Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday addressed the nation on the disease caused by the novel coronavirus and told citizens to remain vigilant and not get complacent. He warned against panic buying and asked people to observe a “janata curfew”, or stay indoors, on Sunday between 7 am and 9 pm.
The number of patients infected with COVID-19 in India rose to 173 on Thursday. Nineteen people have recovered and four have died due to the disease. The Centre on Thursday announced that no international flights will be allowed to land in India from March 22 for a week, intensifying the measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
Italy on Wednesday reported 475 new deaths – the highest single-day toll of any country since the outbreak began. Meanwhile, China, where the virus had emerged first, reported no new local infections for the first time on Thursday.
COVID-19 has infected more than 2,22,000 people and killed over 9,000, 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.
11.15 pm: A senior superintendent of police in Kashmir puts himself in quarantine after his mother-in-law tests positive for coronavirus.
Imtiaz Ismail Parray’s mother-in-law was the first person to test positive for the virus in Kashmir after she returned from Saudi Arabia, reports PTI.
11.12 pm: UN chief Antonio Guterres says a global recession of record dimensions is “a near certainty” due to coronavirus and that the world is at war with the infection, reports PTI. “We are facing a global health crisis unlike any in the 75-year history of the United Nations one that is spreading human suffering, infecting the global economy and upending people’s lives,” he says.
“It has been proven that the virus can be contained. It must be contained. If we let the virus spread like wildfire especially in the most vulnerable regions of the world – it would kill millions of people.”
Guterres held a virtual press conference in light of social distancing during the pandemic.
11.04 pm: Arunachal Pradesh closes its borders. Chief Minister Pema Khandu tweets that all Inner Line Permits issued previously now stand cancelled.
11.02 pm: The number of cases in the Capital rises to 14, reports PTI. Two people from Bengal, who returned from Italy and are under quarantine at an Indo-Tibetan Border Police facility, are among the new cases.
10.55 pm: Italy’s toll from the virus has now overtaken China’s, reports The Guardian. The toll in the European nation has risen to 3,405.
10.27 pm: The United Nations says millions of people could die if coronavirus is allowed to spread unchecked.
10.17 pm: Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Sitaram Yechury says it is “unfortunate” that Modi did not spell out what the Centre is doing to mitigate the pandemic or say anything about the government’s preparation on handling it.
“This ‘Janta Curfew’ notwithstanding, will the door to door enumeration for the NPR which the govt in its affidavit said is linked to NRC, proceed?” he asks.
10.15 pm: US President Trump says the world is paying the price for China being slow on providing information about the virus, reports AFP.
9.55 pm: Tamil Nadu closes all major temples, churches and mosques.
9.43 pm: Gujarat reports two positive COVID-19 cases. “Two suspected coronavirus cases of Rajkot and Surat are positive. Our teams have already taken necessary steps, including quarantine of all the contacts,” the state health and family welfare department said.
The woman in Surat recently returned from New York and the other patient, a man from Rajkot, came back from Mecca, officials say. “They are under treatment and breathing without the help of ventilators,” says Principal Secretary (Health) Jayanti Ravi, according to PTI.
9.37 pm: Schools in Chhattisgarh will stay closed till further orders. They were earlier supposed to be shut till March 31.
9.32 pm: Prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure imposed in urban areas of Chhattisgarh, says CM Bhupesh Baghel.
9.30 pm: The Chief Justice of the Calcutta High Court extends order that the court as well as circuit benches and subordinate courts in West Bengal and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands will only hear urgent matters till March 25, according to PTI.
9.28 pm: The United States approves anti-malarial drugs to fight against COVID-19, says President Donald Trump.
9.24 pm: “The Congress party and its workers will stand by the government in all its endeavours to fight the coronavirus,” Congress spokesperson Ajay Maken says. “We will help spread the word on preventive measures. We will also organise any emergency service, if needed.”
9.22 pm: Cricket legend Shane Warne’s distillery has started manufacturing hand sanitiser instead of gin to make up for the shortage of the alcohol-based solution and “save lives” from the clutches of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has so far claimed over 9000 lives and infected more than 2,00,000 people across the world.
