India has enhanced its Covid-19 control room with 48 officers handling 16 regions with round the clock helpline services

The announcement was made in a special briefing addressed by Dammu Ravi, Additional Secretary of MEA; Colonel Dinesh Adhikari, Bureau of Immigration and Raveesh Kumar, MEA spokesperson on Thursday. In the special briefing, the three officers spoke about the extensive measures and steps taken by the government to tackle novel Coronavirus.

Dammu Ravi said the MEA has set up several helpline numbers to respond to specific queries coming from various countries. He also said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was monitoring developments on the novel Coronavirus outbreak on a "regular basis".

"Prime Minister is monitoring developments on a regular basis. Our Government's efforts are on to control this pandemic. MEA has set up a Covid-19 control room with 24/7 helplines. We are beefing up the control room to respond to specific queries coming from specific countries," Dammu Ravi said.

The telephone numbers of the control Room are 1800118797 (toll free), +91-11-23012113, +91-11-23014104 and +91-11-23017905 and fax number: +91-11-23018158 and email:

The geographical areas are Latin America and Caribbean; Africa; Russia and Central Asia; Gulf, China, Japan/Korea/Mongolia, Nepal/Bhutan, South East Asia except Singapore, Philippines and Malaysia; Sri Lanka and Maldives; Bangladesh and Myanmar; Singapore and Philippines; Europe except Italy and Spain; Iran and Afghanistan; Malaysia, USA/Canada; Italy and Spain.

The Bureau of Immigration also has a control room which has already responded to 1,355 calls and 5,00 emails till now, Colonel Adhikari said.

While one Indian has died in Iran, evacuations of others stranded in Iran and Italy continue. The MEA announced that a flight would be going to Rome over the weekend to bring back those who have tested negative of the 380 swabs that were sent to India for testing.

India had advised the Indians living abroad to stay where they are to avoid the spread of novel coronavirus.

"In the case of Indian nationals stranded abroad, it is safer for them to stay there. They may have no symptoms but could develop them later. So we have to be careful about spreading them around," Dammu Ravi said.

To a question over students being stranded at airports across the world, Dammu Ravi said: "Some airlines have implemented the embargoes wrongly and left Indians stranded in transit. We are looking into this case by case. We have brought back all who wanted to come to India from Singapore. People in Manila are being facilitated by the local mission and situation under control. We are receiving reports of Indians stranded in London and Schiphol but there are no confirmed information till now."

To a question on complaints and reports of Indians, who have tested positive, being kept with those who have not contracted the disease, Dammu Ravi said: "We have evacuated 590 people from Iran where the situation is very severe. Indians infected with coronavirus in Iran have been segregated and taken care of very well. We believe they will recover and we will bring them back."

"Regarding US sanctions, it is a sensitive matter and bilateral between Iran and theUS so would not comment," Dammu Ravi added.

India has been approached by many neighbouring nations for assistance during the time of this crisis. India has sent consignments worth 1 million USD so far and is on the way of sending more assistance and supplies in the form of masks, shoe covers, medicines, equipments, etc.

Courtesy: India Today

India Today