India confirmed the first death due to the novel coronavirus on Thursday. A 76-year-old man who died in Karnataka’s Kalaburagi on Tuesday has tested positive, officials said on Thursday. The total number of coronavirus cases in India rose to 78 on Thursday after two people from Kerala, and one each from Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and the man from Karnataka tested positive. However, the Centre has only confirmed 74 cases so far.
The total number of confirmed cases for the virus in the world is 1,27,749, and 4,717 people have died due to it.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday urged people not to panic and instead focus on taking precautions to combat the novel coronavirus. He also announced that none of his ministers will travel outside the country as a step to contain the pandemic that has affected over 100 nations. Earlier in the day, the Indian administration announced that three planes will be sent to Iran in the next three days to bring back Indians stranded in the country.
The national helpline number for the coronavirus is 011-23978046.
Here are the updates from the day:
10.27 pm: A 76-year-old man from Kalaburagi, who died on Tuesday, has been confirmed positive for the coronavirus, the Karnataka Health Department announced on Thursday, ANI reports. This is the first death recorded in India.
10.01 pm: Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro is being tested for coronavirus, local newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo has reported without citing sources, according to Reuters.
Meanwhile, a Brazilian official who met United States President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence has tested positive for coronavirus, reports The New York Times.
9.53 pm: Bitcoin slumps to its lowest in over two months as markets worldwide face turmoil amid coronavirus outbreak, reports Reuters.
9.51 pm: London stocks are down more than 10%, reports AFP.
9.49 pm: In India, Uttarakhand School Education Secretary R Meenakshi Sundaram says all schools in the state will remain shut till March 31, reports ANI.
9.47 pm: United States President Donald Trump defends his decision to announce suspension on arrivals from the European Union without informing the nations, says “it takes time...we had to move quickly”, reports AFP. He adds: “When they raise taxes on us...they haven’t consulted with us.”
9.42 pm: Two more cases of coronavirus were confirmed in Maharashtra, one of them is in Mumbai, and the other in Thane district, reports PTI, citing the state Health Minister Rajesh Tope. No permission will be granted for public gatherings in the state due to the threat of coronavirus threat, Tope said.
9.40 pm: In India, Manipur minister Thongam Bishwajit Singh has urged people not to take part in “mass gatherings”. “There is no confirmed case of any individual affected by the virus in Manipur, but precautionary measures have to be taken, especially in the border areas,” he said, according to PTI.
9.37 pm: The International Monetary Fund has said the severity of the slowdown in global economy due to coronavirus will depend on how long it lasts and how nations respond to the outbreak, reports AFP.
“Under any scenario, the global growth in 2020 will drop below last year’s level, which was 2.9%,” IMF spokesman Gerry Rice said in a statement. “It depends, of course, on the spread, the propagation of the outbreak. It depends on the measures taken to respond and how effective they are.”
9.25 pm: The Road Safety World Series, featuring cricket greats such as Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara, stands cancelled for now in view of the rising coronavirus threat in Maharashtra.
9.23 pm: In Rwanda, people are using portable wash basins in public areas as a precautionary measure against coronavirus, reports Reuters.
9.22 pm: Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope says the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the state is now 14, reports PTI.
9.13 pm: All Bengaluru schools to stop regular classes from March 13, reports Bangalore Mirror, citing Karnataka’s Minister for Primary and Secondary Education S Suresh Kumar. However, examinations for some standards will be held as scheduled without usual classes.
9.07 pm: India’s Ministry of Defence has set up seven more quarantine facilities for patients, especially for Indians being brought back from coronavirus-affected nations, reported PTI, citing an unidentified official. The quarantine facilities have been set up at Jaisalmer, Jodhpur and Suratgadh cities in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh’s Jhansi city, Deolali in Maharashtra, Kolkata and Chennai.
