The Indian Embassy in the US has advised its nationals to stay safe and isolated as country’s week-long ban on international commercial flights comes into effect on March 22, as preventive method to stop the spread of the novel Coronavirus.

The Indian Embassy in its first COVID-19 advisory for its citizens in the US, on Friday, urged them to stay safe and isolate themselves within their residential premises and follow the advisories updated on the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

“Please follow social distancing norms and avoid any non-essential local travel. Approach the local health department officials in case you or your family member(s) experience any of the symptoms mentioned in the CDC website”, the embassy said.

The Embassy further added, “For extension of visa in the US during this restriction period, please refer to the website of US Citizenship and Immigration Services.”

Indian Ambassador to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu, took to Twitter and said, “Our Embassy and Consulates continue to function subject to local regulations. Our 24X7 helplines remain available. We stand together with you to face this challenge”.

All Indian nationals in the United States are requested to pay attention to and observe health advisories of local authorities in response to COVID-19. This is essential for the well-being of everyone, Sandhu said.

The Indian embassy, he said, has been in regular touch with Indian students and nationals as well as university and US authorities.

“All nationals are requested to follow advisories; avoid non-essential travel and observe social distancing”, he further tweeted.

“Please keep in mind that your actions will impact the well-being of your family members and fellow citizens. Our 24X7 helplines are active to assist you”, said Sandhu.

The Indian embassy and its diplomatic missions in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Houston, and Atlanta have been running a round-the-clock helpline service for its citizens, Indian students and those who had plans to travel to India.

By Friday evening, the death toll in US reached a total of 230 people due to the fast-spreading coronavirus pandemic and the number of confirmed cases has jumped to over 18,000. Coronavirus cases have been reported in all the 50 States in the US and District of Columbia as well as Puerto Rico.