Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lead India at a video conference of all members of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation at 5 pm on Sunday, said MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar. The nations will chalk out a strategy to fight COVID-19 in the region.
Meanwhile, the health ministry said there are 84 confirmed cases of coronavirus in India now. Over 4,000 people have been put under surveillance. The Centre has also decided to treat coronavirus as a notified disaster for the purpose of providing assistance under the State Disaster Response Fund.
So far, 10 people have been cured. A senior citizen in Delhi became the second person to die of the virus in the country on Friday.
United States President Donald Trump declared a national emergency and said he was releasing a $50 billion (Rs 3.69 lakh crore) relief package for people affected with the coronavirus. The official number of COVID-19 cases in the United States has risen to 2,100, and 48 people have died.
8.33 pm: A round-up of today’s developments:
- Number of confirmed cases in India rises to 84, says health ministry. The Centre also decides to treat coronavirus as a notified disaster for the purpose of providing assistance under the State Disaster Response Fund.
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lead India at a video conference of all members of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation at 5 pm on Sunday. The nations will chalk out a strategy to fight COVID-19 in the region. Pakistan was the last nation to confirm its participation.
- An American couple, who came to a hospital in Kerala showing symptoms of coronavirus on Friday and went missing later have been tracked down and quarantined. Authorities tracked them down to the Kochi International airport while they were trying to fly out to Doha. They were brought back to the district hospital in Ernakulam where their samples were collected.
- The Padma Award ceremonies have been postponed due to coronavirus outbreak.
- Spain reported 1,500 new cases. Easter processions in the country have been cancelled.
- The US travel ban on European nations came into force.
- Iran announced a significant jump in its toll. A total of 611 have succumbed to the virus.
8.08 pm: Rajasthan Health Department says a 24-year-old man, who returned from Spain, has tested positive in Jaipur, reports ANI. With this, total number of positive cases in the state is four.
8.04 pm: The total number of deaths in the UK almost doubles, going up from 11 to 21, BBC reports citing the National Health Service.
8.03 pm: The Jammu and Kashmir health department asks officials to put in their best efforts to prevent the spread of coronavirus, reports PTI. So far, two people have tested positive for coronavirus in Jammu and Kashmir.
7.59 pm: Raveesh Kumar, spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, says PM Narendra Modi will lead India at the video conference at 5 pm on Sunday of all SAARC member countries, reports ANI. The nations will chalk out a strategy to fight COVID-19 in the region.
7.43 pm: Samples of four patients, one from Mumbai and three from adjoining areas, test positive for coronavirus, civic officials tell PTI.
7.35 pm: The Lok Sabha Secretariat suspends public gallery passes and showaround of Parliament complex as a precautionary measure, reports PTI.
7.34 pm: The number of cases in Netherlands rises from 155 to 959, according to BBC. Two people have died from the virus in the country so far, says the health minister.
7.29 pm: Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says the Tokyo Olympic Games will go ahead as planned in July, reports BBC. He, however, adds that the International Olympic Committee will take the final call.
7.25 pm: Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope tells ANI that the total positive cases in the state is now 26.
7.02 pm: Odisha’s Tourism Department asks the hospitality sector to ensure that foreign tourists are not “unnecessarily harassed” in the name of precautionary measures, reports PTI.
6.56 pm: An Air India special flight took off from Delhi around 4.30 pm for Milan to evacuate around 220 Indians. The flight will return on Sunday morning, reports ANI.
6.47 pm: Uttarakhand Cabinet minister Madan Kaushik says all Cinema halls and colleges will remain closed in the state till March 31. Medical colleges, however, will remain open.
6.45 pm: Himachal Pradesh government invokes the Epidemic Disease Act, 1897, that empowers officers to issue order for surveillance, prevention, control and treatment, reports ANI.
6.43 pm: All schools in urban areas of Maharashtra will remain closed till March 31, according to ANI. However, board examinations and those at university level will be held as per schedule.
6.42 pm: Uttarakhand government declares coronavirus an epidemic in the state, reports ANI.
6.03 pm: Noida Metro Rail Corporation sanitises metro stations.
5.47 pm: The Federation of Western Indian Cine Employees suggests that shooting schedules of all films and television shows be stopped across India. A meeting will be held on Sunday to take a decision. “The idea of the meeting is to discuss about stopping shooting of films and TV serials for sometime due to coronavirus as a lot of people usually work on the sets,” federation president BN Tiwari tells PTI. “We have to keep in mind the safety of all the members of associations against Corona outbreak.”
5.46 pm: BCCI President Sourav Ganguly says they are monitoring the situation. “As much as we want to host IPL, we are also concerned about safety of the people,” he tells ANI.
5.45 pm: Spain reports 1,500 new cases. Total number of cases rises to over 5,700. Philippines, on the other hand, confirms 34 new cases, taking the overall tally to 98, reports Reuters.
