No new local cases of COVID-19 in China, but a surge in foreign cases with India touching 173
At last count, India had reported 173 confirmed cases including 3 deaths. Of these, 32 are foreign nationals, and there have been 16 recoveries.
COVID-19 continues to make inroads across the world. At last count, almost 9,000 deaths and close to 220,000 confirmed cases had been reported worldwide. Many countries recorded their first deaths, all the way from Costa Rica and Mexico to Pakistan and Bangladesh. The first death in sub-Saharan Africa was reported as well, in Burkina Faso. More countries initiated lockdown and isolation measures; Australia and New Zealand joined the list of countries that will prohibit entry to non-residents and non-citizens starting Thursday.
In a major development, no new local infections were reported from China on Wednesday - the first time since the epidemic started in December. All 34 new cases that were reported in the country were of people travelling from elsewhere into the country. While this does not mean that the virus has been completely contained in the area, the epidemic has shifted decisively to western Europe which is now the epicentre. Italy reported 475 deaths in a day on Wednesday, the highest yet in any country. Worryingly, Singapore, Thailand, and Taiwan — countries that initially suppressed the outbreak well — have also seen a slow, steady rise in cases.
The situation in India
At last count, India had reported 173 confirmed cases including 3 deaths. Of these, 32 are foreign nationals, and encouragingly, there have been 16 recoveries as well. While the cases have spread to 18 states, Maharashtra is of particular concern with over 45 cases. On top of this, close to 280 Indians abroad have tested positive as well, the majority in Iran.
According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), there is no community transmission in India yet. Random samples collected from 826 people suffering from variations of respiratory distress have all returned negative. Currently, 51 labs are being used for testing, with health officials saying that over 100 will be approved in the coming week. Officials say that if the situation changes, more aggressive diagnostic testing will be implemented, and those with milder symptoms will be included as well.
Karnataka said that it would go into partial lockdown; all international travellers will be placed in isolation and public places such as schools, colleges, cinemas and malls will remain shut. Similarly in Gurugram, gatherings of over 50 people will be banned.
The ICSE board today said it would postpone Class 10 and 12 examinations until the 31st of March because of prevailing conditions.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to hold a national address at 8 PM to update the public on COVID-19 developments and efforts to combat it.
The young may be more severely affected than previously thought
According to a study by the US CDC, 38% of those hospitalized in the US were between 20 and 54 years old. Further data from the WHO has shown that 20% of those who died in South Korea were under 60 years of age.
While younger people are less likely to fall severely sick, these findings should urge more caution, according to health officials. Social distancing remains important - even if a small majority of younger people fall sick, it will still be a burden on the already stretched global health infrastructure. Containment, therefore, remains the best course of action in these uncertain times.
For more tips, read our article on Coronavirus Infection: Symptoms, Types, Diagnosis and Treatment.
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