Coronavirus India Updates: Total Confirmed Cases In India At 107, Sharp Rise In Maharashtra

Catch all live updates on the Coronavirus situation in India, here. 

Security personnel wear masks as a preventive measure against coronavirus, at Kasturba hospital in Mumbai. (Source: PTI)
Security personnel wear masks as a preventive measure against coronavirus, at Kasturba hospital in Mumbai. (Source: PTI)

Total Coronavirus Cases In India At 107, Two Deaths Confirmed

The number of novel coronavirus cases in the country rose to 107 on Sunday, with 12 fresh cases in Maharashtra, the Union Health Ministry said.

The number of cases include two persons who died in Delhi and Karnataka.

While a 76-year-old man from Kalaburagi who had recently returned from Saudi Arabia died on Thursday, a 68-year-old woman in Delhi who had tested positive for coronavirus passed away at the Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) Hospital on Friday night.

Delhi has reported seven positive cases and Uttar Pradesh 11 so far. Karnataka has six coronavirus patients while Maharashtra 31,Ladakh three and Jammu and Kashmir 2. Telangana reported three cases.

Besides, Rajasthan also reported two cases. Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Punjab have reported one case each.

PM Modi Addresses SAARC Video Conference, Proposes Covid Emergency Fund

Addressing leaders of SAARC nations today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for collective effort to fight the virus. “We have to fight this battle together, and we have to win it together. Our neighbourhood collaboration should be a model for the world”, he said.

Modi also proposed setting up an emergency fund for tackling the virus.

“I propose we create a COVID-19 Emergency Fund. This could be based on voluntary contributions from all of us. India can start with an initial offer of $10 million for this fund”, he said.

He also suggested creating a common research platform to control the virus.

“Looking ahead, we could create a common Research Platform, to coordinate research on controlling epidemic diseases within our South Asian region. The Indian Council of Medical Research can offer help coordinating such an exercise”, he said.

20 Passengers Including U.K. National Test Positive At Kochi Airport

Twenty Dubai-bound passengers were detained at the airport shortly before takeoff after a UK national among them tested positive for novel coronavirus.

This takes the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Kerala to 20 so far.

At least 289 passengers of the Dubai-bound Emirates flight were offloaded at the airport here after the U.K. person was found to be infected by the coronavirus.

SAARC Media Briefing On Coronavirus Cancelled

A special media briefing by the Foreign Secretary on video conference between SAARC leaders on the Coronavirus pandemic scheduled for today has been cancelled.

The conference will be telecasted live on the MEA YouTube channel.

218 Indians Evacuated From Italy Sent To ITBP Quarantine

A total of 218 Indians, mostly students, brought here from Italy on Sunday have been taken to an ITBP quarantine facility in south-west Delhi's Chhawla area, officials said. The Air India flight from Milan landed around 9.45 am at the Indira Gandhi International Airport. Out of the total Indian nationals in this group, 211 are students.

One More Tests Positive For COVID-19 In Maharashtra, Tally Rises To 32

A 59-year-old woman tested positive for coronavirus in Aurangabad city of Maharashtra today, a state health official said.

The woman had travelled to Russia and Kazakhstan. She has been quarantined at Dhoot Hospital in Aurangabad.

MEA Sets Up Special Cell

The Ministry of External Affairs has pulled out all stops to ensure the safety of Indians abroad and set up a special cell to coordinate the issues related with the response to the coronavirus.

Additional Secretary Dammu Ravi has been appointed as the point person for
coordinating the response to COVID-19. He has four other officers and
staff to support him.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla are personally monitoring the situation.

Mumbai Municipal Corporation Setting Up Lab At KEM Hospital

The Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai will set up a laboratory for testing of Covid-19 at KEM Hospital, Parel, it said in a press note today. The facility will be functional within one week.

Besides, another quarantine facility has been set up at Seven Hills Hospital in Andheri with 300 beds. Three medical teams of 2 medical officers and 2 health workers each will be available throughout the day.

  • A total of 320 suspected patients have been admitted at Kasturba hospital in Mumbai. Of these, 258 have been tested negative.
  • Nine patients have tested positive so far, of which 5 are in Mumbai. Four new cases tested positive today, three of which are not in the city currently.
  • Eight high-risk contacts have also been isolated at Hinduja Hospital and their swab samples have been sent to Kasturba lab. They were found to be negative but remain under quarantine without any symptoms.

