India on Saturday advised its citizens to avoid non-essential travel to Singapore in the wake of the novel coronavirus outbreak. The government said it was planning to start screening passengers arriving at Indian airports from Kathmandu, Indonesia, Vietnam and Malaysia.
Passengers from China, Hong Kong, Thailand, South Korea, Singapore and Japan are already being screened at 21 airports in the country for possible exposure to the novel coronavirus. So far, over 3.97 lakh flight passengers and 9,695 travellers at sea ports have been screened, the government said.
India has so far reported three positive cases of coronavirus infection. Eight Indians have tested positive on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship, quarantined off the coast of Japan. The ship has more than 630 cases, accounting for the biggest cluster of infection outside China. There are 138 Indians – six passengers and 132 crew members – on the ship.
South Korea reports huge spike in cases
The number of infections in South Korea has jumped eight times within the last four days. Most cases were traced to a church and a hospital in and around the city of Daegu, AP reported. Of the 433 cases, the city and nearby areas had 352 by Saturday morning, with two deaths.
South Korea now has the most cases outside China, where the outbreak began. Health workers are trying to screen more than 9,000 people from a church in Daegu, to which 230 of the total cases have been linked.
A 61-year-old woman who attended two services at the church before she tested positive for the virus is believed to be the source of the infection. President Moon Jae-in on Friday called for a “thorough investigation” of everyone who attended a funeral and services at the church in the past few weeks.
Vice Health Minister Kim Gang-lip said virus patients showing signs of pneumonia were transferred from the Cheongdo Daenam hospital in Daegu to other facilities. The government declared Daegu and its surrounding areas a “special management zone” and is channeling support to ease a shortage in hospital beds, medical personnel and equipment.
Cases in China
In China, the National Health Commission said on Saturday that there were 397 new confirmed cases of coronavirus infections on Friday, bringing the total number so far to 76,288. The toll in mainland China had reached 2,345 as of the end of Friday.
The number of cases outside China was 1,200 by Friday, with eight deaths, according to the World Health Organization. Italy on Saturday confirmed that a 78-year-old man died of the disease. The country said the number of people infected has more than quadrupled due to an emerging cluster of cases from the northern region.
On Saturday, the organisers of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games postponed training for their volunteers. However, local organisers and the Switzerland-based International Olympics Committee have said repeatedly the games will not be cancelled or postponed.
In the United States, 35 people have tested positive for the virus, including 18 who returned home from the quarantined cruise ship in Japan. One new case was reported on Friday in California.
In Iran, two more people died after testing positive for the virus, taking the number of deaths to four, AP reported on Saturday. Saudi Arabia barred travel to Iran and said anyone coming from there can enter only after a 14-day quarantine.