Coronavirus Outbreak LATEST Updates: As Pune couple tests positive for COVID-19, mayor appeals to public not to panic; global toll crosses 4,000

Coronavirus Outbreak Latest Updates: A day after a couple tested positive for novel coronavirus infection in Pune, city Mayor Murlidhar Mohol on Tuesday appealed to people not to panic and said the civic body is all prepared to handle the situation. Mohol asked people not to celebrate Holi at the places where a large gathering is expected.

FP Staff March 10, 2020 13:06:26 IST
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Coronavirus Outbreak LATEST Updates: As Pune couple tests positive for COVID-19, mayor appeals to public not to panic; global toll crosses 4,000



Mar 10, 2020 - 12:52 (IST)

German tourist diagnosed with coronavirus in northern Cyprus

A German woman on holiday in northern Cyprus has been diagnosed with coronavirus, Turkey’s state-owned Anadolu news agency reported on Tuesday, the first recorded case in the breakaway state.

Northern Cyprus is only recognised by Turkey. The internationally-recognised Greek Cypriot government in the island’s south reported its first two confirmed cases of coronavirus on Monday.

Mar 10, 2020 - 12:47 (IST)

As stocks tumble, long-term investors advised to sit tight

It’s hard to sit tight during uncertain times. But when it comes to long-term investing, it's the best time to do just that.US stock markets have plunged due to a combination of falling oil prices and worsening coronavirus fears. The rout on Monday knocked 7.6 percent off the S&P 500 index, which is now down 18.9 percent from its record peak reached just last month.

And the wild ride is likely to continue as the world tries to contain COVID-19 and grapple with its fallout. The virus has infected more than 110,000 worldwide and is present on every continent except Antarctica. Containment is proving difficult and concerns are growing that it will cripple the global economy.

- AP

Mar 10, 2020 - 12:13 (IST)

As Pune couple test positive for COVID-19, Mayor says don't panic

A day after a couple tested positive for novel coronavirus infection in Pune, city Mayor Murlidhar Mohol on Tuesday appealed to people not to panic and said the civic body is all prepared to handle the situation. Mohol asked people not to celebrate Holi at the places where a large gathering is expected.

"We all should take utmost care and avoid going to the crowded places," he said. The couple, who had returned from Dubai, became first the first case of COVID-19 from Maharashtra.

Mar 10, 2020 - 11:28 (IST)

Coronavirus in Italy Latest Updates

Prison riots spread amid coronavirus restrictions

Seven prisoners have died as riots spread through crowded jails across Italy over measures imposed to contain the coronavirus. Inmates, many angered by restrictions on family visits, went on the rampage and started fires from Sunday into Monday, authorities said. In one prison, inmates took guards hostage and in another some escaped.

The biggest rebellion began on Sunday in a prison in the northern town of Modena. Three prisoners died there, and another four in prisons where they were moved after the violence started, a prison administration official at the justice ministry, said.

Mar 10, 2020 - 11:12 (IST)

Coronavirus in India Latest Updates

Manipur seals border with Myanmar

In view of the spike in coronavirus cases in the country and amid fears of transmission of the virus across the border, the Manipur administration sealed the India-Myanmar border.

On Monday, Arunachal Pradesh had banned the entry of foreigners in the state.

Mar 10, 2020 - 11:09 (IST)

Coronavirus in India Latest Updates

Mumbai residents burn coronavirus effigy

While observing the ritual of Holika Dahan ahead of Holi celebrations, residents of Mumbai's Worli area burnt an effigy of coronavirus.

So far India has 46 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Mar 10, 2020 - 10:27 (IST)

Coronavirus in India Latest Updates

58 Indian pilgrims return from Tehran

A batch of 58 Indian pilgrims were brought back to the country from Iran, one of the worst-hit countries by the coronavirus outbreak. The Indian Air Force's C-17 Globemaster flew the pilgrims to the Hindon Air Force base this morning.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar thanked the Indian Embassy in Iran, the medical team working there and the IAF for ensuring the returns of Indians. They will be quarantined at a facility at Hondin, ANI reported.

At least 2,000 Indians currently live in Iran, according to a report.

Mar 10, 2020 - 10:16 (IST)

Coronavirus in US Latest Updates

Seattle teen develops website for real time COVID-19 updates

A teenager from Seattle, the city which is at the centre of the coronavirus outbreak in the US, has built a website that updates the deaths, infections and recoveries from all over the world every minute. The website,, has been visited by 7 million people since it launched in late December.