Four Including Peruvian National Admitted In Kolkata Isolation Ward

A Peruvian national and three Indians including a nine-month-old child have been admitted to an isolation ward of a government hospital here with symptoms of novel coronavirus, a senior official of the state health department said on Saturday.

The 27-year-old man from Peru has been admitted to the isolation ward of the Beliaghata ID Hospital and his blood and swab samples have been sent for examination, the official said.

The man has a history of asthma and bronchitis and is down with fever and cough, both symptoms of novel coronavirus, he said.

Two Indians, who had travelled to Mayapur, the headquarters of the ISKCON during the Holi festival last week, have been kept under watch at the same ward, the official said.

"One of the two recently returned from Saudi Arabia and complained of fever and cold. Their blood samples and swabs have been collected," he added.

The nine-month-old child, who has a history of travelling from Kuwait, is also undergoing treatment at the isolation ward, the official added.

Meanwhile, all the five people including an Italian couple and a Thai national, who were admitted to the isolation ward, were discharged from the Beliaghata ID Hospital after testing negative for novel coronavirus, he added.

Four Admitted In Nagpur Hospital Return Home Without Informing Authorities

Four persons admitted to a government-run hospital here for suspected coronavirus infection, returned home without informing the authorities, police said on Saturday. The incident occurred late Friday night, they said.

According to police, the four persons were later traced and asked to return to the hospital. Their test results are awaited.

"Four persons, including two women, had come to the Indira Gandhi Government Medical College and Hospital (IGGMCH) on Friday morning to give their blood samples for suspected coronavirus infection. They were kept in the isolation ward. However, at night they left the hospital without informing the authorities," a police official said.

"We later traced them and contacted them on phone. They have been asked to return to the hospital. They told us that they were annoyed over the delay in getting the test results and also over sharing the toilet with coronavirus positive patients admitted in the hospital," he added.

Source: PTI

Infosys Evacuates Building In Bengaluru After Employee Comes In

Infosys in Bengaluru has evacuated one of its satellite office buildings following reports of its employee coming in contact with a suspected coronavirus patient.

The development comes after the Karnataka government advised IT and other professionals working in air-conditioned places to work from home for time being, for about a week, to prevent the spread of the virus.

An internal communication from the office here read, "We have received information about a situation of a team member from the IIPM building, who may have been in proximity to an individual with suspected COVID-19."

"We have evacuated the IIPM building as a precautionary measure," a company official told PTI on Saturday adding the place was being sanitised. The Infosys management has requested its employees to stay calm as it was only to ensure that they were "cautious and better prepared."

Three of the six confirmed coronavirus patients in Karnataka are working in the IT sector.

Source: PTI

Covid-19 Patient Dies In Delhi

A 69-year-old female, who had tested positive for coronavirus infection, has died in Delhi, Health Ministry and Delhi government officials said.

The government said that her death was caused by a combination of hypertension and diabetes. She was initially asymptomatic but developed a fever and cough. After that, her condition worsened with the development of pneumonia and she started having respiratory fluctuations, the government said.

Masks, Hand Sanitizers Declared Essential Commodities

The government on Friday declared masks, including the N95 variant, and hand sanitisers as ‘essential commodities’ in the wake of the coronavirus scare leading to shortages and black marketing of these items.

  • This is to ensure these items are available at reasonable prices and to crack down on hoarders and black marketeers.
  • These will remain under the essential category till June 30.

Bihar Closes Schools, Colleges

The Bihar government on Friday announced closure of all schools, colleges, coaching institutes, zoos and public parks till March 31 as a precautionary measure against coronavirus pandemic.

An announcement to this effect was made here by Chief Secretary Deepak Kumar shortly after a high-level meeting to discuss measures to prevent the spread of the disease in the state was chaired by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.

The Chief Minister, however, made it clear that candidates appearing for their CBSE exams will be allowed to do so and that all necessary steps are being taken to ensure that those venturing out in public places do not catch the contagion.

Maharashtra Declares Epidemic

The Maharashtra government has invoked the Epidemic Disease Act with effect from midnight as cases in the state rose to 17, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray announced.

  • Public schools in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad will be shut till further notice.
  • Avoid going to malls, restaurants and other public places, the chief minister said.
  • He also requested all private companies to give the employees work from home option wherever possible.
  • Gyms, swimming pools and theatres will be shut from midnight till further notice in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Thane, Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad.

