Coronavirus LIVE: Iran reports 11 new deaths, Ireland confirms first case

South Korean Army soldiers wearing protective gears gather to spray disinfectant to prevent the spread of a new coronavirus at the Dongdaegu train station in Daegu, South Korea
Industry body Assocham said on Sunday that with the Chinese economy getting impacted due to the coronavirus outbreak, India can push its exports in the global markets to fill up the space vacated by the neighbouring country.
 
The boduy said that while Indian exporters of electronics, pharmaceuticals, speciality chemicals and automobile segments depend on China for raw material and are facing supply constraints, there are several areas where there are increased opportunities for domestic traders.

 
Meanwhile, the total number of coronavirus-related deaths in China rose to 2,870 on Sunday with the country's health authorities reporting 35 more deaths.  The number, however,  is lower than the 47 fatalities reported by authorities on Saturday.

All but one of the 35 deaths were in Hubei province, whose capital Wuhan is the epicentre of the outbreak.

China's National Health Commission also reported 573 new infections, bringing the total number of cases in mainland China to 79,824.

The new coronavirus, which has killed nearly 3,000 people and infected more than 86,000 in dozens of countries, is believed to have first emerged late last year in a Wuhan market that sold wild animals. 

In another development, India's Commerce Department is considering imposing duties on over a 100 products that the country imports from China in light of the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak. The issue is set to be discussed early next week as the department meets with industry bodies to discuss the widening supply gap for key imports.

2:46 AM IST The growing spread of coronavirus and its impact on production in China have left Indian companies scrambling for options. While airlifting raw materials from China is a measure that some firms are now considering, others are looking at neighbouring countries such as Taiwan, Vietnam, and Thailand for their sourcing requirements. Read on..

2:38 AM IST Britain announced a jump in coronavirus cases on Sunday, with 13 new infections taking the total to 36, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he expected the number to rise further

2:37 AM IST As new cases of coronavirus started to emerge in many parts of the world, IT services firms have begun to impose strict travel restrictions, which is likely to result in business disruption in the coming days. Also, the demand from hospitality & travel and automotive verticals is expected to turn weak in the coming months, as tourism has been badly affected in the past two months   According to company executives, most IT firms have cut down unnecessary travels to countries like Singapore, South Korea, Japan, and Italy.  Read on....

11:56 PM IST The number of people infected in Italy with the new coronavirus rose 40 per cent to 1,576 in just 24 hours, Italian authorities announced on Sunday, adding that five more infected people had died.   The news came as a new US government advisory urged Americans not to travel to the two Italian regions hardest hit by the virus.

9:58 PM IST Two Nepali nationals, who returned from China and South Korea, have been kept in an isolation ward of a government hospital in Nepal after they showed flu-like symptoms, officials said on Sunday.   Officials of the Shukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital in Teku said swabs of throat and nose of the duo were sent to the National Public Health Laboratory to test for COVID-19.   The person who returned from China was kept in isolation since Saturday, while the one who came from Korea was kept in the isolation ward on Sunday, they said.   Both the persons came back to Nepal less than 14 days ago.

9:57 PM IST As Vistara took delivery of its first wide-body Dreamliner 787-9 aircraft at the Boeing facility here to start long haul operations, the airline's CEO Leslie Thng said the recent coronavirus outbreak would have a short term impact on the aviation industry and that airlines need to remain flexible and nimble while dealing with the situation.   The recent novel coronavirus outbreak has killed nearly 3,000 people across the world, with 2,870 deaths in China alone.   n the coronavirus outbreak, Thng said, "If you look at the airline industry over a decade, there always are some episodes of shocks. Airlines will have to make some adjustments to the capacity, they have to make some adjustments to the frequency, etc. We have to just make sure that we (airlines) remain flexible and nimble." The new 787-9 aircraft, which has the registration number VT-TSD, is the first of the six that Vistara has purchased from Boeing.

9:52 PM IST Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Sunday urged External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar to take urgent action over the issue of Kerala fishermen stranded in Iran following the coronavirus outbreak and explore all channels with Iranian authorities for their evacuation.   In a letter to Jaishankar, he said certain fishermen groups from India, including many from his Lok Sabha constituency of Thiruvananthapuram, are currently stranded in Iran following the outbreak of coronavirus in the region.   These are fishermen who have legally secured work permits and have been hired by local fishing companies to work in the country, Tharoor said.

9:51 PM IST A 27-year-old woman was quarantined in hospital here in Madhya Pradesh for suspected exposure to the novel Coronavirus on Saturday after she returned from Italy, an official said on Sunday.   The woman, who hails from Indore but currently studying in Italy, came into contact with a patient affected by the deadly virus at a social gathering in that party, he said.   "The woman was admitted to the government-run Maharaja Yashwantrao Holkar Hospital (MYH) on Saturday evening after she showed symptoms of cold. She has been kept under medical supervision in a separate ward of the hospital for 14 days," said Dr Santosh Sisodia, District In-charge of Integrated Disease Surveillance Program (IDSP).

8:16 PM IST British health authorities on Sunday announced 12 more confirmed cases of the new coronavirus, bringing the country's overall tally to 35.   The government's chief medical officer, Prof. Chris Whitty, said one of the new patients “had no relevant travel and it is not yet clear whether they contracted it directly or indirectly from an individual who had recently returned from abroad.” Whitty said medical workers were still investigating the cause of that one infection.   Three of the new COVID-19 patients were contacts of an existing patient.   Of the remaining eight new cases, six infected people had recently traveled from Italy and two had arrived from Iran, both countries hard hit by the coronavirus that emerged late last year in central China. 

8:15 PM IST The French community church in Rome, St Louis of the French, closed its doors to the public on Sunday after a priest was infected with a new virus.   The church in the historic centre of Rome is famous for three paintings by the Baroque master Caravaggio, making it a destination for tourists and the faithful alike. A sign on the door Sunday noted in French that the church had been closed as a precaution by the French Embassy for both Masses and tourist visits until further notice.   The Religious Information Service news agency reported that the church was closed after a 43-year-old priest who had returned to Paris was hospitalized after being infected by coronavirus.

8:07 PM IST The spreading coronavirus epidemic shut down France's Louvre Museum on Sunday, with workers who guard its trove of art works fearful of being contaminated by the museum's flow of visitors from around the world.   "We are very worried because we have visitors from everywhere," said Andre Sacristin, a Louvre employee and union representative for its staffers.   "The risk is very, very, very great," he said in a phone interview. While there are no known virus infections among the museum's 2,300 workers, “it's only a question of time," he said.

LIVE UPDATES

Firms may well have to airlift raw materials

The growing spread of coronavirus and its impact on production in China have left Indian companies scrambling for options. While airlifting raw materials from China is a measure that some firms are now considering, others are looking at neighbouring countries such as Taiwan, Vietnam, and Thailand for their sourcing requirements. Read on..

UK coronavirus cases jump, PM Johnson says he expects more

Britain announced a jump in coronavirus cases on Sunday, with 13 new infections taking the total to 36, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he expected the number to rise further

IT companies widen travel restrictions

As new cases of coronavirus started to emerge in many parts of the world, IT services firms have begun to impose strict travel restrictions, which is likely to result in business disruption in the coming days. Also, the demand from hospitality & travel and automotive verticals is expected to turn weak in the coming months, as tourism has been badly affected in the past two months
 
According to company executives, most IT firms have cut down unnecessary travels to countries like Singapore, South Korea, Japan, and Italy.  Read on....

Virus cases in Italy soar 40%

The number of people infected in Italy with the new coronavirus rose 40 per cent to 1,576 in just 24 hours, Italian authorities announced on Sunday, adding that five more infected people had died.
 
The news came as a new US government advisory urged Americans not to travel to the two Italian regions hardest hit by the virus.

Two Nepali nationals having flu symptoms kept in isolation

Two Nepali nationals, who returned from China and South Korea, have been kept in an isolation ward of a government hospital in Nepal after they showed flu-like symptoms, officials said on Sunday.
 
Officials of the Shukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital in Teku said swabs of throat and nose of the duo were sent to the National Public Health Laboratory to test for COVID-19.
 
The person who returned from China was kept in isolation since Saturday, while the one who came from Korea was kept in the isolation ward on Sunday, they said.
 
Both the persons came back to Nepal less than 14 days ago.

Coronavirus will have short-term impact, airlines need to be flexible: Vistara CEO

As Vistara took delivery of its first wide-body Dreamliner 787-9 aircraft at the Boeing facility here to start long haul operations, the airline's CEO Leslie Thng said the recent coronavirus outbreak would have a short term impact on the aviation industry and that airlines need to remain flexible and nimble while dealing with the situation.
 
The recent novel coronavirus outbreak has killed nearly 3,000 people across the world, with 2,870 deaths in China alone.
 
n the coronavirus outbreak, Thng said, "If you look at the airline industry over a decade, there always are some episodes of shocks. Airlines will have to make some adjustments to the capacity, they have to make some adjustments to the frequency, etc. We have to just make sure that we (airlines) remain flexible and nimble." The new 787-9 aircraft, which has the registration number VT-TSD, is the first of the six that Vistara has purchased from Boeing.

Tharoor writes to Jaishankar, seeks evacuation of stranded Kerala fishermen from Iran

Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Sunday urged External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar to take urgent action over the issue of Kerala fishermen stranded in Iran following the coronavirus outbreak and explore all channels with Iranian authorities for their evacuation.
 
In a letter to Jaishankar, he said certain fishermen groups from India, including many from his Lok Sabha constituency of Thiruvananthapuram, are currently stranded in Iran following the outbreak of coronavirus in the region.
 
These are fishermen who have legally secured work permits and have been hired by local fishing companies to work in the country, Tharoor said.

Woman quarantined in Indore for suspected Covid infection

A 27-year-old woman was quarantined in hospital here in Madhya Pradesh for suspected exposure to the novel Coronavirus on Saturday after she returned from Italy, an official said on Sunday.
 
