Cabinet Secy raises alarm to states on monitoring of foreigners' arrival

However, the actual number of international passengers who are being monitored in India right now is not known. | Photo: Agencies
Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba has instructed the state governments to step up surveillance of international passengers. According to his letter to chief secretaries of all states and Union territories, 15 lakh (1.5 million) international passengers arrived in India in the last two months and 'there is a gap' between actual monitoring of the international passengers and total arrival.

In the letter, Gauba wrote, "such a gap in the monitoring of international passengers may seriously jeopardise the efforts to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus." He also pointed out that many amongst the persons who have been tested positive for the coronavirus so far in India have a history of international travel. 

"As you are aware, we initiated screening of international incoming passengers at the airports with effect from January 18, 2020. I have been informed that up to March 23, 2020, cumulatively, Bureau Of Immigration has shared details of more than 15 lakh incoming international passengers with the States/UTs for monitoring for COVID-19. However, there appears to be a gap between the number of international passengers who need to be monitored by the States/UTs and the actual number of passengers being monitored," Gauba said in his letter.

However, the actual number of international passengers who are being monitored in India right now is not known.

The cabinet secretary also urged the chief secretaries to actively involve the district authorities in this effort. 

Earlier this month, India announced a ban on international passenger flights from March 22 to March 29, which later got extended till April 14. This is in line with the total national lockdown announced by PM Modi, which is in place from March 25 and continue till April 14, to contain the spread of the virus. 

So far, the Covid-19 has infected 540,832 and 24,293 people have died, while in India 724 have been tested positive of the virus and the death toll rose to 17 as of March 26.

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