5.41 pm: The total number of cases in Maharashtra is 22 now.
5.40 pm: Two people who had returned from Dubai test positive for coronavirus in Maharashtra’s Yavatmal, reports PTI.
5.30 pm: Spain cancels Easter processions, reports BBC.
5.23 pm: Punjab Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu says all cinema halls, gyms, swimming pools will remain closed till March 31. No sports and cultural events will be held during this period, reports ANI.
5.18 pm: 110 evacuees from Wuhan, China, leave the ITBP facility at New Delhi’s Chhawla. Only two of the evacuees are there at the facility now.
5.16 pm: Visuals from Sarwal area of Jammu.
5.15 pm: Trivandrum District Collector K Gopalakrishnan says malls, beaches and other public areas will remain closed till further notice, reports ANI.
5.10 pm: Centre postpones Padma Award ceremony, reports ANI. The ceremony was scheduled to be held on April 3 at Rashtrapati Bhavan. The new date and time will be announced later.
5.01 pm: Malaysia reports 41 new coronavirus cases, reports News18. The total number of infected people in the Southeast Asian country is now 238.
4.59 pm: Rwanda confirms its first case of coronavirus, an Indian citizen who arrived in the East African nation from Mumbai on March 8, the Health Ministry says. He had no symptoms on arrival.
4.57 pm: BCCI suspends all domestic games including Irani Cup, reports PTI.
4.56 pm: The Louvre museum in Abu Dhabi will shut down for the public from Sunday until the end of March.
4.54 pm: Sanjeeva Kumar says a Mahan Air flight will bring back Indian passengers from Iran. The flight will land in Mumbai at midnight today. Another special flight of Air India will be flying today to bring back Indian students from Italy.
4.50 pm: The number of confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in India rises to 84, says the health ministry. “Out of the total 84 positive cases in the country, 10 people have fully recovered and have been discharged,” says Sanjeeva Kumar, the special secretary (health). “Contact tracing of these cases has led to the identification of over 4000 contacts who have been put under surveillance.”
4.18 pm: The toll in Iran rises to 611 as the country reports 97 more deaths on Saturday, according to state media. The country has 12,729 confirmed cases of the coronavirus. Iran is suffering from the worst outbreak in West Asia.
4.12 pm: Telangana Health Ministry says one more person has tested positive for the virus, reports ANI. The patient has a travel history to Italy. He is right now in the isolation ward at a state-run hospital in Hyderabad.
4.10 pm: Nagpur divisional commissioner says one more person has tested positive for coronavirus, reports ANI.
4.03 pm: AIIMS Director Randeep Guleria says there is no risk in cremating the infected bodies. “Coronavirus cannot spread through dead bodies,” he tells ANI. “It spreads from respiratory secretion. Coughing is necessary for the spread of this virus.”
3.45 pm: Russia will close its land borders with Poland and Norway to foreigners, reports AFP. The ban will come into force at midnight on Sunday and apply to all foreigners travelling “for professional, private, study or tourist reasons”, says Premier Mikhail Mishustin. Belarusians, members of official delegations and residents of Russia will only be exempted.
3.16 pm: The home ministry announces Rs 4 lakh ex-gratia to the family of those who died, reports ANI.
3.14 pm: Disney closes its theme park in California. “The Hotels of the Disneyland Resort will remain open until Monday, March 16 to give agents the ability to make necessary travel arrangements for their clients. Downtown Disney will remain open,” it says in a statement.
3.01 pm: The Centre has decided to treat coronavirus as a notified disaster for the purpose of providing assistance under the State Disaster Response Fund, says Ministry of Home Affairs, according to ANI.
2.30 pm: All schools, colleges, casinos, boat cruises and disco clubs in Goa have been closed till March 31, says Chief Minister Pramod Sawant. “However, Senior Secondary Certificate and Higher Secondary School Certificate exams will be conducted as per schedule,” he tells ANI.
2.25 pm: The Aligarh Muslim University suspends all classes till March 22, reports PTI. However, all examinations will be held as per schedule.
“During a special meeting of top university officials presided over by Vice Chancellor Tariq Mansoor, it was decided today that all conferences, workshops, educational tours and sports programmes have been postponed till March 31,” spokesperson Omar Peerzada tells the news agency.
2.24 pm: Apple is closing all its stores outside China until March 27, says reports AFP. “One of those lessons is that the most effective way to minimize risk of the virus’s transmission is to reduce density and maximize social distance,” says CEO Tim Cook.
2.19 pm: West Bengal government closes all educational institutions from March 16 to 31. However, board examinations will be held as per schedule, reports ANI.
2.15 pm: Turkey is halting flights to and from 9 European countries, including Germany and France, till April 17, reports Reuters. The ban begins on Saturday. Turkey has reported five cases of the virus so far.
