New Delhi: In a letter to all states/union territories, the Modi government has pointed out gaps in the monitoring of individuals who have come to India from abroad between 18-23 March in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.
In the letter dated 26 March, Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba wrote, “I have been informed that up to 23 March, the Bureau of Immigration has shared details of 15 lakh incoming international passengers with the States/UTs for monitoring for Covid-19.
“However, there appears to be a gap between the number of international passengers who need to be monitored by the States/UTs and the actual number being monitored,” the letter stated.
“This may seriously jeopardise our efforts to contain spread of Covid-19, given that many among the persons who have tested positive for Covid-19 so far in India have history of international travel.”
The central government initiated the screening of all international incoming passengers at airports with effect from 18 March to contain the spread of the lethal virus.
“It is important that they are put under close surveillance to prevent the spread of the epidemic,” Gauba wrote.
“I would, therefore, like to request you to ensure that concerted and sustained action is taken urgently to put such passengers under surveillance immediately as per MoHFW (Ministry of Health and Family Welfare) guidelines.”
Gauba has also instructed state governments to involve district authorities in the effort.
NRIs gone into hiding in Punjab
According to sources in the central government, discrepancies on the number of people who should be put under surveillance was reported to the Centre Wednesday.
For example, in Punjab, the central government was informed that while several NRIs have returned in the last few weeks, they have gone into hiding at their relatives’ or friends’ places, giving the state administration a hard time to monitor them.
According to the sources, along with Maharashtra and Kerala, Punjab would be one of the hotbeds for the spread of the virus in the coming days.
India has so far reported more than 700 cases of coronavirus, with at least 640 active cases and 17 deaths.