India restricts traffic movement at land borders, increases vigil amid coronavirus outbreak

Apart from putting restrictions on international passengers at its air and seaports, India has also restricted movement of traffic at its land border crossings amid the coronavirus outbreak, the government said on Thursday. It has designated select check posts where traffic movement will be allowed across borders, and stepped up vigil at those spots. “International traffic through land borders will be restricted to designated check posts with robust screening facilities. These will be notified separately…,” said a Union health ministry statement.

A ministry official said since there is huge traffic movement across land borders, screening facilities are being strengthened. There were also plans of putting in place thermal screening. “Restricting traffic movement to certain check posts will help in better monitoring as adequate resources can be deployed. We have screened lakhs of passengers from across the land borders, especially in the five states that share their borders with Nepal,” said the official.

According to government data, at least one million travellers have been screened at land border crossings since January 17. At the 30 international airports, 0.9 million travellers arriving on 9,000 flights have been screened. Of those, about 2,000 were identified as symptomatic, of which about 200 were hospitalised.

“Screening of passengers at the entry points is the most effective way to stop the disease from spreading,” said Lav Aggarwal, joint secretary, Union health ministry.

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