Read more here:
9.20 pm: Government officials in the Governor Secretariat in Uttarakhand will work from home from March 20 to March 25, ANI reports.
9.17 pm: The Pinarayi Vijayan government has announced a Rs 20,000-crore financial package to tackle the crisis, PTI reports.
9.14 pm: Another person tested positive for the virus in Kerala on Thursday, PTI reports. The total number of cases in the state is now 25, according to PTI. The man who tested positive recently returned from Dubai, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan says.
9.12 pm: The shutdown of English football was extended until at least April 30 on Thursday after the Premier League and English Football League held crisis meetings. Uefa’s decision to postpone Euro 2020 for 12 months earlier this week could allow games to be completed over the summer if strict restrictions of travelling and mass gatherings to halt the spread of COVID-19 are lifted in time.
Read more here:
9.05 pm: The Jhandewalan temple in Delhi will stay closed from March 21, ANI reports.
9 pm: National Conference chief and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah on Thursday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to initiate the immediate restoration of high-speed 4G internet services in Jammu and Kashmir amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. The Kashmir Valley reported its first case of COVID-19 on Wednesday, after a woman in Srinagar with recent travel history to Saudi Arabia tested positive.
8.58 pm: Union Minister of Sports Rijiju on Thursday said athletes returning from high-risk COVID-19 affected countries will have to be in mandatory quarantine but refused to be drawn into speculation surrounding the Indian Premier League and the Tokyo Olympics. Spelling out the protocol for athletes arriving from the most-affected countries China, South Korea, Iran, Italy, Spain, France and Germany, Rijiju said they will have to follow what has been mandated for everyone else.
Read more here:
8.55 pm: The International Hockey Federation on Thursday extended its suspension of all Pro League matches, including fixtures involving India, to May 17 owing to the COVID-19 pandemic that has led to over 9,000 deaths across the world. Last Saturday, the FIH had postponed all the Pro League matches scheduled before April 15 because of the pandemic.
Read more here:
8.54 pm: Indian airlines are being flooded with queries from anxious customers seeking cancellation of tickets that were booked before coronavirus spiralled in the country. Since then, the government has imposed various travel bans and restrictions. If you’re among these aggrieved customers, here’s a complete guide to the cancellation policies and processes of various Indian airlines to help ease your frustration.
Read more here:
8.53 pm: The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation on Thursday announced that all shops located in several localities of Mumbai will remain shut on alternate days indefinitely in order to regulate crowds on roads amid the coronavirus pandemic. However, all grocery and medical stores have been exempted from the order.
Read more here:
8.52 pm: Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh warns of action against people either spreading false information about COVID-19 or trying to flee isolation wards and quarantine centres, PTI reports.
8.50 pm: Two people test positive for the coronavirus in Uttarakhand. The trainees at the Indira Gandhi National Forest Academy recently returned from Spain, ANI reports.
8.47 pm: Pakistan records 381 coronavirus cases, PTI reports. Two people have died in the country so far.
8.45 pm: An Indian who tested positive for COVID-19 in Iran has died, PTI reports, citing an MEA official. Other Indians in the country are undergoing treatment. The patient was an elderly person and had other health complications.
“We have evacuated 590 people from Iran where the situation is very severe. The Indians infected with coronavirus in Iran have been segregated and taken care of very well by the government there. We believe they will recover and we will bring them back,” an MEA official says.
8.27 pm: A task force led by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will address the impact of COVID-19 on the economy, Modi says. It will be called the COVID-19 Economic Response Task Force, he adds.
8.26 pm: Modi warns against panic buying and hoarding of essential items. “I assure the country that several steps are being taken to ensure there is no shortage of basic things like milk, medicines, food items...The supply won’t stop, no need for panic-buying,” he adds.
8.25 pm: The prime minister urges people to avoid visits to doctors’ clinics and hospitals unless it is an emergency so that there is lesser pressure on healthcare professionals. If needed, try to talk to doctors on phones instead, he says. He also advises people to postpone or cancel elective surgeries.
8.22 pm: Modi urges people to express their gratitude to those who are serving people during this crisis by stepping out to their balconies and windows on Sunday at 5 pm. Clap your hands or ring bells to appreciate them, he says.
