The toll in India on Tuesday rose to three after a 64-year-old man, with travel history to Dubai, died in Mumbai. Several states in India have virtually shut down in an effort to tackle the crisis. Educational institutions, and public spaces such as malls, gyms and swimming pools have been closed till the end of the month.
The Centre has banned passengers from Afghanistan, Philippines and Malaysia from entering India till March 31 as the number of coronavirus cases rose to 137. The government has also advised people to avoid non-essential travel and urged employees of private companies to work from home.
The novel coronavirus, officially called COVID-19, has infected 1,90,140 people, and killed 7,517 worldwide, according to an estimate from John Hopkins University, which is live-tracking cases reported by the World Health Organization and additional sources. China has the highest number of fatalities at 3,213, followed by Italy with 2,158 deaths and almost 28,000 cases.
The national helpline number for the coronavirus is 011-23978046, and a toll-free number 1075.
Here are the day’s top updates:
10.40 pm: Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board asks pilgrims to postpone their visit to the cave temple, PTI reports. “We have not suspended the yatra... all necessary measures have been taken to meet the challenge posed by coronavirus infection,” Chief Executive Officer of the board, Ramesh Kumar, says.
Pilgrims who visit the shrine have to fill self-reporting forms and undergo thermal image scanning at the base camp for the yatra.
10.37 pm: The Madras High Court notified entry restrictions in view of the pandemic. Non-essential services like canteens and Bar associations will be shut for three weeks, and litigants and members of the general public will not be allowed entry. Only advocates will be allowed for three weeks, PTI reports.
10.35 pm: Kashmir bans the entry of all foreign tourists as a precautionary measure.
10.30 pm: The clay court tennis Major French Open has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic and will now take place from September 20 to October 4, organisers of the event said Tuesday. The Grand Slam event was to have taken place from May 24 to June 7, but organisers said that, “The confinement measures in place make it impossible to prepare and organise the tournament on the dates initially scheduled.”
Read more here:
10.25 pm: The Copa America due to kick off in June in Argentina and Colombia was on Tuesday postponed by a year to 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic, organisers CONMEBOL said. The announcement came shortly after Uefa’s similar decision to also push back Euro 2020 by 12 months.
Read more here:
10.22 pm: Over the past two weeks, state governments across the country have scrambled to curb the spread of coronavirus. Several states have ordered the closure of public spaces such as malls, schools, colleges, cinema halls. Some have banned gatherings, while others have banned gatherings of more than five people. However, instead of testing more widely, some states resorted to extreme measures to contain the spread – a move that public health experts call inhumane.
Read more here:
10.20 pm: The International Olympic Committee said on Tuesday it was not the time for “drastic decisions” over the staging of the Tokyo Olympics, which has not yet been postponed because of the deadly coronavirus pandemic. “The IOC remains fully committed to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, and with more than four months to go before the Games there is no need for any drastic decisions at this stage; and any speculation at this moment would be counter-productive,” the governing body said in a statement after its executive board met in Lausanne.
Read more here:
10.15 pm: The first positive case of COVID-19 is reported in West Bengal after an 18-year-old man tests positive. He had recently travelled to the United Kingdom.
10 pm: The Jharkhand High Court will hear only urgent cases till March 31, PTI reports.
9.50 pm: The Pune administration asks the Regional Transport Office not to issue new licenses till March 31. “Vehicle registrations will be done at showrooms and no one will go to RTO offices,” Divisional Commissioner Deepak Mhaisekar says. He adds that licences can be renewed online.
9.45 pm: Some churches in Mizoram, including the Mizoram Presbyterian Church and the Salvation Army, on Tuesday suspended major religious activities till April 15, PTI reports.
9.15 pm: The Indian Railways cancelled 76 trains in a bid to stop the spread of coronavirus and due to low occupancy on Tuesday, PTI reports.
9.10 pm: The Russian embassy in India says foreign citizens and stateless persons will not be allowed to enter the Russian Federation from March 18 till May 1. “Starting from 00:00 (local time) on March 18, all Russian diplomatic & consular missions abroad temporarily suspend accepting any visa applications except for diplomatic, official & regular business visa applications from foreign nationals & stateless persons,” the embassy says.
9.05 pm: Visuals of closed malls and theatres in Chennai.
9 pm: The Centre deputes 30 officers of the level of joint secretaries and above to assist state governments to manage the virus.
