The viral coronavirus pandemic has affected daily lives worldwide as borders were shut and strict restrictions imposed to avoid the spread of COVID-19. According to WHO, around 1,18,000 positive cases have been reported globally in 114 countries and more than 90% of cases are in just four countries.

 

With 60 confirmed cases of the virus in India, the Central government on March 11 night issued a new travel advisory stating that all existing visas, except diplomatic, official, U.N./International Organisations, employment, project visas, stand suspended till April 15 and this order will come into effect from March 13 at the port of departure. The advisory noted that visa-free travel facility granted to OCI card holders is kept in abeyance till April 15 and also comes into effect from March 13.

Explained | How is India containing COVID-19?

We have been covering the developments related to the coronavirus pandemic as it unfolded. Here are answers from experts on your queries about the virus, and a map of confirmed cases in India.

Here are the latest updates:

New Delhi | 6.35 pm

Schools, colleges, cinema halls shut in Delhi till March 31

The Delhi government on Thursday declared coronavirus an epidemic and announced that all schools, colleges and cinema halls in the national capital will remain shut till March 31.

The decision was taken at a high-level meeting attended by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, LG Anil Baijal and top government officials.

“The city government has declared coronavirus an epidemic,” Mr. Kejriwal said.

He said disinfecting all public places, including government and private offices and shopping malls has been made compulsory.

The national capital has so far recorded six cases of COVID-19.

The number of COVID-19 patients in the country has risen to 75.

New Delhi | 6.25 pm

Defence ministry sets up 7 more quarantine facilities

The Ministry of Defence has set up seven more quarantine facilities for COVID-19 patients, especially for Indian citizens being brought to back from coronavirus-hit countries, an official said on Thursday.

The facilities have been set up at Jaisalmer, Suratgadh, Jhansi, Jodhpur, Deolali, Kolkata and Chennai.

“We are expecting more civilians to be brought back to India. We are ready with our facilities,” Army spokesperson Colonel Aman Anand said.

The Army is already operating a quarantine facility in Manesar while the one in Hindon, near Ghaziabad, is being operated by the air force.

Moscow | 5.45 pm

Russian-European Mars mission postponed until 2022

A joint Russian-European mission to Mars was postponed on Thursday due to technical difficulties and the global coronavirus epidemic, the Russian space agency said.

“We have made a difficult but well-weighed decision to postpone the launch to 2022,” said Roscosmos director general Dmitry Rogozin.

The mission has been repeatedly postponed and was most recently scheduled for this year.

New Delhi | 5.35 pm

Rashtrapti Bhavan closes all public tour visits from Friday

The Rashtrapati Bhavan has closed all public tour visits from Friday as a precautionary measure against the spread of coronavirus, official spokesman said on Thursday.

A brief statement released by the spokesman said the presidential house will remain closed for exploratory tour visit from Friday till further orders.

“Moreover, the Rashtrapati Bhavan Museum Complex (RBMC) and the Change of Guard ceremony will not be open to public till further notice,” the spokesman said.
 

Geneva | 5.25 pm

COVID-19 is a ‘controllable pandemic’, says WHO

The new coronavirus outbreak “is a controllable pandemic” if countries step up measures to tackle it, the head of the World Health Organisation said on Thursday.

WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus acknowledged on Wednesday that the global outbreak of the new coronavirus could now be considered a pandemic — a disease actively spreading globally.

But he told diplomats in Geneva that describing the outbreak as a pandemic should not mean that countries give up the fight to stop it spreading further.

“This is a controllable pandemic,” he said, according to a statement of his remarks.

“We are deeply concerned that some countries are not approaching this threat with the level of political commitment needed to control it. The idea that countries should shift from containment to mitigation is wrong and dangerous,” he stressed.

More than 4,500 people have died, according to an AFP tally, while the WHO said some 125,000 cases had been reported from 118 countries and territories.

“To save lives we must reduce transmission,” Tedros insisted.

“That means finding and isolating as many cases as possible and quarantining their closest contacts,” he said, urging states to test every suspected case of COVID-19 in a bid to slow transmission.

 

Brussels | 5.15 pm

EU disapproves of U.S. travel ban, taken unilaterally and without consultation

The European Union said on Thursday it disapproved of the U.S. decision to improve a unilateral travel ban on European countries, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Council President Charles Michel said in a statement.

