The Union Health Ministry on Wednesday said the total number of novel coronavirus cases in India rose to 151. Three people have died so far in the country. The Ministry of External Affairs confirmed that 255 Indians have been infected in Iran and the total number of Indians with the virus abroad is 276.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee warned people with any symptoms not to “behave irresponsibly”, while her Delhi counterpart Arvind Kejriwal said there was no reason to panic though “these are difficult times”. The CBSE, meanwhile, postponed all exams following a circular from the HRD Ministry.
COVID-19 has infected more than 2,00,000 people and killed over 8,000, according to an estimate from John Hopkins University, which is live-tracking cases reported by the World Health Organization and additional sources.
The national helpline number for the coronavirus is 011-23978046, and a toll-free number 1075.
Here are the day’s updates:
11.05 pm: Deutsche Bank economists have predicted that there will be a severe global recession this year due to the coronavirus outbreak, leading to the biggest plunge in gross domestic product since the aftermath of World War II.
Read more here:
10.35 pm: JEE exams will also be rescheduled, according to ANI.
10.27 pm: CBSE Class 10 and Class 12 exams that were scheduled between March 19 and March 31 have been postponed. They will now be held after March 31.
10.25 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the nation on Thursday at 8 pm, ANI reports.
10.10 pm: The Centre has directed all school, university, engineering and technical entrance exams to be rescheduled after March 31, ANI reports.
10.05 pm: Amid coronavirus fears, prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure has been imposed across Rajasthan as well as Gautam Buddh Nagar in Uttar Pradesh.
10 pm: The first case of coronavirus is reported in Kashmir after a person with history of foreign travel teste positive in Srinagar.
9.40 pm: As the experience of countries around the world shows, transparency is the best way to fight the coronavirus outbreak. While the Indian government has published several advisories for the public, it has not released enough granular information for journalists, researchers and the larger health community to assess the effectiveness of its strategy to test, detect and track cases.
9.30 pm: A 50-year-old person, who had recently travelled to Dubai, has tested positive for the virus in Ratnagiri. This takes the number of COVID-19 patients in Maharashtra to 45, according to ANI. The Centre has, however, only confirmed 43 cases so far.
9.25 pm: Prisoners in Tihar jail will not get to meet their families – a process that occurs two times a week usually – till March 31. They will, however, get access to legal counsels.
9.20 pm: The Gandhi Ashram in Ahmedabad will be shut from Thursday till March 29.
9.15 pm: Tourists – domestic as well as international – will not be allowed to enter Leh till April 30, ANI reports.
8.51 pm: A plane carrying 185 students from Kuala Lumpur landed at Visakhapatnam, ANI reports. They will all be quarantined at home for four weeks.
8.46 pm: Brazil has partially closed its border with Venezuela for 15 days, says CNN. Trucks and goods will be allowed to enter, but the entry of foreign nationals will be restricted.
8.34 pm: Domestic airline GoAir has laid off its expatriate pilots in wake of the pandemic and decreased bookings due to the coronavirus, reports PTI.
“In view of the current situation, GoAir has been forced to terminate the contracts of expat pilots which is in line with the reduced international capacity,” a GoAir spokesperson said in a statement. The airline has not confirmed how many expat pilots it employed, but an unidentified official said it was around 80.
8.02 pm: India could be the next coronavirus hotspot, warns the chief of US’ Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy. Ramanan Laxminarayan tells The Wire, that using the US’ estimates that 20% to 60% of the population could be affected, around 700 million Indians may contract the virus. While the majority of people may only be mildly affected, a small percentage could still die of the virus.
He believes India may have more than 10,000 undetected cases and that the country needs to step up testing to around 10,000 a day. While the Centre’s moves such as closing schools may be effective, he believes the level of testing is inadequate for a country with such a large population.
8 pm: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal says that everyone is working hard to contain coronavirus. “These are difficult times,” he tweets. “But nothing to panic. We shall overcome.”
7.54 pm: The United Nations says the pandemic may put as many as “25 million more people” out of work, says AFP.
7.50 pm: Schools in Scotland and Wales will be closed from Friday, reports BBC. Most schools have remained open until now. A decision regarding schools in England has not been announced.