8.17 pm: The Karnataka government bans all tour plans – both official and private – of state officials, PTI reports.
8 pm: The Mumbai police order the closure of orchestras, dance bars, discotheques, pubs, live bands and DJ performances in the city till March 31, PTI reports.
7.50 pm: At least 300 people from Kerala are stranded at the Kuala Lumpur airport in Malaysia following cancellations of flights to India due to the coronavirus outbreak, PTI reports.
7.40 pm: The World Health Organization says bold measures are needed from European countries, as the continent is now the “epicentre” of the new pandemic. “Every country, with no exceptions, needs to take their boldest actions to stop or slow down the virus threat,” Hans Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe, says, PTI reports.
7.20 pm: England batsman Alex Hales on Tuesday said he has gone into self-isolation due to fever and persistent dry cough after returning midway from the now-postponed Pakistan Super League but is yet to get himself tested for the dreaded COVID-19.
Read more here:
7.15 pm: The Telangana Prisons and Correctional Services cancels visitor meetings of prisoners at all jails in the state till further notice, PTI reports.
7.04 pm: The Indian Council of Medical Research on Tuesday appealed to all private laboratories to offer testing for the coronavirus free of cost. ICMR Director General Balram Bhargava made the remark during a press conference in New Delhi.
Read more here:
7 pm: At least 254 Indian pilgrims stranded in Iran have tested positive for Covid-19, tests conducted by a group of Indian doctors sent to the country have revealed. Scroll.in is in possession of the list of all 254 pilgrims who have tested positive. According to several pilgrims that Scroll.in spoke to, Indian embassy officials in Iran have assured them that all those stranded will be airlifted back to India in the next few days.
Read more here:
6.59 pm: Health Ministry Joint Secretary Lav Aggarwal says frontline health workers are one of the government’s major priorities, ANI reports.
6.57 pm: The Ministry of External Affairs says Indians in Iran are “very well looked after by our mission”, ANI reports.
6.56 pm: The Centre on Tuesday advised all its departments and ministries to install thermal scanners and set up mandatory sanitiser dispensers at the entry of their buildings to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic. The circular, issued by the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, further listed some precautionary measures and practices for all government employees.
Read more here:
6.53 pm: Javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra, who has qualified for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, is returning home from his training base in Turkey owing to the COVID-19 pandemic that has forced many countries to shut their doors to passengers arriving from outside. Another Indian javelin thrower Shivpal Singh, who has also qualified for the Tokyo Games, is also returning home from his Potchefstroom – his training base – in South Africa.
Read more here:
6.50 pm: The European Football Championship (Euro 2020) will be postponed by a year to the summer of 2021 amid the coronavirus outbreak, according to the Norway governing body on Tuesday. The governing body Uefa is yet to make an official announcement. But Uefa has proposed postponing the European Championship, due to take place across the continent in June and July this year, until 2021 at crisis meetings on Tuesday, a source close to European football’s governing body has told AFP.
Read more here:
6.45 pm: Guidelines have been formed for dead body management, infection prevention, control measures and environmental disinfection, the Health Ministry says.
6.39 pm: Here’s a map of the confirmed cases in India so far.
6.35 pm: Two people who returned from Italy and were staying at an ITBP quarantine camp test positive for COVID-19, PTI reports. They have now been moved to Safdarjung hospital.
6.33 pm: The Bureau of Immigration issues a 24×7 helpline, 011-24300666, to answer queries on visa and travel restrictions.
6.30 pm: Public transport will remain active and government offices will not be closed in Maharashtra, says CM Uddhav Thackeray. “Trains and buses are essential services so we are not stopping them as of now but if people don’t listen to our advice and don’t avoid unnecessary travel, then we will think about that too,” he says, according to ANI. “Next 15-20 days are very crucial for us.”
6.25 pm: The International Society for Krishna Consciousness temples in Bengaluru will be closed till further notice, PTI reports. “However, temple worship and traditional temple ‘sevas’ to the deities will continue to be conducted privately by the resident priests of the temple,” a statement says. “In addition, resident devotees will continue to perform bhajans and kirtans in the temple for the welfare of the world.”
6.19 pm: DGCA tells airlines to deep clean and disinfect aircraft at least once in 24 hours, PTI reports. “All aircraft must be equipped with hand sanitizers placed in common areas like lavatories and galleys,” the aviation regulator says.