“The European Union disapproves of the fact that the U.S. decision to improve a travel ban was taken unilaterally and without consultation,” the statement said, adding that the EU is taking “strong” measures to limit the spread of the virus.

New Delhi | 5.05 pm

Don’t panic, yes to precautions: Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the government is fully vigilant about the situation due to coronavirus and urged people to say “no to panic” and “yes to precautions”.

Across ministries and states, multiple steps have been pro-actively taken to ensure safety of all, he said on Twitter.

These steps are wide-ranging, from suspension of visas to augmenting healthcare capacities, he said.

“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,” Mr. Modi said.

“We can break the chain of spread and ensure safety of all by avoiding large gatherings,” he said.

The government is fully vigilant about the situation due to COVID-19, he added.

Bengaluru | 5.00 pm

Another positive case in Karnataka

Another person tested positive for COVID-19 in the State on Thursday taking the total number of confirmed cases to five. The patient is reported to have returned from Greece.

“The patient has been admitted and isolated in a hospital and is stable. All primary contacts have been traced and are asymptomatic. Home quarantine has been advised and being followed-up for all the contacts,” the release said.

 

Nellore | 4.50 pm

First case in Andhra Pradesh

A man who returned to Nellore last week from Italy has tested positive for COVID-19, making it the first such case in Andhra Pradesh.

Five of his close contacts have been quarantined and are under observation.

The patient is stable and his vitals are normal, the State Health Department has said.

With this the total number of cases in the country stands at 74.

 

The Health Ministry officials gave a press conference on coronavirus, in New Delhi.

Health Ministry says that 1,500 people are under surveillance for the 73 positive cases reported in the country.

COVID-19 is an evolving situation. India does not have any community transmission which is a positive situation for the country, says Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

The Union Home Ministry had invoked Disaster Management Act to give more power to Health Secretary to enhance the preparedness and containment of  COVID-19.

The Central Govt will undertake three more evacuation from Iran and bring back 130-150 Indians, says Joint Secretary Lav Agarwal, MoHFW.

There are adequate COVID-19 testing facilitates across the country, an official says.

Though flu is not common in summer, no study or evidence that suggest high temperature kills coronavirus, Health Ministry official says adding that it may take more than two years to come up with a vaccine.

Health Minister urges Lok Sabha members to raise awareness about coronavirus

Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Thursday sought cooperation from Lok Sabha members to deal with the coronavirus outbreak and asked them to increase awareness about it in their respective constituencies.

The minister said some members have expressed apprehensions about screening lapses at airports.

He said it was not the case that people screened at airports have not got affected by this virus as symptoms may appear after some days.

He said steps are being taken to track people who are affected.

About 35,000 people are engaged in community surveillance, he said, adding the ministry is constantly in touch with States on the matter and also holding meetings.

He said detailed tracing system is in place for people who are found positive.

“There should be no misconception that there is a lapse in screening,” he said, adding initially on January 17, screening was started at seven airports but now it is happening at 30 airports.

“Currently 51 labs and 56 collections centres are working…so there are about 100 coordination centres,” the minister said, adding India has sent a team including scientist and lab equipment to Iran.

Customs clearance is going on as these equipments weigh in tonnes, he informed.

New Delhi | 2.45 p.m.

Boxers returning from Jordan will be asked to stay home-quarantined, have all health clearances: BFI

The Indian boxing team, returning from the Asian Olympic Qualifiers in Jordan, will be “home-quarantined” in view of the COVID-19 threat even though all the members have got the necessary health clearances, the national federation said on Thursday.

A total of 13 boxers and almost an equal number of coaching staff arrive back on Thursday after clinching an unprecedented nine Olympic slots in the qualifiers which concluded on Wednesday in Amman.

“They will be asked to quarantine themselves at their homes or hostel rooms for a few days. They have, however, been given the necessary health clearances by the Jordanian Olympic association,” Boxing Federation of India’s Executive Director R.K. Sacheti said.

The boxers were training in Italy, one of the worst-affected by the coronavirus pandemic, till February 26.

They reached Amman from Assisi on February 27 and were found all clear after undergoing the mandatory screening for symptoms. Jordan has so far recorded only one positive case. PTI

Maharashtra | 2.15 pm

Three arrested for administrating fake coronavirus vaccines

Three women were arrested for allegedly administrating fake coronavirus vaccines to villagers in Maharashtra’s Jalna district, police said.