The woman, who hails from Indore but currently studying in Italy, came into contact with a patient affected by the deadly virus at a social gathering in that party, he said.
 
"The woman was admitted to the government-run Maharaja Yashwantrao Holkar Hospital (MYH) on Saturday evening after she showed symptoms of cold. She has been kept under medical supervision in a separate ward of the hospital for 14 days," said Dr Santosh Sisodia, District In-charge of Integrated Disease Surveillance Program (IDSP).

UK reports 12 new coronavirus cases, bringing tally to 35

British health authorities on Sunday announced 12 more confirmed cases of the new coronavirus, bringing the country's overall tally to 35.
 
The government's chief medical officer, Prof. Chris Whitty, said one of the new patients “had no relevant travel and it is not yet clear whether they contracted it directly or indirectly from an individual who had recently returned from abroad.” Whitty said medical workers were still investigating the cause of that one infection.
 
Three of the new COVID-19 patients were contacts of an existing patient.
 
Of the remaining eight new cases, six infected people had recently traveled from Italy and two had arrived from Iran, both countries hard hit by the coronavirus that emerged late last year in central China. 

Virus shuts famed French church in Rome

The French community church in Rome, St Louis of the French, closed its doors to the public on Sunday after a priest was infected with a new virus.
 
The church in the historic centre of Rome is famous for three paintings by the Baroque master Caravaggio, making it a destination for tourists and the faithful alike. A sign on the door Sunday noted in French that the church had been closed as a precaution by the French Embassy for both Masses and tourist visits until further notice.
 
The Religious Information Service news agency reported that the church was closed after a 43-year-old priest who had returned to Paris was hospitalized after being infected by coronavirus.

Virus fears close down France's Louvre Museum

The spreading coronavirus epidemic shut down France's Louvre Museum on Sunday, with workers who guard its trove of art works fearful of being contaminated by the museum's flow of visitors from around the world.
 
"We are very worried because we have visitors from everywhere," said Andre Sacristin, a Louvre employee and union representative for its staffers.
 
"The risk is very, very, very great," he said in a phone interview. While there are no known virus infections among the museum's 2,300 workers, “it's only a question of time," he said.

All crew members have left virus-hit ship in Japan: minister

All crew members from a coronavirus-stricken cruise ship off Japan have now disembarked, the country's health minister said.
 
The crew began leaving the Diamond Princess on Thursday for quarantine ashore after the last of the passengers had departed.
 
"Including the captain, all crew members disembarked," health minister Katsunobu Kato told reporters late Sunday.
 
Around 130 people -- including the captain and 98 health ministry officials who were working aboard -- tested negative for the virus as they left the vessel, he said.
 
They will spend 14 days at government-designated dormitories before being allowed to leave Japan, while the vessel will be disinfected before sailing again.
 
At least six people who were hospitalised after being taken off the ship have died, including a British male passenger, the health ministry said.

Man quarantined in Maharashtra for suspected Coronavirus tests negative

A man who was quarantined in Nashik in Maharashtra for possible exposure to novel coronavirus after his return from Italy, has tested negative, officials said on Sunday.
 
The man, who hails from Chandrapur district, had returned to the country on February 26 from Italy, where he had gone for studies, an official said.
 
"He came directly to his sister's place in Nashik. As he suffered from cough, cold and fatigue, the health officials of the Nashik Municipal Corporation (NMC) conducted a medical check-up on him and got him admitted to the civil hospital here," district civil surgeon Dr Suresh Jagdale said.

Armenia confirms first coronavirus case

Armenia on Sunday confirmed its first case of coronavirus, an Armenian citizen who recently returned from Iran and who was in stable condition in hospital.
 
Around 30 people who had been in contact with the patient had also been placed in isolation, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said on Facebook.
 
Neighbouring Azerbaijan registered its first case of the COVID-19 virus on Friday, a Russian who had also arrived from Iran. On Saturday, Azerbaijan suspended all flights to Iran.

Georgia also has confirmed three cases and has temporarily banned Iranian nationals from visiting, along with suspending air links with China.

Coronavirus cases in Germany jump to 117

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany has jumped to 117 from 66, the Robert Koch Institute for disease control said on Sunday.
 
A German government crisis committee has widened cross-border travel guidelines and cancelled major international events, and the health minister has advised people with cold symptoms to stay away from mass events.
 
More than half of the cases are in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany's most populous state where several schools and daycare centres will be closed on Monday to try to prevent the spread of the virus after staff members tested positive.
 
Interior Minister Horst Seehofer told the mass-selling Bild am Sonntag newspaper that he expected a vaccine for the coronavirus to be available by the end of the year.

Indian embassy in touch with Iranian authorities on Indians stuck there due to coronavirus: Muraleedharan

The government has received reports of Indians including fishermen stuck in Iran due to the Coronavirus outbreak and the embassy in Tehran is in touch with local authorities on the issue, Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan said on Sunday.
 
Indian envoy to Iran Gaddam Dharmendra had on Saturday said the authorities are working to facilitate the return of Indians who wish to go back home and discussions were underway with authorities.
 
Several political leaders in Jammu and Kashmir have appealed to the Centre to evacuate the people of the Union Territory, including students, who were stranded in Iran.

South Africa to airlift 151 from virus-infected China within days

South Africa will evacuate 151 citizens from the coronavirus-hit Chinese city of Wuhan within days, the health minister said Sunday, as the death toll and number of infected worldwide mounted.
 
The virus has spread to more than 60 countries around the globe -- killing nearly 3,000 people and sickening 87,000 -- prompting the World Health Organization to raise its risk assessment to its highest level.
 
The decision to airlift the trapped South Africans came after President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday directed the repatriation of those who have asked to return home.

What is the real size of the coronavirus epidemic in Iran?

International experts are questioning the scale of the new coronavirus epidemic in Iran, where the official death toll is second only to China and risks creating a regional epicentre of contagion.
 
While Iran has acknowledged 43 deaths among 593 confirmed infections nationwide -- with a vice-president and deputy health minister among those testing positive -- unofficial tolls are much higher.
 
The London-based BBC Persian service says 210 people have been killed by the virus; a figure it says it collated from hospital sources.
 

Virus forces sumo spring tournament behind closed doors: Reports

Sumo's spring tournament will be held behind closed doors, Japanese media reported Sunday, the latest sporting event in the country to be affected by coronavirus fears, less than five months before the Tokyo Olympics.
 
The governing body of Japan's ancient sport held an emergency meeting and decided to bar spectators from the major tournament in Osaka scheduled for March 8-22, public broadcaster NHK and others reported.

Mexico confirms fourth coronavirus case, all linked to Italy

Mexico confirmed its fourth case of the new coronavirus -- all linked to recent travel to Italy -- after a young woman tested positive for infection.
 
Health authorities on Saturday said the 20-year-old from northern Coahuila state was carrying the virus without showing symptoms.
 
She had recently travelled to Milan and was now under isolation in her home, according to the state government.
 
Another eight people are being tested for suspected infection, authorities said.

Olympics-Japan's crowdless sport: A prelude to a coronavirus-hit Games?

A line of masked spectators raises muffled cheers for elite marathon runners, and a baseball bat's thud on a ball echoes around a vast, empty stadium: Sport in Tokyo this weekend set the tone for how a coronavirus-hit Olympic Games could play out.
 
For the first time ever, Japan's professional baseball teams staged pre-season openers behind closed doors after the country dramatically escalated its response to the global coronavirus epidemic by closing schools and cancelling mass events.
 
In Tokyo, Sunday's staging of the annual marathon, which last year saw close to 38,000 amateur participants, was scaled back to just a few hundred professional athletes, with the public strongly discouraged from lining the route. In past years the event attracted more than 1 million roadside spectators.

Italy prepares deficit hike to tackle coronavirus impact

Italy will introduce this week measures worth 3.6 billion euros ($3.5 billion) to help the economy withstand the largest outbreak of coronavirus in Europe, Economy Minister Roberto Gualtieri said on Sunday.
 
In an interview with La Repubblica newspaper, Gualtieri said this amounted to 0.2% of gross domestic product (GDP) and would come on top of an aid-package worth 900 million euros that was unveiled on Friday for the worst-impacted areas.
 
Gualtieri said the new bill would include tax credits for companies that reported a 25% drop in revenues, tax cuts and additional funds for the health service.

Pakistan to close border with Afghanistan for 7 days amid coronavirus scare

Pakistan will close its border with Afghanistan for seven days from Monday to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus, the Interior Ministry said on Sunday, as the authorities ramped up efforts to stop the new cases of infection.
 
The announcement came a day after two more people tested positive for the novel coronavirus in Pakistan, taking the total number of infections in the country to four.
 
The border at Chaman in Balochistan will remain closed for seven days from March 2 "in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus on both sides of the border in the best interest of the people of the brotherly countries", said a statement issued by the Ministry of Interior.

S Korea reports 210 new coronavirus cases, raising total to 3,736: KCDC

South Korea reported 210 new coronavirus cases on Sunday afternoon local time, raising the country's total infections to 3,736, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said.
 
The updated numbers added to the 376 recorded earlier in the day. KCDC also reported an 18th death linked to the virus.

S Korea closes churches as coronavirus tally passes 3,700

Churches were closed in South Korea on Sunday with many holding online services instead as authorities fought to rein in public gatherings, with 586 new coronavirus infections taking the tally to 3,736 cases.
 
That came a day after the biggest daily jump of 813 cases in South Korea's battle with the largest virus outbreak outside China, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said. The death toll rose to 18.
 
In Seoul, the capital, about a dozen worshippers were turned away from the Yoido Full Gospel Church, which put a sermon for its 560,000 followers on YouTube, filmed with a small choir instead of all 200 members and 60-strong orchestra.
 

Maruti, Hyundai, Toyota say production schedules unaffected so far by coronavirus outbreak in China

Major automobile manufacturers Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai and Toyota Kirloskar Motor do not see any immediate impact on their production schedules due to disruption in supply of components from plants located in coronavirus-hit China.
 