8.20 pm: He asks citizens to call at least 10 people every day and spread the message about “janata curfew”. Janata curfew is for the people and by the people. Only those providing essential services must step out on Sunday, he says.
8.18 pm: Modi specifically asks senior citizens to not go out of their homes for the next few weeks.
8.17 pm: Modi urges all citizens to follow a “janata curfew”, or people’s curfew, on March 22. He asks people to stay indoors from 7 am to 9 pm.
8.15 pm: “Social distancing is extremely important and effective in reducing impact of coronavirus,” Modi says.
8.14 pm: Leave your homes only if necessary for the next few weeks, Modi says. Try to work from home and isolate yourselves, he says. “I want to all to take a pledge today that you will protect yourself and also protect those around you,” he adds.
8.13 pm: “We have to be responsible citizens and respect the orders of the central and state governments,” the prime minister adds.
8.12 pm: “We can only defeat this pandemic with patience and determination,” Modi says. He adds that the nation must make a vow and be determined to fight the disease.
8.10 pm: “I have never been disappointed whenever I asked for something from the citizens,” Modi says. “I’m here to ask you for something today. I want you to give me a couple of your coming weeks.”
8.08 pm: There is no cure yet for the virus. “In such a situation, it is natural to worry,” he says, according to ANI. “For a developing country like ours, with a large population, the growing challenge of coronavirus is not a normal situation.”
8.06 pm: The virus has spread alarmingly, Modi says. But, he adds, the government is “completely prepared to tackle it”.
8.04 pm: The prime minister warns against complacency. It is very important for each and every Indian to stay alert and vigilant, he says.
8.02 pm: The world is passing through a huge crisis because of the novel coronavirus, says Prime Minister Narendra Modi. More countries have been affected by COVID-19 than during World War I and World War II, he adds.
8 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the nation on the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
7.56 pm: Here is a map of the cases in India.
7.52 pm: The prime minister will address the nation at 8 pm about measures taken to contain the virus.
7.36 pm: Italy reports almost 3,000 deaths due to the virus, as the toll there rose to 2,978. The toll in the European nation may overtake that of China’s, where so far, 3,249 people have died of COVID-19, reports AP.
7.34 pm: No passengers from any international flights will be allowed to disembark after 1.30 am on Monday, March 23, PTI quotes the Directorate General of Civil Aviation as saying. This includes Indian passengers.
7.32 pm: Himachal Pradesh has closed for both domestic as well as foreign tourists until further notice.
7.30 pm: Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao says grocery stores and those selling basic amenities will remain open, reports ANI. However, he says people returning from abroad will be quarantined, and large gatherings will be discouraged.
7.07 pm: Over 90 Indians stranded in Singapore because of travel restrictions are on their way home, reports ANI.
6.59: Tirumala Tirupati temple in Andhra Pradesh to be closed for devotees, reports ANI.
6.45 pm: All citizens above the age of 65 – except for public representatives, government employees and medical professionals – should be advised to remain at home, the health ministry says.
6.42 pm: The health ministry says disinfection of railway stations, metro stations, bus stands and airports must be done to check the spread of infection.
6.36 pm: Health establishments may be asked to avoid non-urgent hospitalization and minimize elective surgeries, the health ministry says.
6.31 pm: The health ministry asks people to volunteer and support the government’s efforts to combat coronavirus.
6.29 pm: The health ministry says action will be taken against anyone charging exorbitant prices for masks and sanitizers.
6.16 pm: Health ministry says there is no need for people to panic. “Today, there is a need for awareness in the community. We request people to visit the Ministry of Health’s website for do’s and don’ts.”
6.13 pm: No international flights to land in India from March 22 for a week, says Centre. The stringent measures came two days after passengers from Afghanistan, Philippines, Malaysia were banned from entering India.
6.11 pm: The total number of coronavirus cases in India has gone up to 173, the health ministry says.
6.03 pm: Lav Agarwal, joint secretary of health ministry says India has sufficient expertise to manage coronavirus, reports ANI.
6.02 pm: Health Ministry says there is no community transmission of coronavirus in India, reports ANI.
