Coronavirus cases cross 50 in India as Kerala imposes restrictions on public events, shuts schools and cinema houses; China sees fall in new cases
Karnataka, Kerala, and Pune confirmed fresh cases on Tuesday, taking the total number of infections in India above 50 amid a subdued Holi celebration across India.
In India, Karnataka, and Pune confirmed fresh cases, taking the total number of infections in the country above 50 amid a subdued Holi celebration across India.
China reported just 19 new infections Tuesday, down from thousands each day last month
Iran registered the highest number of deaths in 24 hours on Tuesday with 51 dying due to the virus
Italy went on a lockdown with travel restrictions previously limited to the country’s north were extended everywhere, with soldiers and police enforcing bans
Even as China's Hubei province witnessed a fall in new cases on Tuesday with Chinese president Xi Jinping visiting the central city of Wuhan — his first since the start of the outbreak — Italy awakened on Tuesday to deserted streets while Iran witnessed its deadliest 24 hours with 51 deaths as per latest reports.
In India, Karnataka, Kerala, and Pune confirmed fresh cases, taking the total number of infections in the country to 50 (above 50, according to some reports) amid a subdued Holi celebration across India.
The rise in cases in India saw several state government imposing restrictions on public gatherings. In Kerala, the state government announced restrictions on all public events till 31 March, including shutting schools up to Class 7 and closure of cinema houses.
China reported just 19 new infections Tuesday, down from thousands each day last month. Yet in Italy, the situation was anything but normal. Travel restrictions previously limited to the country’s north were extended everywhere, with soldiers and police enforcing bans, reported The Associated Press.
Neighbouring countries like Malta and Austria slammed their borders with Italy shut, while major
carriers like British Airways cancelled all flights to and from the country.
Some 9,172 people were infected in Italy and 463 have died — and many fear the numbers will only worsen.
Outbreaks flared in France, Spain and Germany, and fear grew in the United States, where more than 750 people are infected and several senior politicians were quarantined. Panama and Mongolia, which borders China, were the newest countries to announce infections. Amidst this, Reuters cited reports of South Korean media, claiming that hundreds of soldiers in North Korea have died from the coronavirus outbreak.
In related news, Harvard University asked its students on Tuesday not to return to campus after Spring Break and said it would begin moving to virtual instruction for graduate and undergraduate classes amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Maharashtra confirms first two infections, Karnataka sees four
The total number of confirmed cases in India rose to 50 on Tuesday amid fresh confirmations of infections in Maharashtra and Karnataka.
"The total number of positive cases is now 50. Of these, 34 are Indian nationals and 16 are citizens of Italy. There has been no death in the country due to coronavirus so far," Sanjeeva Kumar, Special Secretary (Health), Union Health Ministry told ANI.
Sanjeeva Kumar, Special Secretary (Health), Union Health Ministry: The total number of positive cases are now 50. Of these 34 are Indian nationals and 16 are citizens of Italy. There has been no death in the country due to #Coronavirus so far. pic.twitter.com/S0LaNwkCRC
— ANI (@ANI) March 10, 2020
However, based on reports, the actual number of confirmed cases in India could be above 50.
The Karnataka state government confirmed three fresh cases of coronavirus infections taking total confirmed cases to four.
Karnataka Health Minister B Sriramulu said that the family members of the infected inviduuals have been isolated separately and are being monitored. "I urge citizens to take precautionary measures and cooperate in preventing the spread of infection," he added.
On Tuesday, ANI reported three new confirmations of coronavirus cases in Maharashtra's Pune. The new cases include a driver, a co-passenger and a child of the couple, which had tested positive for the virus on Monday, the news agency said.
The couple, who had returned from Dubai recently were the first cases from the state to test positive for the novel coronavirus infection.
"Two people have been tested positive for coronavirus in Pune and Maharashtra Government is taking appropriate steps. People have to take some kind of preventive measures but they do not need to panic, I appeal to them. They need to stay alert," Maharashtra cabinet minister and NCP leader Nawab Malik had told ANI.
"All the arrangements have been made. Isolation wards have also been set up at different places and a lot of information is being given to the general public as well," he added.
Malik continued saying that Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope is taking cognisance of all the situations and the government is trying to alert the public.
Six more cases confirmed in Kerala; Cinema halls to shut till 31 March
Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan told reporters on Tuesday that six new cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed in the state, taking the total number of infections in the state to 12. These numbers include the three patients, which had tested positive and were cured of the virus.