9.01 pm: PVR Cinemas has issued a statement after state governments’ order to shut down movie halls. “This is with reference to advisory issued by states of Kerala, Delhi and UT of Jammu & Kashmir to shut down all cinema Halls till 31st March, 2020 as a precautionary and preventive measure to prevent spread of COVID-19,” the statement reads. “We believe that this is a temporary situation and remain buoyant about the film business in India, and our own growth prospects. We also look forward to continuing to serve our guests in the States of Kerala, Delhi and UT of Jammu and offering them a world class movie going experience 1st April 2020 onwards.”
8.57 pm: Here is a list of helplines for Indian states and Union Territories.
8.46 pm: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has spoken to his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, reports ANI. “They discussed the coronavirus outbreak and emphasised the importance of coordinated international efforts to tackle the spread of the virus,” Johnson’s office has said in a statement.
8.43 pm: Uttar Pradesh Cricket Association secretary Yudhveer Singh says second One-Day International between India and South Africa, scheduled for March 15 in Lucknow, will be held in an empty stadium, reports PTI.
8.37 pm: The Chief Justice of India held a meeting with other Supreme Court justices on whether the court will extend vacation or have limited functioning, reports Live Law. The judges will talk a call by Friday afternoon.
8.10 pm: The Indian government says that Military Command Hospital Udhampur in Jammu and Kashmir has set up four isolation wards with a 100-bed capacity, reports ANI. A team of specialist doctors will manage the suspected coronavirus patients.
8.09 pm: A police constable has been admitted to the isolation ward of a hospital in Maharashtra’s Jalna district for suspected exposure to coronavirus, reports PTI citing an unidentified senior official.
8.08 pm: Filmmaker Rohit Shetty’s Sooryavanshi, starring Akshay Kumar and Katrina Kaif, has been postponed due to the spread of coronavirus across India and the world, its producers have announced.
7.41 pm: The number of coronavirus patients in India has risen to 74 with 14 news cases being reported on Thursday, the Union Ministry of Health said. This included nine people from Maharashtra, one each from Delhi, Ladakh, and Andhra Pradesh, along with a citizen of another country.
7.39 pm: A person in Andhra Pradesh who returned from Italy last week has tested positive for coronavirus, reports PTI.
7.36 pm: In India, one more person has tested positive for coronavirus in Pune, says District Collector Naval Kishore Ram, according to ANI. Ram says the person has a travel history of the United States. The total number of positive cases has risen to nine in the city.
7.33 pm: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan says two more people have tested positive for COVID-19 in the state’s Thrissur and Kannur district. The total number of positive coronavirus cases in Kerala rises to 16, reports ANI.
6.20 pm: The Delhi government has declared coronavirus an epidemic. The administration said disinfecting all public places, including government, private offices and shopping malls, has been made compulsory, reports PTI.
6.18 pm: India’s Ministry of External Affairs has clarified that its remarks on hosting the Indian Premier League 2020 was a general observation on sporting events in India. “Our view is that it’s a decision to be taken by organisers,” the ministry says, according to ANI. “No specific recommendations sought or made by MEA on hosting IPL or any other sporting event in India.”
6.05 pm: In India, American superhero film Bloodshot, and French drama film Les Miserables will release as scheduled this week. The Delhi government has announced that all movie halls will remain shut in the national Capital till March 31.
On March 4, the new James Bond movie No Time To Die was postponed to November 12 from April 10.
6.02 pm: India’s Rashtrapati Bhavan Museum Complex and the change of guard ceremony will not be open to public until further notice. Rashtrapati Bhavan will remain closed for exploratory tour visits from March 13 till further notice.
5.49 pm: The coronavirus has affected more than 100 countries.
Here is a breakdown as of 5.43 pm on Thursday:
- Total confirmed cases: 1,27,749.
- Total deaths: 4,717.
5.41 pm: McLaren has pulled out of the Australian Grand Prix after a team member tested positive for COVID-19, reports AFP.