7.45 pm: Britain tells its citizens to come back from Spain before March 24. The European Union has already closed its borders for 30 days.
7.38 pm: International airline Emirates asks pilots and members of crew to take unpaid leave while Qatar Airways lays off employees, reports Reuters. Qatar Airways has sacked around 200 employees.
7.28 pm: US President Donald Trump announces the closure of their border with Canada for any “non-essential traffic”. He claims trade will not be affected.
7.24 pm: European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen admits that the European Union underestimated coronavirus, German newspaper Bild reports. Leyen says, “Measures which seemed drastic two or three weeks ago need to be taken now.” She says the virus will keep nations busy for a long time to come.
7.22 pm: The number of deaths due to the virus in Europe has exceeded the toll in China, reports AFP. As of 4.30 pm Indian time, Europe counted 3,421 deaths, against Asia’s 3,384.
7.14 pm: “A shout-out to all those working to make our planet safer and healthier, Modi tweets. “No words will ever do justice to their exceptional efforts.”
7.12 pm: He appreciates Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s sister for registering in the government portal containing names and details of those coming from abroad. Patnaik earlier appealed to others to register in the portal if they too were returning from a foreign country. Modi adds, “We can all do our bit in preventing the spread of COVID-19.”
7.10 pm: On working from home, Modi says “precaution and productivity are both possible in these times.”
7.05 pm: Narendra Modi says that working together right now “can lead to good results” and thanks Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for her inputs during the SAARC video-conference.
7.03 pm: Chief Economic Advisor K Subramanian tells ANI that there is no doubt the virus will impact India’s economy and that the situation needs to be monitored.
Share markets in several countries have crashed, he says. “There is uncertainty across the world due to coronavirus. Whenever there is uncertainty, an atmosphere of fear comes in share markets, which will result in ups and downs.” He adds that the impact on the economy can be assessed “once this is over”. He also advises people not to put all their investments in one place right now.
6.59 pm: China is sending 1 lakh testing kits and other medical supplies to the Philippines, reports CNN.
6.55 pm: US’ Surgeon General Jerome Adams says that whether people display COVID-19 symptoms or not, they should be behaving like they have the virus, CNN reports. He says any person who feels unwell should remain home and testing negative for the virus should not change that.
“If we do those three things — making sure we’re cleaning our surfaces, making sure we’re washing our hands, and making sure we’re staying six feet away from people — that’s how we will most protect ourselves from this disease,” Adams says.
6.54 pm: A man has died of the virus in Burkina Faso, becoming the first coronavirus victim in sub-Saharan Africa, reports The Guardian.
6.52 pm: The Czech government makes it compulsory for everyone to wear masks in Prague.
6.46 pm: Uttarakhand government employees have been allowed to work from home from March 19 to March 25, reports ANI. This does not include employees of health, police, transport, food and water supply, electricity and sanitation departments.
6.42 pm: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee asks people not to “behave irresponsibly” if they have any symptoms of coronavirus, reports PTI.
There have been reports of multiple patients with symptoms fleeing quarantine facilities in the last week. Today, four passengers on a Mumbai local train were also made to get off as they bore the city authority’s “home quarantine” stamp.
6.37 pm: Vistara suspends all international operations between March 20 and March 31.
6.15 pm: The toll from the coronavirus in Iran has risen to 1,135 with 147 new deaths in the past 24 hours, reports Reuters. The total number of infected people across the country has reached 17,361.
6 pm: Tamil Nadu Health Minister C Vijayabaskar says a patient has tested positive for coronavirus in Chennai. He says the patient is from Delhi and kept in isolation under the observation of an expert team.
This is Tamil Nadu’s second positive case. The first patient has recovered.
5.55 pm: The Ambassador of India to Bhutan says the Indian nationals who were quarantined as the primary contacts of the Himalayan kingdom’s first coronavirus case have tested negative. Ruchira Kamboj says the Indians have left Bhutan in “good health” and “cheerful spirit”.
5.47 pm: The number of confirmed cases in India rises to 151, says the Union Health Ministry. This includes 25 foreign nationals.
