Here are the day’s updates:

10.26 pm: A 68-year-old woman has died due to the virus in Delhi, PTI reports. The woman died due to diabetes and hypertension, the health ministry said, adding that she had tested positive for COVID-19. She had been admitted at the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital.

10 pm: WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says it is important for countries to take a comprehensive approach. “Not testing alone. Not contact tracing alone. Not quarantine alone. Not social distancing alone. Do it all,” he says.

9.55 pm: Europe has now become the epicenter of the pandemic, the World Health Organisation announces. More cases and deaths have been reported from Europe than the rest of the world combined, apart from China, it says. “More cases are now being reported every day than were reported in China at the height of its epidemic,” it adds.

9.52 pm: The Telangana Health Minister’s Office says the coronavirus patient from the state has recovered, ANI reports.

9.50 pm: IIT Kharagpur suspends all academic activities till March 31, ANI reports.

9.45 pm: Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro says he tested negative for the virus. Several reports had claimed earlier in the day that he was positive.

8.49 pm: A new positive case has emerged from Jammu, says Jammu & Kashmir NHM Director Bhupinder Kumar, according to ANI. This patient was in close contact to the first confirmed case in Jammu and Kashmir.

8.22 pm: The Rajasthan Legislative Assembly has been adjourned till March 26 in view of the coronavirus, PTI reports. “As you all know that the entire country is worried about coronavirus,” Speaker CP Joshi says. “The Centre has issued an advisory in this regard and the chief minister has also highlighted the matter. Keeping [this] in view, the House is adjourned till March 26.”

8.16 pm: As many as 4,209 infections have been reported in Spain until 12 pm GMT (5.30 pm Indian Standard Time), AFP reports. The number of deaths has risen to 120.

8.10 pm: The Madhya Pradesh government has ordered a closure of all cinema halls till March 31, PTI reports. The Congress-led government says state-run as well as private schools in Madhya Pradesh will remain closed until further notice.

8.02 pm: Ukraine has reported its first death from the coronavirus. “A woman who was diagnosed with the coronavirus yesterday... has died,” Ukraine’s Deputy Health Minister Viktor Lyashko says.

8 pm: India’s Central Zoo Authority directs all zoos to screen visitors, maintain sanitation measures at entry, exit gates in view of coronavirus outbreak, PTI reports.

7.45 pm: The president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, has tested positive for coronavirus, The Guardian reports quoting local media. The news comes after Bolsonaro’s press secretary was found to have the disease following a trip to the United States. US President Donald Trump had met Bolsonaro on March 7.

7.40 pm: The Ministry of Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution says that two-ply and three-ply surgical masks and N95 masks have temporarily been declared essential commodities, ANI reported.

7.37 pm: A 43-year-old man, who returned to India from Malaysia on Friday, has been admitted to a hospital in Indore for suspected exposure to COVID-19, PTI reports. The man, who returned home from Malaysia, was suffering from cold and cough, Chief Medical and Health Officer Dr Praveen Jadia has said.

7.29 pm: The Indian Army has postponed all recruitment rallies by a month, and has asked its personnel to travel only for essential duties in the wake of the coronavirus epidemic, PTI reports.

7.20 pm: The Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir has published a report about the surveillance of the coronavirus epidemic.

7.15 pm: The Punjab government has closed all state-run and private schools till March 31, The Indian Express reports. A communique by Punjab Education Minister Vijay Inder Singla says the step has been taken as a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of the disease. However, examinations will be held as per schedule.

7.11 pm: Union Health Ministry Joint Secretary Lav Agarwal says that contact tracing of all cases in India is being actively pursued, ANI reports. “So far, this has led to identification of more than 4000 contacts who have been put under surveillance,” he says.

7.03 pm: The Board of Control for Cricket in India has said that the India-South Africa three-match One Day International series stands postponed, ANI reports. The remaining two matches of the series will be held at a convenient future date.

6.55 pm: Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi has asked all students to leave campus by Sunday, PTI reports. But foreign students and PhD scholars whose research is at a crucial stage can stay back.

