In efforts to control the outbreak of COVID-19, The United States-Mexico border was closed to non-essential traffic at midnight on March 21, 2020 in El Paso, Texas. (Photo by PAUL RATJE/Agence France-Presse/AFP via Getty Images)

THE Indian Embassy in US has advised nationals to stay safe and isolated to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

India’s week-long ban on international commercial flights comes into effect on March 22.

In its first COVID-19 advisory for Indian nationals in the US, the embassy urged them to stay safe and isolate themselves within their residential premises and follow the advisories updated on the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

“Please follow social distancing norms and avoid any non-essential local travel. Approach the local health department officials in case you or your family member(s) experience any of the symptoms mentioned in the CDC website,” the embassy said.

For extension of visa in the US during this restriction period, please refer to the website of US Citizenship and Immigration Services, it said.

The Indian embassy and its diplomatic missions in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Houston, and Atlanta have been running a round-the-clock helpline service for its citizens, Indian students and those who had plans to travel to India.

“Our Embassy and Consulates continue to function subject to local regulations. Our 24X7 helplines remain available. We stand together with you to face this challenge,” Indian Ambassador to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu, said in a tweet.

“All Indian nationals in the United States are requested to pay attention to and observe health advisories of local authorities in response to COVID-19. This is essential for the well-being of everyone,” Sandhu said.

The Indian embassy, he said, has been in regular touch with Indian students and nationals as well as university and US authorities.

“All nationals are requested to follow advisories; avoid non-essential travel and observe social distancing,” he tweeted.

Coronavirus cases have been reported in all the 50 States in the US and District of Columbia as well as Puerto Rico.

Over 230 people have died in the US due to the fast-spreading coronavirus pandemic.

The number of confirmed cases has jumped to over 18,000.