The total number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in India jumped to over 50 on Wednesday, with fresh cases from Kerala, Karnataka and Pune. The Union Health Ministry on Tuesday asked people to refrain from travelling to countries most affected by the novel virus like China, Italy, Iran, Republic of Korea, Japan, France, Spain and Germany and advised them to avoid non-essential travel abroad in view of the coronavirus outbreak.

Fifteen more people tested positive for coronavirus on Tuesday, eight in Kerala and three each in Karnataka’s Bengaluru, Maharashtra’s Pune and one in Rajasthan’s Jaipur, said the state authorities. This came a day after eight new cases were reported on Monday, one each in Bengaluru, Delhi, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, Jammu and Punjab and two in Pune.

Italy, which has been the worst affected country in Europe with rapid rise in cases to more than 9,000, with more than 400 deaths so far,has put its citizens under a lockdown.

The government of India has also stepped up tougher border control measures to combat the Covid-19 outbreak as the number of patients is rising mostly from travel history to affected countries. The fresh restrictions both for outbound and inbound travel now include major European countries including France, Spain and Germany where the virus seems to be spreading rapidly. India is also not allowing cruise ships to dock at its coast due to the virus scare.

India had already suspended visas granted till to the nationals of Italy, Iran, South Korea, Japan and China. Visas of all foreigners already in India remain valid and they may contact the nearest FRRO/FRO through e-FRRO module for extension or conversion of their visa or grant of any consular service, if they choose to do so, the ministry said in its statement.

People travelling to India from or having visited Italy and South Korea will now have to submit a certificate of having tested negative for COVID-19 from laboratories authorised by the health authorities of their countries.
This measure came into effect from March 10 and is a temporary measure till cases of novel coronavirus subside, a health ministry advisory read.

According to media reports, 45 Indians are stuck at the Rome airport with Emirates airline not letting them board, saying they won’t be allowed to deboard in India.

“In addition to visa restrictions already in place, passengers travelling from/having visited Italy or Republic of Korea and desirous of entering India will need certificate of having tested negative for COVID-19 from the designated laboratories authorized by the health authorities of these countries,” the health ministry advisory issued Thursday read.

The airline watchdog DGCA has also stated that air travellers having visited or arriving from Italy and South Korea will be required to submit a certificate of having “tested” negative from labs designated by health authorities in their countries for coronavirus at the departure airport.