Coronavirus Travel Advisory: All you Need to Know!
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Updated date : 26 March 2020
Coronaviruses are a large group of virus that leads to illness in humans and animals. The novel coronavirus disease is named as COVID-19 by the World Health Organization. The first reporting of the outbreak of Coronavirus was reported on 31 December 2019 in Wuhan, China.
There have been several cases reported from all the parts of the world including India.
A total of 80,270 confirmed cases and 2981 demises have been reported as of now (4 March 2020).
A total of 12,857 confirmed cases and 220 demises have been recorded, which are outside China from 78 countries, which includes Macao, Taiwan and Hong Kong. As per the reports, 30 countries have local transmissions.
As per the data shared by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare a total number of 15, 24,266 passengers have been screened at the airports. Besides, the total number of active coronavirus (COVID-19) cases across the nation is 593 including the non-Indian citizens.
Besides, a total of 42 COVID-19 cases either have been discharged or cured and 1 patient of COVID-19 has migrated. As of now, a total of 13 demises have happened due to coronavirus (COVID-19).
Have a look at the below table, which shows the status of COVID-19 state wise:
|Name of the State/ Union Territory||Confirmed Cases (Indian Citizen)||Confirmed Cases (Non-Indian Citizen)||Discharged/Cured/Migrated||Demise|
|Jammu and Kashmir||11||0||1||0|
|Total No. Of Confirmed Cases in India||602#||47||43||13|
Note: As per the data provided by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare as on March, 26, 2020 including the foreign nationals.
# denotes that some of the new cases have been reassigned States as per the latest information.
Moreover, the below table has the details of 492 cases state and districts wise:
|State||Affected Districts||Name of the Districts||Cases (In nos.)|
|Jammu and Kashmir||2||Srinagar||1|
|West Bengal||2#||North 24 Pargana||2|
Note: The total numbers of affected districts as of March 25, 2020 are 103#.
# denotes that likely to change when all known 492 districts are verified. * denotes that the districts are being verified.
The World Health Organization has made the assessment and has declared the coronavirus (COVID-19) to be pandemic. Besides, this is the first pandemic, which has been caused by the coronavirus. At the same time, this is also a pandemic, which can be controlled.
Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) Update:
Your travel insurance will cover all benefits listed in your policy schedule - including Hospitalization Expenses for any medical emergency, which arises on your trip, including those related to Corona Virus disease (COVID-19).
This guideline has also been released in the latest IRDAI (Insurance Regulatory Authority of India) circular Ref: IRDAI/HLT/REG/CIR/054/03/2020
Note: All claim settlements will be subject to respective policy Terms & Conditions
Steps Taken By Government of India to Prevent Coronavirus (COVID-19)
On 30 January 2020, the World Health Organization proclaimed the outbreak of Coronavirus as a ‘Public Health Emergency of International Concern’. However, India initiated its preparedness to fight back from 17 January 2020 itself.
Let us take an understanding of the steps taken by the government of India to deal with the cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19):
- First things first, when a person is infected with the coronavirus, the disease develops between 1-14 days. The major symptoms of novel coronavirus are fever, cough and shortness/difficulty in breathing. The cases of COVID-19 need to be treated in isolation with barrier nursing and taking precautionary measures so that the disease is not spread further.
- All the international passengers coming to India have to undertake universal screening. Besides, various signages have been displayed at the airports and the ports. The self-declaration forms are filled by the passengers and in-flight announcements are being made regularly.
- To ensure the safety and effective screening of all the passengers a team of specialist doctors are present at the airports and arrangements for isolation have been done in the attached hospitals.
- The government of India in cooperation with the Ministry of Civil Aviation, Ministry of Family and Health Welfare and Air India have also evacuated Indian nationality students and working professionals from Wuhan and neighbouring cities.
- While the rescue operation, the Indian government had also sent medical and protective equipment along with disposables as a goodwill gesture to China.
- The Indian Embassy and Consulates have been in regular touch with the Indian community in different other parts of China and have been keeping a track on the same.
- All the passengers who have travel history from Coronavirus affected countries surveillance have been initiated for them. Through integrated disease surveillance network the persons who have fever, cough or breathing issues are continuously monitored by a team of health professionals and others.
- The facility of isolation beds across the nation to manage the outbreak of coronavirus.
- In such a crucial time, the state and the Union government have maintained a buffer stock of N95 masks and other important personal protective equipment.
