The Centre on Thursday announced stringent immigration measures in light of the coronavirus outbreak. The government has suspended several visa categories starting Friday evening, except some such as diplomatic visas. The Ministry of Health also said it will quarantine all visitors coming from or having been to China, Italy, Iran, Korea, France, Spain and Germany. This includes Indian nationals.
One new case each of the novel coronavirus infection, officially known as COVID-19, was confirmed in Jaipur and Delhi on Wednesday morning. This takes up the total number of cases in India to 60, according to figures from the Union Health Ministry.
The World Health Organisation declared the virus a pandemic. The global number of confirmed cases stood at 1,19,004 as the virus affected 110 countries, areas, or territories.
The national helpline number for the coronavirus is 011-23978046.
10.50 pm: The patient who was confirmed positive in Delhi earlier in the day had travel history to three countries, including Italy, PTI reports. He is being treated at Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital.
10.30 pm: A Finance Commission meeting with all state finance ministers, scheduled to be held on March 13, has been cancelled, reports ANI.
10.18 pm: The WHO says it is deeply concerned by “alarming levels of inaction” as well as the severity and “alarming levels of spread.”
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says it is a crisis that affects every sector, and “is everybody’s business”. “All countries can still change the course of this pandemic,” he adds.
According to the WHO, a pandemic is “the worldwide spread of a new disease”.
10.10 pm: Visa-free travel for Overseas Citizens of India will be suspended till April 15.
10.07 pm: Indian nationals are also included in the government’s curbs. Indians have been advised against non-essential travel and the Centre says those who do travel can be subject to a quarantine of minimum two weeks.
10 pm: The World Health Organisation declares coronavirus a pandemic.
9.50 pm: All travellers coming from or having visited China, Italy, Iran, Korea, France, Spain and Germany after February 15, including Indian nationals, will be quarantined for 2 weeks minimum, with effect from 5.30 pm on March 13.
9.49 pm: The Ministry of Health suspends all existing visas to India, except those of diplomatic, official, employment, United Nations and other international organisations’ contracts. This will come into effect at 5.30 pm on March 13 at all ports of travel, says the PIB.
9.42 pm: UK’s health minister, who has been infected with the virus, says a member of her parliamentary staff has also tested positive for it, BBC reports. Nadine Dorries has not named the staff member.
9.30 pm: Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray says the state has 10 cases of the virus – two in Mumbai and eight in Pune, reports PTI. So far, the Ministry of Health has only confirmed two of these cases, both in Pune.
9.25 pm: Sweden reports it first coronavirus death, according to AFP.
9.23 pm: India’s largest private airline IndiGo says its January-March profits will be hit by the virus as there has been a “sharp decline in daily bookings” after the outbreak, reports Reuters.
9.21 pm: Ireland and Belgium record their first deaths due to coronavirus, reports BBC.
9.20 pm: The world’s biggest gaming conference E3 has been cancelled, reports The Independent.
9.19 pm: Kuwait has banned all flights to and from its international airport, says an aviation analyst.
9.15 pm: The samples of a couple who tested positive for the virus in Mumbai have been sent to the National Institute of Virology, Pune, for confirmation, reports Hindustan Times.
“We ran the test at our laboratory in Kasturba Hospital and have found them positive for the virus,” Suresh Kakani, additional commissioner (health), Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, told the daily. “We have also identified all their relatives and family members who were in physical contact with them. If they show any symptoms, we will quarantine them too.”
9.08 pm: The Centre invokes Section 69 of the National Disaster Management Act, 2005, reports The Indian Express. It delegates powers under certain sections of the Act to the Ministry of Health.
9.06 pm: Environmental activist Greta Thunberg advises people to take the climate protests online. “The climate and ecological crisis is the biggest crisis humanity has ever faced but for now (of course depending on where you live) we’ll have to find new ways to create public awareness & advocate for change that don’t involve too big crowds,” she tweets.
8.55 pm: The virus could cause an economic crash in Europe similar to the one in 2008, says IMF chief Christine Lagarde, reports The Guardian.
