MEA strengthening COVID-19 control room

MEA strengthening COVID-19 control room

Agency News

New Delhi, Mar 19 : As India intensified efforts to contain the spread of the pandemic Covid-19, Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday announced further strengthening of its 24x7 control rooms to ensure smooth coordination and redressal of specific queries from the people.

At a special media briefing on Covid-19, Additional Secretary and Coordinator for Covid-19, Dammu Ravi said the control room attended to about 1355 calls and 522 e-mails since the evening of March 17. He said that on an average the control room was getting 400 mails and 1,000 calls daily. He added that 25-30 people were working on 8-hour shifts but their strength was being augmented. Describing the situation in Iran due to the outbreak of coronavirus as ``very severe', he said that India has evacuated 590 people from Iran. Indians infected with Coronavirus in Iran have been segregated and taken care. ``We believe they will recover and we will bring them back,' he added.

Ravi said work had already begun on the steps announced by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his video conferencing with SAARC leaders on Sunday. The Prime Minister had announced setting up of an emergency fund of $ 10 million for SAARC nations. He said requests worth $1 million have been received from SAARC nations and supplies of gloves, shoe covers, masks and other essentials have been made to Bhutan and Maldives.

MEA's official spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said that cooperation among SAARC member nations was being done in a coordinated way and the health experts would be coming together through video conferencing in a week. He said that regional and global cooperation was the need of the hour to contain and control the spread of coronavirus and the Prime Minister's SAARC initiative was to bring the member countries together on one platform to pool together their efforts and share their best practices.

Ravi said that travel restrictions were temporary and the advise to all Indians, including students, abroad was to stay put where ever they are as there was no need to panic. From Italy, he said, out of 380 samples of Indians who had gone to the Indian Embassy only four had tested positive. He said that the situation was evolving with each passing day and the strategy was being reviewed and monitored at the highest level in the government. (UNI)