The police on Wednesday arrested Beed residents Radha Ramnath Saamse, Seema Krishna Andhale and Sangeeta Rajendra Avhad, who allegedly posed as doctors and healthcare workers, an official said.

The trio met villagers of Pipalgoan in Ambad tehsil, informed them about a vaccine that could protect them from coronavirus and administered it to gullible locals, he said.

Some villagers informed Dr. Mahadev Munde, a medical officer at a rural health centre, about this, after which a complaint was lodged, the official said.

Fake vaccines and bottles, which were seized from the accused, have been sent to the state health department, he said, adding that a case of cheating has been registered against the trio.

Ladakh | 2.00 pm

Man who went to Iran on pilgrimage tests positive in Ladakh

One person with travel history to Iran tested positive for coronavirus in Ladakh on Thursday, taking the total number of cases in the union territory to three, a senior government official said. His family members have been moved to the isolation centre at Heart Foundation Hospital here, they said.

The man was part of a group that had gone to Iran on a pilgrimage.

Perth| 1.30 pm

Stimulus package

Australia on Thursday put forward a USD 11.4 billion stimulus package meant to stave off a recession due to the impact of the virus outbreak on its economy.

The package includes cash payments for small businesses and welfare recipients to counter the impact of the disease, which has infected more than 126,000 people worldwide.

Australia has recorded 127 cases of the virus and three deaths.

New Delhi| 1.20 pm

Asian Development Bank (ADB) asks staff at Manila office to work from home after visitor tests positive for COVID-19.

Pune | 12.30 pm

Action against those who reveal the patient’s identity

Authorities in Pune have warned of penal action against those who reveal the identity of patients testing positive for coronavirus on social media platforms.

Taking cognisance of a complaint from a relative of a Pune-based patient, who tested positive for COVID-19, divisional commissioner Deepak Mhaisekar said police have been asked to monitor social media posts and take appropriate action in such matters.

New Delhi | 12.15 pm

The Ministry of Health, in its latest bulletin said the number of COVID-19 positive cases in India has risen to 73 with fresh cases reported in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Ladakh.

The Ministry also said 10,57,506 passengers have been screened at airports.

New Delhi | 12.10 pm

The number of international passengers arriving at the country’s airports has reduced to around 62,000 per day from 70,000 in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri said in Lok Sabha.

He said the count might further come down to around 40,000 following the travel advisory issued on Wednesday.

Chandigarh | 11.40 am

Haryana govt declares COVID-19 an epidemic

The Haryana government on Thursday declared the contagious coronavirus infection an epidemic.

“COVID-19 declared epidemic in Haryana,” Health minister Anil Vij said in a tweet.

According to the state Health Department, 44 samples of suspected cases were sent for tests till Wednesday. Out of these, 38 were found negative for coronavirus while reports of six people were awaited.

New Delhi | 11.30 am

SC refuses urgent hearing on plea to postpone IPL-2020

The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to accord urgent hearing on a plea seeking postponement of Indian Premier League (IPL)-2020 amid the COVID-19 scare.

“This is not a matter which cannot await till re-opening of the court. You can mention it before the regular court on March 16,” the bench told advocate Mohan Babu Agarwal, who has filed the petition.

 

Australia | 10.30 am

Spectator at India-Australia Women’s T20 WC final diagnosed with COVID-19: MCG

A spectator who attended the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup final between India and Australia here on March 8 has tested positive for novel coronavirus, the Melbourne Cricket Ground said on Wednesday but insisted that the risk of him infecting others was low.

The final was won by Australia by 85 runs for a fifth world title.

”…a person who attended the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Final at the MCG on Sunday March 8 has now been diagnosed with COVID-19,” the Melbourne Cricket Ground management said in a statement.

“The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has advised of the patron’s diagnosis and has classified it as a low-risk of spreading COVID-19 to surrounding members of the public and staff. The patron sat on Level 2 of the Northern Stand at the MCG in section N42,” it added.

The DHHS has recommended that those seated in N42 “should continue to go about their normal routine, with an increased focus on hygiene measures, and should any flu-like symptoms emerge to consult with a medical professional.”