This comes after the Bank of England cut interest rates in an emergency move on Wednesday morning, in response to the virus threat.
8.50 pm: Coachella, one of the world’s largest music festivals, has been postponed due to the coronavirus threat, reports BBC. It will now take place on the weekends of 9, 10 and 11 October and 16, 17 and 18 October.
8.46 pm: States and Union Territories have been advised to do rigorous campaigning to spread awareness about the virus. They have also been told to invoke Section 2 of the Epidemic Disease Act, 1987, says PIB. This is so that all advisories from the Ministry of Health are enforceable.
8.32 pm: The number of cases in Spain has gone up to more than 1,000, The Independent reports.
8.29 pm: Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray says all coronavirus patients in the state are in stable condition, reports PTI. Ports and airports have been instructed to screen passengers strictly.
8.26 pm: The Karnataka government declares the virus a state epidemic, reports News 18.
8.20 pm: Two patients have tested positive for the coronavirus in Mumbai, reports PTI. However, the Ministry of Health has not confirmed this.
7.30 pm: A Group of Ministers review management of the virus and prevention methods.
6.45 pm: The Chinese government has begun to slowly open up Wuhan, which has been in lockdown since late January, Reuters reports. Some key industries in Wuhan have been allowed to resume work, the day after Chinese President Xi Jinping visited the city.
6.38 pm: Indian Railway hospitals have been provided with over 1,000 isolation beds for treating suspected coronavirus cases and more than 12,000 beds for quarantining people, PTI reports quoting an official statement. Control rooms and telephone helplines have been set up at all railway hospitals.
Union Minister of Railways Piyush Goyal has directed the Railway Board to ensure that adequate preventive measures are put in place across the Indian Railway system.
6.28 pm: The Tripura government has decided to shut two border markets with Bangladesh as a precautionary measure to check the spread of COVID-19, PTI reports. “For the time being, Bangladeshis suffering from any respiratory problem should be assessed properly before their entry into our state,” states a memorandum signed by Health and Family Welfare Department Secretary Debasish Basu. “Moreover, all border haat [markets] may be closed for the time being in consultation with Bangladeshi authorities.”
6.22 pm: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee says there has been no positive case of the coronavirus in the state so far, PTI reports. Three persons with fever and cough have been admitted at Beliaghata ID hospital in Kolkata, but none of them have tested positive, she adds.
6.11 pm: Three security officers at the San Jose airport in California, on the US West Coast, have tested positive for the virus.
5.52 pm: Spain has confirmed 2,002 cases and 47 deaths from the coronavirus, The Guardian reports. As many as 31 of the deceased died in the Madrid region.
5.30 pm: Seventy-seven Bahraini nationals evacuated from Iran have tested positive for coronavirus, according to Bahrain’s Ministry of Health.
5.22 pm: Tamil Nadu Health Minister C Vijayabaskar says the 45-year-old man who tested positive for coronavirus has recovered with results of his samples coming out negative, reports PTI. “As of now, there are no confirmed coronavirus cases and there are no more pending samples for testing at labs as all have tested negative,” he adds.
5.15 pm: Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte says that the country is allocating 25 billion euros ($28.3 billion) to fight the coronavirus outbreak that has killed 631 people, reports AFP.
5.02 pm: So far, the government has evacuated 948 passengers from countries most affected by the coronavirus outbreak. Out of these, 900 are Indian citizens and rest 48 belong to different nationalities.
5 pm: A map showing the spread of the novel coronavirus in India:
4.59 pm: The Karnataka government says four coronavirus patients in the state are stable and recovering in an isolation facility, reports ANI.
4.55 pm: Centre asks states and Union Territories to step up sanitation and hygiene in all public transport vehicles to contain the spread of coronavirus, reports PTI. “A public health situation of this scale requires a concerted and whole of government approach in order to prevent further importation of cases and to build up a comprehensive and robust response system,” the Road Transport and Highways Ministry says.