6.17 pm: Japan Olympic Committee deputy chief Kozo Tashima said Tuesday he had contracted coronavirus, as doubts increase over whether Tokyo can safely host the Summer Games. Japanese officials insist that the summer Games – due to start in July – will take place as scheduled despite rising speculation that it might be postponed or even cancelled due to the virus.
Read more here:
6.15 pm: A person from Indonesia tests positive in Telangana, ANI reports.
6.13 pm: First case of COVID-19 reported in Puducherry after a 68-year-old woman tests positive, PTI reports. This case has, however, not yet been confirmed by the Centre.
6.10 pm: A 49-year-old person tests positive in Mumbai, taking the count in Maharashtra to 41, ANI reports. He had recently travelled to America.
6.06 pm: Bhargava adds that ICMR appeals to private laboratories to offer free diagnosis.
6.05 pm: Director General of Indian Council of Medical Research Balram Bhargava says India is in the second stage of transmission. “We already know that we are in stage 2. We are not in stage 3, clearly as of now. There are four stages. Third stage is community transmission which we hope we shouldn’t have,” he says, according to the Hindustan Times. “It would depend on how strongly we close our international borders, in terms of which government has taken very proactive steps. But can’t say that community transmission won’t happen.”
6 pm: The Punjab government has also issued instructions banning more than 50 people at weddings and directed all schools to postpone examinations.
5.56 pm: Producer Ekta Kapoor’s Balaji Telefilms Limited, Balaji Motion Pictures and ALTBalaji will suspend all work till further notice, PTI reports.
5.54 pm: Shopping complexes, malls, museums and other public spaces, including religious institutions, will be closed till March 31 in Punjab.
5.49 pm: On Sunday, Aakash Budhiraja took to social media to describe his experience being tested at Kasturba Hospital. This is what he said.
Read more here:
5.48 pm: Private carrier GoAir announces the suspension of its international operations from March 17 till April 15. “GoAir has also initiated a short term and temporary rotational leave without pay program that will not only help the company counter the short term reduction in capacity but will also ensure that a cross-section of our employees stay away from the workplace to ensure business continuity,” it says, according to ANI.
5.46 pm: All religious festivals and services in Dakshina Kannada district have been suspended to avoid large gatherings, Deputy Commissioner Sindu B Rupesh says, according to ANI.
5.45 pm: Twenty-three trains were cancelled on Tuesday due to non-occupancy, ANI reports.
5.43 pm: A person has tested positive in Pimpri Chinchwad, says Pune Divisional Commissioner Deepak Mhaisekar. With this, the number of cases in Maharashtra will go up to 40.
5.30 pm: The total number of confirmed cases in India rises to 137. This includes 113 Indians and 24 foreigners.
4.59 pm: ICMR director-general, Balram Bhargava says: “Currently the laboratory expansion of ICMR is engaged, we are expanding our number of laboratories and as we speak, today we have 72 functional laboratories in ICMR system.”
4.55 pm: Bhargava says non-ICMR, Ministry of Health, and other government laboratories have also been engaged, reports ANI. This includes Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, Defence Research and Development Organisation, DBT, government medical colleges, “we have 49 of those labs which will start testing by the end of this week”.
4.54 pm: In India, at the ICMR briefing, Dr Balram Bhargava says: “Currently the laboratory expansion of ICMR is engaged, we are expanding our number of laboratories and as we speak, today we have 72 functional laboratories in ICMR system.”
4.52 pm: Egypt quarantines 300 families in a Delta village to prevent outbreak of coronavirus, reports AFP. “We have confined more than 300 families to their homes where they will remain in quarantine,” says the country’s Health Minister Hala Zayed.
4.51 pm: Iran reports 135 new coronavirus deaths, reports AFP.
4.48 pm: Spain records nearly 2,000 new coronavirus cases, reports AFP, citing the government.
4.47 pm: ISKCON Radha Krishna Temple at Hare Krishna Hill Rajajinagar and ISKCON temple at Vaikuntha Hill, Kanakapura Road will remain closed from the morning of March 18 till further notice, reports ANI.
4.45 pm: Dr Balram Bhargava, the director-general of Indian Council of Medical Research briefs the media on coronavirus.
4.42 pm: An Indian Railway official tells ANI that platform ticket prices have been increased to Rs 50 in 250 stations in six divisions – Mumbai, Vadodara, Ahmedabad, Ratlam, Rajkot, Bhavnagar, until further orders to prevent people from overcrowding stations, reports ANI.
