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MEA appoints coordinator to streamline international efforts to tackle coronavirus

The decision to appoint a nodal person for handling the government’s global efforts on coronavirus was taken by the Group of Ministers (GoM) formed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the deadly virus.

SNS | New Delhi |

In an urgent measure taken in the wake of the spread of coronavirus, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has appointed an additional secretary-level official as the nodal person to streamline international as well as domestic efforts of the government to address the challenge posed by the pandemic.

Dammu Ravi, an IFS officer of the 1989 batch, will be officially called Coordinator (COVID 19).

The decision to appoint a nodal person for handling the government’s global efforts on coronavirus was taken by the Group of Ministers (GoM) formed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the deadly virus.

Ravi would be coordinating with all nodal ministries in New Delhi and with Indian missions abroad to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak. More than 90 countries have reported more than 119,000 infections since the outbreak was first detected in China’s Hubei province in December 2019.

India has so far evacuated almost 1,000 of its nationals from countries, including the worst-hit China, Japan and Iran. As of today, 73 people are infected with the virus in India.

Addressing the media this evening, Ravi said the government has advised all Indian citizens, wherever they were, to avoid travel. ”We are advising Indians wherever they are to stay put there…they should travel only if they have compelling reasons,” he said.

Ravi said it has been made mandatory for Indians coming from Italy and South Korea to get ‘COVID 2019’ NOC for entering India. Japan has been removed from this list.

On the sporting events to be staged in India, including the IPL League, in the coming days, the official said it was for the organisers to take a call on these events. ”Our advice would be not do it at this time but if they want to go ahead, it’s their decision.” However, the situation was being constantly monitored and advisories were being sent to the sports bodies too.

MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar, meanwhile, said India has received requests from Bhutan, the Maldives, Iran and Italy for medical equipment such as surgical masks and protective gears. “These requests are being considered. We can only spare items which we have. Based on that, a package is being put together,” he added.