The website, developed by Avi Schiffman, automatically scrapes data from reliable sources, including government websites and news outlets, from all over the world to report coronavirus cases in real time. The site also hosts an interactive Google map, a Twitter feed, travel advisories, information on the disease and its prevention, as well as tips for preparing for quarantine situations.

Mar 10, 2020 - 09:54 (IST)

Coronavirus Outbreak Latest Updates

Threat of pandemic very real, says WHO chief

World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned against coronavirus soon becoming a pandemic. “Now that the virus has a foothold in so many countries, the threat of a pandemic has become very real,” he said. “The great advantage we have is the decisions we all make as governments, businesses, communities, families and individuals can influence the trajectory of this epidemic.”

More than 113,000 people have been infected with the virus, and more than 4,000 have died of the COVID-19 illness it causes. More than 63,000 people have already recovered.

Mar 10, 2020 - 09:51 (IST)

Coronavirus in China Latest Updates

Xi Jinping visits Wuhan

Chinese President Xi Jinping paid his first visit to Wuhan, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak. Xi will inspect the epidemic prevention and control work and visit medical workers, community volunteers, patients and others on the front lines, state media said.

The city has the bulk of the country’s more than 80,000 confirmed cases, and authorities sent thousands of medical workers and built several prefabricated isolation wards to deal with its mass of COVID-19 patients.

Coronavirus Outbreak LATEST Updates: A day after a couple tested positive for novel coronavirus infection in Pune, city Mayor Murlidhar Mohol on Tuesday appealed to people not to panic and said the civic body is all prepared to handle the situation. Mohol asked people not to celebrate Holi at the places where a large gathering is expected.

A batch of 58 Indian pilgrims were brought back to the country from Iran, one of the worst-hit countries by the coronavirus outbreak.

World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned against coronavirus soon becoming a pandemic. “Now that the virus has a foothold in so many countries, the threat of a pandemic has become very real,” he said. Meanwhile, Chinese President Xi Jinping paid his first visit to Wuhan after the coronavirus outbreak in the province.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases climbed to 46 as two Pune residents, who had returned from Dubai on 1 March, were tested positive.

US President Donald Trump has not been tested for the coronavirus, the White House said, though at least two lawmakers with whom he has recently come into contact have announced they were self-quarantining after attending a conference with a person who had tested positive for the virus.

The Seattle-area nursing home at the epicenter of one of the biggest coronavirus outbreaks in the United States said on Monday it had no kits to test 65 employees showing symptoms of the respiratory illness

The Gujarat Congress on Monday said it had postponed the 386-kilometre-long 'Gandhi Sandesh Yatra' aimed at highlighting the current situation of the country through a symbolic Dandi March, PTI reported.

Starting from Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad, the yatra​ was supposed to trace the route of Gandhiji's historic Salt March and cover a distance of 386 kilometres in 26 days between 12 March and 6 April.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was scheduled to take part in the yatra from Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad on 12 March, while its interim chief Sonia Gandhi and general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra were expected to be present at its conclusion in Dandi in Navsari district on 6 April.

Karnataka recorded its first confirmed case of coronavirus on Monday after a man who returned from the United States tested positive for the disease. "The wife and child of the coronavirus patient in Bengaluru have been quarantined. He returned to Bengaluru from the US on 1 March, and developed symptoms on 5 March. A colleague who was travelling with him has also been quarantined," Karnataka minister Dr K Sudhakar said.

Reports on Monday said that the Ministry of External Affairs said that the Centre had received a formal notification from Bangladesh regarding the deferment of events organised to celebrate the centenary of the birth of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman due to the spread of global coronavirus.

"The impact of this deferment applies also to the large gathering planned for 17 March, at which the Prime Minister of India was invited. The Government of Bangladesh has advised us that fresh dates for these commemorative events will be conveyed later," a notification issued by the MEA said.

"In this context, Prime Minister's visit to Bangladesh next week at the invitation of HE Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is being deferred. While expressing understanding of the circumstances that necessitates this deferment, India is ready to work with Bangladesh, as partners, to combat the spread of this disease in our shared neighbourhood," it added.

The Centre is planning to use the IAF's C-17 globemaster aircraft to evacuate Indians from Iran, amid the coronavirus outbreak, India Today reported.

Amid over 3,000 casualties due to the coronavirus outbreak worldwide, US president Donald Trump on Monday said that the situation was being "inflamed" beyond the facts by the Democratic party and the "Fake News Media".

Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri also said that the WINGS India 2020, an event of the civil aviation sector, which was scheduled between 12 to 15 March, will be held on "a truncated basis".

"Large public gatherings will be avoided. The local representatives will be attending the event. Video conferencing is being planned with the delegates outside India," he said.

