-(PTI Photo)

New Delhi: Fifteen Italian tourists who arrived in Delhi last month, and an Indian, who was travelling with them, have tested positive for corona virus.

With that, the total number of confirmed corona virus cases has jumped from six to 29, including a Paytm staffer operating from Gurgaon who has recently returned from Italy.

Even more worrisome is the disclosure that the Italian tourists would have passed on the virus to scores of others – at least in the hospitality sector – as they moved back and forth in the domestic tourist circuit – Jaipur-Jodhpur-Agra-Delhi. This is the biggest single cluster in the country to be infected.

An even bigger challenge is to check and screen at least 88 persons who came in contact with a Delhi patient, whose six family members, too, have tested positive. In UP, over 7,400 people have been screened for the virus and 20 suspects are quarantined in different hospitals.

Waking up to the lurking crisis, the government on Wednesday announced that all passengers of international flights will have to undergo screening, and not just from the 12 countries listed earlier.

PM Modi tweeted that he would not participate in any Holi events this year, as experts have advised against "mass gatherings to avoid coronavirus spread". Union Home Minister

Amit Shah also tweeted an appeal to "everyone to avoid public gatherings" and said that he, too, would not participate in any Holi events.

In New Delhi, the state government has asked parents to not send their wards to attend classes, even in case of mild cough or cold. Classrooms are being fumigated and advisories have been sent to parents detailing the dos and don'ts.

Three schools in the national capital and adjoining areas have announced holiday for students and staff as a precautionary measure while two schools have advanced their spring break. 

A case of suspected coronavirus infection has surfaced at PGI Chandigarh, where a person has been admitted. 

On Tuesday, 2 patients were hospitalised after they returned from Indonesia. 

The members of the BMC’s standing committee have urged the civic administration to screen travellers at railway stations and toll plazas for COVID-19. 

India intends to set up a laboratory in Iran so that Indians there can be tested for a possible exposure to novel coronavirus before being brought back. The Iranian government has not yet given permission for it. An estimated 1,200 Indians, mostly students and pilgrims, are in Iran currently.

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Free Press Journal