4.36 pm: In India, Central Railway Public Relations Officer says platform ticket prices have been increased from Rs 10 to Rs 50 on the Mumbai, Pune, Bhusawal and Solapur divisions, until further orders to curb crowding at these stations, reports ANI.
4.29 pm: Pakistan registers first coronavirus death, reports Dawn. “A suspected coronavirus patient in Lahore has passed away, Punjab Health Department Secretary Kaiser Sharif said,” the newspaper reported.
4.21 pm: Visuals of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation workers sanitising the stations and trains.
4.15 pm: The number of confirmed cases in the world stands at 1,83,198, and 7,165 people have been killed so far, according to the Johns Hopkins University coronavirus tracker.
4.13 pm: The Centre has said routine issue of visitors, temporary passes be suspended with immediate effect, and ministries have been asked to discourage maximum extent entry of visitors in government offices. “Close all gyms/recreation centres/creches located in government buildings,” the circular says.
4.12 pm: All ministries have been asked to install thermal scanners at government buildings in wake of COVID-19 pandemic, reports PTI, citing an official order.
4 pm: In India, Sensex crashes 2.58% to end the day at 30,579.09 while the Nifty 50 dips 230.35 points, closing at 8,967.05.
The downward trend on the stock markets, brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, was also seen on Monday, with both the Sensex and the Nifty crashing nearly 8%. The indices had made huge losses last week too, but had closed Friday’s session with significant gains.
3.58 pm: The Cricket Association of Bengal’s offices will remain closed from March 17 to March 21 as a precautionary measure against coronavirus, reports ANI. “Managers or functional heads can take a decision to get employees to report to office as per work exigency/priorities,” the statement says.
3.57 pm: Staff and visitors at the Ministry of Home Affairs are being given hand sanitisers to clean their hands before entering the ministry as a precautionary step to keep coronavirus at bay, reports ANI.
3.56 pm: In Delhi, the National Museum will remain closed for public from March 17 to March 31 or until further orders, to prevent the spread of coronavirus, reports ANI.
3.54 pm: In Delhi, Resident Welfare Association members and police talk to protesters at Shaheen Bagh, requesting them to call off their protest amid coronavirus scare, reports ANI.
3.53 pm: In Maharashtra’s Pune city, the restaurant and hoteliers association has decided that all restaurants and bars will be voluntarily closed for the next three days till March 20 to prevent spread of coronavirus, reports ANI.
3.46 pm: The Jammu and Kashmir High Court has issued an order to hear urgent matters in both of its Jammu and Srinagar benches till March 31, reports ANI.
3.38 pm: Mumbai Police bars entry of visitors at Juhu Beach, reports Midday.
3.22 pm: India’s Health Minister Harsh Vardhan says nearly 54,000 people across the country are being monitored under community surveillance through health workers, reports PTI.
3.20 pm: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath has directed educational institutes, including schools, to remain shut till April 2, says Minister Shrikant Sharma, reports PTI.
3.18 pm: Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation’s premium buses are being sanitised after their arrival to the bus depot and before their departure for the next journey to prevent coronavirus, reports ANI.
3.15 pm: A doctor in Karnataka who treated India’s first patient who died due to coronavirus has tested positive for the virus, reports PTI. The doctor had treated the 76-year-old man in Kalaburagi who died on March 12.
3.10 pm: In Karnataka, Kalaburagi City Corporation has ordered that street vendors, movie theaters, bakeries, and restaurants in the district will remain closed for next one week as a precautionary measure against COVID-19, reports ANI.
3.07 pm: The prices of platform tickets for 12 railway stations in Gujarat, including Ahmedabad, has been increased five times from Rs 10 to Rs 50 as a preventive step against coronavirus, reports The Indian Express.
3.05 pm: India’s Minister of State V Muraleedharan is in self-quarantine at his official residence in New Delhi, reports The Indian Express. He has tested negative for the virus. He was present in a meeting in Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala, which was also attended by a doctor who later tested positive for the coronavirus.
3 pm: The Archdiocese of Bombay has issued an advisory on coronavirus. “As the virus is spread through social contact, mass gatherings are strongly discouraged,” the statement said. “In view of this the Novena services at St Michael Church, Mahim, are suspended with immediate effect. This provision will continue till Wednesday 1st April 2020, after which the situation will be reviewed.”