4.52 pm: German Chancellor Angela Merkel says that authorities believe 60%-70% of the population wouldwill eventually get infected by the novel coronavirus.
4.40 pm: All schools in Poland to be shut from Monday in a bid to halt the spread of the coronavirus, reports Reuters. Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki also announces that universities, museums and cinemas will be closed, after 26 cases were confirmed in the country. No one has died so far.
4.33 pm: Iran’s toll from the coronavirus outbreak has risen to 354, a rise of 63 in the past 24 hours, reports Reuters. Around 9,000 people have been reportedly infected.
4.25 pm: The Kerala State Road Transport Corporation will not operate services to Pampa and chain services from Nilakkal to Pampa when the Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala opens from March 13 to 18 for the monthly prayers, reports The Hindu.
KSRTC chairperson and Managing Director MP Dinesh says the decision was taken in view of the alert sounded by the government in the wake of COVID-19 scare.
4.10 pm: The Union Health Ministry says a patient tested positive for coronavirus in Delhi. However, there are no details available so far.
4.05 pm: Belgium announces the country’s first death from the novel coronavirus. The victim was a 90-year-old patient, reports The Brussels Times.
4 pm: A second MP in United Kingdom enters self isolation. The York MP Rachael Maskell tweets saying that she has been advised to self-isolate after having a meeting with Health Minister
Nadine Dorries last Thursday.
3.59 pm: A 53-year-old British woman has become the seventh British person to die after having contracted coronavirus, reports The Guardian. The woman died in Bali, according to Indonesia’s health ministry.
3.55 pm: The Delhi government has called a one-day special Assembly session on March 13 to discuss the coronavirus situation, an official tells PTI.
3.47 pm: The 83 individuals who arrived today from Italy have been quarantined at the Army facility in Manesar, reports ANI. Out of these, 74 are Indian, six are Italian and rest three are from the United States.
3.45 pm: Tokyo Disneyland to remain closed through mid-April in a bid to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, reports The Japan Times.
3 pm: India stops entry of any international cruise ship, crew or passenger with a travel history to coronavirus-hit countries post February 1, 2020 to its major ports till March 31, reports PTI. The government says international cruise ships will be allowed only at ports having thermal screening facilities for passengers and crew members.
2.40 pm: A 76-year-old man who had returned to Karnataka from Saudi Arabia about 10 days back has died but there is no confirmation yet if he died by coronavirus, reports Hindustan Times.
2.25 pm: Thailand cancels the grant of visa on arrival for 18 countries and visa exemption for three others to contain the spread of the coronavirus, reports Reuters.
The 18 places are Bulgaria, Bhutan, China (including Taiwan), Cyprus, Ethiopia, Fiji, Georgia, India, Kazakhstan, Malta, Mexico, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan, and Vanuatu. Visa exemption will be canceled for South Korea, Italy and Hong Kong.
2.18 pm: Jaishankar informs the Parliament that six Indian health officials are deputed in Iran to set up sampling and testing facilities there.
2.15 pm: Jaishankar says it is not easy to organise transport and logistics because Iranian system is stretched, but also appreciates the cooperation shown by them.
2.11 pm: Jaishankar says the initial focus was on evacuating pilgrims, mainly in the city of Qom. The focus now is to evacuate students, he adds.
2.09 pm: The foreign minister says 58 Indian pilgrims have been repatriated from Iran and 529 samples have been brought back. He says India is also collecting more samples from Iran.
2.08 pm: In Rajya Sabha, Jaishankar says the situation in Italy is emerging as a cause of concern and that challenge is also growing in Europe.
2.07 pm: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar apprises the Parliament about the steps taken by the government to tackle the coronavirus.
2.02 pm: Japan’s Olympic minister Seiko Hashimoto says postponing or cancelling the Tokyo Olympics is “inconceivable” as the coronavirus continues to spread.