5.59 pm: Arvind Kejriwal says the government had started stamping people who have been asked to remain in home quarantine after their arrival in India, according to ANI. “There are instances of such people fleeing home,” he said. “If such persons don’t keep themselves in quarantine, the government will be forced to arrest them.”
5.56 pm: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal says 20 or more people will not be allowed to gather for any social, cultural, religious or academic purposes, reports ANI. The Delhi government had earlier forbidden a gathering of 50 or more people.
5.30 pm: The health ministry briefs the media about the coronavirus situation in India.
5.25 pm: The Centre says state governments will issue appropriate directions so that all citizens above 65 years old are advised to remain at home, reports ANI. This excludes public representatives, government servants and medical professionals.
5.22 pm: The government announces that no scheduled international flights will be allowed to land in India from March 22 for one week to contain the spread of coronavirus, reports ANI.
5.12 pm: The deceased in Punjab is a 72-year-old man who had arrived from Germany via Italy at Delhi airport on March 7, reports PTI. He was a known case of diabetes and hypertension, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research Director Jagat Ram says.
5.10 pm: A 24-year-old woman, who had recently returned to Chhattisgarh from London, has tested positive for the coronavirus, reports PTI. This is the first COVID-19 case in the state, but is yet to be confirmed by the health ministry.
5 pm: The famous Venkateswara Temple in the hill town of Tirumala at Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh will be shut till March 31 as precautionary measure to control the spread of coronavirus, reports The NewsMinute.
4.55 pm: Health ministry confirms India’s fourth coronavirus death in Punjab. The number of positive cases has increased to 167 now.
4.50 pm: Raveesh Kumar says a group of ministers are monitoring the coronavirus situation closely, adding that it is difficult to predict the situation.
4.47 pm: “We have evacuated 590 people from Iran where the situation is very severe,” says Dammu Ravi. “Indians infected with coronavirus in Iran have been segregated and taken care.”
4.42 pm: The foreign ministry says Indians who have tested positive for COVID-19 in Iran are in proper medical care and recovering.
4.40 pm: The MEA says they are planning to evacuate Indians from Italy over weekend.
Italy’s toll surged by 475 over the past 24 hours, the largest increase in numerical terms since the outbreak first came to light on February 21. The total number of confirmed cases grew by 4,207 to 35,713.
4.37 pm: Ravi says the travel restrictions imposed are temporary. “It is not advisable for people to move from one place to another,” he says. “These restrictions are temporary. If Indians are stuck anywhere, our advice is stay there. Embassies will help them out.”
4.35 pm: Dammu Ravi says best practices around the world to combat the coronavirus outbreak should be studied.
4.31 pm: Raveesh Kumar says Pakistan misused the SAARC video conference by raising Kashmir matter. “This SAARC platform was to address this pandemic,” he says.
4.30 pm: Dammu Ravi says the government is reaching out to Indians stranded abroad, addressing their concerns. “We are doing our best,” he adds.
4.24 pm: MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar says supplies to Bhutan and Maldives have been dispatched. “There has been an informal request by Nepal and Bhutan for rapid response team,” he adds. “The request is under consideration.”
4.22 pm: The MEA says that the emergency SAARC fund proposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to combat coronavirus is operationalised, and they have received requests from member countries for assistance.
4.20 pm: Dammu Ravi, additional secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs, says they are strengthening the COVID-19 control room. “Right now 25-30 people are working in the control room,” he adds. “They work in shifts. We are getting about 400 e-mails and 1,000 calls in a day.”
4.15 pm: The Ministry of External Affairs briefs media about the coronavirus spread in the country.
4.08 pm: Indian Railways cuts down on concessions to discourage non-essential travel, reports PTI. Now, 15 categories of concessions can be availed out of 53.
4.03 pm: Sixteen Indians who tested positive for coronavirus on board the Japanese cruise ship Diamond Princess have been treated and have returned home, the government says in the Rajya Sabha.
3.54 pm: SpiceJet is suspending most of its international flights till April 30. Only its Kolkata-Dhaka flight will ply as usual, while its Chennai-Colombo operations will resume on March 25, and Mumbai-Dubai on April 16, reports PTI.
