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Asia Minute: India Banning International Flights

AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar A.
A member of disaster response force spray disinfectants as a precautionary measure against COVID-19 on a pavement in Hyderabad, India, Friday, March 20, 2020.

Travel restrictions continue to increase around the world — including in India. 

Starting this Sunday, India is going to ban all international flights for at least a week. For the past week and a half, all international arrivals have been screened for high temperatures.

More recently flights from some areas have been barred — from the European Union to the Philippines.

India’s government says all positive tests for the coronavirus have come from people who have traveled or who have been in contact with someone else who has been outside the country. The Indian Council for Medical Research says there is no evidence of any community spread among its cases — which numbered roughly 200 Friday morning India time, including four deaths.

Many are questioning those relatively low numbers. As with so many other locations, it is not clear how many tests India has conducted — in a country with a population of roughly 1.4 billion.

The government is taking new steps, asking those younger than ten and older than 65 to stay home.

Half of government workers are coming in every other day, and staggering their schedules.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is calling for all citizens to stay off the roads and away from public places from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

India Today reports Modi wants everyone to stand in their doorways at 5 o’clock and clap their hands and ring bells – to encourage medical workers and others performing essential services.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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