The number of novel coronavirus patients in India so far increased to 107 on Sunday. Of these, nine have been cured and two have died. Meanwhile, eight new cases have not been confirmed by the Centre yet.
Leaders of the member nations of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation discussed the situation on video conference called by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He told them that India’s mantra is to be prepared but not panic. Modi also proposed the creation of a COVID-19 emergency fund and said India can initially offer $10 million.
As of Sunday morning, the coronavirus has infected 1,52,428 people globally and affected 141 countries, areas or territories, according to the World Health Organisation. As many as 5,720 people have died across the world so far.
The national helpline number for the coronavirus is 011-23978046.
Here are the updates from the day:
9.08 pm: Uttar Pradesh’s Directorate of Health Services has said a total of 13 people have tested positive for coronavirus in the state – eight are from Agra, two from Ghaziabad, one from Noida and two from Lucknow, reports ANI.
9.06 pm: Telangana’s Health Ministry has said that as of now, two COVID-19 positive patients are admitted to a state government-run hospital, and the first infected person was discharged two days ago after he complete recovery, reports ANI.
9.02 pm: The Jammu and Kashmir administration says Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board has released an advisory to non-resident Indians and other visitors not to visit the shrine for 28 days after landing in India as a precautionary step. Domestic visitors with symptoms like cough, heavy fever and breathing problems are also advised to reschedule or postpone their visit to the shrine, according to ANI.
8.59 pm: Telangana Health Minister’s Office says total number of positive cases in the state has risen to three, reports ANI. “The third person who has tested positive for coronavirus today [Sunday] has travel history to Netherlands. He is in the isolation ward in a state-run hospital in Hyderabad,” the statement adds.
8.57 pm: BBMP Commissioner says this relaxation is an exception after taking into consideration the problems of rescheduling and cancelling of marriage events. “However no fresh bookings of any place for marriage programme are permitted till further orders,” the commissioner adds, according to ANI.
8.53 pm: Karnataka’s Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike Commissioner announces that all marriage functions pre-booked in halls and hotels before the issuance of the March 13 circular shall be allowed, provided the guest list does not exceed 100 people, reports ANI.
8.50 pm: Karnataka Health Minister BS Sriramulu says after one person died in Kalaburagi district due to coronavirus, samples of four people have been sent for testing. Out of them, one has tested positive for the virus, reports ANI.
8.42 pm: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy reacts to local body elections being postponed amid coronavirus scare, claims the state’s Election Commissioner is working on behalf of former Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu. “He was appointed when Naidu was Chief Minister and both belong to same caste,” he adds, according to ANI.
8.19 pm: The University of Hyderabad has suspended academic activities till March 31. The university has also decided that conferences, seminars and workshops will be cancelled for now, ANI reports.
8.15 pm: Belur Math in Howrah will be shut till further notice.
8.10 pm: A trainee Indian Forest Service officer has tested positive, Uttarakhand Additional Health Secretary Yugal Kishore Pant says. The person had travelled to Spain in the recent past, ANI reports.
7.20 pm: A member from the family of the man in Kalaburagi, who died due to coronavirus, has tested positive, says Kalaburagi Deputy Commissioner B Sharat.
7.10 pm: Two more people test for coronavirus in Kerala, Health Minister KK Shailaja announces. One of them is a UK national, who had tried to fly to Dubai earlier in the day, and another is a doctor who recently returned from abroad. The Britisher has been admitted to a hospital in Kochi and the doctor is in an isolation ward in Thiruvananthapuram, she says, according to ANI.
7 pm: Bhutan Prime Minister Lotay Tshering says the first person to be infected with COVID-19 has left
6.50 pm: Special Assistant to the Pakistani Prime Minister on Health, Zafar Mirza, says his country has managed to keep coronavirus cases at a minimum. The western border has been closed for three weeks and only three international airports allow entry. All education institutions have also been closed for three weeks, he says, The Hindu reports.
“Learn from SAARC observer states, especially China, where COVID-19 emerged first,” he says.