5.39 pm: Ireland to shut schools from Friday amid coronavirus scare, reports AFP
5.38 pm: The Spanish government says its equality minister Irene Montero has tested positive for coronavirus.
5.36 pm: Iran has reported 75 new coronavirus deaths, taking the toll in the country to 429, reports AFP.
5.23 pm: United Nations Human Rights Council to suspend session over COVID-19, reports AFP.
5.20 pm: The Delhi chief minister adds that vacant flats of the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board will be used to quarantine people, reports PTI.
5.19 pm: Delhi’s Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal says all movie halls will remain shut in Delhi till March 31. “Schools and colleges where exams are not being held will also remain closed,” he says, according to ANI.
5.06 pm: India’s Ministry of External Affairs says: “We have received requests from some of the countries in the neighborhood in terms of providing them assistance for protective gear. Requests are under process. In February we had sent a consignment to China.”
5.03 pm: Indian markets have suffered their worst crash in history as governments introduced stringent measures to tame the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic. The BSE Sensex and the National Stock Exchange Nifty 50 both declined over 8%.
4.41 pm: Modi says several measures have been proactively taken across ministries and states. “These steps are wide-ranging, from suspension of Visas to augmenting healthcare capacities,” he adds.
4.38 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi asks people not to panic and instead take precautions. He says his administration is completely vigilant on the situation. “No minister of the central government will travel abroad in the upcoming days,” he adds. “I urge our countrymen to also avoid non-essential travel. We can break the chain of spread and ensure safety of all by avoiding large gatherings.”
4.34 pm: India’s External Affairs Ministry says it is for the organisers of the Indian Premier League 2020 to decide whether to go ahead with the tournament or not. “Our advice would be to not do it at this time but if they want to go ahead, it is their decision,” the ministry’s says in a statement, according to ANI.
4.26 pm: India’s Ministry of Health Joint Secretary Lav Aggarwal speaks about the coronavirus, reports ANI. “All facts about it are still being studied,” he says. “There are no confirmatory studies. It is generally expected that the virus, if it is in higher temperatures may have difficulty in surviving, but it is not confirmed.”
3.49 pm: The Indian Council of Medical Research says vaccines will take a minimum of 1.5 to 2 years, reports ANI.
3.39 pm: Three planes will be sent to Iran over next three days to bring back Indians stranded in the country, says the health ministry, according to PTI.
3.38 pm: Austria reports its first coronavirus death, reports Reuters. The 69-year-old man died in Vienna. Austria has confirmed 302 cases so far, and four people have recovered.
3.37 pm: The Board of Control for Cricket in India is discussing the possibility of holding the Indian Premier League behind closed doors. “Compensation for teams to be discussed on Saturday,” an unidentified official tells NDTV.
3.36 pm: Aggarwal says India does not have any community transmission yet. “We have only a few cases that have come from outside and they have primarily affected their close family members,” he adds.
3.30 pm: Aggarwal says there is no need to panic. “Mask is not always necessary, if a person maintains effective social distance, mask is not needed,” he adds.
3.27 pm: Aggarwal says India has around 1 lakh testing kits. Additional testing kits have already been ordered.
3.25 pm: “The Government of India has evacuated 900 Indian citizens along with 48 belonging to other nations like Maldives, Myanmar, Bangladesh, China, US, Madagascar, Sri Lanka, Nepal, South Africa, and Peru,” Aggarwal adds.
3.23 pm: Aggarwal says 52 testing facilities are located across the country. There are a total of 56 sample collection centers, he adds.
3.20 pm: Of the 73 positive cases reported in India so far, 56 are Indians and 17 are foreigners, says Aggarwal.
3.16 pm: Visa-free travel facility granted to Overseas Citizen of India cardholders are kept in abeyance till April 15, 2020, says health ministry joint secretary Luv Aggarwal. “This will come into effect from 1200 GMT on March 13, 2020 at the port of departure,” he adds.
3.15 pm: Union Ministry of Health briefs the media.