The companies, however, continue to monitor the situation closely, especially the operations of their major suppliers, in order to face any adverse situation that crops up in the future.
 
"We do not foresee any problem as of now. We will keep in touch with our suppliers and will inform if there is any issue", a Maruti Suzuki India spokesperson told PTI when contacted over the issue.

Dubai Expo 2020 organisers following coronavirus situation closely

Organisers of Dubai Expo 2020, which starts in October, are following the coronavirus outbreak closely, but are hopeful global efforts to manage the virus will succeed, an Expo 2020 spokesman said on Sunday.
 
"The safety and well-being of everyone visiting Expo 2020 Dubai is of paramount importance to us, and we're working closely with the UAE's Ministry of Health and Prevention to apply the guidance that they have provided," the spokesman said Expo 2020, which is scheduled to run for six months, is seen as a boost to the emirates's tourism sector and economy with earlier projections showing it could attract 11 million foreign visitors.

Gulf bourses dive as coronavirus hits oil price

Stock markets in the oil-rich Gulf states plunged at the start of trading Sunday over fears of the impact of the novel coronavirus, which also battered global bourses last week.
 
All of the seven bourses in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which closed Friday for the Muslim weekend, were hit as oil prices dropped below $50 a barrel.
 
The Saudi bourse, the region's largest and one of the world's top 10 share markets, was down 3.1 per cent at the opening bell.
 
 

China says will repatriate overseas citizens if needed due to coronavirus

China will take measures to repatriate its citizens in countries seriously affected by the coronavirus outbreak if necessary, an official at the country's foreign ministry said on Sunday.
 
Cui Aiming, the foreign ministry official who spoke at a briefing in Beijing, did not name any particular countries.

Coronavirus impact: MG Motor Feb retail sales take hit due to component supply constraints

MG Motor India on Sunday reported retail sales of 1,376 units in February, hit by component supply constraints from coronavirus hit-China and other locations.
 
The company had retailed 3,130 units in January.
 
MG Motor India product portfolio comprises two models -- SUV Hector and ZS EV.
 
MG Motor's sales last month included 158 units of ZS EV, the carmaker's latest product offering, the company said in a statement.
 

Virus outbreak batters economies, raises fear of spread

Amid fears about where the next outbreak of a fast-spreading new virus would appear, infections and deaths continued to rise across the globe Sunday, emptying streets of tourists and workers, shaking economies and rewriting the realities of daily life.
 
Panic-buying of daily necessities emerged in Japan, tourist sites across Asia, Europe and the Mideast were deserted, and governments closed schools and banned big gatherings. Amusement parks have been shuttered and concerts cancelled. In Paris, priests stopped placing sacramental bread in worshippers' mouths.
 
While the new coronavirus has extended its reach across the world, definite geographic clusters of infections were emerging, with Iran, Italy and South Korea seeing rising cases.

Dubai's Emirates Group sees slowdown due to coronavirus: Document

Dubai's Emirates Group has seen a "measurable slowdown" in business due to the coronavirus outbreak and has asked staff to take paid and unpaid leave, according to an internal email seen by Reuters.
 
Emirates Group, a state-owned holding company that counts Emirates airline among its assets, had more than 100,000 employees, including more than 21,000 cabin crew and 4,000 pilots, at end-March 2019, the end of its last financial year.
 
"A particular challenge for us right now is dealing with the impact of the COVID-19," the email to staff said, using the name of the disease caused by the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.

Another death from coronavirus in Japan, in-hospital infection suspected

A man in his 70s died on Japan's northernmost island of Hokkaido on Saturday night after testing positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2, local authorities said on Sunday.
 
The municipal government of Hokkaido said the patient was hospitalized on Jan. 17 for another disease, but started to show flu-like symptoms a few weeks later and tested positive for the coronavirus on Feb. 25.
 
Public broadcaster NHK and other local media said authorities suspect the man may have caught the virus while in hospital.

Nigeria moves coronavirus patient for better health care

Nigerian health authorities said Saturday an Italian who tested positive for the coronavirus in Lagos, the first case in Nigeria, has been relocated for better care, a health official said.
 
The Italian, quarantined at the Infectious Disease Hospital in Yaba on Friday, had complained of poor facilities, Lagos health commissioner Akin Abayomi told journalists.
 
He was moved to a renovated facility with air-conditioning and the patient was now comfortable.

Ireland confirms first coronavirus case

Ireland on Saturday confirmed its first case of coronavirus after a man who had returned from northern Italy tested positive, the government said.
 
Health officials said the man, from the east of Ireland, was "receiving appropriate medical care" after they followed "established protocols" in testing and diagnosing him with COVID-19.
 
"The case is associated with travel from an affected area in northern Italy, rather than contact with another confirmed case," the Department of Health said in a statement.

One worker at a time, virus-hit China's factories sputter back online

The Xuda Shoes Company is usually bustling at this time of year, with workers having long returned from a Lunar New Year holiday in their hometowns to kick-start production of tens of thousands of shoes daily. But China's coronavirus epidemic has changed all that.
 
Only about one-third of the roughly 1,000-strong workforce at Xuda's factory in the eastern export hub of Wenzhou are around, the rest blocked by virus-induced travel disruptions and safety measures.
 
Getting back to full annual capacity of seven million pairs of shoes could take several more weeks, company officials said.

Members of church at centre of S Korea's coronavirus outbreak visited Wuhan: KCDC

Some members of a church at the centre of South Korea's coronavirus outbreak visited the Chinese city of Wuhan in January, where the disease is believed to have originated, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Sunday.
 
Most of the South Korean patients were traced to a branch of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus in the southeastern city of Daegu. The church had a presence in Wuhan.
 
Kwon Jun-wook, a KCDC official, confirmed for the first time that some members of the church visited Wuhan during a briefing.

Indonesia's frontline hospital defends policies to tackle coronavirus

Indonesia has the resources to cope with a coronavirus outbreak, the director of its leading infectious diseases hospital said, defending detection procedures in the Southeast Asian nation of more than 260 million, where no cases have been reported.
 
The world's fourth most populous nation has tested 141 suspected cases, a small figure for its population, sparking concern among some medical professionals of a lack of vigilance and a risk of undetected cases.
 
Neighbouring Malaysia has reportedly run about 1,000 tests, and Britain more than 10,000.

Thailand records first coronavirus death: Health official

A 35-year-old Thai man who also had dengue fever has died from a coronavirus infection, Thailand's first death from the COVID-19 disease, Suwanchai Wattanayingcharoen, director-general of the Department of Disease Control, said on Sunday.
 
Thailand has recorded 42 coronavirus cases since January, with 30 of those recovering and 11 still being treated in hospitals, according to the department.
 
Thai health officials said the dead man had worked in the retail sector, where he had come into contact with many tourists during the early stages of the outbreak.
A 35-year-old Thai man who also had dengue fever has died from a coronavirus infection, Thailand's first death from the COVID-19 disease, Suwanchai Wattanayingcharoen, director-general of the Department of Disease Control, said on Sunday.
 
Thailand has recorded 42 coronavirus cases since January, with 30 of those recovering and 11 still being treated in hospitals, according to the department.
 
Thai health officials said the dead man had worked in the retail sector, where he had come into contact with many tourists during the early stages of the outbreak.

S Korea closes churches as coronavirus tally passes 3,500

Churches were closed in South Korea on Sunday with many holding online services instead, as authorities fought to rein in public gatherings, with 376 new coronavirus infections taking the tally to 3,526 cases.
 
That came a day after the biggest daily jump of 813 cases in South Korea's battle with the largest virus outbreak outside China, said the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC), which will update numbers later in the day.

India can fill up export market space vacated by China due to coronavirus: Assocham

With the Chinese economy getting impacted due to the coronavirus outbreak, India can push its exports in the global markets to fill up the space vacated by the neighbouring country, industry body Assocham said on Sunday.
 
It said Indian exporters of electronics, pharmaceuticals, speciality chemicals and automobile segments depend on China for raw material and are facing supply constraints, but there are several areas where there are increased opportunities for domestic traders.
 
"Barring a few segments, a large number of engineering exports from India can fill up the market vacated by China; so is the case with products like leather and leather goods," Assocham Secretary General Deepak Sood said.

Five Serie A games off as coronavirus brings chaos to Italian sport

Five matches in Italy's Serie A, including the heavyweight duel between champions Juventus and Inter Milan, were postponed due to the spread of the coronavirus.
 
Sunday's clash pitting Juventus and third-placed Inter in Turin was among those fixtures to be called off and rearranged for May 13. It had originally been scheduled to be played behind closed doors.
 
The decisions also mean the Italian Cup final, initially set for May 13, has been pushed back to the following week on Wednesday, May 20.

Coronavirus time bomb: America's uninsured and brutal work culture

Like many Americans, bartender Danjale Williams is worried about the growing threat of the novel coronavirus.
 
What makes the 22-year-old in Washington even more frightened: The thought of medical bills she just can't afford, as one of almost 27.5 million people in the United States who don't have health insurance.
 
"I definitely would second guess before going to the doctor, because the doctor's bill is crazy," she said. "If it did come down to that, I don't have enough savings to keep me healthy." As the virus begins spreading in the west of the country, where the first death was reported Saturday, public health experts warned the US has several characteristics unique among wealthy nations that make it vulnerable.

S Korea's Samsung Electronics closes mobile device plant after coronavirus case confirmed: Yonhap

Samsung Electronics shut one of its mobile device factories in South Korea after a worker tested positive for the coronavirus, the Yonhap news agency reported, citing a company official.
 
The factory in Gumi, close to Daegu where most of the South Korean virus cases have been confirmed, was temporarily closed last month after an earlier case was discovered.
 
The floor where the infected employee worked will reopen on Tuesday afternoon, Yonhap said.

Coronavirus weighs on South Korea Feb trade; ministry says worse to come

South Korean exports snapped a 14-month losing streak in February thanks to more working days this year compared to last, although evidence of disruptions from the coronavirus were reflected outside the headline figures.
 
