaiti citizens who travelled back from Iran.

Al-Sanad said four patients were still in the intensive care unity, one critical and conditions of the three others were stable. He added that five persons had already been cured from the virus.

He noted that the Ministry of Health took a total of 6,841 samples from people for testing.

Thailand reports 11 new coronavirus cases

BANGKOK: Thailand reported 11 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, bringing the total number of cases in the Southeast Asian country to 70, Reuters has quoted health officials as saying.

All of the new patients had socialised and shared drinks, health officials said, adding that a tourist from Hong Kong had been the source of the infection.

“The Hong Kong tourist came alone and already went back. The 11 infected are all Thai,” said Sopon Iamsirithawon, Director-General of the Communicable Diseases Department.

It was the biggest jump in cases for weeks in Thailand, which was one of the first countries outside China to report infections of the new Covid-19 virus that has since swept much of the world.

43rd session of UN Human Rights Council suspended

GENEVA: The 43rd session of the UN Human Rights Council has been cancelled following coronavirus, Covid-19, concerns.

In a statement, the UN UHCHR said that “all Council-related side events have been cancelled” as of 3rd March to 20th March 2020.

The Council sited the decision was based as per “the advice of the UN Secretary-General and UNOG Director-General, guided by the Swiss authorities.”