Coronavirus Outbreak Updates: Social distancing not enough, comprehensive approach required, says WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

Coronavirus Outbreak Updates: While pointing out that social distancing measures can help to reduce COVID19 transmission and enable health systems to cope, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesuscautioned that such measures aren't enough on their own and urged countires to take a comprehensive approach.

FP Staff March 17, 2020 07:46:35 IST
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Coronavirus Outbreak Updates: Social distancing not enough, comprehensive approach required, says WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

Coronavirus Outbreak Updates:  While pointing out that social distancing measures can help to reduce COVID19 transmission and enable health systems to cope, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesuscautioned that such measures aren't enough on their own and urged countires to take a comprehensive approach.

The International Monetary Fund called for increased coordinated action to boost confidence and provide stability to the global economy, amidst fast spread of coronavirus that has killed over 6,500 people worldwide and resulted in lockdown-like situations in several countries.

A 32-year-old man, who returned from the US via London earlier this month, has tested positive for coronavirus making it the eighth case in Karnataka.

The Health ministry through an updated travel advisory tightened restrictions from high risk areas. It has banned the entry of passengers from member countries of the European Union, the  European Free Trade Association, Turkey and United Kingdom into the country with effect from 18 March.

 People undergoing home quarantine for suspected exposure to the novel coronavirus will be stamped on the left hand, the Maharashtra government has announced. As per protocol, people arriving from coronavirus- affected regions are being put under home quarantine as a precautionary measure while their samples are sent for tests.

 The number of confirmed COVID19 cases in Maharashtra has reached 39, health minister Rajesh Tope said.While Pimpri Chinchwad has nine cases, seven are from Pune, six in Mumbai, Nagpur has four, Yavatmal has three, three each in Kalyan and Navi Mumbai, and one each in Raigad, Thane, Ahmednagar and Aurangabad.

Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray and health minister Rajesh Tope, along with state chief secretary of the state, held a review meeting at the chief minister's official residence. After the meeting, Tope announced that schools, colleges in rural Maharashtra will also remain closed till March end due to the coronavirus pandemic.

 The number of coronavirus cases in India has risen to 114 with one new case each in Ladakh, Odisha, Jammu and Kashmir, and Kerala, Health Ministry officials said. The number includes 13 people who have been discharged after they recovered and two fatalities, they said.

The Reserve Bank of India governor Shaktikanta Das is holding a press conference at 4 pmas market mayhem continues due to concerns coronavirus pandemic. There are speculations that Das may announce a rate cut.

Germany on Monday became the latest country in Europe to restrict movement across its borders with with Austria, France and Switzerland in a push to contain the fast-spreading coronavirus.

Without citing a source, Focus Online and newspaper Bild reported that German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her interior minister had agreed the closures with the state premiers involved and that they would take place from 8 am local time (07.00 GMT) on Monday.

Goods would continue to flow between the countries and commuters could also still cross the borders, it said.

Addressing the media on the measures taken against the spread of coronavirus in the National Captial, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said that any social and cultural gatherings involving more than 50 people will not be allowed to take place.

"All gyms, night clubs, spas to be closed till 31 March. Any gathering with more than 50 persons excluding weddings will not be allowed. For weddings also, we request if they can be postponed then please do so, " Kejriwal said.

 Karnataka Health Minister B Sriramulu on Sunday said that one more positive case of coronavirus was reported in the state. The new case is the daughter of the 76-year-old Kalaburagi man who died last week due to COVID-19 infection.

A health department note said she is already admitted in the Kalaburagi District Hospital and her health condition is stable. Earlier, officials had confirmed that three out of the four persons (wife, son, daughter and daughter-in-law) were confirmed to be negative and the fourth person’s results were awaited.

Odisha on Monday reported its first coronavirus positive case in Bhubaneshwar. The man affected by COVID-19 is being treated at Capital hospital in Bhubaneswar.