3.52 pm: Prohibitory orders under Section 144 have been placed in Karnataka’s Kodagu district, reports ANI. All resorts, hotels and homestays in the tourist district will be closed.
3.33 pm: The Punjab government will close down all public transport from Friday midnight, reports PTI. This includes public buses, tempos and auto rickshaws.
The state has already closed marriage halls, hotels, restaurants, banquets and dining areas across the entire state.
3.24 pm: Passengers returning to Delhi from abroad are being stamped at Indira Gandhi International Airport, according to Times Now.
Chaos was reported from the airport the the past two days as passengers had protested against officials taking their passports during checks and not returning them immediately. Health Minister Harsh Vardhan also made a surprise visit to the airport late on Wednesday to check facilities and the screening process there.
3.20 pm: The Ministry of Health will brief the media at 6 pm, says Times Now.
2.56 pm: National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah writes to the prime minister, asking him to restore 4G connectivity in Jammu and Kashmir. Mobile networks have been down since August 5, when the Centre revoked Article 370 of the Constitution.
Kashmir confirmed its first case of coronavirus on Wednesday.
2.53 pm: IndiGo announces paycuts for senior employees, reports PTI. Chief Executive Officer Ronojoy Dutta says he will take the largest paycut, 25%, amid losses due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“With the precipitous drop in revenues, the very survival of the airline industry is now at stake,” Dutta says in an email to employees. “With a great deal of reluctance and a deep sense of regret, we are therefore instituting pay cuts for all employees, excluding Bands A and B, starting April 1, 2020.”
“I am personally taking a 25% pay cut, SVPs (senior vice presidents) and above are taking 20%, VPs (vice presidents) and cockpit crew are taking a 15% pay cut, AVPs (assistant vice presidents), Bands D along with cabin crew will take 10% and Band Cs 5%,” Dutta says.
2.48 pm: Here’s a look at the cases confirmed by the government on Thursday morning.
2.46 pm: Russia loses its first victim to coronavirus, reports AFP. The patient was a 79-year-old woman who had underlying health conditions including diabetes and heart problems.
2.41 pm: The Pakistan Cricket Board says all coronavirus tests conducted on players, staff, broadcasters etc have come back negative, reports PTI. “It was absolutely critical for the integrity and credibility of the HBL Pakistan Super League and the Pakistan Cricket Board that all players, support personnel, broadcasters and match officials, those who had decided to stay back till the end of the tournament, tested negative for COVID-19,” PCB Chief Executive Wasim Khan says.
2.37 pm: The government will implement work from home for its employees, reports The Indian Express. Fifty percent of Group B and C employees will be allowed to work from home, and working hours will be altered and divided into three categories to avoid crowding at offices. Government of India employees are divided into Group A, B, C and D depending on the work they do.
2.33 pm: Air conditioning services on the Western Railway in Maharashtra will be suspended from Friday, says ANI. This will be up to March 31.
2.30 pm: Maharashtra’s health minister tells ANI that all chief ministers and state health ministers will speak to Narendra Modi via video conference at 4 pm on Friday.
2.15 pm: Four foreign tourists have entered Srinagar despite there being a ban on the entry of tourists, reports NDTV. The tourists reportedly travelled to several parts of the country including Delhi, before heading to Jammu and Kashmir. An inquiry has been ordered into how the tourists were allowed in.
1.45 pm: The European Central Bank launches a 750-billion-euro emergency bond purchase scheme, Reuters reports. “Extraordinary times require extraordinary action,” ECB President Christine Lagarde says.
1.44 pm: All tourist places in Meghalaya have been closed till March 31.
1.35 pm: Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope says the number of cases in the state is now 49.
1.34 pm: The Delhi government orders all schools, colleges and universities to be closed for students as well as staff till March 31.
1.32 pm: The Punjab government decides to ban public transport, including buses, auto-rickshaws and tempos from midnight, reports The Indian Express. The state government will also limit public gatherings to 20 from 50 now.
1.25 pm: Six passengers who returned from Singapore and had “home quarantine” stamped on their hands were deboarded from the Saurashtra Express at Borivali station in Mumbai, PTI reports.