Karnataka Shuts Malls, Pubs And Night Clubs

A day after the country's first coronavirus-related death was reported from Kalaburagi in Karnataka, the State government on Friday leapt into action announcing lock-down of malls, cinema theatres, pubs and night clubs for a week.

The Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa also issued instructions to stop all kinds of exhibitions, summer camps, conferences, fairs, marriage, sports and engagement events and birthday parties state-wide for a week from Saturday.

“We will close all universities for a week in the entire State,” he told a press conference.

Sangeeta Reddy On India's Preparedness For Coronavirus

  • Even if the private sector doesn't carry out tests, companies can contribute trained professionals to help collect samples
  • Private sector has already identified the beds that can be given to the government to help with treatment
  • The mechanism is already in place to for the private sector to contribute, if the scenario escalates
  • Private sector is equipped and ready, but the government hasn't given the authorisation yet
  • The government authorisation can happen literally in minutes
  • Detailed steps of how the private sector can contribute are being discussed with the government
“Right now, we have been told that they government will pay for the treatment; plus insurance will cover the costs.”
  • Confident that the government will come out with a clear policy
  • Only ventilatory care or advanced care, which is happening to less than 20 percent of people who are positive, is costly
  • Pharma companies say they have adequate supplies for the next 3-6 months
  • If the scenario stretches beyond that, we will have a challenge on our hands
  • Bigger problem is the shortage of masks and hand sanitizers

Ameera Shah On India's Preparedness For Coronavirus

  • South Korea's large scale testing helped reduce the mortality rates
  • India should go the same way as South Korea; we will be in a much better shape
  • Fear of being quarantined in government hospitals preventing many people from getting tested
  • Government should partner with private labs to ramp up efforts against Covid-19
  • Too soon for governments to get validated testing kits for Covid-19
  • Have to use standardized U.S. FDA approved kits in the meantime
  • Around 7 companies are producing kits to test for Covid-19 which are available in India
  • If India engages the private sector quickly, we will be able to carry out sufficient number of tests
  • The more India delays roping in the private sector, the resource crunch will get worse
  • Government has expressed intent to partner with private diagnostic companies
  • But government hasn't yet gotten to details of lab standards, kits etc
  • Private sector infrastructure is ready; need government approval to get started

Kiran Mazumdar Shaw On India's Preparedness For Coronavirus

  • Indian government has rapidly responded to the coronavirus threat
  • Indian government has taken good preemptive steps, unlike countries like Italy
  • Must also be in a state of preparedness so that the virus spread doesn't catch us off-guard
  • Need to have capacity w.r.t. diagnostic centres, nursing homes
  • 20 percent of Covid-19 patients need hospitalisation, many nations don't have enough ICU beds
  • Government should reach out to private hospitals & diagnostic centres
  • Will need to screen a larger population to be ahead of this crisis
  • Will need to make sure that government is a state of preparedness w.r.t. stockpiling drugs and vaccines
  • Must use this pandemic to introspect and look at how we plan for such outbreaks
  • Biotech companies have capability to provide rapid screening & then send patients to labs for confirmatory tests
  • Biotech companies can quickly increase the capacity for rapid screening facilities
  • Controls such as export restrictions, that are put in place in times of such epidemics, are a huge challenge for the industry
  • Extremely important for private sector & government to work closely & not put in place some knee-jerk restrictions

Watch | Is India Prepared For Cororavirus? BQ's Menaka Doshi Chats With Kiran Mazumdar Shaw & Sangita Reddy

Goa Government To Issue Circular To Hotels, Industries

Goa Health Minister Vishwajit Rane on Friday said the government will issue a circular asking hotels and industries to take preventive measures in the wake of the coronavirus scare.

No positive case of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has been reported so far in Goa, which receives a large number of tourists, including those from abroad, every year.

Speaking to reporters here, Rane said the circular to be issued to hotels and industries will be on the lines of the directives given by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to prevent spread of the viral infection.

Source: PTI

First Death From Coronavirus In India

A 76-year-old from Kalaburagi, Karnataka is now confirmed to have died after being infected from the novel coronavirus. State officials are taking all measures to trace the patient’s contacts. Telangana government has also been informed as he had visited a hospital there.

Andhra Pradesh Records First Case

One new case has been found in Andhra Pradesh, the first positive case in the state, according to the health ministry’s live tracker.

Delhi Declares Covid-19 As Epidemic

Delhi has declared coronavirus as an epidemic and shut all schools, colleges and cinema halls till March 31.