3.08 pm: US Defence Secretary Mark Esper’s visit to India on March 15-16 has been called off due to the coronavirus threat, PTI reports citing the Defence Ministry. Esper was supposed to meet Rajnath Singh and take part in a conference. The two-day conference has also been called off.
3.04 pm: Three women have been arrested for allegedly administrating fake vaccines to villagers in Maharashtra’s Jalna district, PTI reports citing the police. Fake vaccines and bottles have been seized from the accused and sent to the state health department.
3.01 pm: Climate activist Greta Thunberg urges activists to avoid public gatherings and move strikes online. “I personally recommend that we do as the experts say,” she tweets. “We young people are the least affected by this virus but it’s essential that we act in solidarity with the most vulnerable and that we act in the best interest of our common society.”
2.59 pm: Twitter orders all its staff to work from home, reports PTI. “We are moving beyond our earlier guidance... and have now informed all employees globally they must work from home,” says Twitter human resources chief Jennifer Christie.
2.55 pm: A 35-year-old Indian-origin doctor from Canada, who came to visit her relatives, has tested positive for coronavirus at the King George’s Medical University’s Medicine Department and her samples have been sent to Pune’s National Institute of Virology for reconfirmation, PTI reports. Her husband, however, has tested negative. The woman did not show any symptom during screening at the Lucknow airport, but she later developed fever and cough.
2.53 pm: A law university in Chhattisgarh suspends classes till March 18 as a precautionary measure after a few students are found suffering from cough, cold and fever, reports PTI. The Hidayatullah National Law University in Raipur asks students to vacate the hostels by Thursday evening.
2.44 pm: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the country has 140 cases now, reports CNN.
2.37 pm: Wyoming confirms its first coronavirus case, CNN reports citing the state’s Department of Health. The patient is a woman from Sheridan County. With this, 44 out of 50 states in the US, plus the District of Columbia, have now reported coronavirus cases.
2.31 pm: Kazakhstan suspends all public events and closes schools and colleges in response to the coronavirus pandemic, reports US News.
2.18 pm: Biju Janata Dal leader Pinaki Misra demands thermal imaging cameras be installed in Parliament complex in the wake of coronavirus outbreak, reports PTI.
2.15 pm: Saudi Arabia extends flight and travel bans over coronavirus fears to include the European Union and 12 other countries after announcing 24 new cases, reports Reuters. So far, the kingdom has reported 45 COVID-19 cases.
2.06 pm: Authorities in Pune warn of penal action against those who reveal the identity of coronavirus patients on social media, reports PTI. Divisional Commissioner Deepak Mhaisekar says police have been asked to monitor social media posts and take appropriate action in such matters.
2 pm: Madras High Court asks BCCI to reply by March 23 on a PIL seeking cancellation of Indian Premier League matches between March 29 and May 24 in the wake of coronavirus outbreak, reports ANI.
1.55 pm: The new patient who tested positive for coronavirus in Ladakh has a travel history to Iran, officials tell PTI. The Union Territory has three confirmed cases so far.
1.52 pm: Indian Customs has stopped passengers arriving from 15 nations, including China, US, Italy and South Korea, from entering duty-free shopping area at the Delhi airport in wake of the coronavirus epidemic, reports PTI.
1.48 pm: Staff from the Australian morning talk show “Today Extra” will be quarantined after coming into “prolonged contact” with actress and singer Rita Wilson, who was a guest on the program on Monday, reports CNN.
Earlier today, Wilson and her husband Tom Hanks tested positive for coronavirus. The film star said that he and Wilson would be “tested, observed and isolated” for as long as required.
1.42 pm: Greece confirms first coronavirus death, reports Reuters. The victim is a 66 year old man who had returned from a religious pilgrimage to Israel and Egypt at the end of February.
1.40 pm: The coronavirus has infected more than 124,500 people globally, according to the World Health Organization.