The Ministry of Civil Aviation on Monday said that 6.5 lakh passengers have been screened at 30 airports for coronavirus, as part of the government's measures to contain the spread of the disease that has claimed over 3,000 lives worldwide. Addressing a press conference on Monday, Union Minister Harshdeep Singh Puri said that screening of passengers coming from all parts of the world is currently being carried on at 30 Indian airports and 6,49,452 passengers have been screened.

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan outlined the various measures that are being taken by the states and Centre to prevent the disease's spread.

"We took preventive measures on time, which is why the disease is contained compared to other countries," he said, adding that this was not a cue to become "composite".

"While screening of passengers from all foreign locations is being undertaken at airports across the country, over 3,000 people have been placed on surveillance for risk of the disease," he said.

According to official sources, the government has evacuated some of the Kashmiri students stranded in coronavirus-hit Iran.

S Jaishankar, Minister of External Affairs, who visited Srinagar on Monday assured assistance to the parents of Kashmiri students stranded in Iran where 194 people have died due to the epidemic.

As of Monday, 43 cases of coronavirus have been reported, out of which 40 are active cases of COVID-19. Three positive cases from Kerala are now discharged. 8,74,708 international passengers from 8,255 flights were screened at airports and 1,921 passengers identified as symptomatic.

Total number of confirmed cases of coronavirus now stand at 42, with one case each reported from Delhi, Agra and Jammu and Kashmir. Paracetamol, antibiotics, HIV and antivirals drugs, a combination of which is being used to treat COVID-19, are widely available in India, according to India’s largest chemist lobby, the All India Organisation of Chemists and Druggists (AIOCD), The Print reported.

A 63-year-old woman tested positive for coronavirus, making her the first confirmed case in Jammu and Kashmir. Prime Minister is unlikely to visit Dhaka on 17 March for the Mujib Year celebrations amid the coronavirus outbreak, ANI reported.

A three-year-old boy in Kochi has contracted the coronavirus infection, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 40. The family of the child had recently returned from Italy to Kochi on 7 March.

During universal screening at the airport, it was found that the child has fever, following which the child was admitted to the Ernakulam Medical College hospital and samples taken. The samples returned positive on Monday.

According to The News Minute, the child is currently stable.

Qatar has temporarily barred travellers from 14 countries, including China, Egypt, India, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan. Meanwhile, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said smoking or vaping makes people more vulnerable to becoming infected with the coronavirus.

A diabetic man died in the isolation ward of a hospital in West Bengal's Murshidabad district, a day after he was admitted there with suspected symptoms of coronavirus following his return from Saudi Arabia. In view of the novel coronavirus outbreak worldwide and detection of a few positive cases in neighbouring states, the Karnataka government has ordered holidays for children in lower and upper kindergarten classes in Bengaluru.

The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United Kingdom has risen to 273, the Department of Health and Social Care said, up from 209 a day earlier, and the biggest one-day increase so far.

Twenty-seven people, who came into contact with a 45-year-old coronavirus patient in Tamil Nadu, have been placed under home surveillance, Health Secretary Beela Rajesh said on Sunday.

China on Sunday reported 27 new deaths from coronavirus, the lowest number of fatalities in more than a month, taking the death toll to 3,097, while the COVID-19 infections for the first time fell below 50 since the disease surfaced in Hubei province in January. All the 27 deaths occurred in the virus-hit central Hubei province, China's National Health Commission (NHC) said.

Taking a serious view of three fresh coronavirus patients not disclosing their Italy visit, the Kerala government warned of strict action, including prosecution, against those hiding such travel to affected countries and symptoms of the infection. The health department said failure to inform authorities about travel history and symptoms would be considered a crime, while the state police separately said it was "illegal and punishable" if anyone hid such information.

Italy's Rai state TV said the governor of Piedmont in northern Italy has the coronavirus. On Saturday, the governor of Lazio, the region including Rome, announced that he was staying in quarantine because he had been told he had tested positive for the virus.

Bangladesh confirmed its first three cases of coronavirus in the country, Reuters reported quoting the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR).The affected people are aged between 20 and 35 and two of them returned from Italy recently, IEDCR Director Meerjady Sabrina told reporters

Italy has imposed a virtual lockdown across a wide swathe of its wealthy north, including the financial capital Milan, in its latest attempt to contain a growing outbreak of coronavirus. The decree issued by Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte applies to region of Lombardy and the provinces of Modena, Parma, Piacenza, Reggio Emilia, Rimini, Pesaro, Urbino, Alessandria, Asti, Novara, Verbano-Cusio-Ossola, Vercelli, Padua, Treviso and Venice having a combined population of 16 million people.