Pakistan representatives have also sought for the immediate lifting of the lockdown in Jammu and Kashmir to ensure that people receive appropriate medical care.
6.43 pm: Modi adds: “We could create a common research platform, to coordinate research on controlling epidemic diseases within our South Asian region. The Indian Council of Medical Research can offer help coordinating such an exercise.”
Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih welcomes the proposal for an emergency fund.
6.40 pm: Modi proposes the creation of a COVID-19 emergency fund and says India can offer $10 million. India is assembling a Rapid Response Team of doctors and specialists and equipment such as testing kits. “They will be on stand-by, to be placed at your disposal, if required,” he tells the SAARC leaders.
Modi adds: “We have set up an Integrated Disease Surveillance Portal to better trace possible virus carriers and the people they contacted. We could share this Disease Surveillance software with SAARC partners, and training on using this.”
6.37 pm: The Islamic State terrorist group has issued a travel advisory for its operatives to stay away from coronavirus-affected Europe. The group has described the region as “the land of the epidemic”, according to PTI.
6.34 pm: China makes two-week quarantine in “special facilities” mandatory for foreign visitors arriving from Monday onwards, reports PTI. The country’s National Health Commissions has reported 20 new cases of infection and said 10 people have died due to the virus on Saturday.
6.30 pm: A British citizen has tested positive for coronavirus in Kerala. The Britisher, along with 18 others of his tourist group, was stopped at the Kochi airport from flying to Dubai. The man had allegedly skipped quarantine in the Munnar town, officials said, according to PTI.
6.26 pm: The Supreme Court of India suspends guided tours of its premises, and closes its museum for the public as a preventive step against coronavirus, reports PTI.
6.21 pm: In Maharashtra, Satara Police have booked five people for violating social distancing rules to prevent spread of coronavirus and organising a religious event on March 13, according to PTI. Police said more than 5,000 people participated in the event.
“Despite an order by the collector banning such gatherings in view of the novel coronavirus outbreak, they went ahead and organised the yatra in which over 5,000 people from different parts of the state took part,” Satara Superintendent of Police Tejaswini Satput said.
Maharashtra has reported the highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases – 31.
6 pm: Indian sports went into quarantine after a government directive to keep the fans out to prevent the deadly COVID-19 pandemic from spreading. Here is a lowdown of the virus’ impact on sports in India.
5.57 pm: Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina proposes that the health minister of SAARC nations also hold a video conference to discuss matters related to COVID-19.
5.55 pm: Rural and urban local body elections in Andhra Pradesh, scheduled for March 21, have been delayed for at least six weeks, State Election Commissioner N Ramesh Kumar says, according to PTI. “Taking due consideration of emerging challenges posted by coronavirus spread, the SEC is of the firm view that continuing with the election schedule may be detrimental and harmful to the public health at large,” he says.
5.50 pm: Calcutta High Court and its subordinate courts will only hear urgent matters from Tuesday as a precaution against COVID-19, PTI reports.
5.48 pm: Iran announced on Sunday that the toll has risen to 724, with the deaths of 113 people in a single day, AFP reports. People “should cancel all travel and stay at home so that we may see the situation improving in the coming days”, Health Ministry spokesperson Kianoush Jahanpour says.
5.45 pm: Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa says his country’s economy has taken a serious blow due to the virus. “I strongly recommend SAARC leaders to formulate mechanism to assist our economies to tide over difficult period,” he says.
5.40 pm: “Since India is both a very imp member of SAARC and a member of Shanghai Cooperation, it can coordinate between SAARC & Shanghai Cooperation and share how much experience of China is replicable to our situation and how do we learn from their experience,” Ghani adds.
5.35 pm: Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani says a “common framework for tele-medicine to combat coronavirus”. Closing borders will raise problems with the availability of food, medicine and basic goods, he says.
5.30 pm: No country can succeed in fighting the virus on its own, says Malaysia President Ibrahim Solih. “The Maldives is fortunate to have received general assistance from India and I convey my Government’s appreciation to Mr Modi and people of India,” he adds, according to ANI.