1.57 pm: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath says in Varanasi that five laboratories have been set up in the state for testing people for COVID-19, ANI reports. Two of these laboratories are in Lucknow, and one each in Aligarh, Varanasi and Gorakhpur.
1.49 pm: Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri says nearly 12 lakh passengers flying in from abroad have been tested so far, News18 reports. He adds, speaking at Wings India 2020, an aviation event being held in Delhi, that India expects a drop of 15% to 20% in air traffic.
1.40 pm: Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao says another case of the coronavirus has been reported, from Hyderabad, PTI reports.
1.31 pm: Authorities at the Torkham border between Pakistan and Afghanistan have deported six Afghans who had symptoms of the coronavirus, Dawn reports. The Afghans had recently travelled to China.
1.17 pm: Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain says that N95 masks should only be used by healthcare workers or those who are displaying symptoms, not by healthy people, ANI reports. “We have also constituted teams to take action against hoarding and over charging [for masks],” Jain says.
1.13 pm: Kolkata Knight Riders co-owner and actor Shah Rukh Khan says that he hopes the COVID-19 pandemic ends soon, and the Indian Premier League goes ahead, PTI reports. The league, which was to begin on March 29, has been suspended till April 15.
1.08 pm: The Uttarakhand government has postponed celebrations to mark three years of Bharatiya Janata Party rule in the state, PTI reports. Chief Secretary Utpal Kumar Singh has said in a letter to all district magistrates that celebrations planned to be held in all assembly constituencies of the state on March 18 have to be postponed in light of COVID-19.
1 pm: Goa Chief Minister Dr Pramod Sawant holds a high-level review meeting over preparedness in the wake of the coronavirus epidemic, ANI reports.
12.55 pm: The East Coast Railway has decided to remove blankets in Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 AC coaches, ANI reports. East Coast Railway Public Relations Officer JP Mishra says toilets on trains will be washed at major stations.
12.44 pm: Infosys in Bengaluru has evacuated one of its satellite office buildings, after reports emerged that one of its employee came into contact with a suspected coronavirus patient, PTI reports.
“We have received information about a situation of a team member from the IIPM building, who may have been in proximity to an individual with suspected COVID-19,” an internal communication from the Infosys office reads. The building was evacuated late on Friday.
12.33 pm: Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur announces that all government, private colleges and schools, Anganwadi centers and play-way schools in the state will be closed till March 31, ANI reports.
12.22 pm: Some pharmacies in Delhi have stopped selling N95 masks due to increase in prices, ANI reports. “We’ve stopped selling N95 masks as wholesellers are selling it to us at high prices and if we ask customers for more money they fight with us,” a pharmacist in Connaught Place says.
12.15 pm: Brazil’s Ambassador to the United States Nestor Forster has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, the Brazilian embassy in America says. It adds that Forster will extend his self -quarantine for two weeks.
12 pm: New Zealand has announced new border controls, the New Zealand Herald reports. The new rules require all travellers to the country, including its own citizens, to self-isolate for two weeks. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made the announcement.
The restrictions will be reviewed in 16 days, Ardern says, adding that these are the strictest border controls in the world.
11.55 am: The Ministry of Health says there are now 83 cases of coronavirus in the country. Ten people have been cured, who are spread across Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Kerala and Delhi.
11.43 am: Twenty one Indian passengers stranded in Italy have been brought to Kochi on Saturday, PTI reports quoting sources. They were shited to Aluva Hospital for testing. Several Indian passengers have been stuck in the hard-hit European country, despite having confirmed tickets.
11.11 am: The Punjab government has said that 335 passengers with history of travel to coronavirus-affected countries are not traceable, ANI reports. A total of 6,011 such passengers have been traced as of Friday.
10.56 am: Five people suspected of having contracted the coronavirus have escaped from the isolation ward of Mayo Hospital in Nagpur, ANI reports. “One of them had tested negative, reports of other 4 were awaited,” Nagpur Sub-Inspector of Police S Suryavanshi says. “We have traced them & they will be brought back to hospital by the administration.”
10.51 am: Two foreigners who ran away from the Alappuzha Medical College in Kerala after doctors suggested that they take the COVID-19 test have been located, The News Minute reports. The foreigners were found at Kochi’s Nedumbassery Airport while trying to fly back to Doha, Qatar, around 11.30 pm on Friday. They have now been placed in isolation at Kalamassery Medical College Hospital.
10.44 am: An isolation ward has been set up at Tihar Jail in New Delhi, ANI reports. All inmates have been checked, but no one has shown any symptoms of coronavirus. New inmates are being screened and will be assigned different wards temporarily.
10.22 am: However, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has recorded only 14 cases in Maharashtra so far. According to the ministry, there have been 83 cases of COVID-19 in India, of which two people have died and 10 have been discharged following recovery.
