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31 positive cases, biometric attendance suspended in Central govt offices

Coronavirus threat: Retreat event at Attari-Wagah border to be held without spectators

31 positive cases, biometric attendance suspended in Central govt offices

New Delhi: With a man from Delhi with a travel history to Thailand and Malaysia testing positive for COVID19 on Friday, the total number of positive cases of Coronavirus in India has climbed to 31.

The latest case is the third in Delhi as the person, who is a resident of Delhi's Uttam Nagar, had travelled to Thailand and Malaysia and has been kept under observation.

"One suspected COVID19 case has been confirmed as positive. The patient is from Delhi. He has a travel history to Thailand and Malaysia. He is stable and is being monitored. The total number of confirmed cases in India now stands at 31," said Sanjeeva Kumar, the Special Secretary in Health Ministry.

The government on Friday escalated screening of passengers to the next level by making it a must for all international passengers irrespective of their nationality to undergo a universal medical screening.

Taking a lesson from the Delhi government's move to ban biometric attendance in government offices, the Centre on Friday decided to exempt all Central government employees from marking attendance through Aadhaar-based biometric system as a preventive measure to check the spread of Coronavirus.

It said all the ministries have been asked to exempt their employees to mark attendance through the Aadhaar-based biometric attendance system till March 31.

Notably, on Thursday, it was the Delhi government that had advised head of departments (HoDs), autonomous bodies and municipal corporations to suspend the biometric attendance system in the wake of Coronavirus outbreak.

As a precautionary measure, the government has postponed upcoming combined shooting World Cup in the national Capital to May, while an Olympic test event in Tokyo stood cancelled due to the global outbreak.

In another precautionary measure, the BSF has decided to keep spectators away from the most-sought-after daily retreat ceremony between India and Pakistan at the Attari-Wagah border in Punjab. The BSF will continue performing the ceremonial duty of lowering the flag and other drills, a spokesperson of the border guarding force said.

As many as 13 Italian tourists have been kept in isolation overnight at their hotel in Amritsar by the Health department to check for Coronavirus symptoms. The tourists were asked not to leave their hotel rooms after they checked in on Thursday night.

However, they (Italian tourists) showed no symptoms of the virus in the medical check-up done on Friday and were allowed to leave for Delhi, said Amritsar SDM Vikas Hira.

The Centre on Friday held a day-long national-level training programme on COVID-19 in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO). The programme was attended by 280 health officials from all states and hospitals of the railways, defence and paramilitary forces.

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