India closed its top tourist site, the Taj Mahal and the financial hub of Mumbai issued an order to offices offering non-essential services to keep half of their staff at home as an attempt to curb the outbreak of coronavirus in South Asia ramped.
Mumbai, which is a densely populated metropolis that holds 18 million people, also authorized airport authorities and hospitals to stamp the wrists of those who have been ordered to self-isolate using indelible ink. The stamp will read “Home Quarantined” along with the date until which the person has been ordered to self-quarantine.
The moves, declared late on Monday, have surfaced just days after authorities in the city closed down cinemas, schools, malls, gyms and banned mass gatherings.
India’s western state of Maharashtra, whose capital is Mumbai, has been the heaviest hit in India with a total of 39 confirmed coronavirus cases. The number roughly accounts for a quarter of the 125 confirmed cases in the country.
Along with the Taj Mahal, dozens of different protected monuments and museums across the state including the Ajanta and Ellora caves and religious places such as the Siddhivinayak temple in Mumbai were ordered to shut down.
On Monday, India widened its travel and visa restrictions issuing a ban on passengers traveling from member countries of the European Free Trade Association, the European Union, Turkey, and the United Kingdom.
Separately, India’s neighboring country; Pakistan registered the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the country had more than doubled for a second consecutive day, getting to 183.
Officials stated the hike was majorly due to errors in the testing and quarantine of travelers who recently got back to the country from Iran. Authorities in India along with the wider South Asian region have struggled to put travelers to self-isolate, or remain quarantined in medical facilities that many visitors have explained as poor and unhygienic.
About 38 Afghans, recently returned from Iran were being kept in isolation, ran away from a quarantine facility in western Afghanistan on Monday after breaking windows and attacking hospital staff. At least one of them was confirmed to have the coronavirus.
Moreover, in Navi Mumbai which is a suburb of India’s financial hub, the local media reported that 11 people, who were isolated after returning from Dubai, also fled the hospital, pressurizing police to roll out a manhunt.
However, South Asia has been lightly hit by the coronavirus spread as compared to other regions, authorities have concerns that measures to control the spread of the disease that were employed in China and South Korea would be difficult to enforce in poor, crowded parts of South Asia that most of the time lack required healthcare facilities.
With the overnight rise of cases in Pakistan, the overall number of confirmed cases in South Asia is now touching the 400 mark.
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