6.50 pm: Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal issues a “Delhi Epidemic Diseases, COVID-19 Regulations, 2020” circular which aims at containing the coronavirus, ANI reports. “Action will be taken against any suspect/confirmed case if they refuse to take measures for prevention/treatment,” the order says.

6.42 pm: Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope clarifies that malls and theaters will remain open, ANI reports.

6.32 pm: Kerala has decided to use tailoring units in prisons of the state to deal with the shortage of masks following the coronavirus scare, PTI reports. “Since there is a shortage of masks in Kerala due to coronavirus scare, the state government has decided to manufacture them at the tailoring units in the prisons,” Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan says.

6.25 pm: The coronavirus has now infected over 1,32,567 lakh people globally and affected 123 countries, areas or territories, according to the World Health Organization’s latest update. As many as 4,947 people have died across the world so far.

China is the worst affected with 80,981 cases, followed by Italy (15,113 cases) and Iran (10,075).

6.20 pm: All the remaining 28 matches of the I-League, including Sunday’s marquee Kolkata derby between champions Mohun Bagan and East Bengal, will be played in empty stadiums owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, the All India Football Federation said on Friday. The decision was taken after the AIFF and I-League officials had a Skype meeting with club representatives following Thursday’s Sports Ministry advisory asking national federations to follow the Health Ministry’s guidelines and avoid large gatherings in sports events.

Read more here:

Coronavirus: AIFF confirm all remaining I-League matches to be held behind closed doors

6.15 pm: The English Premier League suspended all fixtures until April 4 on Friday after a spate of coronavirus cases, including Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta and Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi.

Read more here:

Coronavirus: Premier League and other major English football tournaments suspended until April 4

6.02 pm: Ministry of External Affairs Additional Secretary Dammu Ravi says around 220 Indian students are in and around Milan in Italy. “Our priority is to bring them back,” Ravi says, according to ANI. “If any other students are left behind they can contact our missions, and we will see what next we can do.”

6 pm: Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray announces that all public spaces such as malls, theaters, gyms and swimming pools in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Thane, Nagpur and Pimpri Chinchwad will be closed from Saturday till March 30. Schools in Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad will be closed till further notice, and only Class 10 and Class 12 exams will take place, ANI reports.

5.52 pm: In a bid to check the spread of COVID-19, the Supreme Court says it will hear only urgent cases from Monday. The lawyers involved and a litigant will only be permitted in the court room, according to ANI.

5.48 pm: Lav Agarwal says states can take action if masks are sold at exorbitant prices. “If need be we will take drastic action on abnormal increase in price of masks,” he adds, according to ANI.

5.45 pm: As many as 124 people evacuated from Japan and 112 from China will be discharged from today onwards, the ministry says. They tested negative for the virus in the second round of testing, according to ANI.

5.42 pm: Air India has decided to cancel flights to Italy, France, Germany, Spain, Israel, South Korea and Sri Lanka till April 30. These countries are some of the worst affected by the novel coronavirus pandemic. Air India had on Thursday announced cancellation of services to Kuwait till April 30.

Read more here:

Coronavirus: Air India cancels flights to seven affected countries till April 30

5.40 pm: This is the break-up of the cases in India as of 5 pm on Friday, according to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

Credit: Ministry of Health and Family Welfare

5.30 pm: The government has brought 42,296 passengers under community surveillance. Of these 2,559 were symptomatic and 522 hospitalised, including the 17 foreign nationals, officials say.

5.25 pm: Health Ministry Joint Secretary Lav Agarwal says contact tracing of all these cases is “being actively pursued”. It has led to the identification of more than 4,000 people who were in contact with these patients and they have been put under surveillance, he says.

5.20 pm: India confirms 81 positive cases. Of these, 64 are Indians, 16 Italians and one person is a Canadian national, ANI reports.

5 pm: Iran reports 85 new coronavirus deaths, taking the total to 514 in the country.

4.59 pm: India has briefed representatives of more than 130 countries and international organisations, including over 100 envoys, about proactive steps taken by the Indian administration to combat coronavirus, reports PTI.