5.40 pm: Naval Kishore Ram, district magistrate of Pune, passes an order to close all liquor serving establishments, including beer bars, in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad till March 31 to contain the spread of coronavirus, reports ANI.
5.35 pm: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee says the state’s first coronavirus patient came from United Kingdom and claims it is wrong to say therefore that the case has been reported from Kolkata, reports ANI. She adds that state government employees will be leaving their offices an hour early from Thursday to avoid crowding in the public transport.
5.30 pm: District Collector of Nagpur, Ravindra Thakre, says all liquor shops and restaurants will be closed from today till March 31 because of coronavirus fears, reports ANI.
5.26 pm: PV Ramesh, additional chief secretary to the Andhra Pradesh chief minister, announces that government has decided to close all educational institutions in the state with immediate effect to control the spread of the coronavirus, reports ANI.
5.20 pm: The World Bank increases $14 billion amount to fast-track financing available to members to respond to the global coronavirus pandemic, adding $2 billion to an initial package announced on March 3, reports PTI.
5.15 pm: The number of coronavirus cases around the world has tipped over the 2,00,000 mark, and the toll crossed 8,000, according to the John Hopkins University global dashboard.
5.12 pm: The Rajasthan High Court defers elections for the six newly formed municipal corporations in the state for six weeks due to coronavirus pandemic, reports PTI.
5.08 pm: The Gurugram district administration has ordered closing down of all shopping malls, weekend bazaars, pubs, bars, night clubs, lounges, cinema halls and multiplexes till March 31 to prevent the coronavirus from spreading further, reports The Hindu. Pharmacies, grocery stores and supermarkets have been exempted.
5.03 pm: A British professor who was in Downing Street this week after convincing Prime Minister Boris Johnson to stiffen his response to the coronavirus outbreak has self isolated after developing COVID-19 symptoms. “Developed a slight dry but persistent cough yesterday and self isolated even though I felt fine,” Neil Ferguson, a professor of mathematical biology at Imperial College London, says in a tweet.
5 pm: Tamil Nadu Health Minister C Vijayabaskar urges people not to travel to neighbouring states unless necessary during the coronavirus outbreak, reports PTI. “If you look at us I am not wearing a mask nor the minister MR Vijayabhaskar or any of us because the situation does not require it,” he tells reporters in Chennai. “However, people can cooperate by not taking up journeys unless necessary.”
4.52 pm: The Indian Army says all wargames, conferences, and training activities are postponed till further orders to control the spread of COVID-19, reports ANI.
4.50 pm: The Asian Development Bank announces a $6.5 billion package for its developing member countries to fight the coronavirus pandemic, reports PTI. “This pandemic has become a major global crisis,” says President Masatsugu Asakawa. “It requires forceful action at national, regional and global levels.”
4.42 pm: Haryana Woman and Child Development Minister Kamlesh Dhanda says all anganwadi centers will remain closed till March 31 to control the spread of COVID-19, reports ANI.
4.38 pm: Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy says the liquor bars in the state will remain closed from Thursday in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, reports ANI.
4.30 pm: Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa says the state Cabinet has decided to designate Rs 200 crore to contain the spread of coronavirus, reports PTI. He also announces that the restrictions imposed in the state for a week from March 14 have been extended till March 31.
4.06 pm: Haryana bans gatherings of more than 50 people in Gurugram, says Times Now. The prohibitory orders will be placed in Faridabad as well.
4.04 pm: Karnataka closes all public places including malls, schools and theatres till March 31, says The Indian Express.
3.52 pm: Passengers on a local train in Mumbai raise an alarm after four co-passengers with a home quarantine stamp were on the same train. The four have returned from Germany, reports PTI. Mumbai authorities have bee stamping those under quarantine at home with indelible ink.
3.48 pm: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi says India will pay “an extremely heavy price” because of the Centre’s “inability to act decisively” with regard to the virus. “Quick aggressive action is the answer to tackling the coronavirus.”
3.45 pm: The South African cricket team has been asked to self-quarantine for two weeks after returning from their India tour, says PTI. They will be tested for coronavirus if they display any symptoms.
