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Coronavirus: Now, Arunachal prohibits entry of foreigners

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Itanagar, March 8, 2020-

After Sikkim, now Arunachal Pradesh has prohibited for the time being the entry of foreigners into the northeastern state as a preventive measure against novel coronavirus, officials said on Sunday.

“The Arunachal Pradesh government has decided to temporarily suspend the issuance of Protected Area Permits (PAPs) to foreigners,” Arunachal Pradesh State Protocol Officer Sadhana Deori told over phone.

Arunachal Pradesh Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar has directed all authorities concerned not to issue the permits till further orders.

She said that the order, notification over which was issued on Friday, will be in force till the situation did not improve.

Sikkim last week suspended issuance of Inner Line Permits (ILPs) to foreign nationals.

Foreign nationals require PAPs to enter Arunachal that shares a 1,080 km border with China and 520 km and 217 km frontiers with Myanmar and Bhutan respectively.

Authorities have set up screening and testing centres along the borders with Myanmar and Bangladesh, whose borders run along seven northeastern states of India.

The Airports Authority of India (AAI), along with the state governments in northeastern states, has been maintaining a strict vigilance in all 12 functional airports in the mortheast region.

AAI Regional Executive Director Sanjeev Jindal said of the two international airports in the northeast — Guwahati and Imphal — no international flight was operating in Imphal, while no other airline except Bhutan’s Drukair operated flights between Guwahati, Singapore, Thailand and Bhutan.

“No passenger has yet come directly to the northeast from the coronavirus-affected countries. Our personnel deployed at the medical and screening counters in all 12 functional airports in the northeastern states are screening the incoming passengers,” Jindal said.

Screening and testing centres are now operational at checkposts along India-Bangladesh border in Tripura, Meghalaya, Mizoram and India-Myanmar border in Manipur, Nagaland and Mizoram.

The coronavirus first emerged in China in December last year and has since spread to 97 countries and has infected 102,180 people, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus tracker. More than 3,500 people have been killed due to the virus so far.

With five new cases of the novel coronavirus reported from Kerala on Sunday, the total number of NCoV positive cases in India stands at 39.  (Agency)

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