- The guidelines have been issued by the ministry to control the outbreak such as prevention of infection, sample collection, and other healthcare facilities.
- To get updates on the scenario, the government of India is in regular touch with the World Health Organization, regional and country office.
- The Containment Action Plan has been provided to all the states. On 6 March 2020, a national-level training workshop has been planned for all these states and hospitals from other ministries.
- A district collector has been designated as the nodal officer at the field level who will be vigilant throughout the containment operations. Teams have been allotted at the areas where the cases are located and are been guided concerning active and passive surveillance.
- The risk communication is being disseminated in every regional language through states. To create awareness in regards to the COVID-19 technical briefings are being informed through radio and television. Daily press briefings are held by the Ministry of Health and Information, which is shared on various social media.
In the below table, find the list of helpline numbers of States and Union Territories for COVID-19:
|Name of the State||Helpline Numbers|
|West Bengal||1800313444222, 03323412600|
|Name of the Union Territory||Helpline Numbers|
|Andaman and Nicobar Island||03192-232102|
|Jammu and Kashmir||01912520982, 0194-2440283|
|Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu||104|
There has been an advisory issued by the Ministry of Health and Family welfare regarding the ‘Social Distancing’ given the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). At such a crucial time, social distancing is needed for the hour as it will help to decrease the spread, morbidity, and demise due to this infection.
Listed below is a list of interventions that will remain enforce up to March 31, 2020. However, the same shall be reviewed at a regular interval of time.
- Primarily, all the schools, universities, museums, social centres, movie theatres, swimming pools, cultural centres, and gyms will remain close.
- The students are advised to stay at their respective homes. If required, online education to be promoted.
- If required, postpone the examinations should be considered. The exams, which are going on should be done only after ensuring that there is a physical distance of at least a meter amongst the students.
- Wherever feasible, let the employees work from their home in the private sector.
- Unless not required, refrain self from any public or social gatherings. If required, conduct meetings via video conferencing and if possible try to reschedule for some time later.
- The restaurants need to maintain proper cleanliness and hygiene protocol. The surfaces need to be cleaned from time to time and ensure the protocol of one-meter distance at any cost. Open-air seating is preferred.
- The weddings already planned to try to keep a minimum gathering and try to post-pone if possible.
- Postpone any gatherings such as any sports event or mass gatherings for any political purpose.
- Unless required, stop visiting markets or crowded places.
- Special preventive measures to be taken for delivery men or women who are working in web ordering services.
- Inform the communities at regular intervals and without a fail.
- Avoid shaking hands with people or giving hugs for some time.
- The local authorities to conduct meeting with stakeholders and business associations to regulate the hours and conduct a communication drive based on COVID-19 in places such as a vegetable market, railway station, post-office, and so on.
- The hospitals without a fail need to adhere to the COVID-19 protocol and not allow any visitor related to the patient in the hospital.
- Public transport needs to be disinfected from time to time. However, do not commute if not necessary. In case, one needs to travel, make sure that all the precautionary steps are taken care of.
COVID-19: Important Definitions
- Suspect Case: A patient who has a respiratory illness that is fever and minimum one symptom of respiratory disease, for example, breathing issues, cough, etc. And has a travel history of visiting any of the COVID-19 affected countries, territory or the areas 14 days before the beginning of the symptoms
A patient or any health care work suffering from any respiratory illness and has been in contact with any of the confirmed Coronavirus (COVID-19) case in the past 14 days before the beginning of the symptoms;
Any patient with severe respiratory illness or infection such as having fever coughs or breathing issues and requires immediate hospitalization with no other aetiology, which substantiates the clinical presentation;
A case wherein testing for the coronavirus (COVID-19) is inconclusive.
Laboratory Confirmed Case: This essentially implies that a person has been tested positive of COVID-19 with confirmation of the laboratory infection nonetheless of clinical signs and symptoms.
Everything You Need to Be Updated on the Travel Advisory
Travel advisories have been issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare at regular interval of time. As on 11 March 2020, the following advice has been issued:
- All the regular and e-visas, which includes visa on arrival for South Korea and Japan, which was earlier granted to the citizens of Italy, Japan, South Korea and Iran issued either on or before 03 March 2020 and still have not entered the Indian boundary will remain suspended till further notice. In case one needs to fly to India because of any unavoidable reason then that person needs to seek a new visa from any of the nearest Embassy or Consulate.