Here is the breakdown:
- Global cases: 124,519
- Global deaths: 4,607
- Countries or territories with cases: 118
1.33 pm: Ashoka University postpones resumption of undergraduate classes after the mid-semester break by two weeks. The classes will now begin from March 30.
1.32 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, says Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri, reports PTI.
1.28 pm: China’s National Health Commission says the country has passed the peak of the coronavirus epidemic, reports Reuters. The comments were made by commission spokesperson Mi Feng at a news conference.
1.22 pm: Harsh Vardhan says the government is in touch with all states on hourly basis, adding that things are under control.
1.18 pm: The minister says samples of those Indians stranded in Italy will also be brought back. “I assure you, it’s our responsibility to bring back all Indians without jeopardizing anyone’s health,” Vardhan adds.
1.17 pm: Health minister Harsh Vardhan says India even tried to transport a whole lab to Iran, but could not because of delay in the process. He adds that they devised an alternative mechanism and brought back swabs from Iran.
1.12 pm: Vardhan states that they started with 15 labs because this is not a routine test, and cannot be done in every laboratory.
1.11 pm: Harsh Vardhan says National Institute of Virology in Pune is the central reference lab for testing coronavirus. He adds that there are 51 labs and 56 collection centres in the country.
1.08 pm: The health minister says there is also a list of suspected patients as there is a possibility of testing positive even during the quarantine period.
1.05 pm: Vardhan says the community surveillance in the country is very strong. “We are talking to all states daily,” he adds. “Every movement of the patients is monitored. We have given detailed guidelines and there is no lapse in the screening.”
1 pm: Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan also informs the Parliament about coronavirus monitoring in the country.
12.58 pm: Jaishankar says a medical team is being sent to Italy to test Indians and those testing negative will be allowed to travel.
12.55 pm: Jaishankar says the global coronavirus situation is continuously monitored by a group of secretaries and ministries. “We will do whatever we must to ensure that spread of coronavirus is restricted,” he adds. “India is ahead of the curve in taking precautionary measures.”
12.52 pm: He also speaks about his surprise visit to Srinagar earlier this week. “I took the initiative to meet the parents of some of the students who are in Iran,” Jaishankar says. “Their anxiety at this time is completely understandable. I shared with them in details, the ground situation and sought their understanding.”
12.50 pm: The foreign minister adds that India is also working with Iranian authorities to operate limited commercial flights to facilitate early return of those stranded in the country.
12.47 pm: Jaishankar says 299 out of 529 samples of Indians stranded in Iran have tested negative for coronavirus.
12.45 pm: Jaishankar says initial focus during evacuation was on pilgrims stranded in Iran. He also informs the Parliament that are operational constraints in evacuating Indians as the Iranian system is strict.
12.42 pm: Jaishankar informs the Parliament that 6000 Indians are stranded in Iran, including 1,100 pilgrims from Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir and Maharashtra and 300 students.
12.38 pm: Jaishankar says travel during this time is not recommended as it “heightens risks”. “Where communities are understandably anxious, we should reassure them and encourage the observants of globally recognised precautions and procedures,” he says in Lok Sabha. “An excessive sense of alarm would only be to the detriment of those who are really in it.”
12.35 pm: The foreign minister says the coronavirus outbreak is matter of concern and we need to respond responsibly.
12.32 pm: On the suspension of the vast majority of visas to the country, Jaishankar says “exceptional situations need exceptional response”.
The government had on Wednesday said all existing visas to India – with some exceptions – stand cancelled till April 15 in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The government said the regulations will come into effect at 5.30 pm on March 13 from the port of departure.
12.30 pm: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar speaks in Lok Sabha about the measures taken to contain the spread of coronavirus.
12.20 pm: Two students from Maharashtra’s Amravati district are stranded in Italy, reports PTI. Their parents urge the local MP to facilitate their safe return to India.
Passengers who want to enter India from Italy now need a certificate of having tested negative for the novel coronavirus from designated laboratories authorised by those countries.