10.08 am: Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope says two more positive cases of the virus have been reported on Friday, one from Mumbai and another from Ahmednagar, ANI reports. The total number of cases in Maharashtra is now 19, Tope says.
9.58 am: The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has suspended its three-day annual meeting of its highest decision-making body scheduled to begin on Saturday, its General Secretary Suresh Bhaiyyaji Joshi says, according to PTI. “In view of the seriousness of the pandemic COVID-19 and in the light of instructions and advisories thereof issues by the Union and the state governments, the Akhil Bharatiya Pratinidhi Sabha meeting scheduled in Bengaluru has been suspended,” Joshi says.
9.38 am: The Swaminarayan sect has announced that it will close all its temples around the world in view of the coronavirus pandemic, PTI reports. The Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha, which runs around 100 temples in the United States, is visited by thousands of devotees each month.
9.18 am: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has requested Narendra Modi to approve and allow the export of masks and pharmaceutical raw materials to Israel, PTI reports quoting the country’s Channel 13.
9.05 am: “She was a known case of diabetes and hypertension,” Delhi Director-General of Health Services Dr Nutan Mundeja says, referring to the 68-year-old woman who died on Friday, The Indian Express reports. “She also tested positive for COVID-19. Her condition worsened and she was on ventilator support.” The health department has traced 14 contacts of the woman, and 813 of her son.
8.44 am: Saudi Arabia has suspended all international flights for two weeks starting Sunday, Reuters reports.
8.29 am: The Indian embassy in the United States has issued an advisory for Indian students, ANI reports.
8.20 am: The United States Mission to India has said that it is cancelling immigrant and non-immigrant visa appointments from Monday, ANI reports.
8.11 am: Donald Trump has said he will most likely be tested for the novel coronavirus. “I didn’t say I wasn’t going to be tested. Most likely, yeah,” Trump tells reporters at the White House.
7.57 am: As many as 18 more people have died from the coronavirus in France over the last 24 hours, taking the toll to 79, AFP reports quoting Health Minister Olivier Veran. At least 154 others are in a serious condition, and the total number of infections is 3,661, he adds.
7.50 am: China has reported just 11 more infections and 13 deaths on Friday, according to the South China Morning Post. This takes its total number of infections to 80,824 and deaths to 3,189. Of the new infections, our were from Wuhan and seven were brought in by travellers. But 10 of the 13 deaths were in Wuhan.
7.36 am: Pakistan has said that it will participate in a teleconference between heads of the members of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, on ways to combat the coronavirus pandemic, ANI reports. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on Friday made the suggestion.
7.34 am: The Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi has suspended all academic and extra curricular activities in the light of the pandemic, ANI reports. Students pursuing B Tech, dual degree, MSc, DIIT, M Tech, M Des, and MBA degrees, as well as the first-year PhD students, have been asked to leave the hostels by midnight on Sunday.
7.32 am: Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who was reported to have tested positive for COVID-19, has tested negative. Bolsonaro’s son Eduardo has tweeted that his test had also come back negative.
7.28 am: New Zealand calls off memorial marking one-year anniversary of Christchurch attack amid coronavirus fears, Reuters reports. At least 51 people were killed in attacks on two mosques last year.
7.25 am: “Through a very collective action and shared sacrifice, national determination, we will overcome the threat of the virus,” Trump says according to CNN. He announces that student loans will be waived, and more crude oil would be purchased to improve US reserves. Trump says he is allowing his health secretary to waive certain regulations to provide more flexibility to doctors and hospitals responding to the outbreak.
7.22 am: The official number of COVID-19 cases in the United States has risen to 2,100, and the actual number may be much higher as testing has been infrequent. As many as 48 people have died from the virus. Only two states – West Virginia and Montana – of the 50 have yet to report a case.
7.18 am: United States President Donald Trump on has declared a national emergency and said he is releasing a $50 billion (Rs 3.69 lakh crore) relief package for people affected with the coronavirus, The New York Times reports. “I am officially declaring a national emergency, two very big words,” Trump says, adding, “I’m urging every state to set up emergency operations centers effective immediately.”
7.17 am: Here are the top updates from Friday:
- India reported its second death from COVID-19, a 68-year-old woman who died in Delhi. She had been admitted to the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital.
- The coronavirus has now infected over 1,32,567 lakh people globally and affected 123 countries, areas or territories.
- The Union health ministry on Friday confirmed 81 cases of the novel coronavirus. Of these, three patients in Kerala had recovered, and one had died.
- World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said it is important for countries to take a comprehensive approach – testing, contact tracing, quarantines and social distancing.
- The Rajasthan Legislative Assembly was been adjourned till March 26 in view of the coronavirus.
- Several state governments, including Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Delhi ordered the closure of most public places in their major cities till March 31.