- All the regular and e-visa, which was granted to the citizen of the Republic of China either on or before 5 February 2020 will remain suspended. Anyone who needs to travel to India because of a compelling reason needs to apply for a new visa and contact the nearest Indian Embassy or Consulate.
- All the regular and e-visa, which was permitted to all the foreign nationals for travelling to the Republic of China, South Korea, Italy, Japan and Iran either on or before 1 February 2020 and have not yet entered India, will remain suspended. If one needs to travel to India, then that person must apply for a new visa.
- Apart from the visas issued to the diplomatic, Official, the United Nations/ International Organizations, Employment, Project the remaining others stand suspended till April 15, 2020. The same has been into effect on 13 March 2020 from 1200 GMT.
- For the overseas citizen of India cardholders, the visa-free travel remains suspended till April 15, 2020, and has been into effect from March 13, 2020, from 1200 GMT.
- The overseas citizen of India cardholders who are already in India can stay within India as long as they require.
- The visas of all non-Indian citizens who are already in India remain valid. In case, if the non-Indian citizen requires any kind of assistance in regards to conversion or an extension and so on they may do the same and get in touch with the nearest FRP/ FRRO via e-FRRO modular.
- In case, any non-Indian citizen needs to visit India because of an important and unavoidable piece of work, they need to contact the nearest Indian Mission.
- There are certain visa restrictions in place, any passenger who has a travel history of either Italy or the Republic of Korea and is likely to enter India needs to provide a document certifying that he/she has been tested negative for COVID-19 from any of the designated laboratories by the respective countries health authorities. This has been into effect from March 10, 2020, and as of now is a temporary measure to deal with the case of COVID-19.
- Any Indian citizen or traveller coming from or having visited Countries China, Republic of Korea, Iran, Italy, Spain, France and Germany after February 15, 2020, shall remain quarantined for about 14 days. This has been into effect on March 13, 2020, from 1200 GMT at the port of departure.
- If not important, it is highly advisable to not travel as the travellers can be quarantined for 14 days on the arrival to India. Besides, the citizens of India are strongly recommended to refrain from travelling to countries such as China, the Republic of Korea, Germany, France, Spain, Iran, Italy and Germany.
- All the passengers returning to India are hereby advised that they need to monitor their health and need to follow the do’s and don’ts as shared by the government.
- Robust medical screening facilities to be introduced at immigration checkpoints, which will be separately introduced by Ministry of Home Affairs.
- Any passengers travelling from an international location entering into India are required to provide duly completed self-declaration form, which includes the personal details of the traveller like the contact number and the residential address in India along with detailed travel history. The form needs to be submitted to the health officials and the immigration officials at all the ports. Besides, they need to undergo Universal Health Screening at the allotted health counters at all the entry points.
- Any passenger travelling from Afghanistan, Malaysia and the Philippines to India with immediate effect is prohibited till March 31, 2020. Besides, after 1500 hours Indian Standard Time no flights will take off from any of these countries to India. This should be enforced by the respective airlines at the port of initial departure. At this point, it is a temporary step till March 31, 2020, which will be reviewed.
- Passengers who are either coming from or are transiting through Qatar, UAE, Kuwait and Oman will remain in compulsory quarantine for at least 14 days, which will come into effect from March 18, 2020, at 1200 GMT. This is a temporary measure, which will remain in force till March 31, 2020.
- From March 18, 2020, the passengers from member countries of the European Union, the European Free Trade Association, the United Kingdom and Turkey are strictly prohibited to travel to India. It is to be noted that no airline will board any of the passengers belonging from these countries to India and the same name needs to be enforced at the port of initial departure till March 31, 2020.
- No planned international commercial passenger aeroplane will take off from any international terminal for any air terminal in India, after 0001 hrs GMT of March 22, 2020 (*i.e. 0531 hrs Indian Standard Time (IST) of March 22, 2020). These directions will stay in power till 0001 hrs GMT of March 29, 2020.
- Most extreme travel time of 20 hours is allowable for such commercial passenger aeroplane to land in India.
- Accordingly, no approaching booked international commercial aeroplane will be permitted to land its travellers *on Indian soil* (Foreigner or Indian) after 2001 hrs GMT of March 22, 2020 (*i.e. 0131hrs IST of March 23, 2020).