South Korea's monthly trade data, the first to be released among major exporting economies, provides an early guide to the health of global trade already taking a hit from the epidemic.

Man in Washington state first in US to die from new virus

A man has died in Washington state of COVID-19, state health officials said Saturday, marking the first such reported death in the United States.
 
State officials issued a terse news release announcing the death, gave no details and scheduled a news conference.
 
A spokesperson for EvergreenHealth Medical Center, Kayse Dahl, said the person died in the facility in the Seattle suburb of Kirkland, but gave no other details.

Indian envoy says facilitating return of citizens from Iran amid coronavirus scare

Indian envoy to Iran Gaddam Dharmendra on Saturday said the authorities are working to facilitate the return of Indians who wish to go back home in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
 
He said discussions are underway with the authorities concerned to work out arrangements for the same.
 
At many as 43 people have died in Iran as a result of the new deadly disease.

Gatherings banned, travel restricted as coronavirus cases grow worldwide

Leaders in Europe, the Middle East and the Americas rolled out bans on big gatherings, and stricter travel restrictions as cases of the new coronavirus spread around the world.
 
The United States on Saturday reported its first death from the disease, a Washington state man in his 50s. Two of the state's three cases have links to a nursing home, state officials said, where dozens of residents have symptoms of the disease.
 
US President Donald Trump and top officials said in a White House press briefing that travelers from South Korea and Italy would be subject to additional screening, and warned Americans against traveling to coronavirus-affected regions in both countries.

American Airlines suspending flights to Milan after US travel warning

American Airlines Inc will suspend all US flights to Milan, the airline said late on Saturday, just hours after the US State Department said it was raising its travel warning for parts of Italy due to the coronavirus outbreak.
 
Italy is experiencing Europe's worst outbreak of the infectious disease, with more than 1,100 confirmed cases and 29 deaths. The country's outbreak emerged last week about 40 miles (60 km) from Milan, Italy's financial capital in the country's north.
 
American said it will suspend flights to and from Milan, from New York-John F. Kennedy International Airport and Miami through April 24, citing a reduction in demand.

78-year-old is Australia's first coronavirus fatality

A 78-year-old man, evacuated from the coronavirus-stricken Diamond Princess cruise liner in Japan, died at a Perth hospital Sunday, becoming Australia's first fatality from the disease, officials said.
 
His 79-year-old wife was also infected with the disease during the cruise and remains in a Perth hospital, a spokeswoman for the Western Australian state health department told AFP.
 
The couple were among about 160 Australians evacuated from the Diamond Princess last month and they tested positive for the coronavirus during their flight home.

South Korea reports 376 more coronavirus cases, total 3,526

South Korea confirmed 376 more coronavirus cases on Sunday, taking the national total to 3,526 infections, the largest in the world outside China.
 
Nearly 90 per cent of the new cases were in Daegu, the centre of the country's outbreak, and its neighbouring North Gyeongsang province, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a statement.
 
The national total is expected to rise further as authorities screen more than 260,000 members of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus, a secretive entity often accused of being a cult that is linked to around half of the country's cases.

China reports 35 more virus deaths, 573 new cases

China on Sunday reported 35 more deaths from the new coronavirus, taking the toll in the country to 2,870.
 
The number is lower than the 47 fatalities reported by Chinese authorities on Saturday.
 
The National Health Commission also reported 573 new infections, bringing the total number of cases in mainland China to 79,824.
 
 

Coronavirus impact weighs on S Korea Feb trade, but worse seen to come

South Korean exports rebounded marginally in February, snapping a 14-month losing streak, thanks to more working days, though disruptions from the coronavirus were seen materialising outside the headline figures.
 
South Korea's monthly trade data, the first to be released among major exporting economies, provides an early guide to the health of global trade, which has taken a hit from the rapid spread of the epidemic.
 
Overall shipments in February rose 4.5% year-on-year, customs data showed on Sunday, beating a 3.4% rise tipped in a Reuters poll, given 3.5 more working days from a year earlier.

Trump says US considering restrictions at Mexican border over coronavirus

The United States is considering shutting the country's southern border with Mexico to control the spread of the new coronavirus, President Donald Trump said on Saturday, as his administration announced new limits on travelers who have visited Iran and recommended against travel to hard-hit areas of Italy and South Korea.
 
Mexico's government said on Friday it had detected three cases of coronavirus infection in three men who had all recently traveled to Italy, making the country the second in Latin America to register the fast-spreading flu-like illness.
 
Asked at a White House press briefing if he was considering closing the US-Mexico border, Trump said: "Yes, we are thinking about the southern border."

Coronavirus cases exceed 1,000 in Italy, death toll at 29: official

The number of cases of the new coronavirus in Italy has exceeded 1,000, the health ministry said Saturday, with the death toll rising by eight to 29 in the past 24 hours.
 
The number of cases reached 1,128 since the start of the epidemic, up from 888 on Friday, although 52 per cent of those tested show few to no symptoms, the Italian health authorities said.

Indian envoy says facilitating return of citizens from Iran amid coronavirus scare

Indian envoy to Iran Gaddam Dharmendra on Saturday said the authorities are working to facilitate the return of Indians who wish to go back home in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
 
He said discussions are underway with the authorities concerned to work out arrangements for the same. At many as 43 people have died in Iran as a result of the new deadly disease. Read more...

Man in Washington state first in US to die from new virus

A man has died in Washington state of COVID-19, state health officials said Saturday, marking the first such reported death in the United States. State officials issued a terse news release announcing the death, gave no details and scheduled a news conference. A spokesperson for EvergreenHealth Medical Center, Kayse Dahl, said the person died in the facility in the Seattle suburb of Kirkland, but gave no other details. State and King County health officials said new people (have been) identified with the infection, one of whom died. Read more...

Italian Serie-A matches postponed over coronavirus fears

Five Italian Serie-A weekend matches including Sunday's clash between Juventus and Inter Milan have been postponed due to the coronavirus, the Italian football league said Saturday.
 
Other matches called off are AC Milan v Genoa, Parma v SPAL, Sassuolo v Brescia, all scheduled for Sunday, and Saturday's clash between Udinese and Fiorentina, the league said in a statement.
 
The games will be played on May 13 and the Italian Cup final, scheduled to take place on that day, will be put back to May 20, the league said.

Iran says 'tens of thousands' may get tested for coronavirus

An Iranian Health Ministry spokesman says the Islamic Republic is preparing for the possibility of tens of thousands coming to test for the new coronavirus, underscoring the concern over the outbreak there.

 

Iran spokesman to hold news conference online due to coronavirus

Iran's government spokesman will hold his weekly news conference online due to the outbreak of coronavirus in the country, which has the highest death toll outside China, the semi-official Mehr news agency reported on Saturday

Qatar reports its first coronavirus case in man who returned from Iran

Qatar's health ministry reported on Saturday the first case of coronavirus infection in the country.
 
The patient is a 36 year-old Qatari who returned recently from Iran, the ministry said in a statement, adding that he is a stable condition.
 
With Qatar reporting its first infection, Saudi Arabia becomes the only Gulf country not to have signalled any coronavirus case.

Japan's PM Abe calls for cooperation in coronavirus battle as Olympics to go ahead

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Saturday called on the public to cooperate in a "tough battle" to contain the coronavirus outbreak in coming weeks as the country prepares to hold the Olympic Games in Tokyo as planned.
 
"To be frank, we cannot win this battle through the efforts of the government alone," Abe told a news conference

112 Wuhan evacuees sheltered at ITBP quarantine facility test negative for coronavirus

All the 112 people, housed at an ITBP quarantine facility after being evacuated from Wuhan in China, have tested negative for coronavirus after their first samples were taken, an official said on Saturday.

Qatar announces first case of coronavirus infection

First case of coronavirus infection reported in Qatar, according to Qatar news agency

US game makers conference postponed amid virus fears

A game developers conference in San Francisco was postponed Friday, after Facebook and Microsoft withdrew from the event due to concerns about the spread of novel coronavirus. The annual gathering was due to start March 16 in a downtown convention center but will be held later this year instead, the organizers of the Game Developers Conference said. It joins a growing list of global events that have been nixed as the virus spreads around the world. US officials on Friday reported a fourth infection with unknown origin -- including two in California -- fuelling fears the epidemic was spreading in the country where more than 60 cases have been confirmed.

Iran's coronavirus death toll rises to 43, with 593 people infected

Iran's death toll from the coronavirus outbreak has reached 43, a health official told state TV on Saturday, adding that the number of infected people across the country has reached 593. "Unfortunately nine people died of the virus in the last 24 hours. The death toll is 43 now. The new confirmed infected cases since yesterday is 205 that makes the total number of confirmed infected people 593," Kianush Jahanpur told state TV.

China sends experts to Iran to contain spread of coronavirus

The coronavirus-hit China, which is grappling to contain the outbreak amidst rising death toll and number of infected cases, has sent a group of experts to Iran to help combat the spread of the disease in the country that has witnessed 34 deaths due to COVID-19, the Chinese foreign ministry said.
 
The Iran health ministry on Friday confirmed 34 deaths due to the deadly disease and 388 confirmed cases of the virus in the country.

Basmati exports takes a hit, domestic prices fall

Rice exports from India, already facing the headwinds of the US-Iran standoff and coronavirus outbreak in China, have been singed further with the scourge spreading to more countries including Iran, which is the top international destination for Indian basmati.

In the backdrop of the bleak export outlook, coupled with robust paddy production during 2019-20 of more than 117 million tonnes (MT) – higher by 9.67 MT than the five-year average production of nearly 107.80 MT – Indian exporters are now staring at losses.

Coronavirus epidemic: Groundnut exports to China come to standstill

After two months of meteoric growth, groundnut import orders from China have come to a standstill due to coronavirus outbreak there.
 