3.40 pm: An advisory has been issued to all states to take action following incidents of racism against people from the North East due to coronavirus, PTI quotes Union minister Kiren Rijiju as saying.
3.37 pm: Here is a map of cases confirmed by the health ministry this morning.
3.35 pm: The Goa Forward Party demands that the state’s borders be sealed in light of the pandemic, reports PTI.
“The Goa government has already suggested measures including social distancing to ensure that coronavirus does not spread in the state,” party chief Vijai Sardesai says. “I appeal to the state government to seal off our boundaries. If we do that we will prevent people coming to the state and infecting Goans.”
3.31 pm: The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights takes note of protests at Shaheen Bagh and sends a complaint to the district magistrate, reports Times Now. Demonstrators have been gathering at the protest site against the Citizenship Amendment Act, and have attracted criticism for not calling off their gathering despite the spread of coronavirus.
3.18 pm: Tourists are being banned from entering Ladakh, says Times Now. There are eight confirmed cases in the small Union Territory so far.
3.15 pm: Philippines declares a state of calamity for six months, says CNN. This allows the country to call in all enforcement agencies for support, including the armed forces.
3.13 pm: The number of cases in France rises by 1,097 in a day, reports The Guardian.
3.10 pm: The Central Board of Secondary Education instructs board examination centres to ensure there is space between students to help prevent the spread of infection, PTI reports.
2.50 pm: On Tuesday, the Centre refused to confirm whether Indian pilgrims in Iran had the infection. When asked about Indian patients in Iran at the government briefing on Tuesday, Dammu Ravi, additional secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs, said: “Of course in a situation like that, you will find some positive cases given the extensive spread of the virus in Iran. Rest assured that every care is being taken by the mission in cooperating and coordinating with the government of Iran for safety of Indians there.”
2.41 pm: There are 276 Indians infected abroad, says the Ministry of External Affairs. Of these, 255 are in Iran, 12 in the UAE and five in Italy.
2.35 pm: Due to the coronavirus threat, Manipur withdraws its Inner Line Permit, preventing all outsiders from entering, reports Times Now.
2.33 pm: The Centre tells the Central Armed Police Forces to cut non-essential staff leave to minimise the risk of troops catching coronavirus, and asks them to ready for “battle mode”, according to PTI.
2.32 pm: Screening for the virus is being held at railway stations in Maharashtra, reports Times Now.
2.27 pm: Japan hints at postponing the Olympics if countries do not send their athletes, reports The Independent.
“As the prime minister said, it’s desirable to hold the Olympics in an environment where everyone feels safe and happy,” The Independent quotes Japan Finance Minister Taro Aso as saying. “But that’s not something Japan alone can decide.”
This comes after International Olympic Committee member Hayley Wickenheiser criticised plans to go ahead with the 2020 Games that are supposed to be held in Tokyo. “Athletes can’t train, attendees can’t travel plan. Sponsors and marketers can’t market with any degree of sensitivity. I think the IOC insisting this will move ahead, with such conviction, is insensitive and irresponsible given the state of humanity,” Wickenheiser said earlier.
2.23 pm: Random sampling is not enough, says a WHO official on India’s plan, reports NDTV.
“Just random sampling is not enough to check community transmission. A comprehensive strategy is needed,” Poonam Khetrapal Singh, regional director of WHO tells the news channel. “Increase testing. Severe cases of respiratory issues should also be tested. In our last letter to India we wrote that they should add private labs. The 51 accredited private labs that they are talking of right now...it will be better if even more are added.”
2.16 pm: Updates from abroad include the disease spreading to all 50 states in the US, and Malaysia’s official number of cases spiking to 673, reports Al Jazeera.
2.12 pm: The case in Noida is a man who returned from Indonesia. His sample was taken four days ago, a notice from the chief medical officer of Gautam Budh Nagar says. The man’s home and nearby areas have been sanitised, and he has been admitted to the Government Institute of Medical Sciences in Noida.
2.06 pm: The Chennai Corporation says a fake message is being circulated on WhatsApp claiming that fruit and vegetable markets will be closed till March 31. No such instructions have been give, tweets the city corporation.