4.54 pm: Seven people suspected of being infected with the coronavirus, and had returned from foreign countries, have gone missing, reports News18. The Punjab Police has issued a list of their names and details.

4.51 pm: The Madhya Pradesh government announces suspension of classes in government-run and private schools as a preventive step against coronavirus. However, examinations of Class 5, Class 8, Class 10 and Class 12 (of all boards) will be held as scheduled.

4.49 pm: The All India Football Federation has announced that all the remaining matches of the 2019-’20 edition of the Hero I-League will be behind closed doors in accordance with the Union health ministry’s advisory, reported ANI.

4.46 pm: One more person has tested positive for COVID-19 in Pune, says Divisional Commissioner Deepak Mhaisekar, according to ANI. The person has a travel history to the United States. The total number of positive cases in the city reaches 10.

4.42 pm: Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal issues an advisory named “Delhi Epidemic Diseases, COVID-19 Regulations, 2020” which aims to contain the coronavirus pandemic. “Action will be taken against any suspect/confirmed case if they refuse to take measures for prevention/treatment,” it reads, according to ANI.

4.42 pm: Premier League, The Football Association Challenge Cup, English Football League have all agreed to postpone the professional game in England, reports ANI, citing the Premier League’s statement.

4.08 pm: Union of European Football Associations has said it has postponed its matches amid coronavirus. “In the light of developments due to the spread of COVID-19 in Europe and related decisions made by different governments, all UEFA club competitions matches scheduled next week are postponed,” the statement said. “UCL and UEL quarter-final draws have also been postponed.”

4.02 pm: The Bihar government says all schools, colleges, and coaching institutes will remain shut till March 31. Students of government-run schools will get the money for mid-day meals in their bank accounts for the time their institutes are closed, reports ANI.

The government also announces that all cinema halls, public programmes will be closed till the end of the month, and all events related to Bihar Diwas are cancelled.

3.50 pm: Two people test positive for coronavirus in Maharashtra’s Nagpur city, the Divisional Commissioner says, according to ANI. This takes the total number of confirmed cases to three in the city. Earlier in the day, the Union health ministry has confirmed 11 cases in the state.

3.45 pm: Jammu and Kashmir’s Sher-I Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences has cancelled all leaves of employees to provide uninterrupted medical services, reports ANI.

3.38 pm: Nepal’s Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli also replies to his Indian counterpart’s message to SAARC nations. “I welcome the idea advanced by Prime Minister Modiji for chalking out a strong strategy by the leadership of the SAARC nations to fight coronavirus,” he tweets. “My government is ready to work closely with SAARC member states to protect our citizens from this deadly disease.”

3.33 pm: Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa responds to India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s appeal to SAARC nations. “Thank you for the great initiative Shri Narendra Modi, Sri Lanka is ready to join the discussion and share our learnings and best practices and to learn from other SAARC members,” he tweets. “Let’s unite in solidarity during these trying times and keep our citizens safe.”

3.31 pm: 44 Indians who were evacuated from Iran have been shifted to the Indian Navy quarantine facility at Ghatkopar in Mumbai, reports ANI.

3.16 pm: The Chhattisgarh government says, according to ANI: “All public libraries, gyms, swimming pools, water parks in urban areas and aanganwadis will remain closed till March 31 in the state.”

3.11 pm: Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa announces a ban on all gatherings in malls, cinema halls, pubs, wedding ceremonies, and at other events for one week, reports ANI. He also declares that leaves of all government doctors and health officials stand cancelled.

3.09 pm: The Indian Army says in a statement that all recruitment rallies have been deferred for a month. “For Army personnel, travel to be restricted to essential duties only and they have been asked to do maximum utilisation of video conference facilities,” the statement reads, according to ANI.

3.07 pm: At the Indian Army’s quarantine facility in Manesar, one man who returned from Italy on March 11 has tested positive for coronavirus. He has been an employee at a restaurant in Italy for the past 14 years, reports ANI.

3.02 pm: The all-electric Formula E racing series has been temporarily suspended, its organisers announced, according to CNN. Earlier, Formula One’s season-opening Australia Grand Prix was cancelled after a McLaren team member tested positive in Melbourne.

