India on Saturday reported three more cases of the novel coronavirus, taking the number of patients to 34. All new patients have a travel history overseas – the two from Ladakh had gone to Iran, and the person from Tamil Nadu had come from Oman.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday appealed to people to stay away from rumours, and greet people with a “namaste” instead of a handshake. He held a meeting with officials of various ministries in the evening to take stock of the situation.
Here are the updates from the day:
7.05 pm: The number of COVID-19 cases in India has gone up by three to 34, PTI reports. Two persons from Ladakh with travel history to Iran, and one from Tamil Nadu who visited Oman have tested positive.
7 pm: Authorities in Kashmir have said all primary schools must be closed from March 9 in four districts, including Srinagar, PTI reports.
3.45 pm: The Karnataka government plans to suspend biometric attendance for now at its offices, PTI reports.
3.30 pm: Iranian MP Fatemeh Rahbar dies from the novel coronavirus, state news agency IRNA reports. She is the second lawmaker to be killed by the virus in Iran.
3 pm: The Union Health Ministry makes 52 laboratories functional for testing samples. Fifty-seven labs have been designated for helping in sample collection.
1.29 pm: Srinagar Mayor Junaid Mattu has called for cancellation of Khelo India’s first winter games chapter, which starts in Gulmarg town on Saturday, PTI reports.
1.18 pm: Two out of three suspected coronavirus patients who returned from Italy have been tested positive in the preliminary test reports received by medical authorities in Amritsar, The Times of India reports. All three, who are members of the same family, had arrived in Amritsar from Italy on March 3.
1 pm: The world’s largest diamond cutting and polishing centre in Surat is facing severe liquidity crisis because of huge payments overdue from traders in Hong Kong and China, The Times of India reports. The overdue amount is around Rs 5,000 crore according to estimates.
12.49 pm: China’s exports fell 17.2% from a year ago, the biggest drop since February 2019, due to businesses suspending operations, AFP reports. Imports fell by 4%.
12.34 pm: Kuwait’s low cost carrier Jazeera Airways has temporarily suspended incoming flights from India, Bangladesh, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Syria, Lebanon and Egypt.
12.17 pm: Rajasthan Additional Chief Secretary Rohit Kumar Singh says all the samples collected from suspected coronavirus cases in Rajasthan have tested negative, except for those of an Italian couple, PTI reports. “The total number of samples tested so far is 282,” he says. “Of those, 280 have tested negative and two positive.” The Italian couple has been admitted to the SMS Hospital in Jaipur.
12.12 pm: In Rhode Island, about 200 people have been quarantined due to their friends attending a school trip to Italy, The Guardian reports.
12.08 pm: US President Donald Trump has signed an $8.3 billion (Rs 61,418 crore) measure to help tackle the coronavirus outbreak, The Guardian reports.
11.55 am: Indian envoy to the United Nations Syed Akbaruddin claims people at the world body have begun to greet each other with “namaste”. “A healthy Indian tradition is gaining new ground @UN as diplomats strive to keep in tune with the times,” he tweets. “As on so many other issues, India & Singapore agree on this too.”
11.43 am: “I appeal to my fellow countrymen to stay away from rumours regarding coronavirus,” says Narendra Modi according to PTI. “Need to follow the advice of doctors in this regard. Avoid handshakes and start greeting people with ‘namaste’ once again.”
11.27 am: The Centre has put pre-call awareness messages on BSNL and Jio phone connections in order to make people aware of preventive measures against the coronavirus, the health ministry says according to ANI.
11.11 am: Junior Health Minister Pijush Hazarika says 585 people have been screened at airports in Assam, of which 112 were foreigners, NDTV reports. An Italian tourist is under observation and the results of his blood sample test are awaited.
10.57 am: The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a pro-Israel lobby group in the United States, says two of its members who attended a meeting have been diagnosed with the coronavirus.
10.43 am: Australian health authorities say they had closed a clinic and are contacting around 70 patients of a doctor who has been diagnosed with coronavirus after recently returning from the United States, Reuters reports.
10.19 am: Union minister Giriraj Singh reminds the public that the virus spreads mostly through human interaction, and not through meat, fish and poultry.
