The Delhi High Court on Friday directed the Centre and aviation watchdog Directorate General of Civil Aviation to reply to a petition challenging India’s ban on passengers from the European Union, UK, Turkey and European Free Trade Association member nations because of the coronavirus pandemic, PTI reported. The petition was filed by the father of an Indian student who is stranded in Scotland because of the restrictions.

A bench comprising Justices JR Midha and IS Mehta issued notices to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the Ministry of Home Affairs and the DGCA, asking them to respond to the petition.

India on Monday prohibited entry to travellers from all 27 European Union nations, four European Free Trade Association member nations, United Kingdom, and Turkey between March 18 and March 31.

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On Thursday, the Centre announced that no international flights will be allowed to land in India from March 22 for a week, amid intensifying efforts to contain the spread of coronavirus. The stringent measures came two days after passengers from Afghanistan, Philippines and Malaysia were also banned from entering India.

The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Friday confirmed that 50 more people have tested positive for COVID-19 since the previous day, taking the total number of cases to 223. This is the largest single-day increase in cases in India so far.

The cases listed by the health ministry include 32 foreigners. Four of the 223 patients have died so far – one each in Delhi, Karnataka, Punjab and Maharashtra. As 22 patients have been cured and discharged, and one person has migrated, the number of active COVID-19 cases across India is 196, the ministry said.

Out of the 32 foreigners, 17 are from Italy, three from the Philippines and two from the United Kingdom. One patient each from Canada, Indonesia and Singapore has also tested positive.