Data compiled by the Agricultural & Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (Apeda) showed India’s groundnut exports jumped by a staggering 27 per cent to 454,373 tonnes for the period between April and December 2019 as compared to 357,795 tonnes in the corresponding period last year. In value terms, however, the growth was phenomenal 41.64 per cent at $489 million versus $346 million.

LG Display suspends work at South Korea factory

LG Display has suspended work at its display module factory in the South Korean city of Gumi after a coronavirus case was confirmed, the company said.
 
An employee of a bank, located in the building housing the plant that turns out smartphone flat screens, tested positive for the virus, leading to the shutdown, a company spokeswoman said, adding that the line would restart on Tuesday.

Apple closely watching coronavirus outbreak in South Korea, Italy

Apple Inc is closely watching how the coronavirus outbreak is unfolding in South Korea and Italy, where the company has suppliers, Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook said in an interview.

Cook told Fox Business Networks that Apple had re-opened 80 percent of its stores in China. He also said that iPhone factories in China had restarted and were in "phase three of the ramp mode."

China's factory activity posts record contraction as coronavirus bites

Factory activity in China contracted at the fastest pace on record in February, highlighting the damage from the coronavirus outbreak on the world's second-largest economy.

China's official Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) fell to a record low of 35.7 in February from 50.0 in January, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Saturday, well below the 50-point mark that separates monthly growth from contraction.

Death toll of coronavirus in China climbs to 2,835 with 47 more fatalities

Forty seven more people have died of the deadly coronavirus, rasing the death toll in the country to 2,835 while the number of confirmed cases climbed to 79,251, Chinese health officials said on Saturday.

China's National Health Commission (NHC) in its daily report on Saturday said it received reports of 427 new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus infection and 47 deaths on Friday.

Oil prices sink to lowest in over a year, biggest weekly drop since 2016

Oil prices slumped for a sixth day in a row on Friday to their lowest in more than a year, causing futures to drop by the most in a week since 2016, as the spread of coronavirus stoked fears that a slowing global economy would hit energy demand
 
For the week, Brent lost almost 14 per cent, its biggest weekly percentage decline since January 2016, while WTI fell over 16 per cent in its biggest weekly percentage drop since December 2008
 

US financial regulators to discuss coronavirus on Wednesday

Top US regulatory officials are expected to discuss the economic implications and financial market impact of a potential coronavirus pandemic at a meeting next Wednesday of their systemic threat panel, three sources told Reuters.
 
The impact of the fast-spreading coronavirus is likely to be high on the agenda of the Financial Stability Oversight Council's deputy-level meeting, which had been scheduled before the recent dramatic sell-off in the stock markets, the sources said.
 
The council, which is led by the Treasury Department and staffed by major financial regulators including the Federal Reserve, is tasked with identifying and monitoring risks to US financial stability

S&P 500 drops for 7th day, posts biggest weekly fall since 2008

The S&P 500 fell for the seventh straight day on Friday and the benchmark index suffered its biggest weekly drop since the 2008 global financial crisis on growing fears the fast-spreading coronavirus could lead to a recession, although stocks cut losses at the end of the day's session.
 
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 356.88 points, or 1.39 per cent, to 25,409.76, the S&P 500 lost 24.7 points, or 0.83 per cent, to 2,954.06 and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.89 points, or 0.01 per cent, to 8,567.37

U.S. lawmakers warned of wider coronavirus outbreak; White House urges calm

A top U.S. health official told lawmakers on Friday to expect many more coronavirus cases in the United States, a source said, as the Trump administration faced mounting criticism for its response to the crisis.
 
With additional countries reporting new infections and global stock markets on the precipice of a free fall, US health officials have been scrambling to deal with the prospect of a widening outbreak of the flu-like illness domestically.
 
The number of confirmed U.S. cases is still relatively small at around 60, most of them repatriated American passengers from the Diamond Princess cruise ship docked in Japan. The number of confirmed U.S. cases is still relatively small at around 60, most of them repatriated American passengers from the Diamond Princess cruise ship docked in Japan.
 
But Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in a closed-door briefing in the U.S. House of Representatives that the sustained spread of the coronavirus in so many countries meant there would many more infections in the United States, according to the source.
 
Fauci added that it was unlikely the virus would disappear next year and he warned lawmakers the country did not have enough testing resources, the source said on condition of anonymity.
 
U.S. Representative Donna Shalala, a Democrat and former Health and Human Services secretary, told CNN that officials in the briefing said the Trump administration was moving quickly to mobilize resources and get tests in place.

UK's Boris Johnson says coronavirus is government's top priority

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said taking measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus was his government's top priority and that the public were right to be concerned, in his first television appearance to talk about the issue.
 
"The issue of coronavirus is something that is now the government's top priority," he told broadcasters, adding that he would be chairing a meeting of ministers and officials on the subject on Monday.

Italy coronavirus cases rise to 888, of which 46 have recovered - official

The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Italy rose on Friday to 888 from 650 the day before, a civil protection official said.
Of the 888 cases, 21 people have died and 46 have recovered, he added, clarifying previous comments which put the total cases at 821, excluding those who had died or recovered.

U.S. CDC confirms one more coronavirus case among Diamond Princess evacuees

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday confirmed one more case of the coronavirus among citizens evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship, bringing the tally among evacuees to 44.
 
The CDC, on a call with reporters, did not give a comprehensive count of the total cases in the United States. The tally would be 62 if no more patients have contracted the virus.

Iceland confirms first case of new coronavirus

Iceland on Friday confirmed the new coronavirus had reached the subarctic island after a man in his forties, who had recently returned from a trip to northern Italy, tested positive for COVID-19.
 
The man was placed in isolation at the National University Hospital of Iceland, after a test confirmed the new coronavirus around 1 pm local time (1300 GMT), Iceland's department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management said in a statement.
 
"The man is not seriously ill but shows typical symptoms of the COVID-19 disease," the government agency said in a statement.

WHO upgrades global risk of virus spread to 'very high'

The UN health agency on Friday upgraded the global risk from the new coronavirus to "very high", saying the continued increase in cases and countries affected was "clearly of concern".
 
"We have now increased our assessment of the risk of spread and the risk of impact of COVID-19 to very high at global level," World Health Organisation (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters.

Asian Wrestling qualifiers postponed indefinitely

The Asian Olympic wrestling qualifiers, scheduled to be held next month in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, have been postponed indefinitely due to concerns over the novel coronavirus.
 
The event was deferred after the Kyrgyzstan government came out with a directive to postpone all sporting events in the country till further notice in the wake of the epidemic, which has killed close to 3000 people and infected nearly 80,000 globally.
 
There is no update on the rescheduled time and venue for the event which was slated from March 27 to 29.
 
The Kyrgyzstan government took the decision during an operational meeting.

US stocks open sharply lower again on virus fears

Wall Street stocks tumbled in opening trading Friday, suffering another steep decline as fears of an economic slowdown due to coronavirus again pummeled global markets.
 
Shortly after the opening bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down nearly 800 points, or 3.0 per cent, at 24,986.27. The index had shed more than 11 per cent this week heading into Friday's session.
 
The broad-based S&P 500 sank 3.1 per cent to 2,887.31, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index plunged 3.3 per cent to 8,285.87. 

Moscow deports 88 foreigners for violating coronavirus quarantine

Moscow authorities are deporting 88 foreign nationals who violated quarantine measures imposed on them as a precaution against coronavirus, the RIA news agency cited Moscow's deputy mayor as saying on Friday.
 
Hundreds of people have been quarantined in Russia to stop the virus spreading. Moscow authorities have carried out raids on potential carriers of the virus - individuals at their homes or hotels - and used facial recognition technology to enforce quarantine measures.

United Airlines cancels flights to Tokyo

United Airlines Holdings Inc said on Friday it was cancelling flights to Tokyo, Osaka, Singapore and Seoul on fears of a coronavirus pandemic.
 
The Chicago-based airline also said it was extending the suspension of U.S. flights to mainland China and Hong Kong through April 30.
Earlier this week, United withdrew its full-year forecast, citing heightened uncertainty over how the duration and spread of the coronavirus to other regions could impact overall air travel demand.
 
Among U.S. airlines, United has the biggest international exposure, drawing about 40% of its revenues from overseas flights.
Earlier this week, Delta cut South Korea flights, citing the outbreak.

Coronavirus will be challenge if issues not resolved in 3 weeks: Sitharaman

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday said the Coronavirus outbreak would emerge as a challenge for India if issues were not resolved in the coming three weeks. The statement cames on a day when the BSE Sensex crashed 1,448 points, or 3.64 per cent, over previous close to end the session at 38,297, mainly on concerns related to Coronavirus. All 30 constituents ended in the red.
 
"No need to press the panic button because of Coronovirus epidemic, the outbreak will be a challenge if issues do not get resolved in three weeks," Sitharaman said while speaking at the CNBCTV18 IBL Awards event. Read More...

No plans to change Tokyo qualification period because of coronavirus: BWF

The novel coronavirus outbreak might have wrecked havoc on Olympic qualifying events but badminton's world body on Friday said it has currently no "plans to make any adjustments" to the regulations related to the Tokyo Games qualification period.
 
Concerns over the rapid spread of the deadly virus forced the postponement of the four Olympic qualifying events so far -- Lingshui China Masters (February 25 to March 1), Vietnam International Challenge (24-29 March 24-29) and German Open (March 3 to 8) and Polish Open (March 26-29).
 
Many top players such as two-time Olympic champion Lin Dan, London bronze medallist Saina Nehwal and Rio Olympics quarterfinalist Kidambi Srikanth are racing against time to book their ticket to Tokyo.
 
The postponement of these qualifying tournaments will further dent their chances as they need a rapid rise up the rankings to qualify for the Games.

British passenger of virus-hit Japan ship dies: health ministry

A British man who was onboard a coronavirus-stricken cruise ship quarantined near Tokyo has died, Japan's health ministry said on Friday.
 
The ministry confirmed the man's nationality and death on Friday without giving any identifying details.
 
The man was the first foreigner to have died from the illness after spending time aboard the Diamond Princess. Another five Japanese nationals on the vessel have died and more than 700 others tested positive for the disease. 