1.58 pm: Three Formula One team members have been placed into isolation at the Australian Grand Prix amid concerns they may have contracted the coronavirus, reports AFP. Two of them are from the Haas F1 team and one from McLaren.
1.52 pm: Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei appoints President Hassan Rouhani to head the campaign against coronavirus in the country, reports CNN. There have been more than 8,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Iran, making it one of the most affected countries.
1.45 pm: Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant clarifies that no tweet has been posted by his office on closure of educational institutions in the state because of the coronavirus outbreak, reports PTI. So far, there has been no positive case of coronavirus in Goa.
1.42 pm: The Indian Medical Association says sharing daily data of people testing positive for coronavirus has created panic across the country, reports PTI. They urge the government to “classify the data” of the epidemic and take appropriate action with “clinical precision”.
“It cannot be denied that the high handed top down response in China is part of the reason for this global panic,” says IMA. “The nuanced and balanced approach of the Indian government is certainly better suited to handle the crisis in a country of 1.3 billion people.”
1.35 pm: A meeting of a group of Union ministers is underway at Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, reports ANI.
1.28 pm: Mongolia is temporarily closing its border with Russia due to the coronavirus, reports CNN. The country reported its first coronavirus case on Tuesday, and is also suspending all flights to and from Russia, Turkey and Kazakhstan.
1.22 pm: The people who were evacuated from the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicenter of a coronavirus outbreak, have completed their 14 days of quarantine in Delhi, reports ANI.
Their final test is being done and reports are awaited.
1.15 pm: Cricketer Bhuvneshwar Kumar says Indian bowlers might limit usage of saliva for shining the white ball during the first ODI against South Africa amid coronavirus scare, reports PTI. “We have thought about this thing [not using saliva] but I can’t say right now we will not use saliva because if we don’t use saliva then how will we shine the ball,” he adds. “Then we will get hit and you people will say you are not bowling well. But it’s a valid point and let’s see we will have a team meeting today and whatever instruction we get or whatever is the best option we will do. It all depends on the team doctor and what advice he gives us.”
12.55 pm: A 53-year-old woman has died from coronavirus in Indonesia, the first reported death in the country, reports Reuters. The woman, a foreign national, had already been in critical condition when she was admitted to a hospital, said Achmad Yurianto, the health ministry official.
12.45 pm: Kerala government releases a map of the route taken by the family who returned to the state from virus-hit Italy to track all those who had come in contact with them, reports PTI. A couple and their 24-year-old son had reached Kochi airport on February 29 and reportedly not informed airport authorities about their travel history. Three of them tested positive on Saturday along with two of their relatives.
12.35 pm: Air India AI-138 from Milan to Delhi came without COVID-19 screening, reports ANI. There were 80 passengers aboard and the Customs completed all formalities of screening the passengers and their goods at the isolation bay at the Delhi airport.
12.30 pm: Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray convenes a meeting to review steps to be taken to check the spread of coronavirus in the state, PTI reports. So far, there have been five confirmed coronavirus cases in Maharashtra.
12.26 pm: Australia announces a 2.4 billion package that proposes setting up fever clinics and offering cost-free facilities for people to consult doctors over video calls to combat the spread of coronavirus, reports Reuters.
12.22 pm: More places in China have lowered emergency response levels to the coronavirus outbreak and relaxed travel restrictions a day after President Xi Jinping visited the epicenter of the outbreak, reports Reuters.
Total infections in China stood at 80,778 with 24 new cases by Tuesday, while 22 more deaths took the toll to 3,158, the National Health Commission said on Wednesday.
12.16 pm: The Karnataka government starts a campaign called “Namaste over Handshake” encouraging people to greet in the traditional Indian style to contain the spread of coronavirus, reports PTI.
12.12 pm: Amid sharp rise in coronaviruses cases in India, British brokerage Barclays warns that preventive measures like mass quarantines can dent economic growth by as much as 2% points, reports PTI.
12.08 pm: Goa Health Minister Vishwajit Rane says a man has been kept at an isolation ward of a state-run hospital after he complained of cough and fever, reports PTI. The 27-year-old man travelled to Italy and Finland last month and came in contact with a coronavirus patient.