Delhi became the second state or union territory in India to declare coronavirus as an epidemic. Earlier in the day, Haryana health minister had announced that the same.

Everyone At Risk Is Being Tested: Indian Council of Medical Research

  • There's no evidence that we are missing any coronavirus-related deaths.
  • Our network of surveillance & contact tracing is strong, everyone who's at risk is getting tested.
  • Generally, viruses find it difficult to survive higher temperature; but we don't have any evidence.

Delhi Traffic Police Gives Instructions About Coronavirus For Safety Of Its Personnel, Motorists

The Delhi Traffic Police has issued instructions regarding coronavirus for the safety of its personnel and motorists, officials said on Thursday.

They have been provided extra straws to be used with breath analysers during the alcohol test.

"The Delhi Traffic Police personnel have been provided extra masks, straws and hand gloves. They have been asked to wash their hands if possible or use gloves. They have been instructed not to interact without mask especially during alcometer test," Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic) NS Bundela said.

Every individual gets separate straw, which is disposable, for alcometer, they said.

Source: PTI

Wagah Retreat Ceremony Suspended Due To Coronavirus

Eateries and small traders here are feeling the pinch as the famous beating retreat ceremony at the Attari-Wagah border has been suspended due to the coronavirus scare, stemming the flow of tourists to the area.

It has also hit the hotel and tourism industry in the holy city.

Each day, nearly 50,000 tourists used to visit the border, mainly to catch a glimpse of the beating retreat ceremony, which has been suspended till further orders.

Amritsar Deputy Commissioner Shivdullar Singh Dhillon said, "The retreat ceremony was stopped due to the increasing fear of coronavirus and the decision to suspend the event was taken keeping public health in view. The ban on public entry will continue till further orders."

Source: PTI

No Need To Create Panic, Says Health Secretary

No need to create panic, said Lav Agarwal, joint secretary at the Health Ministry, adding that only people who need to be tested should be tested.

  • Only those with travel history, contact history or are symptomatic need to be tested
  • 1 lakh testing kits available; additional kits have been ordered
  • Do not see a need to include private sector testing facilities at this point of time
  • Already collaborating with private sector health providers; they are supporting with isolation beds etc., in cases of need.
  • Over 1,500 contacts, of the 73 positive coronavirus patients, are being traced and monitored.
  • So far, we have not had any cases of community transmission in India.
  • As of now, primarily focusing on international travelers.
  • Strengthening point-of-entry surveillance.
  • Focus is also on community screening of international passengers.
  • Thermal screening is only the starting point; medical professionals also conduct risk profiling.

Nearly 35,000 People Under Community Surveillance In India: Health Minister

Nearly 30,000 to 35,000 people under community surveillance in India, said Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, in Lok Sabha today. “Even now, despite this being such a big task, activities are being coordinated at 51 laboratories across the country and collection centres at 56 locations,” he said.

  • Have followed all medical protocols when bringing back Indians stranded abroad
  • Things are under control; we need everyone's cooperation to discourage public gatherings.

Apex Court Refuses Urgent Hearing On Plea To Postpone IPL Amid Coronavirus Scare

The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to accord urgent hearing on a plea seeking postponement of Indian Premier League-2020 amid the coronavirus scare.

A vacation bench of justices UU Lalit and Aniruddha Bose told the petitioner that he could mention the matter for urgent listing before the regular bench on March 16 when the apex court will re-open after the Holi break.

"This is not a matter which cannot await till re-opening of the court. You can mention it before the regular court on March 16," the bench told advocate Mohan Babu Agarwal, who has filed the petition.

Agarwal told the bench that IPL-2020 is scheduled to start from March 29 but no safety measures have been declared to prevent the spread of coronavirus during the matches, which are likely to witness over 40,000 spectators.

Source: PTI

India Suspends All Existing Visas Till April 15

India has suspended all existing visas, except diplomatic, official, United Nations or international organizations, employment, project visas, till April 15, 2020. This will come into effect from 1200 GMT on March 13, 2020 at the port of departure.

The decisions were taken at a high-level meeting of the group of ministers led by health minister Harsh Vardhan.

Other decisions include:

  • Visa-free travel facility granted to overseas citizens of India suspended till April 15.
  • Any foreign national intending to travel to India will have to contact the nearest Indian Mission.
  • All incoming travellers having visited China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, France, Spain and Germany after Feb. 15 shall be quarantined for at least 14 days.
  • International traffic through land borders will be restricted to designated check posts with screening facilities.