Ten people have died in the collapse of a hotel in the Chinese city of Quanzhou, the Ministry of Emergency Management said on Sunday. The state media said the hotel was being used to quarantine individuals under observation for the novel coronavirus.

The facility began to collapse on Saturday evening. "Authorities had retrieved 48 individuals from the site of the collapse," the ministry said.

"Of the total, 10 have been confirmed dead, with the rest being treated in hospitals," it said.

After it was reported that five fresh cases of coronavirus were reported in Kerala, state health minister KK Shailaja tweeted the details of flights on which the patients had travelled. In the advisory, the ones travelling in the same flight were asked to contact the authorities.

Five more people in Kerala have tested positive for COVID-19, taking the total number of confirmed cases to 39, according to media reports.

Three of five who tested positive had recently returned to Pathanamthitta from Italy while, the other two are their family members who came in contact with them.

China’s new confirmed case count of the COVID-19 fell by roughly one half, according to official data, as the disease continues to subside in Hubei, the epicenter of outbreak.

The National Health Commission (NHC) on Sunday reported 44 new confirmed cases of the COVID-19 as at the end of 7 March, a decline from 99 the previous day.

The fall comes as Chinese cities gradually relax quarantine measures put in place over a month ago, while authorities keep a close watch on the virus’ spread overseas.

Four people have died in the collapse of a hotel in the Chinese city of Quanzhou which was being used as a quarantine facility for patients tested positive for coronavirus, Reuters reported. Meanwhile, a 64-year-old man died in Argentina as a result of the new coronavirus, the first such death in Latin America.

About 70 people were trapped in a collapsed hotel in the city of Quanzhou, in China's southeastern Fujian Province, the city government said on its website. The collapsed hotel is used for coronavirus quarantine, according to the official People’s Daily.

The governor of Italy's Lazio region is the latest official to test positive for the coronavirus in the country. Nicola Zingaretti, who is also head of the Democratic Party, announced his diagnosis on Facebook on Saturday, saying, ‘’I am well, so it was decided I will be isolated at home.’

Three more patients tested positive for COVID19, taking the total number of confirmed cases to 34, said Sanjeeva Kumar,Special Secretary (Health) in the Union health ministry While two cases were from Ladakh with travel history to Iran, one was from Tamil Nadu with travel history to  Oman, he said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi reviewed the coronavirus situation in the country at a meeting with officials on Saturday and directed them to identify locations for sufficient quarantine facilities and make provisions for critical care in case the disease spreads further. The meeting was attended by Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, his deputy Ashwini Kumar Choubey, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba, Niti Ayog member Vinod Paul, Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, and secretaries of health, pharma, civil aviation, MEA, health research, home, shipping, NDMA and others

The number of deaths caused by coronavirus infections in Iran rose by 21 over the past 24 hours to reach 145 on Saturday, a health ministry official said.

Two persons from Hoshiarpur tested positive for COVID-19 at the Guru Nanak Dev Hospital in Amritsar, reports ANI. According to Medical Superintendent of Guru Nanak Dev Hospital, Raman Sharma both these patients came to Amritsar from Italy on 3 March.

Fatemeh Rahbar, a conservative lawmaker from Tehran, died from the coronavirus infection on Friday, Iran's semi-official news agency Tasnim reported. It did not say if she was included in the country’s official toll of 124 deaths from the virus, given on Friday.

In the wake of 31 confirmed cases of coronavirus in India so far, the Union health ministry has made functional 52 laboratories for testing samples while 57 labs have been designated for helping in sample collection. 

The number of infections climbed past 7,300 in Europe on Friday — more than doubling in just three days. France, Britain, Spain, the Netherlands, Italy and others each recorded their biggest one-day increases in cases.

India's ambassador to the United Nations Syed Akbaruddin tweeted on Saturday saying the Indian greeting tradition has gained ground at United Nations as people started to adopt 'Namaste'.

Earlier today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also endorsed the Indian greeting. "Social behaviors are being curtailed amid the coronavirus outbreak, as people avoid hand-shaking or kissing to greet one another. It is the apt time to greet everyone with 'Namaste," Modi said.

One of 2,400 passengers on board the Grand Princess cruise ship stranded off the Californian coast is a retiree with stage-4 cancer.

Kari Kolstoe, 60, from North Dakota told Reuters she and her husband, Paul, 61, had looked forward to the Grand Princess cruise to Hawaii as a brief, badly needed respite from the grind of medical intervention she has endured for the past 18 months.