12.12 pm: Sports Secretary Radhey Shyam Julaniya urges all national federations, including BCCI, to avoid large gatherings and to follow the health ministry’s advisory because of the coronavirus outbreak, reports ANI.
11.50 am: The Union Health Ministry says there are 73 positive cases in India so far. The ministry has confirmed nine new cases in Maharashtra, three in Uttar Pradesh, and one in Ladakh. One of the new cases in Uttar Pradesh includes a foreigner who has tested positive for COVID-19. More details are awaited.
11.45 am: Delhi High Court directs Centre to contact Indian students stranded in Iran, reports PTI. Iran is the epicenter of the outbreak in West Asia.
11.22 am: The Paralympic Committee of India announces that all national and state championships have been put on hold till April 15 because of the coronavirus outbreak, reports PTI.
11.18 am: IPL governing council to meet on March 14 to discuss the coronavirus threat. Brijesh Patel, chairperson council, tells The Week that they are monitoring the situation. “Why will COVID-19 attack only IPL,” he asks. “All cricket matches, be it Ranji Trophy final, or series between Afghanistan and Ireland, England and Sri Lanka and Australia-New Zealand are currently going ahead as per schedule. The Road Safety World Series is on. These matches have seen full houses at the stadium in Mumbai. Local trains are running, schools and colleges are not totally shut.”
11.08 am: 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 measure to contain the spread of coronavirus, reports The Hindu.
11.05 am: Thailand confirms 11 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 70, reports Reuters.
11 am: Supreme Court refuses to accord urgent hearing to a plea seeking direction to the Centre to postpone Indian Premier League T20 cricket matches from March 29 to May 24 due to the coronavirus outbreak, reports PTI.
“This is not a matter which cannot await till re-opening of the court,” the court tells advocate Mohan Babu Agarwal, who has filed the petition. “You can mention it before the regular court on March 16.”
10.59 am: Cuba also confirms its first coronavirus case, reports Reuters. The government urges citizens to make their own masks amid a cash crunch and dwindling supplies worldwide.
10.55 am: The French Polynesia has announced the first case of coronavirus in Tahiti, reports The Guardian.
10.48 am: Haryana Health Minister Anil Vij says that the state has declared the novel coronavirus outbreak as an epidemic.
10.45 am: The Melbourne Cricket Ground management says that a person who attended the India-Australia Women’s T20 championship on March 8 has been diagnosed with COVID-19, reports ANI. The Department of Health and Human Services has classified the spread of coronavirus from the infected person to surrounding members of public and staff at low risk.
10.35 am: Meanwhile, Srinithin Jayabal, 30, a software developer from Tamil Nadu’s Coimbatore said that he was stuck in Rome after an airline denied him passage to India, stating that he did not have a medical certificate to attest that he had tested negative for COVID-19, reports The New Indian Express. He said that 45 Indians were stuck in Rome.
10.28 am: The Union Health Ministry says 300 patients are under observation in Andhra Pradesh till now. So far, nobody has tested positive for coronavirus.
10.25 am: Juventus defender Daniele Rugani has become the first Serie A player to test positive for coronavirus.
10.22 am: Amazon increases paid leave for workers quarantined due to the novel coronavirus, reports AFP. “This additional pay while away from work is to ensure employees have the time they need to return to good health without the worry of lost pay,” it adds.
10.18 am: Tripura has closed its border markets with Bangladesh and foreigners with high body temperature are being sent back from the border over coronavirus fears, reports NDTV.
10.15 am: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says that he has spoken to Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the coronavirus outbreak and its effect on the supply lines in his country, reports PTI.
10.09 am: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte will be tested for the coronavirus, says his spokesperson, according to AFP. The country has seen rise in COVID-19 cases, including people who recently attended events with Senate lawmakers and government officials, potentially exposing them.