As per reports, the 31-year-old man, who was studying in Italy reached Delhi on 6 March and was quarantined in the National Capital. However, he tested negative following which he returned to Odisha by a train on 12 March reportedly to avoid scrutiny. Later, on 13 March, he showcased symptoms of the disease including fever and cold.

While he was immediately admitted to Capital hospital, he initially tested negative of the pandemic on Sunday. But by midnight fresh reports suggested that he was infected by COVID-19.

Domestic markets witnessed a roller-coaster session on Friday, with trading being halted for the first time in 12 years as benchmarks plunged over 10 percent in opening trade, before staging a record-shattering comeback.

Domestic stock markets are likely to start Monday's session on a sharply lower note tracking global peers which fell even after the US central bank delivered another unscheduled rate cut. The Singapore Exchange (SGX) Nifty futures – an early indicator of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) Nifty index in India – dropped as much as 459.65 points to 9,524.30 before trimming some of those losses. At 8.08 am, the SGX Nifty futures were down 393.20 points – or 3.94 percent – at 9,590.75.

 External affairs minister S Jaishankar on early Monday said that the fourth batch of 53 Indians has arrived in India from Tehran and Shiraz in Iran. Out of the 53 Indians, 52 are students and one is a teacher. With this, a total of 389 Indians have returned to India from Iran.

"Fourth batch of 53 Indians – 52 students and a teacher – has arrived from Tehran and Shiraz, Iran. With this, a total of 389 Indians have returned to India from Iran. Thank the efforts of the team of Indian embassy in Iran and Iranian authorities," Jaishankar tweeted.

In its effort to check proliferation of fake news and rumours about the coronavirus pandemic, the Karnataka government launched a 24X7 helpline on social media app Telegram to address residents’ queries and concerns.

Telegram has been chosen for the initiative because it allows one group to have thousands of members.

Set up by Karnataka’s Department of Information and Public Relations (DIPR) on13 March, the ‘COVID-19 Karnataka – Sahaya Group’ had over 6,000 members as of Sunday evening. It’s handled by teams of five members — including doctors — in eight-hour shifts.

The number of deaths of Britons with coronavirus jumped by 14 in the last 24 hours to 35, while the number of people diagnosed rose by 20 percent to 1,372, said health authorities.

Uttarakhand recorded its first confirmed case of coronavirus with a probationer at Forest Research Institute testing positive for the virus.

The district administration is mulling imposition of the Section 144 of CrPC in Pune to check the spread of novel coronavirus, a senior official said on Sunday.

ANI quoted Kerala health minister KK Shailaja as saying, "Two more COVID-19 cases have been reported in the state, one UK national, and a doctor - who returned from abroad and tested positive. The total positive cases in the state rise to 21."

Narendra Modi addressed a video conference of SAARC leaders, and proposed an emergency fund to deal with COVID-19.

Sanjeeva Kumar, Special Secretary in the Ministry of Health, said, "23 new cases have been detected since the last update - 17 from Maharashtra, 2 from Telangana, 1 from Rajasthan & 3 from Kerala. There are now 107 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country, including 9 discharged cases & 2 deaths."

Uncertainty looms over the upcoming civic polls in West Bengal as political parties and the State Election Commission are yet to decide whether to move ahead with the elections as per schedule or postpone it by a few weeks amid the coronavirus scare.

The number of confirmed cases worldwide has surged past the 1.5 lakh mark. Over 73,000 people have recovered, while more than 5,800 people have succumbed to COVID-19, according to John Hopkins University. The institution runs a live tracker of coronavirus cases.

There are more than 74,000 active cases, with over 68,000 cases to be mild, while nearly 6,000 people are in critical condition.

Till now, India has recorded two deaths from the fast-spreading virus.

Total number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Maharashtra has risen to 32 after a 59-year-old woman tested positive for COVID-19, ANI reported. The woman had recently travelled to Russia and Kazakhstan.

The total number of confirmed cases in India surged to 107, according to Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. On Saturday, five more patients tested positive in Maharashtra, taking the total confirmed cases of infection to 31.