Now facing the prospect of a two-week quarantine far from their home in Grand Forks, she worries their getaway cruise will end up causing a fateful delay in her next round of chemotherapy, scheduled to begin early next week.

“It’s very unsettling,” she said in a cellphone interview from the ship on Friday. “It’s still a worry that I’m going to not get back.”

In South Korea, authorities reported 483 new cases of infections on Saturday, bringing the nation's total number of infections to 6,767. Most of the new cases have been reported from southeastern city of Daegu, the epicenter of the virus outbreak in South Korea.

So far, 44 people, mostly elderly patients with underlying illnesses, have died in South Korea from the respiratory virus that emerged in China late last year, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said.

Speaking on the rapid spread of novel coronavirus, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday urged citizens to stay calm and refrain from believing rumours. Asking people to avoid panicking, Modi said it was best to follow advise of doctors in this time.

"I request people to not believe in hearsay and rumours on what to do and what not to do on coronavirus, whatever doubts you have please consult your doctor," said Modi.

The prime minister further said at-risk people should take precautions against the disease.

The total number of coronavirus cases confirmed around the world passed 100,000 on Friday as the rapid spread of the epidemic hit a milestone, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The virus that first emerged in China in December, 2019, has spread to 97 countries and has infected over 80,000 people in the country.

The government also reported 99 new confirmed cases on 6 March, down from 143 the previous day, with a total of 80,651 cases nationwide. Most of the new cases and deaths were from Hubei, the epicentre of the outbreak in China.

Meanwhile on Friday, China's health agency reported that at least 53,726 people have recovered and have been discharged from hospital.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi has written to the chief ministers of all states ruled by the party, instructing them to put in place effective response measures to deal with the spread of coronavirus and lend all possible support to public healthcare responders. So far, 31 confirmed cases of coronavirus have been detected in India.

"It is critical for the State Government to put in place effective response and preparedness measures. The capacity of public healthcare facilities must be augmented to respond to any potential outbreak," Gandhi said in the letter to chief ministers of Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Puducherry and Chhattisgarh.

India has limited integration with the global value chain, which "insulates" its economy from the impact of the coronavirus epidemic, RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das said on Friday.

Britain confirmed its first casualty Friday, after blood reports of an elderly woman who died Thursday posthumously confirmed she had contracted the deadly infection.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday said anganwadis have been closed in view of the coronavirus scare. Meanwhile, Amritsar authoritie have barred public presence t Atari-Wagah border where 20 to 30,000 people gather each day at sunset to witness the Beating Retreat ceremony.

The Netherlands confirmed its first fatality due to coronavirus today. An 86-year-year old man died in hospital in the port city of Rotterdam.

The global march of the new virus triggered a vigorous appeal Thursday from the WHO for governments to pull out “all the stops” to slow the epidemic, as it drained color from India's spring festivities, closed Bethlehem's Nativity Church and blocked Italians from visiting elderly relatives in nursing homes.

Serbia has confirmed its first case of the coronavirus, its Health Minister Zlatibor Loncar said on Friday. He told reporters that a 43-year-old man, who traveled to Budapest, was diagnosed with virus and that he feels well.

Cameroon has confirmed its first case of coronavirus after a 58-year-old French citizen tested positive to COVID-19. The health ministry said the man, who arrived in the capital Yaounde on 24 February, has been quarantined in the city's central hospital.

The Vatican on Friday reported that a patient in its health services had tested positive for coronavirus, Reuters reported.

"First flight from Iran will carry around 300 swabs of Indians suspected of having coronavirus," a government official was quoted by PTI as saying. The flight is expected to land on Friday.

Iran will operate special flights on Friday between Tehran and New Delhi for evacuating the stranded passengers. Iranian airline Mahan Air would operate the flight to Delhi and would carry Iranians back in the return flight.

The Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) is spending Rs 3 lakh daily to house people in its recently set up quarantine facility in Delhi, The Times of India reported.

Currently there are 112 people, who were evacuated on 27 February from China's epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak Wuhan, put up in the camp. The first batch of Indian evacuees from China arrived in Delhi on 1 February and since then Rs 85 lakh has been spent on running the facility.

Another person in Delhi tested positive for coronavirus on Friday, taking the cumulative figure of confirmed cases to 31, News18 reported. According to the report, the patient had recently travelled to Thailand and Malaysia.

The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (Iskcon) temple management in Vrindavan has banned the entry of foreigners in temple, as per media reports.

The move comes after 23 people, including six from Agra, have tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Besides, the famous Holi celebrations or Gaura Purnima festival by the widows in Vrindavan, scheduled for 7 March, have also been cancelled.