5.25 pm: Modi says India’s plan has been to prepare but not panic. “Our people-to-people ties are ancient and our societies are deeply interconnected,” Modi says, according to ANI. “Therefore, we must all prepare together, act together and succeed together.”
5.20 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, other SAARC leaders discuss coronavirus via video conference.
5.15 pm: Film bodies, including Indian Motion Pictures Producers’ Association, Federation of Western India Cine Employees and Indian Film and Television Directors’ Association, will not shoot entermainment-related projects from March 19 to March 31, ANI reports.
5.05 pm: Southern, Central and Western Railways withdraw blankets and curtains from AC coaches since they are not washed every day. Other items such as bedsheets and pillow covers are washed every day.
“Passengers will be advised to bring their own blankets in their own interest. Some additional bedsheets will be kept for any exigencies,” Western Railway spokesperson Gajanan Mahatpurkar said, according to PTI.
5 pm: BJP President JP Nadda tells state units to not conduct any major programmed in view of the virus outbreak, ANI reports.
4.50 pm: The Delhi government has ordered all mini buses to be disinfected daily, PTI reports. “In order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, all the permit holders and owners of mini buses plying in Delhi on STA (State Transport Authority) permit are directed to wash and disinfect their buses on daily basis,” an order issued by the transport department says.
4.40 pm: Visitor passes in Parliament will be suspended till further orders, NDTV reports. A notification signed by Lok Sabha Secretary General Snehlata Shrivastava says it was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “Members are requested not to recommend issue of Public Gallery passes and/or tender request(s) for Showground of Parliament House Complex. Kind cooperation of the Members is solicited,” the notification adds.
4.30 pm: Consumption of non-vegetarian food or eggs does not cause the spread of COVID-19, AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria says, according to IANS. “As common healthcare precaution, all kinds of meat should be thoroughly washed and properly cooked,” Guleria says. “The impact of the virus is as serious in hot-humid weather conditions of Singapore as in the colder environment of European countries.”
4.10 pm: Gujarat is the next state to announce several safety measures. “All educational institutions – schools, colleges, tuition classes, anganwadi across the state will remain closed from 16th to 29th March,” Gujarat Chief Secretary Anil Mukim says. “No teaching work will be done here but the teaching and non-teaching staff can come.”
Movie theatres and swimming pools will also be closed during this period.
4 pm: Similarly Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan announced that prisoners in Thiruvananthapuram Jail have begun the process.
3.55 pm: Prisoners in Kerala and Madhya Pradesh will manufacture masks in an effort to meet the shortage.
“A team of 50 inmates are engaged in making 2,000 masks,” Deputy Inspector General of Police (Jails)(Jabalpur range) Gopal Tamrakar said, according to PTI. “These will be supplied by March 16. The cost per piece is Rs 7.” The cotton cloth used for preparing the masks will be made in the powerlooms installed at the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Central Jail in Jabalpur.
3.50 pm: Special Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Sanjeeva Kumar, says the patient in Buldhana, who died after being suspected to have the virus, has tested negative, ANI reports.
He adds that an order for the procurement of an additional 80,56,365 N95 masks and personal protective equipment for healthcare workers has been placed.
3.40 pm: A total of 218 Indians, including 211 students, stranded in coronavirus-affected Italy arrived in India on Sunday, Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan said. In a separate trip, 234 citizens – 131 students and 103 pilgrims – stranded in Iran were also brought back to the country, Foreign Minister S Jaishankar announced.
3.33 pm: This is the AIIMS helpline number: 9971876591
3.32 pm: The tourism industry in Goa is also reeling under severe losses.
3.25 pm: Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa says the government is prepared to tackle the pandemic. “We’ve asked central government to help in setting up of labs wherever required, shortly we will do it,” he says, ANI reports. “For the first time shutdown has been declared for a week. People are also cooperating with us, we will take further decision after one week.”
3.20 pm: The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams announces changes in its protocol to curb the spread of COVID-19. Devotees will not have to wait in long queues from March 17, TTD executive officer Anil Kumar Singhal says, according to PTI. They will instead be given time-slot tokens and made to sit in separate compartments to avoid contact with other people.