The new cases were detected in Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur and Yavatmal. As of now, India has reported two deaths due to the fast-spreading virus - one in Karnataka and the other in Delhi.

Andhra Pradesh Election Commissioner N Ramesh Kumar ordered that the local body polls will be postponed for six weeks in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. All 289 passengers onboard a Dubai-bound Emirates flight deboarded at Kerala's Cochin airport after a UK citizen, who was tested positive, was identified among the passengers.

The Ministry of Home Affairs suspended the travel and registration along the Kartarpur corridor until further orders.

In India, the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases across the country has climbed to 93, with two deaths reported till now. The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has launched a helpline number: +91-11-23978046 for coronavirus-related inquiry and support. There are also separate helpline numbers for the different states and union territories.

A total of 234 Indians stranded in Iran have arrived in India — 131 students and 103 pilgrims, tweeted External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Sunday. He thanked the Indian ambassador to Iran and his team for their efforts.

Iran is the worst coronavirus affected countries with over 600 reported deaths and close to 13 thousand confirmed infections. The Indian government has said that it was working with the Iranian government to facilitate return of around 2000 citizens, mostly pilgrims, stuck there after suspension of commercial flights between the two countries.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lead India at a video conference of all SAARC nations at 5 pm on Sunday to chalk out a joint strategy to combat the novel coronavirus in the region, the Ministry of External Affairs said.

Calling on the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) nations to set an example for the world, Modi had reached out to the eight-member regional grouping on Friday and pitched for a video conference among its leaders to chalk out a 'strong strategy' to curtail the outbreak.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the country rose to 84 on Saturday, as per the Union health ministry, prompting the Centre to declare the outbreak a "notified disaster" and issue directives to states specifying list of items and norms of assistance for containment of COVID-19 under their disaster funds.

Under the directives, the Centre made provisions for the costs of measures for quarantine, sample collection and screening as well as for the procurement of labs and equipment to contain the disease.

The Centre also said that it has begun working on framing guidelines for handling the bodies of those who die of the disease amid a controversy over the cremation of the 68-year-old woman who died in Delhi after being infected with novel coronavirus.

Two persons — a 76-year-old man from Karnataka and a 68-year-old woman in Delhi — have died from coronavirus, which has been declared a global pandemic by WHO and has claimed over 5,000 lives across the world.

Highest number of reported cases in Maharashtra

Coronavirus Outbreak Updates Social distancing not enough comprehensive approach required says WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

Health officials disinfect a street as part of measure to contain coronavirus pandemic in Jammu. PTI

According to the Union health ministry, Kerala has reported 19 positive cases, Maharashtra 14, Uttar Pradesh 11, Delhi seven, Karnataka six, Ladakh three, Jammu and Kashmir two, and Rajasthan, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Punjab one case each. The total number of 84 confirmed cases also includes 17 foreigners — 16 Italian tourists and a Canadian, it said. Of them, seven persons who tested positive including five from Uttar Pradesh and one each from Rajasthan and Delhi have been discharged after treatment, a senior health ministry official said.

However, Maharashtra health minister Rajesh Tope on Saturday pegged the number of positive cases in the state at 26, with four new cases reported in Mumbai and its adjoining areas and two in Yavatmal district.

A 71-year-old man, who had returned from Saudi Arabia and was suspected to have coronavirus infection, died during treatment in Buldhana district on Saturday afternoon. He was suffering from diabetes and high blood pressure. Minister Tope said it was not yet confirmed if the deceased was infected by the coronavirus.

Of the new patients confirmed in Mumbai, one is a resident of the city while others are from Kamothe, Vashi and Kalyan, all peripheral towns. All are admitted to Kasturba Hospital in Mumbai and their condition is stable, PTI quoted Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) deputy director, health, Daksha Shah  as saying.

Earlier in the day, two persons who had recently returned from Dubai were confirmed to have contracted the coronavirus in Maharashtra's Yavatmal city.

