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Odishatv Bureau

New Delhi: Amid the growing number of positive coronavirus (Covid-19) cases in the country, the government on Thursday said that no international flight will be allowed to land in India from March 22 for one week.

It also asked the state governments to issue appropriate directions to all citizens above 65 years of age to remain at home.

The government said in a statement, "No scheduled international commercial passenger aircraft shall be allowed to land in India from March 22 for one week."

The steps came after India recorded 173 active Covid-19 cases till 5 p.m. on Thursday, including 25 foreign national, as per the data provided by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Four people have succumbed to the dreaded virus so far -- one each in Maharashtra, Delhi, Karnataka and Punjab.

The statement further said that the state governments will issue appropriate directions so that all citizens above 65 years of age (other than for medical assistance), except for public representative, government servants and medical professionals, are advised to remain at home.

The government also said that all children below 10 years of age should be advised to stay at home and not venture out.

"Railways and civil aviation authorities shall suspend all concessional travel, except for students, patients and disabled persons," it said.

Also Read: All Int’l Flights To Be Screened For COVID-19; 28 Positive Cases So Far In India: Health Min Harsh Vardhan

The government further said that the states are being requested to enforce work from home for private-sector employees except those working in emergency or essential services.

The government also said that all Group B and Group C Central government employees will be asked to attend office on alternate weeks besides suggesting staggered timings for all the employees.

Meanwhile, the SpiceJet has announced that it was "forced" to suspend majority of its international flight operations from Saturday till the end of the next month due to the "unprecedented situation" arising over the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Major airlines across the world have been curtailing their flight operations drastically as the aviation industry has been hit hard after many countries, including India, have partially sealed their borders amid the outbreak of the deadly COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019).

"In view of the unprecedented situation arising due to COVID-19, SpiceJet is forced to temporarily suspend majority of its international operations from 21st March till 30th April, 2020," a SpiceJet spokesperson stated on Thursday. "We will resume the suspended flights as soon as the situation normalises."

Also Read: Coronavirus: IndiGo Suspends Some Flights To China, Hong Kong

The spokesperson, however, said the airline's Kolkata-Dhaka flight would continue to operate as per schedule.

"Our Chennai-Colombo flight will restart from the 25th March, 2020, while our Delhi-Dubai and Mumbai-Dubai flights will resume from 16th April, 2020," the official added.

Goa Health Minister Vishwajit Rane today announced that domestic travellers arriving at the state's Dabolim airport will also be screened for coronavirus infection.

Rane along with state health director Jose De Sa, dean of Goa Medical College and Hospital Shivanand Bandodkar and airport director Gagan Malik inspected the airport's screening facility in the early hours of Thursday.

Talking to reporters here, Rane said the coastal state is gearing up to screen all domestic travellers who arrive at the airport.

"There is a possibility that some coronavirus infected persons may travel on domestic flights. We want to screen all travellers who come through the airport," he said.

The health minister went on to rubbish the allegations that the airport was ill-prepared to screen travellers.

"All precautions are in place. We have adopted proactive measures to ensure that the screening is done as per the Union health ministry's guidelines," he said.

Also Read: Coronavirus Effect: Railways Cancels 168 Trains

The coastal state, which witnesses a heavy footfall of foreign travellers, has not recorded a single positive case of COVID-19 so far.

(With agency input)

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