2.52 pm: Visitors to Madurai District Collector’s office are being allowed entry only after cleaning their hands with a hand sanitiser, reports ANI.
2.49 pm: India’s Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju says all national camps, apart from where athletes are preparing for 2020 Tokyo Olympics, have been postponed until further orders to contain spread of COVID-19 pandemic. The Sports Authority of India is making arrangements for the return of the trainees to their homes, reports PTI.
2.48 pm: The Delhi High Court has allowed an urgent hearing on a plea seeking evacuation of Indian students back to the country, and to ensure safety of Indian students studying in Iran, reports ANI.
2.46 pm: Tokyo 2020 Olympics cancels certain local events along the torch relay route to avoid forming crows, some events to carry on but will be closed to the public, reports Reuters.
2.43 pm: Uttarakhand government has declared coronavirus as an epidemic, says Pankaj Pandey, secretary medical, in the state’s health and medical education department. “Medical stores advised not to sell medicines to person suffering from cold and cough without medical prescription,” he adds. “Masks and hand sanitizers should be sold at MRP only.”
2.40 pm: India’s health ministry says it is expanding compulsory quarantine for a minimum period of 14 days for passengers coming from/transiting through United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman and Kuwait. “This will come into effect from 1200 GMT [5:30 pm Indian Standard Time] on 18th March at the port of first departure,” the ministry’s statement says, according to ANI. “This will be in force till 31st March.”
2.39 pm: In Uttarakhand, tiger reserves, sanctuaries, national parks and zoos in the state will remain closed till March 31, reports ANI.
2.33 pm: Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Culture and Tourism Prahlad Singh Patel in a reply to a question on coronavirus in Rajya Sabha says: “The House is aware that our priority is to ensure security and safety of the people. ...I have talked to all stakeholders, we will review the losses later.”
2.29 pm: A citizen of Thailand who tested negative for COVID-19 in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, has died in Covai, reports The Hindu. The hospital administration has said he died due to complications of diabetic nephropathy.
2.24 pm: BJP MP Hema Malini says: “We all are continuing with our work but a large number of people gather here (at Parliament)...I think it is worth giving a thought to this matter.
2.23 pm: Devotees gather in large numbers at the Shirdi Saibaba Temple in Maharashtra to participate in the last “aarti” as the temple will close from 3 pm on Tuesday, reports ANI.
2.21 pm: Maharashtra’s Shani Shingnapur temple has been closed for devotees until further notice, reports ANI.
2.18 pm: Veteran Bollywood actor Dilip Kumar announces that he is “under complete isolation and quarantine” as a preventive measure against coronavirus. “Saira [his wife and actor Saira Banu] has left nothing to chance, ensuring I do not catch any infection,” his verified Twitter account says.
2.17 pm: Maharashtra Health department may advise the government to shut down trains, buses and metros in Mumbai to prevent the spread of coronavirus, reports The Economic Times. The matter will be discussed in Tuesday’s state Cabinet meeting.
2.13 pm: In Kerala’s Ernakulam, the district collector passes an order for taking over educational institutes, hostels, hotels, and unoccupied rooms in private hospitals to quarantine and treat COVID-19 cases in case of emergency. The district authority may also commandeer services of private medics or paramedics, reports The Hindu.
1.57 pm: Karnataka Health Minister B Sriramulu visits the Wenlock District Hospital in Mangaluru.
1.44 pm: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami has ordered closure of all educational institutions, malls, cinemas, amusement parks, gyms, zoos, swimming pools and museums in the state till March 31, reports The Hindu. The order comes into effect from Tuesday.
1.41 pm: The Maharashtra government suspends the use of breath-analyser for testing drunk driving cases for the time being, reports PTI.
1.40 pm: Precautionary measures being taken at DCP Central office in Delhi.
1.39 pm: Rajghat too has been closed till March 31, reports ANI.
1.38 pm: France will pump in 45 billion euros in crisis measures to help its companies, says Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, according to Reuters. The economy expected to contract 1% this year.
1.31 pm: Red Fort has been temporarily closed, reports ANI.
1.20 pm: Minister of State V Muraleedharan’s coronavirus test is negative, according to The Indian Express.
1.15 pm: As the fears over coronavirus outbreaks spreads, a large section of India – the blue-collared working class – perceives the idea of social distancing as a luxury it cannot afford.