12.54 pm: Two more persons have tested positive in Lucknow, taking the total number of cases to five, Sudhir Singh of King George’s Medical University tells ANI.
12.53 pm: Mumbai’s dabbawalas, who deliver tiffin boxes to residents every day, have decided to suspend services from March 20 to 31, ANI reports.
12.51 pm: The University Grants Commission tells universities to postpone all exams and suspend evaluation work till March 31, PTI reported.
12.39 pm: Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray says people should not step out of their homes, PTI reports.
12.25 pm: A summary of COVID-19 updates from across the world:
- China reported no new domestic cases for first time since the pandemic began. However, it reported 34 imported cases.
- United States President Donald Trump signed into law a $100-billion emergency aid package. He had already approved an $8.3-billion package earlier this month. Two US Congressmen tested positive.
- Australia and New Zealand have decided to shut their borders to all non-residents. Australia’s ban comes into effect at 9 pm local time on Friday, and New Zealand’s at midnight. The Reserve Bank of Australia cut interest rates to a record low of 0.25% from 0.5%. New Zealand will ban indoor gatherings of more than 100 people, Health Minister David Clark said.
- Fiji reported its first case. South Korea reported 152 new cases on Wednesday, and Singapore reported 47. Sub-Saharan Africa recorded its first death – reportedly a lawmaker in Burkina Faso.
12.17 pm: An HCL employee has tested positive in Noida, ANI reports. He was in self-isolation after international travel.
11.57 am: The International Labour Organization estimates that nearly 25 million jobs could be lost worldwide due to the coronavirus pandemic, but an internationally coordinated policy response can help lower the impact.
11.40 am: A total of 13,316 samples from 12,426 individuals have been tested for the COVID-19 by 10 am on Thursday, the ICMR said. A total of 168 individuals were confirmed positive among suspected cases and contacts of known positive cases.
11.22 am: A 24-year-old woman who recently returned to Raipur from London has tested positive, PTI reports. She is the first confirmed case in Chhattisgarh.
11 am: Railways says no cancellation fee will be charged for 155 cancelled trains, PTI reports.
10.50 am: Indian Council of Medical Research tells ANI that testing of random samples has ruled out community transmission so far. Out of 826 samples tested, none have been positive, ICMR says.
10.48 am: Karnataka Health Minister B Sriramulu says one person has tested positive in Kodagu, ANI reports. This takes the number of cases in the state to 15.
10.41 am: The Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations has postponed Class 10 and 12 examinations scheduled between March 19 and March 31. The Central Board of Secondary Education had already decided the same on Wednesday.
10.40 am: Noida’s ISKCON temple has been closed for devotees till March 31, ANI reports.
10.37 am: The Srinagar district administration imposes restrictions and urges residents to stay home. The area with 300-metre radius of the home of the COVID-19 patient has been sealed, PTI reports.
10.35 am: Andhra Pradesh reports its second case, taking the total to two, PTI reports. The patient returned from the UK on March 15, the health department says.
10.34 am: Two new isolation wards will be set up at Asian Institute of Medical Science in Sector 40 and Mitra Hospital in Sector 35 in Noida, the district administration says.
10.27 am: The Indian Navy sets up a quarantine camp at INS Vishwakarma in Eastern Naval Command for Indians being evacuated from affected countries, the government says.
10.24 am: The Indian Railways has cancelled 168 trains due to low occupancy from March 20 to 31, ANI reports.
10.23 am: The Bengaluru airport has started stamping international passengers with “home quarantine” using indelible ink.
10.20 am: One of the women who tested positive in Mumbai is 22 years old and had travel history to the UK, while the other, a 49-year-old, had travelled to Dubai, ANI reports, quoting the Maharashtra Health Ministry.
10.11 am: Two women have tested positive in Mumbai, PTI reports. This takes the total number of cases in Maharashtra to 47.
10.03 am: The BSE Sensex is down 1,770.89 points at 27,098.62, while the Nifty 50 has now fallen below 8,000-mark, and is at 7,952.55.
9.50 am: Only five benches of the Supreme Court will function on Thursday, reports All India Radio.
