Cases in India rise to 73: 2 more test positive in Mumbai, India closes borders to limit infection, and COVID-19 declared a pandemic by WHO

None of the previous Coronaviruses was declared to be a pandemic. The H1N1 (swine flu) outbreak of 2009 was the last disease to be classified as a pandemic.

Myupchar March 12, 2020 13:14:17 IST
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Cases in India rise to 73: 2 more test positive in Mumbai, India closes borders to limit infection, and COVID-19 declared a pandemic by WHO

“This is not just a public health crisis, it is a crisis that will touch every sector – so every sector and every individual must be involved in the fight.” - Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, 11th March 2020

On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) finally declared the novel coronavirus (or COVID-19 ) a pandemic. A pandemic, according to the WHO, is the worldwide spread of a new disease. COVID-19 , at the time of this announcement, had spread to 114 countries. A day later, it has spread to 116 with over 126,000 cases and 4,629 deaths.

Cases in India rise to 73 2 more test positive in Mumbai India closes borders to limit infection and COVID19 declared a pandemic by WHO

Representational image. Image source: Getty Images.

How is an epidemic different from a pandemic? 

According to the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an epidemic refers to a sudden and unexpected increase of a certain disease in the population of a given area. Outbreak carries a similar meaning - but it is often used for a more limited geographical area. 

When an epidemic spreads to many countries and continents and affects a large number of people, it is classified as a pandemic.

None of the previous coronavirus es (like SERS or MERS) was declared to be a pandemic. The H1N1 (swine flu) outbreak of 2009 was the last disease to be classified as a pandemic. It is estimated that over 500,000 people died worldwide from it. 

How is India tackling the situation? 

The Health Ministry shared several decisions that were taken yesterday to control the spread of the new coronavirus , with the major one being the suspension of all visas until the 15th of April except for diplomatic, employment, project and UN/International Organisation visas. This comes into effect on the 13th of March.

Additionally, anyone (Indian citizen or otherwise) who may have visited China, Italy, Iran, the Republic of Korea, France, Spain or Germany after 14th of February would need to be quarantined for 14 days minimum. The ministry is also advising all Indian nationals to avoid non-essential international travel as they may be quarantined for 14 days on their return.

Mumbai Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray told reporters that two people in the financial capital had tested positive for the new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), taking the count in Maharashtra to 10. After the announcement, media reports say another case was confirmed in Nagpur, raising the count to 11.

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare shared that 73 total cases were confirmed in India, as of March 12, 11 am. Out of these 56 are Indian nationals: 6 in Delhi, 17 in Kerala, 10 in Uttar Pradesh, 4 in Karnataka, 11 in Maharashtra, 3 in Ladakh, and one each in Rajasthan, Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir, Tamil Nadu and Telangana.

For more tips, read our article on  Coronavirus infection.

Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health.

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