10.17 am: Two people have died of the virus in Florida, reports New York Times.
10.14 am: Hong Kong asks all residents to defer any non-essential travel, Channel News Asia reports. Hong Kong already warned residents against travelling to South Korea and the Emilia-Romagna, Lombardy and Veneto regions of Italy, where coronavirus infections are high.
9.57 am: “All primary schools in Jammu and Samba districts of Jammu and Kashmir to be closed till March 31 with immediate effect,” says Jammu and Kashmir Principal Secretary (Planning) Rohit Kansal, ANI reports.
9.56 am: The Jammu and Kashmir administration says test reports of two suspected patients from Jammu have been received, and there is a high probability they will test positive, ANI reports.
9.49 am: The toll from the coronavirus in Italy has risen to 197, BBC reports. Officials say 49 people had died in 24 hours since Thursday evening, while more than 4,600 cases have been reported.
9.45 am: A virus-hit apartment tower in Daegu has been under tight control as a third of its residents have been infected with the new coronavirus, city officials say according to The Korea Times.
9.40 am: South Korea has reported 174 additional coronavirus cases till Saturday morning, taking the total number of cases in the country to 6,767. The toll remains unchanged from Friday at 44.
9.34 am: US President Donald Trump says the overall risk to Americans from coronavirus remains low, PTI reports. Trump visited Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia before making the remark. As many as 299 cases of the coronavirus have been detected in the US, and 14 people have died.
9.30 am: Pence says federal officials were working with California authorities to bring the Grand Princess, with more than 3,500 on board, to a non-commercial port over the weekend, and test all the passengers, AP reports.
9.23 am: Facebook has closed its three London offices after an employee was diagnosed with the virus. Facebook has over 3,000 employees in London, according to Sky News. They are being told to work from home.
9 am: United States Vice President Mike Pence says 21 people on a stranded US cruise ship have tested positive for the coronavirus, AFP reports. He says among those infected are 19 passengers and two crew members. Pence says the ship will be brought to a non-commercial dock this weekend and all 3,533 passengers and crew will be tested.
8.57 am: As many as 28 new deaths took place in China on Friday, the South China Morning Post reports. Just 99 more cases were recorded by Saturday morning, the lowest in over a month.
8.53 am: Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare Harsh Vardhan will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the coronavirus epidemic on Saturday, ANI reports.
8.51 am: Baghpat Chief Medical Officer RK Tandon says a person who had travelled to Jaipur and had cold and cough was sent to an isolation ward as he did not want to enter a hospital, ANI reports. “His test report will come in 2-3 days,” Tandon says. “He has been told that he should stay home under observation.”
8.45 am: Here are the biggest updates from Friday:
- The number of coronavirus cases across the globe crossed 1 lakh, and the number in India rose to 31.
- The Asian Development Bank says the global losses due to the coronavirus outbreak could be about $156 billion, of which China may account for $103 billion. The bank said the virus will have a significant impact on developing Asian economies due to declining tourism and “business travel, trade and production linkages, supply disruptions, and health effects”.
- Across the world, 3,404 people have died from the virus as of Friday evening, over half of them in China itself. There have been 99,464 infections in 89 countries and territories. Iran reported 17 new coronavirus deaths, raising the toll in the country to 124.
- Egypt has 12 suspected cases, while Cameroon has its first confirmed case, and more cases were reported from Taiwan. The first case from the Vatican was also reported yesterday. Netherlands lost its first patient to the virus.
- The first flight from Iran with swabs of Indian citizens stranded in the country will come back on Saturday, said Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri. Passenger screening is also up, while the Directorate General of Civil Aviation said any airline employee exhibiting symptoms of the virus should be taken off duty immediately.
- The Indian Army said it will set up quarantine facilities for 1,500 personnel that will be activated at certain locations as part of the efforts to combat coronavirus.
- Congress chief Sonia Gandhi wrote to chief minister of Congress-ruled states, asking that quarantine facilities be set up and protocols be put in place. She also told them to raise public awareness and issue advisories to avoid public gatherings.
- A total of 29,607 people are under observation under the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme, for coronavirus, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan told the Lok Sabha on Friday.