Thus, so far across the state, ten coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Pune, eight in Mumbai, four in Nagpur, two in Yavatmal and one each in Thane and Ahmednagar, taking the total to 26 — the highest number of confirmed cases reported from any state. Sixteen of the confirmed Covid-19 patients had returned from Dubai, four from USA, one each from France and the Phillipines while four had no foreign travel history but had come in contact with other infected persons, the health minister said.

In Rajasthan, a 24-year-old man who had recently returned from Spain tested positive for coronavirus in Jaipur, taking the number of confirmed cases in the western state to four, including an Italian couple.

"The 24-year-old male who returned from Spain on 14 March has tested positive today. He flew to Delhi from Madrid and then from Delhi to Jaipur in an Air India flight," PTI quoted Additional Chief Secretary, Medical and Health, Rohit Kumar Singh as saying.

"We are getting the manifest of both the flights and have started extensive local contact tracing," he added.

Meanwhile, Delhi recorded its seventh case, with the son of the woman who passed away on Friday, testing positive for the novel coronavirus, the health department of the city government said. The 46-year-old man, a resident of Rajasthan, tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday and was kept in isolation at the Safdarjung hospital after being quarantined at an Army camp in Manesar, it said, adding that he was an evacuee from Italy.

Some states close schools, colleges, ban public gatherings

In light of the spread of the disease, several states ordered closure of schools, colleges, public institutions and cinema halls. The Jammu and Kashmir administration issued prohibitory orders in Kishtwar and Ramban districts, restricting assembly of more than five persons at any public place. The Goa government also announced closure of casinos, swimming pools and pubs from Sunday midnight. The Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) suspended all classes, including sessional tests, till 22 March as a precautionary measure. All conferences, workshops, educational tours and sports programmes have also been postponed till 31 March, though examinations of the university and schools will be held according to schedule.

The Punjab government ordered a shutdown of cinema halls and banned public gatherings including cultural events till further notice to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The Maharashtra government ordered all educational institutions in urban areas to remain close till 31 March. The state health minister also said that examinations of classes one to nine will be postponed if they are being held currently, only the Class 10 and Class 12 board exams will take place as per the schedule. In the evening, Tope also announced closure of shopping malls across the state till month-end. Grocery stores which sell commodities of daily need will remain open, he said.

West Bengal sealed its border with Bhutan, restricting movement of goods and travellers. The move came after Bhutan issued a notification to the administration of neighbouring Alipurduar district informing it about a halt in tourist and business activities in the wake of coronavirus outbreak.

Four journalists of two news channels have been home quarantined in Kalaburagi, Karnataka, after they came in contact with relatives of the recently deceased coronavirus victim, Karnataka medical education minister Dr K Sudhakar said.

Centre declares notified disaster, makes provisions for SDRF funds

The Centre, too, initiated a host of measures aimed at fighting the virus. Special Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Sanjeeva Kumar, said more than 4,000 people who had come in contact with those testing positive have been identified through contact tracing and are under surveillance. He further said that there have been cases of people not willing to be quarantined despite coming in contact with people testing positive.

He informed that a Mahan Air flight bringing back Indian passengers from Iran will land in Mumbai on Saturday midnight. A special Air India flight is also being sent to Milan in Italy on Saturday to bring back Indian students, he added.

Kumar said all essential facilities like community surveillance, quarantine, isolation wards, trained manpower, rapid response teams are being strengthened further in all states and Union Territories.

The government informed that 12,29,363 passengers have been screened from 11,406 flights at the 30 designated airports. In addition, instructions to enforce quarantine for all incoming passengers as per the guidelines are being implemented, Kumar stated.

The home ministry declared the outbreak as a "notified disaster" and said funds earmarked under the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) can be utilised for procurement of essential equipment and measures taken to quarantine people. It issued a two-page directive to all states specifying "list of items and norms of assistance for containment of COVID-19 virus in India, eligible from SDRF".