1.10 pm: The Ministry of Cultures closes all centrally-protected monuments and museums for visitors till March 31, reports NDTV.
1.08 pm: The Central Information Commission says till March 31 there is no need for personal appearance of parties or their representatives, reports PTI. It limits hearings to urgent matters only through audio and video conference.
1.04 pm: The Indian Council of Medical Research has placed an order for 1 million testing reagents from Germany, reports Hindustan Times. Nine more laboratories for testing and sample collection are being added to the network.
12.59 pm: Maharashtra Minister of Public Health and Family Welfare Rajesh Tope says the patient who died in Mumbai was admitted at Kasturba Hospital on March 5. “He had hid some details from us, including that he had come from Dubai,” he tells ANI. “But we grew suspicious on March 13. We sent his samples for test which turned out to be positive. He died at 7 am today.”
12.52 pm: The Office of the Dalai Lama says the Main Tibetan Temple in McLeod Ganj will be closed from Wednesday till April 15, reports News18.
12.49 pm: Minister of State of Monaco Serge Telle has tested positive for the new coronavirus, reports BBC. He is the 9th person in the small city state to test positive.
12.48 pm: Delhi’s Qutub Minar to remain shut till March 31, reports NDTV.
12.47 pm: Federation of Resident Doctors Association writes to the Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan to provide health insurance cover for doctors and for adequate provisions of masks and other personal protective equipment, reports ANI.
12.40 pm: A map of the confirmed cases in India so far.
12.37 pm: Ladakh Commissioner Secretary Rigzin Sampheal says three more people have tested positive. Of these, two cases are from Leh and one is from Kargil district. The total positive cases in Ladakh is now six, reports ANI.
12.30 pm: All national camps, except those where athletes are preparing for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, have been postponed until further order. Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju says the academic training at the National Centre of Excellence and Sports Authority of India centres will also be suspended.
12.29 pm: Health minister Vardhan says anti-retroviral drugs are being used on patients and the best possible treatment is being provided to those infected with coronavirus. He adds that research on chloroquine is also taking place in other countries.
12.27 pm: A deserted road in Wuhan, Hubei province.
12.16 pm: Vardhan thanks doctors and paramedics. “The doctors, paramedical staff, pilots, airlines’ staff and especially those Indians who braved this critical situation and brought back Indians from other parts of the world, despite social distancing being the best way to safeguard oneself, doctors across the country have been working honestly while taking all risks - I think there are not enough words to appreciate them,” he adds.
12.15 pm: Congress MP Rahul Gandhi compares coronavirus to the tsunami. “It is like a tsunami is coming,” he tells reporters outside Parliament. “India should be preparing itself not just for coronavirus but for the economic devastation that is coming. I am saying it again and again. Our people are going to go through unimaginable pain in the next six months.”
12.14 pm: Addressing Rajya Sabha, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan says most measures and facilities have been put up in emergencies. “So there are chances that the hospitals may not be clean,” he adds. “We are looking into complaints and are working to better facilities.”
12.04 pm: The number of cases has risen to 126, says the Ministry of Health.
11.36 am: Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan to meet President Ram Nath Kovind today at 6 pm to discuss preparedness to combat the spread of coronavirus, reports ANI.
11.34 am: Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope calls an urgent meeting after a patient dies in Mumbai, reports News18.
11.33 am: US President Donald Trump refers to coronavirus as the “Chinese Virus”, reports AFP.
11.30 am: Jammu and Kashmir administration declares coronavirus an epidemic, reports News18.
11.26 am: Union Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan is in self quarantine in Trivandrum, Kerala, reports ANI.
11.20 am: Chief Justice of India SA Bobde and three other judges inspect the Supreme Court corridors, reports ANI.
11.18 am: Hong Kong says all people arriving from abroad will be quarantined for 14 days starting Thursday, reports BBC.
11.03 am: The patient had returned from Dubai on March 8 and was tested positive, reports The Indian Express. His wife and son also tested. Maharashtra has the highest number of positive cases in the country.
11.02 am: A 64-year-old coronavirus patient dies at Mumbai’s Kasturba Hospital, says health ministry.
10.59 am: PM Modi asks people to be careful and vigilant. “We will not shut Parliament,” he says at the BJP parliamentary meeting, according to News18. “Media has been a huge help.”