Iskcon Mathura spokesperson Rajiv Lochan was by TOI as saying, “Due to the rapid spread of the virus across the globe, the temple management has decided not to allow foreigners inside the premises as a precautionary measure.”

The Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan has reported its first case of the coronavirus after a US tourist tested positive, the Prime Minister Lotay Tshering said on Friday.

The tiny, land-locked country, famous for measuring Gross National Happiness has emerged as a popular tourist destination in recent years. But the government immediately shut borders to foreign visitors for two weeks in an effort to limit the impact of a disease that has wreaked havoc in more developed countries around the world.

The 76-year-old man arrived in Bhutan from India on 2 March and was admitted to hospital on 5 March with a fever, where he tested positive for COVID-19, the prime minister's office said in a Facebook post.

To prevent the spread of COVID-19, Sikkim has decided to ban entry of foreigners to insulate itself from the novel coronavirus, The Times of India reported. The preventive measure has led to wide-spread fears among travel and tour operators and hoteliers in Darjeeling that bookings would be canceled.

A blanket ban has also been issued for permits to visit the Nathula pass that borders China.

"Darjeeling and Sikkim are inter-linked tourist destinations. Overseas tourists usually spend four-and-a-half days in Sikkim and two-and-a-half days in Darjeeling. Now that they will not be able to travel to Sikkim, they are most likely to cancel the Darjeeling leg of their visits and go elsewhere for week-long holidays," said Amit Periwal, the proprietor of Clubside Tours & Travel, was quoted as saying.

A man from Ghaziabad with a recent travel history to Iran has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, taking the total number of cases in the country to 30 and seven in Uttar Pradesh as the Central Government on Thursday asked states to form rapid response teams at district, block and village levels.

The test reports of 68 people who had come in contact with the Italian couple, who tested positive for the new coronavirus earlier this week, have come out negative, a senior health department official said on Thursday. Test results of eight more people are awaited, the official said.

As many as 229 people were found to have come in contact with the Italian tourists who visited Jaipur, Bikaner, Udaipur, Jodhpur, Jhunjhunu and Jaipur. Of them, samples were collected from 76 people.

"Sixty-eight have tested negative and test reports of eight samples are yet to come," said Additional Chief Secretary, Medical and Health, Rohit Kumar Singh. He said 247 samples have been collected in the state so far and 239 samples have been tested. Barring the Italian couple, the test reports of all others (except 8 which are under process) are negative, he added.

The New York Times reported that sweeping shutdown of schools in Italy, a suspension of classes in New Delhi and warnings of school closures in the United States, mandated by the virus outbreak, have intensified the educational upheaval of nearly 300 million students globally. 

Uttar Pradesh Health Minister Jai Pratap Singh on Thursday said 175 people have been tested so far for coronavirus in the state with 157 of them showing no sign of the infection. Of the remaining 18 tested, six are from Agra and one from Ghaziabad, he said, referring to the seven cases which have tested positive.

Palestinian authorities said the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, built atop the spot where Christians believe Jesus was born, will close indefinitely due to coronavirus concerns. Meanwhile, politicians in India appealed to the Hindu population to scale back on their Holi celebration as the festival of colour can result in unguarded close human contact and exposure to virus.

The coronavirus COVID-19 is affecting 86 countries and territories around the world as the outbreak slows within China but picks up speed across the world.

A pharmacy student from Kerala who was studying in Bengaluru has been quarantined after she showed symptoms similar to that exhibited by Coronavirus cases, reports said.

Manish Sisodia has said that all schools in Delhi up to class 5 will remain shut till 31 March after one more case of coronavirus was reported from NCR region.

One more case of novel coronavirus was reported in Ghaziabad in the national capital region, taking the total number in the country to 30 so far, official sources said on Thursday. The patient is a middle-aged man with a recent travel history to Iran, reports said.

A 16-year-old Indian girl here has tested positive for the deadly coronavirus, bringing the total number of confirmed infection cases in the UAE to 28. The Indian High School in Dubai will be closed from Thursday as a precautionary measure.

Chinese state news agency Xinhua reported on Wednesday that the country's researchers are studying the use of stem cell technology in the treatment of people critically ill with the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). It quoted a science journal to report that four COVID-19 patients who received stem cell treatment while in a serious condition have recovered.

Amid concerns over the health of over 1,200 Indian nationals stuck in Iran — the second country after China to report highest number of casualties — the government offered some hope for their families. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar informed via Twitter that India was ready to set up its first screening clinic in Iran at Qom by today evening.