Mexico confirms first 2 cases of coronavirus

Mexico's assistant health secretary announced Friday that the country now has two confirmed cases of the new coronavirus.
Hugo Lopez-Gatell said one of the patients is in Mexico City and the other in the northern state of Sinaloa, and neither is seriously ill.
 
At least five family contacts of the first patient have been placed in isolation. He said one of the men had contact with someone who had travelled to the northern Italian region where there has been an outbreak.
 
Brazil on Wednesday confirmed Latin America's first confirmed case of the new coronavirus in a man who travelled to Italy this month.

Coronavirus: 106 quarantined in Maha since Jan this year

A total of 106 persons, who arrived in Maharashtra from coronavirus-affected countries, were quarantined in the state since January 18 this year, of whom 104 have been found negative for the infection, while the test results of two others are awaited.
 
The state health department gave this information in a statement issued on Friday.
 
Of these 106 persons, only four are presently in the isolation wards- two each at Naidu Hospital in Pune and Kasturba Hospital in Mumbai and reports of the swab samples of two of them are awaited from the National Institute of Virology (NIV), it said.
 
"Out of these 106 samples sent by the state, 104 have been found negative as per the reports of the NIV," a senior health department official said.

US patient with coronavirus of unknown origin denied test for days

Medical staff caring for a California woman with the first US case of novel coronavirus of unknown origin were unable to get her tested for five days because she had not traveled to outbreak-hit regions, a lawmaker revealed Thursday.
 
The development comes amid reports citing a whistleblower complaint that federal health workers interacted with quarantined patients in two California air bases without proper gear or training, before dispersing around the country.
 
One of these sites, Travis Air Force Base, is in Solano County, where the ill woman is also from.

'How coronavirus affects lungs of infected patients decoded'

Researchers have for the first time described the pathology of the Chinese coronavirus which has so far killed 3,000 people and infected nearly 80,000 globally since its origin in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019.
 
The research, published in the Journal of Thoracic Oncology, describes two patients who recently underwent lung surgery, and were found to have had novel coronavirus COVID-19, also known as SARS-CoV-2.
 
Their lungs exhibited edema, liquid proteinaceous secretions, fibrous connective tissue lesions with patchy inflammation, and multinucleated giant cells, the scientists, including those from the University of Chicago Medicine in the US, said. Read More...

US health workers exposed to virus without protective gear: reports

Federal health employees were sent to interact with repatriated Americans quarantined for exposure to the novel coronavirus without wearing protective gear or receiving training, a whistleblower complaint cited by US media said Thursday.
 
The filing, which was seen by the Washington Post and New York Times, was submitted by a senior official in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) who said she was improperly re-assigned after raising her concerns and threatened with being fired if she did not comply.
 
According to the two newspapers, the incidents were in relation to two California air force bases, Travis and March.

Germany quarantines 1,000 as coronavirus cases push past 50 Berlin

Around 1,000 people were in quarantine in Germany's most populous state Friday, as the number of confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in Europe's biggest economy rose above 50.
 
The district of Heinsberg in North Rhine-Westphalia said it had to take the step of keeping around 1,000 home as an infected couple had participated in carnival celebrations in mid-February.
 
Schools and kindergartens were also shut in the district until Monday as the number of cases linked to the cluster reached 20.
In Hamburg, parents and children who were in contact with an infected employee at a university clinic have also been ordered to stay home for 14 days.

Japan's Hokkaido region urges people to stay home over virus fears

Japan's coronavirus-hit Hokkaido region on Friday asked residents to stay at home over the weekend as the northern area struggles to contain a fast-spreading outbreak.
 
Governor Naomichi Suzuki declared a state-of-emergency through March 19.
 
"I believe it is necessary to take unprecedented, drastic steps," Suzuki told a televised meeting of local government executives.
 
Hokkaido region, known for ski resorts and vast forests, has seen at least 63 coronavirus cases, including two deaths, and accounts for more than a quarter of all cases in Japan, apart from those on the Diamond Princess cruise ship.
 
The virus has so far infected at least 210 people across the country, including Hokkaido, and been linked to five deaths.

D-Street sees massive sell-off as coronavirus fears spread. Sensex, Nifty suffer single-biggest fall in 4 years

Indian markets closed deep in red. Sensex closed nearly 1,500 points down falling 7% on weekly basis whie Nifty ended the day slipping over 430 points to close at 11,201. 

Pakistan halts Iran flights over coronavirus

Pakistan has suspended all flights to Iran and closed land borders with its neighbour, officials confirmed on Friday, after Islamabad detected its first two coronavirus cases, both people who had recently travelled to the Islamic Republic.
 
Flights to and from China, the epicentre of the deadly outbreak, and Afghanistan, which also detected its first case this week, were still operating, however, and their land borders with Pakistan were also open.
 
"Aviation Divison has decided to cease all direct flights between Pakistan and Iran," civil aviation authority spokesman Abdul Sattar Khokhar said.
 
No Pakistani airlines were operating between the two countries, meaning the move hits three Iranian carriers -- Iran Air, Mahan Air and Taban Air.

Russia restricts Iran, South Korea travellers over virus

Moscow on Friday announced new restrictions on travel to Russia from Iran and South Korea, two countries hit hardest by the outbreak of the new coronavirus.
 
In a statement, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin announced a temporary suspension of visas for Iranians travelling to Russia for education, employment, tourism and transit.
 
A separate decree imposed restrictions on travel to Russia from South Korea, with exceptions including members of official delegations.
 
Moscow on Wednesday advised Russians against travel to Italy, Iran and South Korea, amid a spike in infections.
 
On Friday, South Korea reported 315 new cases of the virus, bringing the total to 2,337, including at least 13 dead.

Oil prices tank 4.0% in coronavirus-fuelled rout


How Coronavirus may have given global markets their worst week since 2008

Coronavirus outbreak first erupted in China on Dec 8, but for the first time on Feb 26, more cases were being reported from outside the Chinese mainland. Read on...


Recovered coronavirus patients found not to be infectious: Official

Recovered coronavirus patients who were discharged from hospitalization but later tested positive again have been found not to be infectious, an official at China's National Health Commission (NHC) said on Friday.
 
Guo Yanhong, a hospital administration official at the NHC, told reporters at a daily press conference that there is a need to deepen the understanding of the novel virus and improve health tracking and management of recovered coronavirus patients.

Mongolian president placed under quarantine after returning from China: State media

Mongolia's President Battulga Khaltmaa and other government officials have submitted to a 14-day quarantine after returning home from their visit to China, the state news agency Montsame reported on Friday.
 
Battulga is the first head of state to visit China since the country began implementing special measure to curb the coronavirus outbreak in January.
 
He arrived in Beijing with Foreign Minister Tsogtbaatar Damdin and other senior government officials on Thursday, and held a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang.

Another death from coronavirus in Japan: NHK

A man in his 70s in Japan died on Friday from coronavirus, NHK reported.
 
He tested positive for the virus on Feb. 13 in Japan's Wakayama Prefecture, NHK said.
 
If confirmed, that will bring the total number of casualties from the virus to five in Japan, excluding four deaths linked to the quarantined cruise liner Diamond Princess.

J-K ready to deal with possible coronavirus cases

Isolation wards, ventilators and ICUs have been established in medical colleges and associated hospitals in Jammu and Kashmir to deal with possible coronavirus cases. As many as 20 samples have been collected and sent for analysis to AIIMS/NCDC, results of all of which have come negative.
 
M.K. Bhandari, Joint Secretary, Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, on Thursday cautioned the health department not to lower their guard against coronavirus. He was speaking at a meeting to take stock of the preparedness of J&K against the virus. The Joint Secretary has been designated as the nodal officer for the Union Territory of J&K to deal with the preventive measures against coronavirus.
 
He stated that India as a whole has successfully tackled this problem by resorting to the standard operating procedures against such eventualities.

BoE's Carney says coronavirus could hurt UK economy: Sky News

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said Britain should prepare for an economic hit as fallout from the novel coronavirus outbreak deepens.
 
The central bank had already detected a drop in activity that could imply a downgrade but it was too early to tell how Britain would be affected, Carney told Sky News in an interview. 
 

Everest climbing season affected due to COVID-19

With the coronavirus outbreak showing no sign of abating, expedition operators in Nepal fear that the country was likely to suffer severe economic losses in the Everest climbing season that runs from March to May, it was reported.
 
According to operators, many climbers from China, the epicentre of the outbreak, have already started cancelling their expedition bookings after the disease has infected more than 80,000 people in nearly 50 countries, The Himalayan Times said in the report on Thursday.
 
Pasang Sherpa, managing director at Pioneer Adventure Treks, informed that seven Chinese members from his company dropped their plans to scale the world's highest peak from Nepal side this season.

IMF to revise global growth forecast after coronavirus outbreak

The economic cost from the outbreak of coronavirus strain COVID-19 is still uncertain but will certainly have a negative impact on global growth, the International Monetary Fund has said.
 
The IMF is looking at all the data available and hopes to have a more concrete outlook of the ultimate impact when it publishes the next World Economic Outlook report in April, said IMF spokesman Gerry Rice.
 
"We are likely to downgrade our growth projections for the world in April. Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva has already said that. I do not have another number for you today, but clearly the virus is gonna have an impact on growth," he said on Thursday (local time).

Belarus announces first case of coronavirus: Agency

Belarus registered the first case of coronavirus infection in the country, Russian news agency TASS reported on Friday, citing the Belarussian Ministry of Healthcare.
 
"We would like to inform you that February 27 tests conducted at the Republican Scientific and Practical Center of epidemiology and microbiology showed the presence of coronavirus 2019-nCoV in one of the students from Iran," TASS quoted the ministry.

Experts question delayed action as death toll in China's coronavirus climbs to over 2780

Forty four more people have died of the novel coronavirus in China, taking the death toll in the outbreak to 2,788, Chinese health officials said on Friday, amid growing criticism from experts and the public that the epidemic would have been less severe if the authorities acted when the first confirmed case was reported in December.
 