10.44 am: No visitor or family members will be allowed to meet prisoners in Tamil Nadu jails for next two weeks, reports ANI.
10.42 am: Henk Bekedam, the WHO representative to India on coronavirus, says India’s commitment has been very impressive. “It is one of the reasons why India is still doing quite well,” he tells ANI. “I am very impressed that everyone has been mobilised.”
10.35 am: Centre prohibits passengers from Afghanistan, Philippines, Malaysia from entering India with immediate effect. No flight shall take off from these countries to India after 3 pm on Tuesday. The ban will be in force till March 31.
10.32 am: Cambodia reports 12 new cases of coronavirus, taking its tally to 24. Of the new cases, 11 were people who had travelled to Malaysia for a religious event at a mosque, a statement from the Ministry of Health said.
10.30 am: Assam shuts down all tiger reserves, national parks and sanctuaries from March 17 to March 29, reports Shillong Times.
10.28 am: Gautam Budh Nagar CMO Anurag Bhargav says two persons have tested positive for Coronavirus, reports ANI. One is in Sector 78 and another in Sector 100 with travel history to France.
10.25 am: Pune trade association closes trade market/shops in the city till March 19, reports ANI.
10.20 am: Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan makes a presentation for BJP MPs in the parliamentary party meeting on coronavirus, reports News18.
10.06 am: A video posted by Congress leader Shashi Tharoor shows robots dispensing sanitisers in a building in Kerala. The robots can also be seen giving advise to people on how to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
10.03 am: Odisha government makes it mandatory for foreign travellers to register their names on return to the state, reports PTI. This should be done within 24 hours of arrival with basic details and phone numbers, says Chief Secretary AK Tripathy. They will be required to be in home quarantine for 14 days. The foreign returnees will be given an incentive of Rs 15,000.
9.52 am: Air India pilots seek urgent financial aid from the government citing their Covid-19 duties, reports Hindustan Times. Indian Aviation Guild and the Indian Commercial Pilots Association tell Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Puri that coronavirus has wreaked havoc across the globe. “During this time, Air India employees have gone above and beyond to get our countrymen back from Covid-19-affected countries worldwide,” the pilots’ bodies say in the joint letter. “On one hand the cabinet has openly praised the recent efforts of Air Indians and the national carrier but on the other, the government has not infused any funds. Our fundamental right to wages for work already done is being flouted time and again.”
9.47 am: ISKCON temple in Juhu, Mumbai, cancels all events and Sunday festivals till March 31, reports News18.
9.37 am: Total number of confirmed cases in India is now 125, says Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Of these 103 are Indians and 22 are foreigners.
9.35 am: Actor Kristofer Hivju, who played Tormund Giantsbane on HBO’s ‘Game of Thrones’, tests positive for coronavirus.
9.27 am: Stock markets continue to slump. Sensex down 530.55 points at 30,859.52; Nifty50 is currently at 9,079.
9.23 am: K Vijayraghavan, the principal scientific adviser to the Indian government, seeks suggestions from the public.
9.18 am: Nivedita Gupta, senior scientist in charge of viral diseases at the Indian Council for Medical Research, says India’s testing capacity is close to 6,000 tests per day. “We have 1.5 lakh test kits and have ordered 1 million,” she tells The Indian Express. “Right now our inclusion criteria is only symptomatic travelers and symptomatic contacts of lab-confirmed infected. Today, we have revised it to include health workers too. In addition, for surveillance purposes, we are testing at each of our 51 testing sites, 10 samples per week of severe acute respiratory illness pneumonia patients as well as influenza-like illness patients who are not very sick.”
9.15 am: The World Health Organization calls on all countries to boost their testing programmes, reports Reuters. “We have a simple message to all countries – test, test, test,” says WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. He calls the pandemic “the defining global health crisis of our time”. He adds: “All countries should be able to test all suspected cases, they cannot fight this pandemic blindfolded.”
9.12 am: NCP leader Sharad Pawar writes a letter to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar to bring back Indians from Uzebekistan, reports News18.
9.10 am: Countries around Latin America tighten restrictions. Peru deploys military personnel on the streets, Costa Rica and Colombia close their borders.
9.03 am: The Philippine Stock Exchange closes indefinitely – the first market shutdowns worldwide in response to the coronavirus, reports Bloomberg. Authorities cites risks to the safety of traders.