Note: All of these are temporary steps to control the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Besides, there has also been restrictions on international passenger traffic through land check posts given the outbreak of COVID-19. Let us have a look at the following essential pointers dated March 13, 2020, that need to be implemented with immediate effect:
- The passenger movement via all the immigration land check posts located at India-Myanmar border, India- Bhutan border, India-Bangladesh and India-Nepal border has been suspended from March 15, 2020, and India-Pakistan border has been into effect from March 16, 2020, till any further order is declared apart from the below-stated table:
|State Name||Land of ICP TO Remain Operational||Border||Controlled By|
|West Bengal||Changrabandha||India-Bangladesh||State Government|
|Mankachar (Distt. Dubri)||India-Bangladesh||State Government|
Note: The visa restriction on Non-Indian citizens will be amended at regular interval of time except for the citizens of Bhutan and Nepal will be applied on all the above-mentioned immigration check posts.
- The participation of Non-Indian citizens in the borders haat remain suspended until any further order is issued.
- The operation of existing cross border passenger tarin and passenger bus of India-Bangladesh remain suspended up to April 15, 2020.
- The restrictions mentioned in the first pointer will be applied to only third-country nationals and not to citizens of India, Nepal and Bhutan.
- Whether you are an Indian, Nepalese or Bhutanese or belong to any other country which shows the symptoms of COVID-19 or has a recent travel history of the seven COVID-19 affected countries will be subject to the period of quarantine as per the State or Central Government.
- ICP attari will only be used by diplomats, officials and UN personnel who have a valid visa for cross over. However, universal screening is a mandate and if required they could be subject to quarantine as well.
- All the restrictions and preventive measures in respect to the travellers and travelling issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of External Affairs and Bureau of Immigration should be followed by one and all and not be neglected or overlooked at any cost.
Handling of Reported Claims Under Coronavirus
With the outbreak of coronavirus, the scenario is alarming. Let us take you through the guidelines released by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDA) on the handling of claims reported under coronavirus:
- In regards to the products filed and cleared as per the provisions of Guidelines on product filing in the health insurance business as on 29 July wherein coverage is generally provided for treatment of hospitalization expense and to lessen down the hardship of the insured, all the claims reported within coronavirus will be handled as per the below mentioned norms:
- When a hospitalization expense is covered within the insurance product, the insurance company should ensure that any case related to Coronaviruis should be handled promptly and diligently.
- Any cost incurred due to hospitalization during the treatment of the coronavirus should be settled as per the terms and conditions in the policy schedule and to the extent of regulatory framework during the quarantine period.
- The claim review committee will thoroughly review all the claims related to the coronavirus.
- To provide need-based health insurance coverage, insurance companies are introducing products for different certain diseases, which includes the vector-borne disease. To meet the purpose of health insurance need of various sections, insurance companies have been advised to design products, which can cover the expenses of treatment of coronavirus.
- Under the provisions of Section 14 (2) (e) of the IRDA Act, 1999 these instructions should come into immediate effect.
- It has the approval of the competent authority.
WHO Recommendations In-relation To Outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19)
In light of the rapidly evolving situation, the WHO has provided recommendations for the international traffic in-relation to the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19):
- One can easily be infected with the virus specifically through close contact with the family or at any other gathering. Therefore it is important to take the following precautionary measures:
- Wash your hands regularly
- Use a sanitizer
- Maintain a social distance while talking to people
- Maintain hand hygiene
- Cover your nose and hand with a tissue or a flexed elbow while sneezing or coughing. Dispose of the used tissue immediately.
- Do not touch the mouth or the nose
- If unwell, visit a doctor at the earliest
- If wearing a mask then make sure that you are exactly aware of how to wear, remove and dispose of the mask.
- If you are a traveller who has returned from any of the affected areas please do monitor yourself and in case you are unwell visit the doctor without further delay.
- Enhance awareness through effective risk communication concerning the COVID-19.
- Do not promote any sort of stigma or discrimination.
- All relevant information should be shared with the WHO to manage and assess the required details related to COVID-19 on time.
Besides, all these important steps the WHO has called the countries and asked them to take a four-pronged strategy respectively:
Firstly, countries need to be prepared and ready. There are countries and territories which are still unaffected. Therefore, before the virus hit these countries and territories, the citizens and health-care facilities need to be well-prepared.
Secondly, one cannot fight a virus if one is unaware in regards to the same. Therefore, it is prudent to detect, prevent and then treat.
Thirdly, to save the lives of the individuals it becomes essential to deduct the transmission. And provide utmost health-care facilities, which means reduce and suppress
Lastly, every country or territory might have some important lessons or information to share, which may help in saving lives and minimizing the impact implying to innovate and improve.
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