9.49 am: At 8 pm today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the nation on the topic.
9.40 am: The number of commuters on Mumbai suburban trains of the Western Railway reduced by over 8 lakh to 32.6 lakh on Tuesday, PTI reports. That evening, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had appealed to residents to avoid non-essential travel.
9.38 am: Budget airline IndiGo’s flight operations chief Ashim Mitra writes to pilots, says “some tough calls” have become a necessity and “a string of measures” will be implemented over the next few days and weeks, PTI reports. “Economic environment has deteriorated significantly and no airline is insulated from this severe downturn,” he says.
On Wednesday, GoAir had said it was terminating contracts of expat pilots and was suspending international operations.
9.35 am: Israel has barred the entry of foreign nationals unless they have residency there, AFP reports.
9.32 am: Mass gatherings have been suspended at St Michael’s Church in Mahim, Mumbai till April 1, ANI reports.
9.30 am: The BSE Sensex opens down 1,770.19 points at 27,099.32.
9.27 am: Fifty international flights and 34 domestic flights have been cancelled at Chennai Airport, ANI reports.
9.25 am: Two members of the United States Congress – Mario Diaz-Balart and Ben McAdams – have tested positive for COVID-19.
9.24 am: A man suspected of being infected with the novel coronavirus died after he jumped off the seventh floor of Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital on Wednesday, PTI reports.
9.23 am: The Haridwar district administration prohibits the entry of visitors to the Ganga Aarti site at Har-ki-Pauri till March 31, ANI reports. The Aarti will be live-streamed for devotees.
9.22 am: A 23-year-old woman in Chandigarh has tested positive for COVID-19, ANI reports. She has travel history to the United Kingdom.
9.20 am: The number of cases in India rises to 166, of whom 14 have been cured and three have died, says the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
9.10 am: The number of patients in Tamil Nadu has risen to two after a 20-year-old man from Delhi tested positive in Chennai, NDTV reports. The person reportedly does not have any overseas travel history. However, the authorities have not yet called it a case of community transmission yet.
The man is in a stable condition, says Tamil Nadu Health Minister C Vijayabaskar.
Meanwhile, the first patient in Tamil Nadu has been discharged.
9 am: Kashmir Valley reports its first positive case of COVID-19. The patient has a history of foreign travel and has been put in isolation. The Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir now has four cases.
7.49 am: A 23-year-old woman has tested positive for coronavirus in Chandigarh. She has travel history to the United Kingdom, reports ANI.
7.41 am: The Indian Certificate of Secondary Education Examination board exams have not been postponed, and will be conducted according to schedule, says the board’s Chief Executive and Secretary Gerry Arathoon, according to PTI.
7.40 am: Goa government to start stamping passengers’ hands after they arrive at Dabolim airport if they are advised to undergo home quarantine, reports PTI.
7.35 am: Man suspected of coronavirus commits suicide by jumping off Safdarjung Hospital building in Delhi, reports PTI, citing unidentified police officials.
7.32 am: Italy has reported 475 new deaths from coronavirus on Wednesday, reports AFP. This is the highest single-day toll of any country since the outbreak began.
7.30 am: China reports no new local infections for the first time since the virus cropped up in the country’s Hubei province’s Wuhan city, reports The New York Times.
Here is what happened on Wednesday:
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he will address the nation on Thursday at 8 pm to talk about steps being taken against the coronavirus pandemic. It was announced at a review meeting that Modi chaired on Wednesday evening.
- The Ministry of Human Resource Development has instructed the Central Board of Secondary Education and all other educational institutions in the country to postpone exams till March 31.
- Amid coronavirus outbreak, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights sought a report from the district magistrate of South East Delhi about the ongoing protest at Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh locality.
- Deutsche Bank economists predicted 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.
- At least 255 Indians were infected with the novel coronavirus in Iran and the total number of Indians with the virus abroad is 276, the Ministry of External Affairs said.
- The Supreme Court asked states and Union Territories to provide information on how students were being provided their mid-day meals when most of them are shut due to the coronavirus pandemic.
- In the Rajya Sabha, Opposition MPs demanded that the government postpone the ongoing Budget session.