“In the given time slots system, the pilgrims would be allowed for darshan by limiting the numbers,” Singhal says. “The devotees should bring any ID card such as aadhaar or voter ID or driving licence along with them to get the time-slot tokens for darshan.” It also cancelled several other programmes.
3.15 pm: Jaipur Hotel Association President Gajendra Luniwal says all bookings have been cancelled and the industry and its allied services are facing severe losses.
3.10 pm: The British man who tested positive and 19 other passengers who were part of his group have been quarantined at Ernakulam Medical College.
2.48 pm: The Mumbai police have prohibited any kind of tours, organised by private operators or otherwise, till March 31.
2.45 pm: Schools, colleges, universities, gyms, swimming pools and cinema halls in Assa will stay shut till March 29. Only state board and CBSE board examinations will take place, says Assam Chief Secretary Sanjay Krishna.
2.43 pm: The Maharashtra health department says a 59-year-old woman, who had travelled to Russia and Kazakhstan, has tested positive for COVID-19. The number of positive cases in the state now rises to 32, according to ANI.
2.40 pm: Madhya Pradesh Minister PC Sharma says schools, colleges, libraries, movie theatres, marriage halls will be shut till further orders are issued. Fifty isolation centres have been set up in the state, he says.
2.30 pm: The coronavirus has infected 1,52,428 people globally and affected 141 countries, areas or territories, according to latest figures from the World Health Organisation. As many as 5,720 people have died across the world so far.
China is the worst affected with 81,048 cases and 3,024 deaths, followed by Italy (21,157 cases, 1,441 deaths) and Iran (12,729 cases, 608 deaths).
1.39 pm: The British man who tested positive, along with 19 other passengers on a Dubai-bound aircraft at Kochi airport, has been detained and the flight has been allowed to leave with others, PTI reports.
1.03 pm: The Tamil Nadu government declares holidays for up to Class 5 in all schools till March 31, PTI reports.
12.58 pm: The Bihar government asks heads of all department except health to assign working shifts on alternate days to Class C and Class D employees, ANI reports.
12.55 pm: The 218 Indians who were brought back from Italy earlier in the day have been taken to the Chhawla camp of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police. The group has 211 students. Their Air India flight landed around 9.45 am at the Delhi airport.
12.23 pm: The Health Ministry updates the number of positive cases reported in India so far to 107. Of these, nine have been cured and two have died.
12.22 pm: A 59-year-old woman with travel history of Russia and Kazakhstan tests positive in Aurangabad district of Maharashtra, a state health official tells PTI.
12.22 pm: The Uttarakhand government declares novel coronavirus an epidemic and shuts all multiplexes, cinema halls, degree colleges and technical institutes in the state till March 31, PTI reports.
12.20 pm: Vatican says it will hold Easter celebrations next month without any congregation.
12.19 pm: A total of 117 people with symptoms have been put in home isolation in Mizoram, PTI reports.
11.50 am: The Karnataka government has refuted a news report that a woman fled Bengaluru and went to her parents’ home in Agra after her husband tested positive for COVID-19, The News Minute reports. Her husband, a Google employee, tested positive only on March 12, three days after she left for Agra, the government said.
11.36 am: All 289 passengers of Dubai-bound flight from Kochi offloaded before take-off after one of them tests positive for coronavirus, PTI reports, quoting an airport official.
11.15 am: Andhra Pradesh State Election Commission decides to postpone local body polls for six weeks, ANI reports.
11 am: Union Minister of State for Health Ashwini Choubey tells ANI that the government has issued an advisory asking civil hospitals and medical colleges to set up isolation wards.
10.40 am: Iran tells other countries that its efforts to contain the pandemic have been severely hampered by sanctions imposed by the United States. The country urges others to cease observing the sanctions and that it is immoral to “let a bully kill innocents”.
“Viruses recognise no politics or geography,” says Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. “Nor should we.”