– PTI

Kerala | 10 am

GPS-based tracking of all those quarantined in Kerala

Kerala’s Pathanamthitta district administration has introduced a new system supported with GPS for tracking all those who have been quarantined at their homes in different parts of the district as part of the ongoing intensive COVID-19 prevention drive.

Two teams comprising 30 members each will observe the 733 persons under home quarantine in the district, collecting information about them and providing treatment directions to them. Both the teams are stationed at the Collectorate conference hall and will ensure that none of those who have been quarantined stray out of their homes.

 

Japan | 10 am

Tokyo governor says cancelling Olympics ‘unthinkable’

Cancelling the 2020 Olympics is “unthinkable” although the classification of the coronavirus as a pandemic will likely have some impact on the Games, the Tokyo city governor said on Thursday.

“It can’t be said that the announcement of a pandemic would have no impact… But I think cancellation is unthinkable,” Yuriko Koike told reporters.

Doubts are increasingly being raised over whether the Olympics can be held as scheduled from July 24 to August 9.

 

Here is a list of global sports events affected due to coronavirus outbreak.

Italy | 9.45 am

Italy shuts stores across country to fight virus

Italy on Wednesday shut all stores except for pharmacies and food shops in a desperate bid to halt the spread of a coronavirus that has killed 827 in the the country in just over two weeks.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced the latest wave of restrictions in a dramatic appeal to the nation that came with the country of 60 million battling its biggest crisis in generations.

 

Karnataka | 9.30 am

Mental health counselling for quarantined persons

Living under quarantine with fears of a possible COVID-19 infection can be traumatic and the State Health Department has started offering counselling to those in hospitals and isolated in homes.

District mental health counsellors are following up through telephonic counselling apart from regular follow up by surveillance teams, said Jawaid Akhtar, Additional Chief Secretary (Medical Education and Health and Family Welfare).

 

 

USA | 9.20 am

NBA suspends season until further notice, over coronavirus

The National Basketball Association(NBA) has suspended its season “until further notice” after a Utah Jazz player tested positive Wednesday for the COVID-19, a move that came only hours after the majority of the league’s owners were leaning toward playing games without fans in arenas.

Now there will be no games at all, at least for the time being. A person with knowledge of the situation said the Jazz player who tested positive was center Rudy Gobert. The person spoke to on condition of anonymity because neither the league nor the team confirmed the presumptive positive test.

Here is a list of global sports events affected due to coronavirus outbreak.

 

 

China | 9.15 am

China’s coronavirus epicentre sees single-digit cases for first time

China had eight new coronavirus infections in Hubei province, the first time the epicentre of the epidemic recorded a daily tally in single-digits, as more businesses reopened with local authorities cautiously easing strict containment measures.

The capital of Hubei, Wuhan, reported all of the new cases on Wednesday, the National Health Commission said on Thursday.

The domestic spread of the disease has slowed markedly in the past seven days, a result of weeks of strict measures imposed to control the movement of people and traffic, including the virtual lockdown of Wuhan, a city of 11 million people.

 

 

USA | 9 am

U.S. stock futures tumble as Trump’s virus response disappoints

U.S. stock index futures tumbled on Thursday and were close to hitting their daily down limit after President Donald Trump’s speech outlining the administration’s response to the coronavirus epidemic disappointed investors.

S&P 500 futures fell as much as 4.7% to 2,610 points, near the daily downlimit of 2,601 points.

“The market is not applauding the president’s address,” said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial in Newark.

 

 

India | 8.30 am

 

State/UT wise list of COVID confirmed cases.

S. No. Name of State / UT Total Confirmed cases (Indian National) Total Confirmed cases (Foreign National )
1 Delhi 5 0
2 Haryana 0 14
3 Kerala 17 0
4 Rajasthan 1 2
5 Telengana 1 0
6 Uttar Pradesh 9 0
7 Union Territory of Ladakh 2 0
8 Tamil Nadu 1 0
9 Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir 1 0
10 Punjab 1 0
11 Karnataka 4 0
12 Maharashtra 2 0
 

Total number of confirmed cases in India

44 16

(Source: Ministry of Health & Family Welfare. Last updated on March 11, 2020 at 05:30 p.m.)