1.55 pm: Karnataka Health Minister B Sriramulu says two more people test positive in Bengaluru, reports ANI. “56-year-old male, resident of Bengaluru returned from the United States on March 6. Another, 25-year-old female, who has returned from Spain.”
1.51 pm: Passengers at the Delhi airport allege they are being taken into isolated areas for tests, and citizens with Indian passports are not being allowed to exit the premises, reports News18.
1.47 pm: Bars and pubs to remain open in Kerala, with precautionary steps against coronavirus, reports The Indian Express.
1.43 pm: A person, with a travel history to Indonesia, has tested positive for coronavirus, reports ANI, citing the Gautam Buddh Nagar Chief Medical Officer. “This is the fourth positive case of Coronavirus in Gautam Buddh Nagar,” he says.
1.40 pm: The Jammu and Kashmir administration’s Department of Information and Public Relations announces that the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Yatra has been closed from Wednesday. Operations of all inter-state buses, both incoming and outgoing from Jammu and Kashmir, are banned from today.
1.36 pm: Goa’s Health Minister Vishwajit Rane clarifies more on the incorrect reporting of one case in the state. “It’s wrong news,” he says, according to ANI. “There’s absolutely no reason to panic. Final report has not yet come, we are waiting. All future information will be given only by Dr Utkarsh [state epidemiologist] as per protocol. We are also trying to locate the number by which Dr Edwin received the call.”
Rane urges people to not indulge in such activities.
1.32 pm: WHO asks South Asia to ramp up “aggressive measures” to combat increasing coronavirus cases in the region, reports BBC. Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, the regional director of WHO South East Asia region, says: “...more clusters of virus transmission are being confirmed. We clearly need to do more, and urgently.”
1.29 pm: Visuals from several countries on how they are dealing with the coronavirus pandemic:
1.26 pm: Olympic pole vault champion Katerina Stefanidi and British heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson have raised concerns about athletes being compelled to face health risks.
“This is not about how things will be in 4 months,” Stefanidi tweeted on Tuesday. “This is about how things are now. The IOC wants us to keep risking our health, our family’s health and public health to train every day? You are putting us in danger right now, today, not in 4 months.”
1.25 pm: Tokyo 2020 Olympics plans are “insensitive, irresponsible”, says International Olympic Committee member Hayley Wickenheiser, reports AFP.
1.22 pm: Taiwan’s religious communities curbs mass gatherings, reports AFP.
1.20 pm: The Indian Army has postponed all Services Selection Board batches scheduled from March 20 onwards until further orders, reports ANI.
1.18 pm: An Army officer, part of the College of Military Engineering in Pune, has been asked to self-quarantine after he developed flu-like symptoms. The wife of another officer has also been asked to do the same. Both are yet to be tested, reports PTI, citing sources.
1.14 pm: The Delhi High Court says it is satisfied with the Centre’s measures to bring back Indians stranded in Iran amid rising coronavirus cases in the country, reports PTI.
1.08 pm: The number of Indian pilgrims stranded in Iran who tested positive for coronavirus has gone up to 260, claim pilgrims from Ladakh in the country, reports The Indian Express.
Scroll.in had reported that at least 254 Indian pilgrims stranded in Iran have tested positive for COVID-19, according to tests conducted by a group of Indian doctors sent to the country. The list of all the 254 pilgrims who have tested positive is in possession of this website. 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:
1.04 pm: Goa Health Minister Vishwajit Rane retracts earlier statement about a Norwegian man testing positive for coronavirus, reports PTI. The minister says the former information was based on a “hoax call” to a nodal officer.
After this retraction, Goa has no confirmed coronavirus cases yet.
12.46 pm: The Delhi High Court says it is experimenting with video conferencing facilities to conduct proceedings that may begin from next week, reports PTI.
12.43 pm: “Epidemics happen every 100 year,” says Supreme Court Justice Arun Mishra, according to ANI. “During Kalyug, we can’t fight the virus. See the frailty of humans. You may devise all weapons but you can’t fight this virus. We have to fight this at our own level.”