3 pm: BCCI says in a statement, according to ANI:We are concerned and sensitive about all our stakeholders, and public health in general, and are taking all necessary steps to ensure that, all people related to IPL including fans have a safe cricketing experience.”

2.56 pm: Board of Control for Cricket in India postpones Indian Premier League 2020 from March 29 to April 15 as a precautionary measure against coronavirus.

2.37 pm: The coronavirus has now infected over 1.3 lakh people globally and affected 123 countries, areas or territories, according to WHO’s latest update.

Courtesy: WHO

2.24 pm: Some of the passengers of the coronavirus-affected Diamond Princess cruise ship that was earlier quarantined at a Japanese port have all been released after they tested negative for the virus, reports The Indian Express. They were quarantined for two weeks at the facility in Manesar after being evacuated from the ship. Among the 124 people released, 119 are Indians.

Out of the total 138 Indians on board the Diamond Princess, 16 had tested positive for coronavirus and are receiving treatment at hospitals in Japan.

2.21 pm: Indian aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation has asked international airlines to consider waiving ticket cancellation charges as several countries impose restrictions on travel, reports PTI.

2.17 pm: Singapore’s health ministry has said the country will not allow entry or transit from Monday to those who have been to Italy, France, Spain, or Germany in the past 14 days in order to contain spread of coronavirus, reports Reuters.

The country has a similar ban for travellers from South Korea, China, and Iran.

2.14 pm: Out of the eleven confirmed coronavirus cases in Uttar Pradesh, 10 are being treated in Delhi, and one at Lucknow’s King George’s Medical University, according to PTI.

2.10 pm: In India, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath announces: “All schools and colleges where examinations are not going on have been closed till March 22 in wake of coronavirus outbreak.”

The chief minister provides a breakup of the 11 positive cases in the state – seven from Agra, two from Ghaziabad, one each in Noida and Lucknow, reports PTI.

2.06 pm: Image of a mosque in Istanbul, Turkey, being disinfected to prevent spread of coronavirus.

2.03 pm: Premier League bosses will meet after Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta and English professional footballer Callum Hudson-Odoi both contracted coronavirus, reports AFP.

Also read:

Coronavirus: Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta tests positive, match against Brighton postponed

1.58 pm: India’s External Affairs Minister says second batch of 44 Indians have arrived from Iran. “Our efforts to bring back the others continue,” he adds. “Indian embassy in Iran and our medical team – keep up the good work. Appreciate the support of Iranian authorities and their airlines.”

1.52 pm: The Heritage Museum at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus in Mumbai, Maharashtra, will remain closed to the public for all of March, according to ANI.

1.49 pm: Bihar’s Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has chaired a meeting on coronavirus with top officials in Patna, reports ANI.

1.46 pm: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath has presided over a meeting on coronavirus at his office in Lucknow’s Lok Bhawan, reports ANI

1.38 pm: Modi says an example should be set for the world to contribute towards a healthier planet. “I would like to propose that the leadership of SAARC nations chalk out a strong strategy to fight coronavirus,” he tweets. “We could discuss, via video conferencing, ways to keep our citizens healthy.”

1.36 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweets about the coronavirus. “Our planet is battling the COVID-19 novel coronavirus,” he writes. “At various levels, governments and people are trying their best to combat it.”

He adds that South Asia, which is home to a vast number of the global population “should leave no stone unturned to ensure our people are healthy”.

1.33 pm: Kerala’s Assembly has been adjourned sine die as a preventive step to contain coronavirus outbreak. The Assembly was scheduled to continue till April 8, according to ANI. The state has 17 confirmed cases of the virus.

1.32 pm: Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia University has issued an advisory asking students to avoid gatherings till March 31. Internal assessments to be given online and exams will be held as scheduled, reports ANI, citing the university’s registrar office.

1.31 pm: Odisha Assembly has been suspended till March 29 after the government Covid-19 declared a state disaster, reports ANI.