According to the directive, SDRF funds will also be used to pay for additional testing centres and the cost of protective equipment for police, healthcare and municipal authorities, as well as that of thermal scanners and other necessary equipment for government hospitals, reported NDTV.

India suspended most land border crossing points with Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar from 15 March midnight and with Pakistan indefinitely from 16 March midnight, the Ministry of Home Affairs said.

The government also postponed the Padma Award ceremonies scheduled for 26 March and 3 April, a Home Ministry official said.

The last rites of the woman who died in New Delhi were performed at the CNG crematorium at Nigambodh ghat under supervision of medical authorities. Doctors from the Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) hospital in Delhi and from MCD oversaw the funeral after the crematorium staff reached out to the authorities seeking directives on ensuring that the infection didn't spread from the body. The health ministry said it has begun working on framing guidelines for handling the bodies of those who die of the disease.

Coronavirus Outbreak Updates Social distancing not enough comprehensive approach required says WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

Many states closed down schools, malls cinema halls and banned public gatherings. PTI

Though it is unlikely that coronavirus infection could spread from handling of a body, the guidelines are being drafted to dispel any misconception and raise awareness regarding spread of the disease from a deceased, a health ministry official said.

Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri at an event in Hyderabad said domestic passenger traffic was down by 10 to 15 percent owing to the novel coronavirus.

The US Embassy and Consulates in India cancelled all visa appointments from 16 March in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

The RSS suspended a three-day annual meeting of its highest decision-making body scheduled to begin on Saturday in Bengaluru. Infosys evacuated one of its satellite office buildings in Bengaluru 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.

Modi bats for joint SAARC strategy to combat virus

The External Affairs Ministry announced that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lead India at a video conference of all SAARC nations on Sunday at 5 pm to chalk out a joint strategy to fight coronavirus in the region. The prime minister said the coming together of SAARC leaders will lead to effective outcomes and benefit citizens in the fight against coronavirus.

Earlier in the day Modi took to Twitter to share guidelines on home quarantine issued by the health ministry. "Some important information here. Do read," he said while sharing the guidelines. The health ministry said home quarantine is meant "to protect you and your loved ones".

Suspected patients flea hospitals

In Kerala, an American couple who allegedly gave the slip to police after being admitted to a coronavirus isolation ward following complaints of fever and cough, was traced to Kochi airport and placed under observation.

They had come to Kochi from London via Doha on 9 March, attended a Kathakali show in the port city, went for a houseboat ride the next day at Alapzuha, stayed at a Fort Kochi resort, before going to Varkala near Thiruvananthapuram and returned to Alapuzha, police said.

In Maharashtra, four persons, who were kept in an isolation ward at a government-run hospital in Nagpur for suspected coronavirus infection, returned home even as the hospital staff requested them against doing so as their test results were awaited. They, however, returned later and the tests were also negative for coronavirus.

After Italy, Spain to initiate lockdown

According to news agency AFP, the number of novel coronavirus cases across the world crossed  1,50,0 00on Saturday, with over 5,700 deaths.

Health authorities in Spain said that coronavirus infections have reached 5,753 people, half of them in capital Madrid, representing a national increase of over 1,500 in 24 hours. AP reported that the Spain government had decided to impose a lockdown similar to that of Italy's. The report said the government is set to announce that it is placing tight restrictions on movements and closing restaurants and other establishments.

According to a draft of the government order, people will only be allowed to leave their homes to buy food and medicine, commute to work, go to medical centers and banks, or take trips related to the care for the young and the elderly. Those limitations will take hold at Monday at 8:00 a.m.

Meanwhile in the US, President Donald Trump announced that the United States will broaden its European travel ban, adding the United Kingdom and Ireland to its list, and was considering imposing restrictions on travel within the US to areas hit hard by the coronavirus spread.

The move came hours after the House approved legislation to provide direct relief to Americans suffering physically, financially and emotionally from the coronavirus pandemic. That followed Trump's declaration of a national emergency, freeing up money and resources to fight it, and threw his support behind the congressional aid package.

With inputs from agencies

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