12.05 pm: Jammu and Kashmir Principal Secretary Rohit Kansal says all primary schools, cinema halls and Anganwadi centres in the districts of Jammu, Samba, Kathua, Reasi and Udhampur will be closed till March 31 because of the spread of coronavirus, reports ANI.
12 pm: South Korea reports a jump in new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, according to Reuters. Another 242 new cases were reported compared with only 35 a day earlier, says the South Korean Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
11.56 am: Uber says it is considering suspending the accounts of riders and drivers who have contracted the novel coronavirus or have been “exposed” to it, reports The Guardian.
11.49 am: Jamaica’s ministry of health and wellness confirms the island nation’s first imported case of the coronavirus, in its capital city of Kingston. The infected individual is a Jamaican female who had travelled from the United Kingdom, the ministry says in a statement.
11.45 am: There are 4,284 virus-linked deaths globally and the number of confirmed cases is 119,132, according to Johns Hopkins university’s update.
11.36 am: The Delhi High Court asks the Centre and the Delhi government to file their response on a plea seeking proper preventive measures to control the spread of the coronavirus, reports ANI.
11.33 am: The Council on Foreign Relations has cancelled a conference called “Doing Business Under Coronavirus” scheduled for Friday in New York because of the spread of COVID-19, reports The Bloomberg.
11.31 am: Sri Lanka also confirms the first case of the coronavirus that has been identified in the country, reports AFP. The patient is a 52-year-old tour guide who had come in contact with a group of Italian tourists.
The Lankan authorities are finding about the places visited by the Italian tour group.
11.28 am: Turkey announces its first coronavirus case, reports Reuters. The male patient is in good health condition and his family and people who had close contact with him are under observation.
11.25 am: At least two schools in Pune’s Dhayari Phata area have announced a shutdown till Saturday after few members of a housing society were taken for coronavirus screening, reports The Indian Express.
So far, five people have tested positive for coronavirus in Pune.
11.16 am: Nine out of the 42 people who arrived from Italy on Wednesday morning have been referred to the Government Medical College in Kerala’s Ernakulam, while the remaining 33 people have been isolated at the Aluva district hospital, reports The Hindu.
All of them were passengers of the Qatar Airways which came from Italy to Kochi via Doha.
11.10 am: The Coachella music festival in the California desert has been postponed for six months until October because of concerns over the coronavirus, reports AFP. “While this decision comes at a time of universal uncertainty, we take the safety and health of our guests, staff and community very seriously,” says the organiser Goldenvoice.
The festival, one of the biggest in the world, was due to take place on April 10-12 and April 17-19.
11.05 am: A plea has been filed in the Madras High Court seeking directions to the Centre to not allow IPL matches from March 29 to May 24 in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, reports ANI.
10.58 am: United States President Donald Trump says he has not been tested for the coronavirus as he has no symptoms, reports Reuters. “I don’t think it’s a big deal,” Trump tells reporters after a meeting with Senate Republicans on the coronavirus response. “I would do it. I don’t feel that any reason... I feel extremely good. I feel very good.”
There have been concerns that the president could have been exposed to the coronavirus through contact with two Republican lawmakers, who later went into self-imposed quarantine.
10.52 am: The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam that manages the hill shrine of Lord Venkateswara in Andhra Pradesh issues an advisory asking foreigners, non-resident Indians and others to not visit the temple for 28 days after they land in the country amid rise in coronavirus cases, reports The NewsMinute.
10.47 am: The Kerala administration also directs hotels in Idukki district to not to accept bookings from tourists and to shut down for the month, reports IANS.
10.45 am: The Kerala government has closed the Periyar Tiger Reserve till March 31 to stop the spread of coronavirus in the state, reports IANS. The state reported eight new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday.
10.42 am: In Mizoram, residents have been queuing up at shops for essential commodities since Monday evening after the state government shut its international and inter-state borders citing coronavirus fears, reports The Telegraph.