1.13 pm: In India, Odisha’s Cabinet has declared COVID-19 as a “disaster” for the state under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, reports ANI. This empowers the state’s government officials to combat the spread of the pandemic.

12.56 pm: Nepal has barred climbers from all mountains, including Mount Everest, as a preventive step against the coronavirus pandemic, reports AFP. This is likely to have a significant impact on Nepal’s tourism industry that earns 4.4 million dollars a year from climbing permits.

Also read:

Coronavirus: Nepal suspends permits to scale Mount Everest, no tourist visas till April 30

12.51 pm: Asian Chess Federation’s General Secretary Hisham Al Taher says as a precautionary step against coronavirus all events have been postponed till the end of June, reports ANI. “Asian Amateur Chess Championship scheduled for this April in Muscat is postponed until further notice after the end of June,” he adds.

12.49 pm: In India, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat says his administration has issued advisories to all hotels on safety measures to be taken while allowing foreign tourists in hotels. “All schools have been closed until March 31. Do not fear as no case of coronavirus has been reported here,” he says, according to ANI.

12.47 pm: The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the world is 1,28,343, and 4,720 people have been killed so far, according to the latest update by the Johns Hopkins coronavirus tracker.

12.44 pm: Australia’s Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton says he has tested positive for coronavirus. “I was advised by Queensland Health this afternoon that the test had returned positive,” his statement says. “I feel fine and will provide an update in due course.”

12.37 pm: India’s Central Reserve Police Force collects medical test sample of a soldier deployed in Chhattisgarh to test for coronavirus after he reported high fever and cough, PTI reports, citing officials.

12.28 pm: Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia says the administration has decide to ban any sporting events where a huge crowd will gather like the Indian Premier League 2020, reports ANI. Social distancing is important to curb the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic, he says.

Sisodia says all big events, conferences, and sports gatherings have been banned in the national Capital until further notice.

12.24 pm: Chief Economic Adviser KV Subramanian tells ANI: “Current developments in market are reflections of global factors related to coronavirus episode. All countries, including France, Russia, United States, the United Kingdom, Japan and others have had more than a 20% decline in their stock prices and India is actually below them.”

12.22 pm: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee asks people not to shake hands till the coronavirus pandemic subsides. “It’s a human to human contact thing, not human to animals,” she says, according to ANI. “Do namaste.”

12.19 pm: All lectures, class presentations and examinations at Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi are suspended till March 31, reports ANI, citing the registrar. Any event, such as seminars, conferences and workshops, in the campus during this period should be postponed, the statement adds.

12.14 pm: In India, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik announces in the state Assembly: “All educational institutions shall remain closed till March 31, except for holding examinations. Cinema halls, swimming pools, and gyms are also to be closed till March 31.”

12.04 pm: China and the United States are engaged in a war of words over the origin of the novel coronavirus, reports AFP. China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian tweeted on Thursday: “It might be US army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan. Be transparent! Make public your data! US owe us an explanation!”

Lijian tagged a video of a United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention official answering queries related to coronavirus cases in the country.

12.01 pm: United States President Donald Trump and Ireland’s Prime Minister Leo Varadkar greet each other with “namaste” at the White House, say it’s necessary due to coronavirus, reports PTI.

11.59 am: Schools and colleges in Chhattisgarh will be shut till March 31 amid coronavirus outbreak, reports PTI.

11.57 am: Professional Golf Tour of India postpones all tournaments due to coronavirus, reports PTI.

11.55 am: The Delhi government orders shutting of all public swimming pools in the city immediately till March 31 to contain spread of coronavirus, reports PTI.

11.55 am: All India Chess Federation has postponed all national championships till May 31 amid coronavirus scare, reports PTI.

11.50 am: A Delhi-based employee of a private firm in Noida, Uttar Pradesh, has tested positive for coronavirus, reports ANI, citing Chief Medical Officer Anurag Bhargav. He has travel history to France and China.

11.16 am: India’s Ministry of Health has confirmed that there are 75 positive cases of coronavirus in the country currently. A new case has been reported in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka in the last day. The ministry’s count does not include the man who died in Karnataka or the three people cured in Kerala.