10.37 am: The Karnataka government orders the postponement of examinations of Class 7, 8 and 9 students until March 31, ANI reports.
10.35 am: Uttar Pradesh Higher Education Principal Secretary Monika S Garg says examinations in higher education institutions will go on as scheduled, ANI reports. Those institutes that did not have any examinations scheduled between March 16 and March 22 will be closed, she says.
10.32 am: The group of 218 Indians, including 211 students, from Italy arrive in India, Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan says. They will be quarantined for 14 days.
9.57 am: Australia announces a mandatory 14-day self-isolation for anyone arriving in the country effective midnight local time, AFP reports. “We are going to have to get used to some changes in the way we live our lives,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison says.
9.39 am: The government has suspended the travel and registration for Kartarpur Sahib corridor from midnight on Monday.
9.15 am: The number of confirmed cases in India so far has reached 93, according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Two of these patients died, and nine have been cured and discharged.
8.45 am: Italy reported 3,497 new cases on Saturday – the country’s biggest single-day jump. The number of cases is now 21,157, AP reports.
8.43 am: Three suspected coronavirus patients who were quarantined left a government hospital in Maharashtra’s Ahmednagar district on Saturday evening without informing anybody, police say, according to PTI. Two of them returned by late night, while search is on for the third.
8.37 am: China reports 16 new imported cases and only four new domestic cases of the COVID-19 on Sunday, according to AFP. The imported cases were the highest in over a week, and now total 111. Regions outside the Hubei province have reported no new domestic cases for the third day in a row. Ten more patients have died, all in Wuhan, taking the toll in mainland China to 3,199.
8.28 am: A flight with 234 Indians has arrived in India, says Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar. It has 131 students and 103 pilgrims.
8.20 am: A total of 211 Indian students and seven “compassionate cases” are on board an Air India flight that departed from Milan in Italy, the Indian embassy says.
7.40 am: On Saturday, the Telangana government banned public meetings, seminars, workshops, rallies, exhibitions, cultural events and other public gatherings. Cinema halls, pubs, membership clubs and bars will also remain closed, ANI reports. All educational institutions, including coaching centres, will also remain closed till March 31. Board exams will be go on as scheduled.
7.25 am: Panjab University has decided to suspend personal contact programmes in teaching departments, regional centres, institutes, and affiliated colleges in Punjab and Chandigarh till March 31, ANI reports.
7.23 am: The Maharashtra government issues the Maharashtra COVID-19 Regulations, 2020, under the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, which empowers certain officers to issue orders for surveillance, prevention, control and treatment, ANI reports.
7.22 am: Meanwhile, Spain has banned people from leaving their home except to go to work, visit a doctor or buy essential supplies, reports AFP. So far, 183 people have died because of COVID-19.
7.20 am: Begona Gomez, the wife of Spanish Prime minister Pedro Sanchez, has tested positive for coronavirus, reports Reuters. Both of them are doing well, and are at their official residence following the new measures introduced by the health authorities, says the government.
7.13 am: Vice President Mike Pence says the US is extending travel ban to Britain and Ireland to try to slow the spread of a pandemic, reports AFP. He adds that Americans should reconsider non-essential travel, and that Trump administration was also considering domestic travel restrictions.
“Americans in the UK or Ireland can come home,” says Pence. “Legal residents can come home.”
7.10 am: United States President Donald Trump has tested negative for coronavirus, says his physician Sean Conley, reports AFP. “This evening I received confirmation that the test is negative,” Conley adds. “One week after having dinner with the Brazilian delegation at Mar-a-Lago, the president remains symptom-free.”
The test came days after Trump stood next to a Brazilian official who was tested positive for the virus.
7 am: Here are the top updates from Saturday:
- The health ministry said there are 84 confirmed cases of coronavirus in India. Over 4,000 people have been put under surveillance. The Centre also decided to treat coronavirus as a notified disaster for the purpose of providing assistance under the State Disaster Response Fund.
- 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.
- Iran announced a significant jump in its toll. A total of 611 people have succumbed to the virus.