12.39 pm: A citizen of Norway tests positive for coronavirus in Goa, reports PTI, citing state health minister.
12.36 pm: The Bihar government has declared COVID-19 an epidemic and released the Bihar Epidemic Diseases COVID-19 Regulation 2020, reports The Hindu.
12.30 pm: Supreme Court Justice MR Shah tells senior lawyer Aryman Sundaram, according to ANI: “You all come with five to six advocates. This is a request to the bar also, a senior advocate should only come with one advocate. This is ultimately for our sake.”
12.26 pm: The Indian Army has quarantined all the soldiers and colleagues of the Ladakh Scouts jawan who tested positive for COVID-19 in Ladakh. The soldier is a part of the Ladakh Scouts Regimental Centre in Leh, reports ANI, citing sources in the Army.
12.10 pm: The Diocese of Poona stops services amid rising coronavirus cases in Maharashtra. “In view of the rising cases of coronavirus pandemic, Masses and Worship in the diocese of Poona in the presence of the faithful have been suspended till further notice,” the statement says. “This is also expected by Section 144 imposed by the government.”
12.07 pm: In-charge of Uttar Pradesh’s King George’s Medical University isolation ward Dr Sudhir Singh says a junior doctor has tested positive for coronavirus. “The doctor was treating coronavirus patients,” he adds. “The doctor is stable and there is nothing to worry about.”
12.03 pm: Delhi High Court says it will consider the plea seeking the court’s direction for video conferencing to be allowed for advocates and also allow courts to function amid coronavirus, reports ANI.
12.01 pm: Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa calls for emergency state Cabinet meeting to discuss measures against the coronavirus, reports PTI. “...we need to take more stringent measures, when the US President [Donald Trump] has recommended avoiding gatherings of more than 10 people in his country,” he says. “We will discuss in the cabinet and take all necessary measures.”
11.54 am: Bombay Catholic church exempts people from attending Sunday mass but will continue to conduct services. In a statement, Archbishop of Bombay Oswald Cardinal Gracias says: “I am hereby exempting all our faithful in the Archdiocese of Bombay from the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays till March 31, 2020.”
11.53 am: The women anti-CAA protestors in Mumbai say: “If we have to go, the coronavirus can find us even at home. We are not so scared. If not here, we will anyway be put in detention centres to die.”
11.48 am: Anti-Citizenship Act protestors at Mumbai Bagh refuse to call off demonstration, and instead agree to follow all safety precautions in view of the coronavirus, reports The Hindu.
“We are following all the necessary precautions here. We have made sanitisation mandatory,” a protestor says. “People are being provided with masks, women’s faces are ordinarily also covered by burqa and we are requesting people with any sign of illness to not come to the protests, specially young children and elderly women.”
11.45 am: Amid coronavirus outbreak, IIT Bombay announces virtual shutdown of its Powai campus till March 31. All students have been asked to vacate hostels by the evening of March 20.
11.40 am: Students of Classes 1 to 8 of all government primary schools in Uttar Pradesh will get promoted without having to appear in examinations amid rising coronavirus cases. “Orders have been issued to promote all students, studying in schools run by the basic education department, of class one to eight to next classes without examination,” Additional Chief Secretary, Education Renuka Kumar said. “All schools have been closed till April 2.”
11.34 am: India’s Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers asks all manufacturers and importers to furnish information for surgical and protective masks, gloves and sanitisers to National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority at an early date, not later than March 17, reports ANI.
11.32 am: In India, Ladakh Commissioner Secretary Rigzin Samphel has said the administration has received results of 34 samples, out of these two tested positive, reports ANI. They are relatives of the earlier confirmed cases and were under quarantine. They have now been moved to the isolation ward.
11.26 am: The European Union has announced a ban on entry to travellers from outside the bloc for 30 days in an attempt to contain the coronavirus crisis, reports BBC. This is likely to apply to 26 European Union states as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
The World Health Organization on Tuesday said bold measures are needed from European countries, as the continent is now the “epicentre” of the new pandemic.
11.12 am: Supreme Court takes suo motu cognisance on how midday meals are being provided across states amid coronavirus outbreak, issues notices, reports Bar and Bench.
