London Coornavirus
London Coornavirus
AP/PTI

New Delhi: Possibly taking a cue from President Donald Trump, who has imposed stringent travel curbs on Europe, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Monday banned incoming passengers from the European Union, the United Kingdom and Turkey.

The ministry was galvanised into action by a recent statement of the World Health Organisation that Europe is the new epicentre of the coronavirus.

The travel ban will come into effect from 1200 hours GMT on March 18 and continue till March 31. According to this travel advisory, no airline shall allow a passenger from these nations to board and fly to India.

Additionally, passengers coming from UAE, Qatar, Oman and Kuwait will face a compulsory 14-day quarantine.

SCHOOL LOCKDOWN: With corona cases spiking overnight and touching 120, the Centre also suggested a country-wide lockdown of schools, colleges, gyms and swimm-ing pools -- crowded areas that could allow for exponential spread of the virus.

Such is the scare that in the national capital there will be a cap of 50 on religious, social, cultural and political gatherings; the diktat will continue March 31. The restriction is "applicable to protests too" and has implications for those on dharna at Shaheen Bagh.

The Health Ministry also said contact tracing of positive coronavirus cases had led to a grim finding and over 5,200 contacts who had been identified were under surveillance.

EVOLVING INTO A HUMAN TRAGEDY

RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das has also acknowledged that the coronavirus pandemic can send the economy for a toss. Addressing a press conference, he said sectors such as tourism, airlines, hospitality and trade are already feeling the impact.

He added that the RBI will ensure that its policy actions are "considered and calibrated" as it moves to tackle the risks to the economy.

The RBI, he said, has several policy tools at its command and "stands ready" as and when required.

"The Covid-19 pandemic... is rapidly evolving into a human tragedy disrupting economic activity in a wide swath of affected countries. Financial markets across the world are experiencing intense volatility and financial conditions have tightened worldwide," the RBI Governor added.

MARKETS: His remarks came within an hour of benchmark equity indices ending a highly volatile session around 8 per cent lower following a turmoil in global markets. 

US FED: Overnight in the US, the Federal Reserve cut the key interest rate by 100 basis points to a target range of 0-0.25 per cent, saying that it would expand its balance sheet by at least $700 billion in coming weeks.

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