10.05 am: The Kerala High Court registrar has sent a notice to all district judges, asking them to consider only cases of urgent importance because of the coronavirus outbreak, reports ANI. So far, the Union Health Ministry has confirmed eight cases in the state.
10 am: Nationalist Congress Party leader Nawab Malik says the party has decided not to hold any public rallies or meetings in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, reports ANI. He also urges everyone to not to hold any large gatherings to prevent spread of COVID-19.
9.55 am: A staffer in US Democratic Senator Maria Cantwell’s office has tested positive for coronavirus, says her office. Cantwell will close her office in Washington, DC, for the week and her staff will work remotely, reports Reuters.
9.48 am: South Korea reports six new deaths and 114 more cases of the novel coronavirus, according to the South Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The new cases bring the country’s total to 7,869, with 66 deaths.
9.40 am: Italy has shut all stores except for pharmacies and food shops as the country fights to contain the worst outbreak of coronavirus outside China, that has so far killed 827 in just over two weeks, reports AFP.
After an initial lockdown in the north failed to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the government on Monday had banned all non-essential travel and public gatherings throughout Italy until April 3, halted all sports events and extended a shutdown of schools.
9.35 am: Here is how newspapers reported India suspending the vast majority of visas to the country:
9.26 am: There are 4,630 virus-linked deaths globally and the number of confirmed cases is 126,136, according to Johns Hopkins university’s update.
9.22 am: Twitter announces that they have informed all employees globally they must work from home. “We understand this is an unprecedented step, but these are unprecedented times,” says a post. “And we will continue to do all that we can to support our Tweeps.”
9.16 am: The US State Department raises the worldwide travel advisory to Level 3 – meaning citizens should reconsider travel abroad. “The Department of State advises US citizens to reconsider travel abroad due to the global impact of COVID-19,” it says. “Many areas throughout the world are now experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks and taking action that may limit traveler mobility, including quarantines and border restrictions. Even countries, jurisdictions, or areas where cases have not been reported may restrict travel without notice.”
9.15 am: Oil prices plunge about 6% after President Donald Trump said the US would suspend all travel from Europe for the next 30 days to try and contain the coronavirus, reports AFP.
9.09 am: China reports eight new coronavirus infections in Hubei province, this is the first time that epicenter of the pandemic recorded a daily tally in single-digits, reports AFP. The toll in mainland China has reached 3,169, up by 11 from the previous day. Hubei accounted for 10 of the new deaths, including seven in Wuhan.
9.05 am: It is doubtful whether foreign players can participate in this year’s IPL after the government’s fresh visa restrictions to contain the spread of novel coronavirus.
9 am: The National Basketball Association says it is suspending the season until further notice after a Utah Jazz player tested positive for the coronavirus, reports Reuters.
7.37 am: Air India cancels flights to Italy and Korea till March 28 and March 25 respectively, reports ANI.
7.30 am: Indian Embassy in United States issues an advisory on travel to India amid the spread of coronavirus.
7.28 am: Oscar-winning actor Tom Hanks and his wife, actress Rita Wilson, have both tested positive for coronavirus in Australia, the actor says on Twitter. “To play things right, as is needed in the world right now, we were tested for the coronavirus and were found to be positive,” Hanks adds.
7.20 am: United States President Donald Trump announces that he would ban all travel from Europe for 30 days to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus outbreak, reports AFP. “To keep new cases from entering our shores, we will be suspending all travel from Europe to the United States for the next 30 days,” he says in a televised address to the nation. “The new rules will go into effect Friday at midnight.”
However, he specifies that the restriction would not apply to the United Kingdom.
Here are the top updates from Wednesday:
- The government said it will suspend all tourist visas to the country in a wide-reaching attempt to prevent the spread of coronavirus, as cases across the region continued to rise. The government said the regulations will come into effect at 5.30 pm on March 13 from the port of departure.
- The World Health Organization described the coronavirus as a pandemic for the first time, adding that Italy and Iran were now on the frontline of the disease and other countries would soon join them.
- 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.