11.08 am: International Monetary Fund rejects Venezuela’s request for billions in virus aid, reports AFP. The country’s President Nicolás Maduro had asked for $5 billion in financial assisstance.
11.02 am: In Maharashtra, all parks and gardens of Nagpur Metropolitan Region Development Authority are closed till March 31, reports ANI. The state government had earlier issued an order that all tiger reserves, sanctuaries and national parks to remain closed till March 31.
10.50 am: The Press Council of India has issued a showcause notice to The Telegraph for its headline on President Ram Nath Kovind and coronavirus.
10.48 am: Private medical facilities will be allowed to test for coronavirus, health officials say, amid calls for an increase in efforts to contain the disease, reports Hindustan Times. However, the test will be open to only those who fit into strict guidelines of the Indian Council of Medical Research. This will not include voluntary or walk-in tests.
10.45 am: Trinamool Congress MP Derek O’Brien has pointed out that the “average age in Rajya Sabha is 64” in reference to senior citizens being vulnerable to the coronavirus. “Why should Parliament be running?” O’Brien said, according to NDTV. “Ask the Prime Minister. Is there a Madhya Pradesh link?”
10.41 am: A group of venture capitalists and startups in India have asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take a decisive step and “impose strict lockdowns and impose Section 144 across key cities this week” to tackle the coronavirus, reports NDTV.
“The virus does not discriminate basis nationality – early, strong and decisive action is key to containment,” the statement said. “Impose Section 144 and strict lockdown [citizens stay at home] across major cities for two weeks starting March 20, 2020.”
10.40 am: French health authorities have said that 27 more people died from the coronavirus in the country. The toll in France is 175, reports AFP.
10.29 am: 100 people have died from the coronavirus in the United States, according to a count by AFP based on numbers by the state and county websites and officials. Most number of such cases are in Washington state, followed by New York.
10.24 am: Srikalahasti temple authorities in Andhra Pradesh’s Chittoor city have appealed to devotees to restrict their tours due to coronavirus, reports ANI. Children below 12 years and senior citizens are advised to avoid the visit, and all paid services are cancelled. “Laghu darsanam [brief darsan]” is allowed.
10.23 am: Visuals of Ludhiana Railway Station being sanitised.
10.19 am: BJP decides not to hold any demonstration for one month in view of coronavirus, says party chief JP Nadda, according to PTI. The saffron party will convey their declarations through memorandums, and its units have been asked to spread awareness about coronavirus.
10.14 am: The Jammu and Kashmir administration has barred foreign visitors from entering the Union Territory as a preventive step against coronavirus, reports PTI. “Advisor to the Lieutenant Governor Baseer Ahmad Khan has issued necessary orders in this regard,” an official spokesperson said. “Secretary Tourism, Director Tourism and DCs have been asked to ensure implementation of the order with immediate effect.”
10.10 am: Telangana Police bust fake sanitiser manufacturing units in Hyderabad and seize materials worth Rs 50 lakh, 180 cartons of sanitisers. Six people have been held, reports News18.
10.06 am: Andhra Pradesh government constitutes Inter-Departmental Coordination Committees with the Secretaries of Line Departments for concerted measurements to contain and monitor coronavirus cases, reports ANI.
9.58 am: Bharatiya Janata Party MP Tapir Gao has asked the Centre to release an advisory against alleged racial discrimination faced by people from the North East due to coronavirus. “Today during the Zero Hour at the Parliament I requested the government to issue an advisory to all the states govts. to protect the North East students facing discrimination to the extent of vacating them from the rented apartments after the coronavirus,” Gao tweeted on Tuesday.
9.55 am: The Centre has refuted speculation that the actual number of coronavirus cases in India is being suppressed, reports NDTV. “As far as India is concerned, we are 100% transparent,” Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary at the Health Ministry says. “We are following protocol.”
9.54 am: The Rolling Stones are postponing the band’s 15-city North American tour amid rise in coronavirus cases, reports AP.
9.51 am: Kalaburagi City Corporation is undertaking sanitisation of bus stands as a precautionary step against coronavirus, reports ANI.