Here is the ministry’s breakup:

  • Kerala- 17 (Indians)
  • Haryana- 14 (foreign visitors)
  • Maharashtra- 11 (Indians)
  • Uttar Pradesh- 10 (Indians), and one foreign visitor.
  • Delhi- six (Indians)  
  • Karnataka- five (Indians), one death.
  • Ladakh- three (Indians)
  • Rajasthan, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, and Andhra Pradesh- one each (Indians). Two more foreign visitors in Rajasthan.

11.13 am: Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa has called an emergency meeting of state ministers and senior officials over coronavirus, reports ANI. India recorded its first death due to the virus after a man from Karnataka’s Kalaburagi district who passed away on Tuesday tested positive.

11.10 am: An enterprise, named Kerala Startup Mission, has started an awareness campaign to tackle coronavirus, reports ANI. Jayakrishnan T, the founder and chief executive officer of Asimov Robotics says: “Robots are crowdpullers, so we can spread our message effectively. They are distributing hand sanitisers, masks and sharing information about the pandemic”

11.08 am: The Delhi High Court has agreed to hear on Monday a plea related to measures against the coronavirus, reports ANI.

10.50 am: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi attacks the government over the spread of coronavirus. “I will keep repeating this,” he tweets. “The coronavirus is a huge problem. Ignoring the problem is a non solution. The Indian economy will be destroyed if strong action is not taken. The government is in a stupor.”

10.49 am: The Australian Formula One Grand Prix is cancelled due to worries about the coronavirus outbreak after a McLaren team member tested positive, reports Reuters.

10.44 am: Australian Prime minister Scott Morrison says the government will adopt medical advice to cancel organised mass gatherings, reports The Guardian. The measures will come into effect on Monday. “Based on the advice we have received today about the increasing number of cases on the evidence of community transition, it has been recommended to us that we moved to a position by Monday where we will be advising against organised non-essential gatherings of persons of 500 people or greater,” he adds.

10.39 am: The Kamal Nath government in Madhya Pradesh is considering to postpone the Assembly session beginning on March 16 amid the coronavirus scare, reports News18.

10.33 am: Thailand reports five new coronavirus cases, bringing its total to 75, according to Reuters.

10.28 am: From Monday, Singapore will stop entry or transit to visitors who have been in Italy, France, Spain or Germany in the last 14 days, says the health ministry. This is part of the part of measures to contain the spread of coronavirus. Singapore has a similar ban in place for travellers from Iran, South Korea and China, where the virus first surfaced late last year.

10.25 am: The Ministry of External Affairs will brief foreign diplomats today on efforts taken by India to fight the coronavirus, reports ANI.

10.22 am: The Nepal government suspends permits to climb Mount Everest because of the coronavirus outbreak, reports AFP. This came a day after China cancelled expeditions from the northern, Chinese-controlled, side of the mountain.

10.18 am: Iran reports 75 new deaths from the coronavirus in the past 24 hours, says the health ministry, according to Reuters. Iran is the epicenter of the outbreak in West Asia and the toll has risen to 429.

10.15 am: About 120 Indians are being evacuated from Iran in an Air India flight, reports NDTV. They will reach Jaisalmer in Rajasthan later in the day and will be quarantined at an Army facility.

10.10 am: Oscar-winning actor Tom Hanks says he and his wife were taking their new roles as quarantined coronavirus patients in their stride. “Rita Wilson and I want to thank everyone here Down Under who are taking such good care of us,” he says in a tweet. “We have Covid-19 and are in isolation so we do not spread it to anyone else...We are taking it one-day-at-a-time.”

10.02 am: All the Catholic churches across Rome have been closed because of the coronavirus pandemic, in a move believed to be unprecedented in modern times, reports AFP.

The decree by Cardinal Angelo De Donatis, Pope Francis’ vicar for the Rome archdiocese, will remain in effect until at least April 3. There are more than 900 parochial and historic churches in the Italian capital.

10 am: A female diplomat from the Philippines mission to the United Nations tests positive for coronavirus, reports Reuters. This is the first known case at the world body’s New York headquarters.