Keeping in mind the fresh rise in cases, Vijayan announced severe restrictions, including the closure of educational institutions and cinema houses till the month-end, in a bid to halt its further spread.
Vijayan said at least 1,116 people are under observation — 149 in isolation wards of various hospitals and 967 under home quarantine.
The fresh cases are friends and relatives of Italy-returned couple and their son who had on Saturday tested positive for the deadly virus along with two other kin staying with them at their home in Rane in Pathanamthitta district, Health Minister KK Shailaja, who was also present, said.
The aged parents of the couple are among the six latest positive cases, she said.
Besides these 11, a three-year child who returned along with his parents from Italy tested positive in Kochi on Monday.
Kerala has been hit by the second round of coronavirus cases after the country's first three positive cases in the state were successfully cured and discharged from hospitals last month.
Vijayan said schools and colleges and cinemas would remain closed in the state till 31 March. Classes from 1 to 7 standards of all schools — state, CBSE and ICSE boards— will remain shut and examinations which have begun for them will be put on hold.
Examinations for Class 10, Plus Two and vocational higher secondary will however, continue. Final examinations of Class 8 and 9 also will proceed as usual.
Students under observation would be permitted to write examinations in a special room, the chief minister said.
"This is a time when a large number of festivals are held in Kerala in which scores of people participate. At this juncture, it will be harmful if such gatherings are held as it could help in spread of the virus," Vijayan said.
As the hill temple Lord Ayyappa at Sabarimala will re-open on 13 March, monthly poojas can be held, but at this juncture, devotees should avoid darshan, Vijayan said.
The Travancore Devaswom Board, which manges the Sabarimala Temple, too appealed to devotees not to come to the shrine.
"The pilgrims will not be prevented from coming. But it is our appeal to them to desist from visiting the shrine due to the present circumstances", said TDB resident N Vasu, adding the rituals can be held inside the shrine.
Meanwhile, students wearing masks appeared for SSLC examination in Pathnamthitta district. Sanitisers were also provided to them.
Two students, under observation for the virus, appeared for the examination in a separate room at their school.
In Pathanamthitta, a man under observation for suspected coronavirus infection at the isolation ward of the district hospital fled, but was tracked and brought back within hours.
Subdued Holi across India
India witnessed a subdued celebration of the festival of colours on Tuesday due to the threat of coronavirus , while in parts of riot-affected northeast Delhi most people played Holi inside their houses amid heavy presence of security forces on the streets.
While many chose to skip the celebrations altogether, some preferred small gatherings of friends and relatives but without colours. Some however, played Holi only with 'gulal'.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal stayed away from Holi celebrations this year. He had earlier said that he would not play Holi this year due to the coronavirus threat and last month's riots in northeast Delhi that claimed 53 lives.
"Happy Holi. Please take care of yourself while playing Holi. Please protect yourself from coronavirus ," the chief minister said in a tweet in Hindi.
The national capital has reported four coronavirus cases so far. Health experts and government have advised people to stay away from large gatherings.
The United Residents Joint Action, the apex body of Resident Welfare Associations (RWA) of the city, had also issued an advisory against holding public engagements or 'Holi milans'.
Riot-affected Maujpur and Yamuna Vihar saw people playing Holi inside their residence rather on roads and streets.
There was heavy deployment of security forces across riot-hit areas of northeast Delhi. There were no reports of any untoward incident.
Tuesday also saw the arrival of the first batch of Indian pilgrims stranded in virus-hit Iran with a military carrier of the Indian Air Force bringing home 58 Indians. The plane also brought home samples of 589 Indians.
COVD-19 could cost global economy $2 trillion
The coronavirus outbreak could cost the global economy up to $2 trillion this year, the UN's trade and development agency said, warning that shock from the epidemic will cause a recession in some countries and depress global annual growth to below 2.5 percent.
"We envisage a slowdown in the global economy to under two percent for this year, and that will probably cost in the order of $1 trillion, compared with what people were forecasting back in September, director, Division on Globalization and Development Strategies at United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Richard Kozul-Wright said.
The UN agency said that apart from the tragic human consequences of the COVID-19 epidemic, the economic uncertainty it has sparked will likely cost the global economy $1 trillion in 2020.
Last week, UNCTAD had said that the trade impact of the coronavirus epidemic for India is estimated to be about $348 million and the country figures among the top 15 economies most affected as the slowdown of manufacturing in China disrupts world trade.
With inputs from agencies
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