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, on Thursday, informed the Lok Sabha that the Indian government was closel working with Iranian authorities to bring back Indian nationals stuck in the country. The health minister also said that there was no need to panic.

The trade impact of the coronavirus epidemic for India is estimated to be about 348 million dollars and the country figures among the top 15 economies most affected as slowdown of manufacturing in China disrupts world trade, according to a UN report.

Issuing a travel advisory, health minister Harsh Vardhan said that citizens are advised to refrain from traveling to virus affected-areas of China, Korea, Japan, Italy and Iran. He said directions have also been issued for all international passengers in India.

"As of 4 March, a total of 28,529 persons were brought under community surveillance and are being monitored," Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said as he detailed the evacuation of of Indians by Air India and IAF.

In a first reported case of human-to-animal transmission of coronavirus, the pet dog of a positive-tested patient in Hong Kong has been confirmed to be infected with a 'low level" of the virus.

Tests confirmed the virus in the pet’s nasal and oral cavities, "which indicates a low-level of infection," Hong Kong’s agricultural and fisheries department said in statement late Wednesday.

The impact of the coronavirus epidemic for India on trade is estimated to be about $348 million and the country figures among the top 15 economies most affected as slowdown of manufacturing in China disrupts world trade, according to a UN report.

Estimates published by United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) on Wednesday said that the slowdown of manufacturing in China due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is disrupting world trade and could result in a $50 billion decrease in exports across global value chains.

The most affected sectors include precision instruments, machinery, automotive and communication equipment.

Among the most affected economies are the European Union ($15.6 billion), the United States ($5.8 billion), Japan ($5.2 billion), South Korea ($3.8 billion), Taiwan Province of China ($2.6 billion) and Vietnam ($2.3 billion).

India is among the 15 most affected economies due to the coronavirus epidemic and slow down in production in China, with a trade impact of $ 348 million. The trade impact for India is less as compared to other economies such as EU, the US, Japan and South Korea.

A Paytm employee in Gurugram has tested positive for novel coronavirus, the company said in a statement on Wednesday.

Students appearing for class 10 and 12 board examination will be allowed to carry masks and hand sanitisers in the exam centre in view of coronavirus scare, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) announced on Wednesday.

The Railway ministry issued an advisory stating that material with information about coronavirus should be displayed "prominently" to increase awareness among the public regarding the disease. 25 confirmed cases were reported in India on Wednesday.

"..need for signages and separate counters being set up for fever cases," The Indian Express reported, adding, "Railway staff would also be trained on prevention of the spread of virus and the statement added that in case any suspicious case is detected, it should be reported to the Railway Hospital."

Higher Education secretary Amit Khare on Wednesday wrote to all the state chief secretaries and the CBSE board directing them to spread awareness about precautionary measures regarding coronavirus in schools, reports said.

Even as the number of confirmed coronavirus infections in Japan topped the 1,000 mark on Wednesday, mostly from the Diamond Princess cruise liner, the Japanese government reiterated that plans to host the Tokyo Olympics in July remained on track.

“We would steadily proceed with our preparations while closely coordinating with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the organising committee,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a regular news conference, amid speculation that the Games could be postponed because of the coronavirus threat.

The Olympics are scheduled to open in less than five months and IOC head Thomas Bach reiterated his backing for this summer’s Games despite the coronavirus threat, urging athletes to prepare “full steam.”

Home Minister Amit Shah's public rally in Hyderabad, scheduled for 15 March has been postponed in light of the coronavirus outbreak, reports said. In Hyderabad, a man tested positive for the novel virus on Tuesday, and two other suspected cases were reported on Wednesday.

Telangana BJP chief K Krishna Saagar Rao was quoted by The Indian Express as saying that the decision was taken with the aim of reducing mass physical contact of people. On Wednesday, Shah also announced that he wouldn't participate in 'Holi milan' on 10 March as a way to take precautions against the virus. "I also appeal everyone to avoid public gatherings and take a good care of yourself and your family," he said.

Six cases with "high viral load" have been found while sample testing in Uttar Pradesh's Agra, The Indian Express reported. The report said that the suspected patients came in contact with the Delhi man who tested positive for coronavirus in Delhi. Their samples have been sent to the National Institute of Virology in Pune.

Extending the morning losses, equity indices crashed by afternoon after 28 new suspected coronavirus cases were tested positive in the country on Wednesday. Benchmark Sensex tanked over 650 points while the broader Nifty was down 188 points at around 1.30 pm.​ Sensex was trading 659.38 points or 1.71 percent, lower at 37,964.32 while Nifty slipped 188.45 points or 1.67 percent to 11,114.85.

After Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah on Wednesday said that the country was well prepared to contain the spread of COVID-19 novel coronavirus and that he would not participate in 'Holi Milan' function in the wake of the reports of the outbreak of the virus in different places.' From now on, all flights and passengers will be part of universal screening, not just the 12 countries which we had listed earlier,' said Dr Health Minister Harsh Vardhan during media presser today.

Union health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan told media reporters that on conducting contact tracing of the person tested positive in Delhi, it was found out that the patient infected six members of his family who are in Agra. All six members have tested positive for the virus, taking the total number of confirmed cases in India to 28. where 3 have already recovered.

Tech giant Intel has said one of its employees in Bengaluru has "potentially been exposed" to coronavirus and is currently under quarantine. The company also said it has implemented precautionary measures like travel restrictions, increased frequency of office sanitisation, and work-from-home provisions in India. Seeking to allay fear among the citizens in the wake of coronavirus scare, Karnataka Health Minister B Srirumulu on Wednesday made an appeal to the people not to pay heed to rumours spreading on social media.

As more cases of coronavirus are confirmed in India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that he will not be participating this year in the Holi Milan programme. He said, 'world experts have been issuing warnings against unnecessary social contact, to prevent the spread of coronavirus.'

As many as 15 tourists from Italy were tested positive for coronavirus on Wednesday, taking the total positive cases in India to 21. The development was confirmed after 21 Italian nationals reached ITBP quarantine centre in Delhi. The Rajasthan Health Department has issued directives to the districts where the Italian group of tourists, 15 of whom have tested positive for coronavirus had travelled.

Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan will brief the media on the coronavirus outbreak in India at 3 pm. He will also take a meeting with senior officials from the Delhi government to discuss the management and preparedness in light of the virus' spread in India.

The total confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in India stood at six on Tuesday after an Italian tourist tested positive for the novel virus in Jaipur, and authorities like Prime Minister Narendra Modi and several state governments doubled down on facilities to treat patients and precautionary measures. The disease has now spread to over 60 countries and has claimed over 3,100 lives worldwide, PTI reported.

The report said that the sample of the Italian tourist, which was sent to the National Institute of Virology in Pune, was found to be positive after the first two tests gave contradictory results. The 69-year-old man, part of a group of 20 tourists, is admitted at an isolation ward of the SMS Hospital. His wife also tested positive for the virus, PTI reported, however, the Rajasthan government said that her sample is being sent to the National Institute of Virology in Pune for another test.

Rajasthan health minister Dr Raghu Sharma on Tuesday instructed health officials to screen all those people who had come in contact with the Italian tourist who tested positive for coronavirus.

Asking to step up vigil, the minister also asked officials to send a rapid response team of the Medical Education and Health Department to the places visited by the patient, along with 19 others from Italy. The team, including senior professors and epidemiologists, will inspect hotels and excursions in Jaipur, Udaipur, Jodhpur, Bikaner, Mandawa (Jhunjhunu) and Jaisalmer.

The Centre on Tuesday also extended the suspension of existing visas given to nationals from Italy, Iran, South Korea, and Japan on or before 3 March and who have not yet arrived in India. The move came a month after India cancelled the visas for Chinese nationals and those who had visited China in January, after the outbreak of the disease in December. Over 90,000 have been infected globally so far.

Meanwhile, the coronavirus epidemic shifted increasingly westward toward West Asia, Europe and the United States on Tuesday, with governments taking emergency steps to ease shortages of masks and other supplies for front-line doctors and nurses.

Washington state has reported a seventh death from coronavirus. All of the COVID-19 deaths in the United States so far have been in the Seattle area. A spokeswoman for Harborview Medical Center in Seattle said the patient died on 26 February. She said the person had been a resident at a suburban Seattle care facility that has reported multiple virus cases and deaths.

The spokeswoman said some hospital staff may have been exposed while treating the patient but officials don't believe other patients were. The hospital staff are being monitored and screened daily.

Deaths in Italy surged to 79, making it the deadliest reported outbreak outside China. Twenty-three members of Iran's Parliament and the head of the country's emergency services were reported infected. South Korea expanded drive-thru testing and confirmed hundreds of new cases. And in Spain's Basque region, at least five doctors and nurses were infected and nearly 100 health care workers were being held in isolation.

The mushrooming outbreaks contrasted with optimism in China, where thousands of recovered patients were going home and the number of new infections has been dropping.

Worldwide, more than 93,000 people have been infected and over 3,100 have died, the vast majority of them in China. The number of countries hit by the virus exceeded 70, with Ukraine and Morocco reporting their first cases.

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