10.38 am: Panama’s health ministry confirms the country’s first death from the coronavirus, reports AFP. In addition to this, there are eight new cases of individuals testing positive for the virus. “Of the eight patients we are reporting, one person is in intensive care, another unfortunately died,” says Health Minister Rosario Turner.
10.35 am: Meanwhile, the patient who tested positive in Jaipur is a 85-year-old man, reports PTI. Additional Chief Secretary, Medical and Health, Rohit Kumar Singh says that he has been kept in isolation at the SMS Hospital.
10.33 am: The condition of the 89-year-old coronavirus patient is Kerala is said to be critical, reports News18.
10.30 am: Rajya Sabha MP Ramdas Athawale on Wednesday led a chant urging coronavirus to leave India in Mumbai. The Chinese Consul General in Mumbai, Tang Guocai, had accompanied the central minister of state.
10.20 am: Arsenal’s game at Manchester City was postponed on Wednesday after players from the London club were put into quarantine, making it the first Premier League fixture to be called off because of the new coronavirus.
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9.45 am: One new case of the infection was confirmed in Jaipur, ANI reports, citing Rajasthan Additional Chief Secretary (Health) Rohit Singh. The person reportedly had a history of travel to Dubai.
This takes up the total number of cases in India to at least 62, according to figures from state health agencies but the Centre has so far confirmed only 50 cases.
9.05 am: West Bengal BJP President Dilip Ghosh downplays the virus outbreak. “The entire world is scared of the coronavirus and millions are staying at home,” Ghosh said on Tuesday, PTI reports. “Those who have conquered the whole world, reached the moon... they are scared of coming out of their homes. And look what is happening here... Thousands of people have come out to offer puja. They are drinking water and using the same hands to have the prasad... Nothing will happen, they have the blessings of the almighty.”
“A few people have been infected [by novel coronavirus], but there are more number of deaths in the country because of malaria and dengue. We are not scared,” the BJP MP from Midnapore added.
8.15 am: Kerala’s Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan writes to Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying he has received information that several Indians are stranded in airports in Italy, as they are unable to board flights to India without the “negative” certificates after being tested for COVID 19, reports ANI.
8.12 am: Italy’s death toll has gone up to 631 – 168 people died within the past 24 hours, the highest rate of fatalities in the country. Over 10,000 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in the country.
8.09 am: Chinese President Xi Jinping has made his first visit to the country’s Wuhan city – the epicentre of the outbreak. Xi has pledged to fight for a victory in the war against the deadly virus, adding that the spread of coronavirus had been curbed in Hubei province. No new cases were reported in China outside Hubei province for the third consecutive day on Tuesday.
8.04 am: British MP Nadine Dorries, a member of United Kingdom’s health ministry, has tested positive for the virus, reports AFP. In a statement on Tuesday, she said: “I can confirm I have tested positive for coronavirus... and have been self-isolating at home.”
8 am: At least 14 new cases reported in India on Tuesday. Out of these, eight are in Kerala, and three each in Karnataka and Maharashtra. The number of positive cases in the country is now 61, but the central government has only confirmed 50 so far.
Here are the top updates from Tuesday:
- The global toll from the infection crosses 4,000 as countries around the world ramped up their restrictions to contain infections.
- At least 14 new positive cases of the novel coronavirus were reported in India. The number of cases has gone up to 61, but the Ministry of Health has only confirmed 50. India has also issued advisories for international travellers and cancelled all regular visas for citizens of France, Germany and Spain issued on or before March 11. Electronic visas and existing ones for France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Iran, Republic of Korea, Japan and China were also suspended.
- The White House said President Donald Trump has not been tested for the virus, as he is in excellent health and is not showing any symptoms. Trump has dismissed the seriousness of coronavirus in the past.
- The Italian government imposed nationwide travel restrictions, and banned public gatherings to the whole country as it attempted to contain the deadly coronavirus. So far, 631 people have died after contracting the virus.