Security personnel and passengers wear masks to mitigate the spread of coronavirus at Raja Bhoj Airport in Bhopal, Friday I
File image of security personnel and passengers wearing masks to mitigate the spread of coronavirus | PTI
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New Delhi: The Army has asked all its units across the country to postpone non-essential mass gatherings such as festivals, welfare activities and public functions as fear over the coronavirus outbreak increases.

It has also directed setting up specialised isolation wards in all its hospitals as a back-up, according to an order issued Thursday.

This apart, Army personnel have been asked to avoid going to shopping malls and cinema halls until the situation improves.

“All non-essential mass gatherings like festivals, welfare activities and public gatherings should be postponed till the situation improves. Visits to crowded places like movie halls, theatres, shopping malls, etc. which involves close personal contact to be avoided,” the order, a copy of which has been accessed by ThePrint, stated.

In a bid to ensure that proper facilities are in place, the Competent Financial Authority (CFA) has been directed to utilise its emergency procurement powers to ensure adequate and optimal availability of life-saving, critical care, vital and essential medical equipment, stores and expendables.

At the station level, the Army medical teams have been asked to check all those, reporting for morning attendance, physical training or parade, who have symptoms of cold and fever.

All suspected cases are to be immediately referred to the medical room or the nearest military hospital while taking proper care to prevent cross-contamination.

The order also stated all non-essential trips outside the country should be avoided.

Meanwhile, an Army officer, who has returned from Iran, has been admitted to the isolation ward of a military hospital at Mhow in Madhya Pradesh Tuesday for suspected exposure to coronavirus.

Also read: Indian exports could take a hit as world food prices dip in February due to coronavirus

Alert armed forces

The Armed forces have been at the forefront in ensuring that adequate facilities are being set up to quarantine suspected coronavirus patients.

The Indian Navy has also postponed its largest-ever multilateral naval exercise, Milan, involving over 30 countries due to the coronavirus threat.

The exercise from 18 to 28 March has been postponed taking into consideration the safety of all participants and travel restrictions imposed by the spread of the virus.

So far, over 98,000 coronavirus cases have been reported from across the world, with over 3,300 deaths.

The virus reached India on 30 January after a student in Kerala tested positive. The student had a travel history from the Chinese city of Wuhan — the epicentre of the outbreak.

As of now, India has reported 31 confirmed cases, including in cities like Delhi, Agra, Jaipur and Hyderabad.

Also read: From Formula One to Olympics, coronavirus threatens to stop major events in Asia


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