“As of today, the Philippine Mission is in lockdown, and all personnel are instructed to self-quarantine and to seek medical attention should they develop the symptoms,” Philippines acting UN Ambassador Kira Azucena says in a message. “We are assuming that all of us have been infected.”

9.45 am: All 112 people admitted to an ITBP quarantine facility for over a fortnight have tested negative for coronavirus, reports PTI. “After 14 days of quarantine at ITBP facility in Chhawla, 112 inmates, including 36 foreign nationals, have tested negative for coronavirus,” says an Indo-Tibetan Border Police spokesperson.

9.39 am: Stock exchanges halt trading for 45 minutes as Sensex, Nifty hit lower circuit limits. Investors continue to panic over the impact of coronavirus spread on the global growth.

Read more here

9.35 am: Rupee slips 16 paise to 74.44 against US dollar in early trade as coronavirus epidemic worsens.

8.28 am: A Google employee in Banglore tests positive for coronavirus, reports CNBC. “We are sorry to report that we have one confirmed case of a Bangalore-Based Googler testing positive for COVID-19,” Anand Rangarajan, director of engineering and Bangalore site lead for Google, says in an email to employees.

8.22 am: British economist Jim O’Neill praises China’s “fast, aggressive” response to contain the coronavirus outbreak, and says, “Thank God this didn’t start in somewhere like India”, reports CNBC.

In response, BJP overseas affairs department head Vijay Chauthaiwale, says his comments criticising the Indian governance shows his “sheer ignorance” towards the country’s healthcare system. He adds that Prime Minister Narendra Modi extended all his support to China to fight the disease.

8.04 am: The Australian Grand Prix is called off after a McLaren team member tests positive for coronavirus.

8.03 am: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath will chair a meeting on tackling the virus, reports News18.

7.59 am: Apple reopens stores in China as the number of cases there falls, reports Reuters.

7.54 am: Sophie Trudeau, the wife of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, has tested positive for coronavirus. Justin Trudeau will be in isolation for 14 days, says his communications chief.

7.22 am: Italy’s toll from the coronavirus epidemic shot past 1,000 on Thursday, reports Reuters. The daily toll jumped by 189 to 1,016. Confirmed cases rose to 15,113 from a previous 12,462, the biggest daily rise in absolute terms since the disease came to light on February 21.

7.17 am: The Indian Embassy in Washington DC says arrangements are being made to address the concerns of foreign nationals on the travel advisory issued by the Centre due to the coronavirus outbreak, reports ANI.

Here are the helpline numbers:

7.15 am: Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has tested positive for the coronavirus, says the Premier League club.

Read more here

7.07 am: US President Donald Trump says he is not concerned about the possibility of being exposed to the coronavirus after dining last week with a Brazilian government official who has since tested positive for the disease, reports AFP. “I did hear something about that,” he adds. “We had dinner together in Florida, in Mar-a-Lago, with the entire delegation. I don’t know if the press aide was there. If he was there, he was there. But we did nothing very unusual. Let me put it this way, I’m not concerned.”

7 am: Australia’s one-day series against New Zealand beginning in Sydney today will be played without fans and a women’s tour to South Africa has been suspended because of the coronavirus outbreak, reports AFP.

Here are the top updates from Thursday:

  • Health officials in Karnataka reported India’s first coronavirus death in Kalaburagi district. The samples of a 76-year-old man, who was a suspected COVID-19 patient and passed away on March 10 night, tested positive for the disease. The patient also had co-morbidities such as asthma, hypertension and diabetes. The Union Health Ministry confirmed the death in a late night statement. 
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi 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 spread of the pandemic.
  • Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced that all cinema halls in the Capital and schools and colleges not conducting examinations will be shut till March 31 due to the coronavirus outbreak.
  • Globally while COVID-19 has over 1,18,000 cases sweeping across 114 countries, the Health ministry asked Indians not to panic but cooperate with the government to detect and contain the situation.  
  • Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s communications chief tested positive, days after attending an event with US President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.