Among the deaths reported on Thursday, 41 were from the epicentre Hubei province and its capital Wuhan, two in Beijing and one in Xinjiang, the National Health Commission said in its daily report.
 
A total of 44 new deaths and 327 confirmed cases were reported on Thursday from all over China, far lower than the earlier days, it said.

India temporarily suspends visa on arrival for Japanese, S Korean nationals amid coronavirus fears

India has temporarily suspended visa on arrival services for nationals of Japan and South Korea in view of the surge in the number of coronavirus cases in the two countries, the Indian embassy here said on Friday.
 
The development comes a day after India evacuated 119 Indians and 5 foreigners who were on board the coronavirus-hit cruise ship, Diamond Princess, moored off the Japanese coast.
 
Out of the 3,711 people on board the ship, over 700 people tested positive for the disease. Elsewhere in the country, over 160 people have been found to be infected with the disease.

Thailand reports one new coronavirus case, total reaches 41: Health official

Thailand recorded one new case of coronavirus, bringing the total in the country to 41 since January, a senior health official said on Friday.
 
The new case is a 25-year-old Thai man, a tour guide who recently returned from South Korea and was diagnosed with the virus on Feb. 24, Sukhum Kanchanaphimai, the health ministry's permanent secretary said in a news conference.
 
So far, 28 coronavirus patients have recovered and returned home and 13 are still being treated in hospitals.

Vietnam to suspend visa-free travel for South Koreans: Yonhap

The Vietnamese government plans to suspend visa-free travel for South Koreans starting on Saturday amid concerns about the coronavirus spreading, Yonhap News Agency said on Friday.
 
The South Korean embassy in Vietnam said that it received a notice about the suspension from the Vietnamese government, the report said.

Hyundai shuts down factory after worker tests positive for coronavirus

A Hyundai Motor worker has tested positive for the new coronavirus, leading to a suspension of production at one its factories in South Korea's southeastern city of Ulsan, the company said on Friday.
 
Shares of the automaker dropped more than 5% after the news, while the wider market was down 2.6%. The closing deals a fresh setback to Hyundai Motor, which has gradually resumed production at local plants hit by a Chinese parts shortage in the wake of the virus outbreak.
 
South Korea has the most infected people outside China, affecting companies like Samsung and Hyundai. South Korea on Friday reported 256 new cases, bringing the total number of infected to 2,022.

Lithuania confirms first coronavirus infection

Lithuania reported its first coronavirus infection on Friday, in a woman who returned this week from a visit to Italy's northern city of Verona, the government said, as the disease spreads rapidly worldwide.
 
Hopes that the virus would be contained to China vanished, with countries beginning to stockpile medical equipment and investors taking flight in expectation of a global recession.
 
In a statement, the Lithuanian government said the woman had been isolated in hospital in the northern town of Siauliai following her return on Monday.

IOC 'committed' to Tokyo Games despite virus: Olympics chief

The International Olympic Committee is "committed" to holding the 2020 Games in Tokyo as planned despite the widening new coronavirus outbreak, the body's president has pledged.
 
The IOC "is fully committed to a successful Olympic Games in Tokyo starting July 24," Thomas Bach told Japanese media in a conference call late Thursday, according to Kyodo News.
 
The statement came as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday requested the closure of schools nationwide in a drive to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
 
Japan has so far seen four deaths related to the virus, among nearly 200 known infections.

Japan scrambles for workarounds after Abe urges March school shutdown to stem coronavirus

Angry Japanese parents joined bewildered teachers and businesses on Friday in a rush to find new ways to live and work for a month after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's shock call for all schools to close in a bid to stop coronavirus spreading.
 
Abe's unprecedented move late on Thursday to ask local authorities to shut schools means students will be out of school from Monday at least until the new academic year starts in early April.

IOC committed to Tokyo Games, wary of virus 'elephant', says Dick Pound

Olympic chiefs will not consider cancelling or postponing this summer's Tokyo Games over the coronavirus unless the World Health Organisation or other regulatory body advises to do so, a senior IOC official said Thursday.
 
Senior International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Dick Pound told AFP there had been no discussion about a possible cancellation of the games over the COVID-19 outbreak.
 
Pound said the IOC would only seek to rearrange the Tokyo Games if given specific advice to do so by international authorities.

Tokyo Disney parks closing for two weeks on virus fears: Statement

The operator of Tokyo's two Disney resorts, Disneyland and DisneySea, said Friday the parks would be closed for around two weeks on fears over the outbreak of the new coronavirus.
 
"Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea have decided to proceed with an extraordinary closure from Saturday February 29, 2020, through Sunday March 15" after the government urged measures to limit the spread of the virus, the operator said in a statement.
 
The operator Oriental Land said it currently hoped to resume operations from March 16.
 
"Currently, we plan to reopen on March 16. But we'll decide when to open by looking at the situation and developments. We'll also consult (official) agencies concerned," a spokesman said.

Rejected by Mexico, Caymans over virus fears, cruise ship docks in Mexico

A cruise ship turned away from Jamaica and the Cayman Islands after a crew member tested positive for flu has docked in Mexico and passengers will be allowed to disembark as long as "health standards" are met, the country's president said Thursday.
 
President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador told reporters that the Meraviglia, which has been anchored off Cozumel island in the Caribbean since Wednesday, "is being allowed to dock" and those aboard may be allowed off.
 
"We cannot act inhumanely. Imagine the desperation," he said, referring to the 6,000 people aboard.

New Zealand limits entry of travellers from Iran on coronavirus fears

New Zealand said on Friday that it was placing temporary restrictions on incoming travellers from Iran as a precautionary measure to protect against the coronavirus outbreak.
 
"This means people will not be able to travel from Iran to New Zealand and anyone who has been in Iran in the last 14 days will need to self-isolate," Health Minister David Clark said in a statement.
 
The death toll in Iran from coronavirus had risen to 26, by far the highest number outside China.

South Korea coronavirus cases pass 2,000: Authorities

South Korea reported 256 new coronavirus cases on Friday, taking its total -- the highest in the world outside China -- to 2,022, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
 
More than 90 per cent of the new cases were in Daegu -- the city at the epicentre of the outbreak in South Korea -- and the neighbouring North Gyeongsang province, it added, with no further deaths keeping the toll at 13.
 
South Korea's total is expected to increase further after checks began on more than 2,10,000 members of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus, a secretive entity often accused of being a cult that is linked to around half of the country's cases.

Nigeria confirms coronavirus case, first in sub-Saharan Africa: Minister

Nigeria on Friday announced the first confirmed case of the novel coronavirus in sub-Saharan Africa.
 
"The case is an Italian citizen who works in Nigeria and returned from Milan, Italy to Lagos, Nigeria on the 25th of February 2020," Health Minister Osagie Ehanire said in a statement on Twitter.
 
"The patient is clinically stable, with no serious symptoms, and is being managed at the Infectious Disease Hospital in Yaba, Lagos." Prior to the case in Nigeria, just two cases had surfaced across all of Africa -- in Egypt and in Algeria -- a tally that had puzzled health specialists, given the continent's close economic ties with China.

Fonterra flags potential hit to China dairy imports by coronavirus

New Zealand's Fonterra , the world's largest dairy exporter, said on Friday its exports to China rose 13.8% in December, but warned that the coronavirus outbreak "will potentially impact" shipments from January.
 
The rapidly spreading outbreak, which is feared to be tipping into a pandemic, has disrupted supply chains and businesses globally, with a rapid rise in infections outside China where the disease originated.
 
"The outbreak of the COVID-19 coronavirus will potentially impact import numbers after December 2019," Fonterra said in a statement. It plans to give an update on the impact of the epidemic when it releases its interim results next month.

Japan Abe says ready to protect economy from coronavirus impact

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Friday the government will take policy steps if needed to ensure the coronavirus outbreak does not inflict damage to the economy.
 
"I'm aware of views that if the virus spreads, it could have a huge impact on the economy," Abe told parliament. "We're therefore watching developments carefully." 

Korean Air says it will not allow passengers with fever to fly to US

Korean Air Lines Co Ltd said on Friday it plans to check temperatures of passengers travelling to the United States before boarding and would not allow anyone with a temperature higher than 37.5 Celsius to fly.
 
A Korean Air flight attendant who worked on flights between Seoul and Los Angeles subsequently tested positive for the coronavirus, South Korea's disease control agency and sources said on Thursday.
 
The country's top airline said in a statement that it also plans to expand these procedures to other routes.

S Korea's extra budget to fight coronavirus set to beat $9.5 bn MERS spending

South Korea said on Friday a supplementary budget due next week to cushion the economic hit of the coronavirus will be larger than the 11.6 trillion won ($9.5 billion) package spent during the 2015 MERS outbreak.
 
The extra budget is part of a series of urgent measures President Moon Jae-in's government announced on Friday as the virus disrupts exports and weakens consumer spending.
 
The finance ministry did not disclose the size of the extra budget but said it would be equal to or bigger than the 11.6 trillion won package deployed when the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome hit the economy in 2015.

World prepares for coronavirus pandemic; global recession forecast

Hopes the coronavirus would be contained to China vanished on Friday as infections spread rapidly around the world, countries started stockpiling medical equipment and investors took flight in expectation of a global recession.
 
Share prices were on track for the worst week since the global financial crisis in 2008 as virus-related disruptions to international travel and supply chains fuelled fears of recession in the United States and the Euro zone.
 
The US stock market fell into correction territory with the benchmark S&P 500 index down more than 4% on Thursday, extending a market rout that has now sliced more than 10% off of its closing peak on Feb 19.

California monitoring 8,400 people for possible coronavirus

California is monitoring more than 8,400 people who arrived on commercial flights for coronavirus symptoms from "points of concern," but the state lacks test kits and has been held back by federal testing rules, Governor Gavin Newsom said on Thursday.
 
