No Indian central government minister will travel abroad in the next few days, tweeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in India touched 73 on Thursday.
"Say No to Panic, Say Yes to Precautions. No Minister of the Central Government will travel abroad in the upcoming days. I urge our countrymen to also avoid non-essential travel. We can break the chain of spread and ensure safety of all by avoiding large gatherings," Modi tweeted.
"The Government is fully vigilant about the situation due to COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus. Across ministries & states, multiple steps have been proactively taken to ensure safety of all. These steps are wide-ranging, from suspension of Visas to augmenting healthcare capacities," he added.
The coronavirus outbreak is a "matter of concern", External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar told the Indian parliament on Thursday.
"Exceptional situations require exceptional responses," Jaishankar said, adding that "travel at this time is not recommended as it only heightens risks".
Kerala worst affected state
The number of people infected with the novel coronavirus in India has risen to 73, with Kerala reporting the maximum number of cases at 17.
Haryana is the next worst with 14 cases, which are all Italian tourists. Maharashtra has reported 11 cases, followed by Uttar Pradesh (10), Delhi (6) and Karnataka (4).