 

India | 8.15 am

 

BOI advisory on travel, visa curbs

The Bureau of Immigration (BOI) has asked all international passengers returning to the country to self-monitor their health and follow the required dos and don’ts as detailed by the Centre.

Further, all passengers having travel history to China, Hong Kong, Republic of Korea, Japan, Italy, Thailand, Singapore, Iran, Malaysia, France, Spain, and Germany are advised to undergo self-imposed quarantine for 14 days from the date of their arrival.

 

 

8.10 am | Italy

Juventus defender Daniele Rugani tests positive

Juventus and Italy defender Daniele Rugani told fans ‘don’t worry, I’m fine’ on Wednesday after becoming the first Serie A footballer to test positive for the new coronavirus.

The 25-year-old “is currently asymptomatic,” the Italian champions said, but the Turin-based club are “currently activating all the isolation procedures required by law, including those who have had contact with him.”

“I want to reassure all those who are worried about me, I’m fine,” Rugani later said on Instagram. “At this moment, however, I feel even more duty to thank all the doctors and nurses who are struggling in hospitals to cope with this crisis.”

“I invite everyone to respect the rules, because this virus makes no distinctions! Let’s do it for ourselves, for our loved ones and for those around us,” he wrote.

Rugani is the first top-flight footballer to fall victim to the virus which has killed 827 in Italy, the second most stricken country in the world after China, and infected 12,000 people, including several Serie C players.

– AFP

8.05 am | USA

 

Tom Hanks, wife test positive for coronavirus

Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson have both tested positive for COVID-19, the U.S. actor said Wednesday.

Hanks (63), said he and Ms. Wilson came down with a fever while in Australia, where he is reportedly filming a new movie about the life of Elvis Presley.

 

 

8 am | USA

U.S. suspends travel from Europe for 30 days

U.S. President Donald Trump said he is suspending all travel between the U.S. and Europe for 30 days beginning March 13 as he seeks to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

Trump made the announcement in an Oval Office address to the nation, blaming the European Union for not acting quickly enough to address the “foreign virus” and saying U.S. clusters were “seeded” by European travellers. “We made a lifesaving move with early action on China,” Trump said. “Now we must take the same action with Europe.”

Trump said the restrictions won’t apply to the United Kingdom and the U.S. would monitor the situation to determine if travel could be reopened earlier.

8.00 am | China

 

China’s coronavirus epicentre sees single-digit cases for first time

China had eight new coronavirus infections in Hubei province, the first time the epicentre of the epidemic recorded a daily tally in single-digits, as more businesses reopened with local authorities cautiously easing strict containment measures.

The capital of Hubei, Wuhan, reported all of the new cases on Wednesday, the National Health Commission said on Thursday.

The domestic spread of the disease has slowed markedly in the past seven days, a result of weeks of strict measures imposed to control the movement of people and traffic, including the virtual lockdown of Wuhan, a city of 11 million people.

 

7.50 am | India

 

Air India announces temporary suspension of services to Rome, Milan, Seoul

National carrier Air India on Wednesday night announced temporary suspension of its flight services to Rome, Milan and Seoul.

While services to Rome (Italy) are being discontinued from March 15 to March 25, flight operations to Milan (Italy) and Seoul in South Korea will remain suspended between March 14 and March 28, an airline official said.

 

 

 

Scientists get ready to test rival COVID-19 pandemic vaccines in animals

“Monkeys, mice and ferrets are helping scientists to fight coronavirus because animal models can reveal how infections develop and aid efforts to develop drugs and vaccines”, the prestigious scientific journal ‘Nature’ has reported in its latest issue (12 March).

It is notable that the ferret work is led by India-born Professor S.S. Vasan at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIRO), Australia’s national science agency.

His Dangerous Pathogens team is the first in the world to establish the ferret model for SARS-CoV-2.

 

 

 

 

Tech tools for working from home during the coronavirus epidemic

Many organisations and businesses are asking their employees to work from home as the number of coronavirus infections continues to surge globally.

Last week, Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Facebook advised their employees in some locations to work from home to reduce risks from COVID-19 outbreak. Cognizant closed its office in Hyderabad, and has asked its employees to work from home.

The shift to working at home option is not confined to large global corporations. PayTM, Zoho and many start-ups are asking their workers to work from home.

 

 



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1 Comment

  1. It’s hard to come by knowledgeable people about this subject, however, you
    seem like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks

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