The Indian navy said Tuesday it was postponing a large-scale multinational exercise due to the spread of the deadly novel coronavirus.
The MILAN 2020 exercise “has been postponed, taking into consideration the safety of all participants and travel restrictions imposed by the spread of COVID-19,” the navy said in a statement.
Warships and navy personnel from more than 40 countries had been invited to participate in the exercise, Indian media reported. The exercise was scheduled for March 18-29 to be held along India’s east coast off Visakhapatnam, a port city in Andhra Pradesh.
The Indian navy “looks forward toward scheduling MILAN at a later convenient date,” the statement read.
Breaking: Indian Navy postpones mega multilateral Naval exercises Milan which were to take place from 18th to 28th March in Visakhapatnam due to travel restrictions over #Coronavirus fears; Navies of 30 countries wr to participate in the Naval exercises
— Sidhant Sibal (@sidhant) March 3, 2020
The Indian publication The Economic Times reported that the event was set to be India’s largest-ever war games. 17 Italians in India test positive for coronavirus.
A group of Italian tourists have been put in quarantine in India, with 17 testing positive for the new coronavirus, a source told AFP Wednesday.
Italy is a hotspot of the deadly virus with 79 deaths and more than 2,500 infected, while India’s official case total stands at only 21.
After two out of a group of 23 tourists who arrived in the country last month tested positive in the western state of Rajasthan, the other 21 were put under quarantine in a special facility in New Delhi on Tuesday.
“Out of the 21 tourists, 15 have been tested positive for coronavirus. We are awaiting test results of the others,” the source said on condition of anonymity.
Worldwide around 3,200 people have died from the virus with more than 90,000 infections, with China, South Korea, Italy, Iran and Japan the worst affected.
India has now stepped up preventative measures including barring visitors from Italy, Iran, South Korea and Japan, except diplomats and officials from international bodies.
“There is no need to panic. We need to work together, take small yet important measures to ensure self-protection,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted on Tuesday.
“Had an extensive review regarding preparedness on the COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus. Different ministries & states are working together, from screening people arriving in India to providing prompt medical attention,” he said.
AFP with additional input by GVS News Desk