High level Group of Ministers reviews current status, and actions for prevention and management of C
The 8th high-level meeting of the Group of Ministers (GoM) on COVID-19 was held at Nirman Bhawan today and chaired by Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare. Sh. Hardeep S. Puri, Minister of Civil Aviation, Dr. S. Jaishankar, Minister of External Affairs, Sh. Nityananda Rai, Minister of State for Home Affairs, Sh. Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Minister of State for Health & Family Welfare and Sh. Mansukh L. Mandaviya, Minister of State for Shipping, Chemicals & Fertilizers were present along with Cabinet Secretary Sh. Rajiv Gauba.
Ms. Preeti Sudan, Secretary (HFW), Sh. Harsh Vardhan Shringla, Secretary (MEA), Sh. Pradeep Singh Kharola, Secretary (Civil Aviation), Sh. P.D. Vaghela, Secretary (Pharmaceuticals), Dr. Balram Bhargava, Secretary DHR & Director General ICMR, Sh. Ravi Capoor, Secretary (Textiles), Sh. Yogendra Tripathi, Secretary (Tourism), Sh. Sanjeeva Kumar, Spl. Secretary (Health), Sh. Sanjay Bandopadhyay, Addl. Secretary (Shipping), Sh. Dammu Ravi, Addl. Secretary (MEA), Sh. Anil Malik, Addl. Secretary (MHA), Sh. Anand Swaroop, Inspector General (ITBP), Dr. Rajiv Garg, DGHS, MoHFW, Sh. Lav Agarwal, JS (MoHFW) along with officials from the Armed forces, ITBP and other ministries were also present.
The Group of Ministers (GOM) had detailed deliberation on prevention and management of COVID-19 in the country. In continuation of ongoing steps taken in this direction, the Committee of Secretaries chaired by Cabinet Secretary, at its meeting today, analysed the current situation and gave its recommendation to the Group of Ministers (GoM).
The Group of Ministers reviewed the status of cases in India and the steps taken by the Government of India, so far. In addition to the travel restrictions and advisories already in place, GoM has decided that:
- No scheduled international commercial passenger aircraft shall take off from any foreign airport for any airport in India, after 0001 hrs GMT of March 22, 2020 (*i.e. 0531 hrs Indian Standard Time (IST) of March 22, 2020). These instructions shall remain in force till 0001 hrs GMT of March 29, 2020.
- A maximum travel time of 20 hours is permissible for such commercial passenger aircraft to land in India.
- As such, no incoming scheduled international commercial passenger aircraft shall be allowed to disembark its passengers *on Indian soil* (Foreigner or Indian) after 2001 hrs GMT of March 22, 2020 (*i.e. 0131 hrs IST of March 23, 2020).
- It is to be highlighted that these are temporary measures to restrict the spread of COVID-19, and will be reviewed by the Government.
Further, Government of India had issued a detailed advisory on social distancing measures as a non-pharmaceutical intervention on 16th March 2020. Social distancing primarily implies avoiding/decreasing contact so as to stop or slow down the rate and extent of disease transmission. This has been found to be a useful approach to decrease the morbidity and mortality due to the disease. Government has regularly been urging Indian nationals on hand and respiratory hygiene, environmental sanitation measures like routine cleaning of frequently used surfaces, minimizing the sharing of objects; and ensuring appropriate ventilation besides social distancing.