8.56 am: Ministry of Health and Family Welfare issues guidelines on use of masks by public.
8.54 am: The two news cases in Karnataka are a 20 year-old woman with travel history to the UK and a 60 year-old person who was in touch with the deceased Kalaburagi patient, according to ANI.
8.50 am: A man with suspected coronavirus, who escaped from the isolation ward of a hospital in Uttarakhand’s Roorkee, has been brought back to the facility, reports Hindustan Times.
8.49 am: Francisco Garcia, a 21-year-old Spanish football coach, dies from coronavirus, reports Hindustan Times. “From Atletico Cotada Alta we want to express our deepest condolences to the family, friends and relatives of our coach Francisco Garcia who has left us, unfortunately, unfortunately, today,” reads the club statement. Garcia was suffering from leukemia
8.47 am: Pune’s Shaniwar Wada Fort temporarily closed for public.
8.46 am: The Taj Mahal will be closed to visitors from today, says the Tourism Ministry.
7.59 am: The Maharashtra government begins marking those who have been medically advised to self-quarantine with a stamp in indelible ink, reports The Indian Express. The words “Home Quarantine” will be stamped on the left hand in a bid to ensure they isolate themselves for 14 days.
7.54 am: Karnataka Health Department confirms two new cases of COVID-19, reports ANI. A total of 10 positive cases have been reported from the state so far.
7.39 am: San Francisco Mayor London Breed issues a “remain-in-place” order, asking residents to stay at home, reports AFP. The order will come into effect from Tuesday and will remain in force until April 7.
7.37 am: Germany and France impose stringent new measures to limit social contact, reports BBC. French President Emmanuel Macron announces an enforced lockdown. He says that the European Union’s external borders would be closed to travellers from Tuesday. “We’re in a health war,” Macron adds.
In Germany, most non-grocery shops and venues have been asked to shut down. Chancellor Angela Merkel bans religious services and asks people to cancel any domestic or foreign holiday travel.
7.31 am: Tom Hanks has been released from the Australian hospital where he was in isolation, but his wife Rita Wilson remains hospitalised, health officials tell AFP. The country has so far confirmed nearly 400 cases of coronavirus, with five deaths.
7.28: British actor Idris Elba tests positive for coronavirus. In a video on Monday, Elba says he had no symptoms yet but was quarantining. “It sucks,” the actor says said in a clip.
7.20 am: The first human trial to evaluate a vaccine against the new coronavirus begins in Seattle, reports AFP. The vaccine is called mRNA-1273. It has been developed by US National Institutes of Health scientists and collaborators at biotechnology company Moderna in Cambridge, Massachusetts. “The open-label trial will enroll 45 healthy adult volunteers ages 18 to 55 years over approximately 6 weeks,” the NIH says. “The first participant received the investigational vaccine today.”
However, the vaccine may be available only after 12-18 months once it has passed trial phases.
7.15 am: Here are the top developments from Monday
- India on Monday prohibited entry to travellers from all 27 European Union nations, four European Free Trade Association member nations, United Kingdom, and Turkey between March 18 and March 31. The Union Ministry of Health has updated its novel coronavirus figures, adding four new cases to the country’s total, which is now 114 with one new case in Kerala, Ladakh, Odisha, and Jammu and Kashmir.
- The Reserve Bank of India on Monday said that India’s economy will be susceptible to the coronavirus pandemic’s effects that would be triggered after a “synchronised slowdown in global growth”. RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das said this would also have an impact on the growth momentum in the country.
- At least three states in the North East – Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, and Sikkim – prohibited entry to domestic tourists on Monday in an attempt to contain the outbreak of coronavirus in the region. Earlier this month, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, and Sikkim had barred the entry to foreign visitors as a preventive step.
- The Chhattisgarh government on Monday wrote to the Centre seeking the expansion of testing facilities for the novel coronavirus pandemic in the country, to reduce the spread of the infection.State Health Minister TS Singh Deo asked authorities to primarily expand the criteria for testing, allow more centres to carry out screening and to further provide the necessary number of testing kits.
- The Delhi government on Monday banned gatherings of more than 50 persons – including ongoing protests – till March 31 in view of the novel coronavirus outbreak. Gyms, nightclubs and spas will also remain closed till that date, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced at a press conference.Weddings will be exempted from the ban for now, but Kejriwal urged people to postpone them if possible. Shopping malls must be disinfected daily, the government said.