After the first confirmed test for novel Coronavirus in India, the export of personal protection equipment such as masks and clothing has been banned in the country. 

While a reason for the ban has not been explained yet, the move assumes significance as there could be a spurt in demand for such products due to an outbreak of the virus. 

Coronavirus masks
A man wearing a mask prays for the victims of coronavirus.Reuters

"Exports of all varieties of personal protection equipment including clothing and masks used to protect the wearer from air borne particles and/or any other respiratory masks or any other personal protective clothing (including coveralls and N95 masks) hereby prohibited with immediate effect till further orders," the directorate general of foreign trade (DGFT) said in a notification.

A specially prepped Air India's jumbo B747 plane brought back 324 Indian nationals stranded in the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicentre of the novel coronavirus outbreak, on Saturday, February 1.

READ | Coronavirus: Is India ready to tackle the situation?

The plane, that landed at Delhi's IGI airport at around 7.26 am, was also carrying five doctors from Delhi's Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital and an Air India paramedic. The flight was operating with 15 cabin crew and five cockpit crew.

Doctors from the Ram Manohar Lohia hospital
Doctors from the Ram Manohar Lohia hospitalIANS

The departure of the flight was delayed from Wuhan airport as the immigration and Chinese authorities did not allow six Indians on board after they reported high temperatures during screening.

"Six passengers were offloaded as they had high temperatures," a passenger told news agency ANI.

Situation in China

The death toll due to Coronavirus in China has risen to 259, the country's health authority said on Saturday, as the United States announced new border curbs on foreign nationals who have been in China.

China virus outbreak
Children wear masks to prevent an outbreak of coronavirus.Reuters

The province of Hubei, the centre of the epidemic, remains under virtual quarantine, with roads sealed off and public transport shut down, but small numbers of travellers continue to breach the lockdown.

Amid fears that the virus could spread further overseas, the United States announced measures to restrict entry to foreign nationals who have recently been in China. All three major US airlines also said on Friday they would cancel flights to mainland China.

(With agency inputs.)