9.48 am: With coronavirus sweeping the globe, countries are locking down, hoping that social isolation will stem the spread of the virus.
9.44 am: Minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur says the ministry is keeping an eye on the impact of coronavirus on the Indian economy. “As is true for world at-large, India’s near-term macroeconomic outlook also vulnerable to disruption of trade with China and second-round effects arising from expected slowdown in global growth,” he says in reply to a question in Rajya Sabha.
9.41 am: Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has said his administration will be forced to stop bus and train services in Mumbai if people do not avoid unnecessary travel, reports PTI. The state has the highest confirmed cases of the virus in the country – 38.
9.31 am: First Indian Army soldier with a travel history to Iran has tested positive for coronavirus in Ladakh, reports News18. His family has been quarantined.
9.22 am: The total number of confirmed cases in India rises to 147. Out of these, 122 people are Indians, and 25 are foreign visitors, says the Union Health Ministry’s latest update.
9.20 am: Visuals of Vidhana Soudha in Bengaluru being sanitised.
9.19 am: Temperature of people are being checked with a thermometer gun at Parliament Gate as precautionary measure to contain the spread of coronavirus, reports ANI.
9.17 am: BJP MP Suresh Prabhu has kept himself under isolation at his residence for the next 14 days, as a precautionary step even after testing negative. He recently returned from a trip to Saudi Arabia to attend the Second Sherpas’ Meeting on March 10, reports ANI.
9.12 am: In Maharashtra, Pune’s District Magistrate Naval Kishore Ram says, according to ANI: “One more person has tested positive for coronavirus in Pune. The person has travel history to France and Netherlands. Total number of positive cases reaches 18 in Pune and 42 in Maharashtra.”
8.20 am: In Hyderabad, 66 premises, including coaching centers, schools, gyms, and bars sealed for violating state government order of closure till 31st March, reports ANI. Bonthu Rammohan, the mayor of Greater Hyderabad says: “18 special teams have been constituted for daily inspections.”
8.15 am: President of Pune Restaurants & Hoteliers Association G Shetty says: “Hotels in the city to remain closed till March 20. Police requested us to halt operations, it is also our moral duty. There are 850 hotels in the city, in which around 25,000 people work.”
8.10 am: Indian students and other passengers stranded in Kuala Lumpur will be evacuated, says Foreign Minister S Jaishankar. “Appreciate the difficult situation of Indian students and other passengers waiting in transit at Kuala Lumpur airport,” he tweets. “We have now approved Air Asia flights for you to Delhi and Vizag. These are tough times and you should understand the precautions. Please contact the airline.”
8.05 am: “We are doing all that is possible within our limited resources, despite the current lock-down, to support and assist more than 300 Indian students in Rome and nearby areas,” says Embassy of India in Italy. “Their swab tests have been taken over the weekend and reports are awaited.”
8.03 am: The World Health Organisation has praised India’s methods of tackling the coronavirus, reports NDTV. “I think the commitment of the Indian government from the top level – the Prime Minister’s office himself – has been enormous, very impressive,” said Henk Bekedam, the WHO Representative to India. “This is one of the reasons why India is doing very well.”
8 am: The Union Ministry of Health has suggested using anti-HIV drug combinations Lopinavir and Ritonavir on a cases-to-case basis after a review of the severity of a case, reports PTI. The drugs have been recommended for patients above the age of 60.
Here are the updates from Tuesday:
- The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in India rose to 137, and one more death was reported, taking the toll to three. The deceased was an elderly man from Ghatkopar suburb of Mumbai.
- India has extended its ban on flights from foreign countries, adding Afghanistan, Philippines and Malaysia to the list. The ban will be in force till March 31.
- 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.
- Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan told the Rajya Sabha that 54,000 people across the country are being kept under community surveillance with the help of healthcare workers.
- The Indian Council of Medical Research appealed to all private laboratories to offer testing for the coronavirus free of cost.
- The central government 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.
- A doctor in Karnataka, who treated the first patient to die from the novel coronavirus in India, has tested positive for the virus.
- The World Health Organization said bold measures were needed from European countries, as the continent was now the “epicentre” of the new pandemic.