California has only 200 test kits, but has appealed for testing protocols to be expanded to include Americans who may catch the virus as it spreads through US communities, Newsom told a news briefing in Sacramento, the state capital.
 
Newsom said the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has assured the state that testing protocols will be advanced and access to test kits will expand "exponentially" in the coming days.

Japan schools may be shut longer depending on coronavirus outbreak: Health minister

Japan's health minister Katsunobu Kato said on Friday there was a chance schools could be closed longer than one or two weeks, depending on the spread of the coronavirus outbreak.
 
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday urged Japan's entire school system, from elementary to high schools, to close from Monday until spring break late in March to help contain the coronavirus outbreak.
 
"There could be a chance" schools could be shut for longer, Kato told parliament. "But the priority is to do what we can now," he said.

South Korea coronavirus cases pass 2,000: Authorities

South Korea reported 256 new coronavirus cases on Friday, taking its total -- the highest in the world outside China -- to 2,022, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
 
More than 90 per cent of the new cases were in Daegu -- the city at the epicentre of the outbreak in South Korea -- and the neighbouring North Gyeongsang province, it added, with no further deaths keeping the toll at 13.

UN prepared to make humanitarian exemptions for N Korea on coronavirus

The UN Security Council on Thursday declared that it would adopt humanitarian exemptions to the heavy economic sanctions imposed on North Korea to help the impoverished country fight the novel coronavirus, Germany's ambassador to the UN said.
 
"The coronavirus issue was discussed and the committee immediately had given permission to export the equipment" used to fight the illness, said Christoph Heusgen, who heads the United Nations body that applies the sanctions imposed on Pyongyang in an effort to force it to give up its ballistic and nuclear programmes.
 
Ill-equipped North Korea has weak medical infrastructure and has cut itself off from the outside world, closing its borders as analysts say prevention is its only option.

China reports 44 new virus deaths, lowest rise in new cases in over a month

China reported 44 more deaths from the novel coronavirus epidemic on Friday and 327 fresh cases, the lowest daily figure for new infections in more than a month.
 
The death toll now stands at 2,788 in mainland China, according to the National Health Commission.
 
The number of fatalities -- which is up from the 29 reported on Thursday -- were all in Hubei province, the epicentre of the outbreak, except for two deaths in Beijing.
 
In total, 78,824 people have now been infected with the COVID-19 strain in the mainland.
 
Friday's figure was the lowest rise in new cases since January 24, when 259 new infections were reported.
 

US spy agencies monitor spread, concerns about India: Reports

US intelligence agencies are monitoring the global spread of coronavirus and the ability of governments to respond, sources familiar with the matter said on Thursday, warning that there were concerns about how India would cope with a widespread outbreak.
 
While there are only a few known cases in India, one source said the country's available countermeasures and the potential for the virus to spread given India's dense population was a focus of serious concern.
 
US intelligence agencies are also focusing on Iran, where the country's deputy health minister has fallen ill during a worsening outbreak. 
 
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday the United States was "deeply concerned" Tehran may have covered up details about the spread of coronavirus.

Coronavirus risk to Americans low, but that can change: US health secretary

The risk to American people from coronavirus is low, but that could change, US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said on Thursday.
 
"We have really been able to keep the risk to the Americans low right now so that everyday Americans don't need to be worried, but that can change and that's why it's important for all of us to prepare," Azar said at a White House event with President Donald Trump.

First case of Coronavirus confirmed in Netherlands

IMF, World Bank funds ready to fight virus outbreak: Spokesman

The International Monetary Fund and World Bank are ready to provide countries in need with immediate emergency funding to fight the coronavirus outbreak, a spokesman said on Thursday.
 
While they have yet to receive a request for aid, the institutions "have now developed contingency plans. We have various financial instruments that could be used," IMF spokesman Gerry Rice said at a press conference. Read more...

Iran coronavirus deaths jump to 26, top officials infected

The coronavirus epidemic in Iran has cost 26 lives, the health ministry announced Thursday, with a vice president becoming the latest top official to be infected as the spread appeared to accelerate.
 
Health ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour told a news conference that the tally of infections had risen to 245 with 106 more cases confirmed -- the highest number for a single day since Iran announced its first infections on February 19. Read more...

Coronavirus: Facebook cancels conference, Microsoft withdraws from another

Facebook Inc said on Thursday it would cancel its annual developer conference due to fears over the coronavirus outbreak and Microsoft Corp followed suit by withdrawing from a gaming conference scheduled for next month. Read more...

Donald Trump says coronavirus risk to Americans 'remains very low'

US President Donald Trump said Americans face little risk from the coronavirus outbreak , seeking to ease public concern after lawmakers raised concern that the government is unprepared. He said that of 15 Americans initially infected by the virus, eight have returned home and one remains hospitalized. Five have fully recovered, he said.
 

Umrah pilgrims from Kerala deplaned by airlines over Coronavirus fears

Nearly 200 Umrah pilgrims from Kerala were deboarded from their flights to Saudi Arabia from Calicut international Airport here on Thursday after the gulf nation enforced a temporary ban on foreigners seeking to visit the holy cities of Makkah and Madina, following coronavirus scare.
 
Saudi Arabia halted travel to the holiest sites in Islam over fears about a viral epidemic just months ahead of the annual hajj pilgrimage, a move that came as the Mideast has over 240 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus.
 
According to Airports Authority of India officials, as many as 84 of passengers from the Saudi Airlines and 104 from the Spice Jet Airlines were denied permission to board the flights and travel to Saudi Arabia.

Italy changes virus count methods at UN agency's urging

With tourism tanking and panic rising, Italy is changing how it reports coronavirus cases and who will get tested in ways that could lower the country's caseload even as an outbreak centered in northern Italy spreads in Europe, officials said Thursday.
 
Italian authorities plan from now on to distinguish between people who test positive for the virus and patients showing symptoms of COVID-19, the illness the virus causes, since the majority of the people in Italy with confirmed infections aren't actually sick.
 
As of Thursday, Italy reported 528 cases and 12 confirmed deaths from the virus, the most of any country outside Asia.
 
All the patients who died were elderly, sick with other ailments or both.
 
At the urging of the World Health Organisation, Italy also is distinguishing between positive virus tests reported at a regional level and results confirmed by its National Institute of Health.
 
The UN health agency insisted that only nationally certified cases are considered official.

Germany eyes tax breaks to counter coronavirus impact

Germany may introduce tax breaks to cushion the effect of the coronavirus should the epidemic worsen, Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said on Thursday, adding that the impact so far on Europe's largest economy was fairly limited.
 
Germany has reported 27 cases of the virus, most of whom have already been discharged from hospital. China, where the outbreak started, is one of Germany's biggest export markets and German companies also depend on Chinese supply chains.
 
On Wednesday, Health Minister Jens Spahn said it was already impossible to trace all paths of infection in Germany, and he urged regional authorities, hospitals and employers to review their pandemic planning.
 
Altmaier said that the government was discussing additional steps should the virus spread more rapidly and cause significant economic damage.

European Union braces for economic impact of coronavirus

The European Union is bracing for the economic hit from the new coronavirus epidemic, but it is still too early to estimate the magnitude, the bloc's commissioner for the internal market said Thursday.
 
Tourism is already feeling the pinch because "our Chinese friends haven't been coming to Europe for two months," Thierry Breton told a news conference.
 
He said supply chains reliant on China, including for the auto, medical, electronic, wood and toy industries, were also being affected. The commissioner spoke after a Brussels meeting of EU economy ministers.
 
If the disruptions continue, the EU stands ready to deploy economic support measures for virus-hit sectors after another ministerial meeting next month, Breton said.

Air France to cut 1,500 jobs by end-2022: union sources

Air France is to cut 1,500 jobs, mostly ground staff, by late 2022, union sources told AFP Thursday, though the company declined to confirm the figures pending talks with labour representatives.
 
Unions said the airline would avoid forced layoffs and the cuts would come instead through natural attrition, mainly from support departments in human resources, logistics and other operations.
 
Air France, for its part, said that "discussions are still under way" with unions.
 
The company's website says it had nearly 45,000 employees in 2018 -- 29,000 ground staff, 11,800 flight attendants, and 3,800 pilots.
Earlier Thursday, Air France said it was taking cost-cutting measures, including a partial hiring freeze, to offset the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the travel sector.

Directorate General of Civil Aviation: India cancels all flight operations from Iran due to Coronavirus

Cruise ship blocked by Jamaica, Cayman over virus fears docks in Mexico

A cruise ship carrying 6,000 people which was turned away by Jamaica and the Cayman Islands after a crew member tested positive for flu has docked in Mexico, the company said.
 
The MSC Meraviglia arrived off Cozumel late Wednesday after receiving authorization from the local health authorities, MSC Cruises said in a statement.
 
The Cayman Islands and Jamaica had refused to allow the ship to dock over fears about the new coronavirus. A crew member had tested positive for regular seasonal flu.
 
The cruise firm said it was "extremely disappointed" that Jamaican authorities delayed a decision to give the ship clearance despite having been provided with medical records.

Israel turns back travellers from Italy over virus fears

Israel denied entry to dozens of foreign nationals who landed on flights from Italy on Thursday, as the Jewish state discouraged travel as part of efforts to contain the spread of the new coronavirus.
 
The interior ministry had announced travellers from Italy would not be granted entry, adding it to a list of barred countries including Japan, South Korea, Thailand and Singapore as well as Macau and Hong Kong.
 
Three flights originating from Italy then landed at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion airport.
 
Twenty-five foreign nationals, including 19 Italians, who landed on the flight from Bergamo were denied entry and will be flown back, the interior ministry said.

Iran Vice-President Masoumeh Ebtekar tests positive for coronavirus

A state-owned newspaper in Iran says Masoumeh Ebtekar, a vice president in the Islamic Republic and a spokeswoman for the 1979 hostage-takers, has the new coronavirus.
 
The report came from the English-language IRAN daily newspaper via its Twitter account.
Ebtekar was known during the hostage crisis as "Mary".
 
The report comes as other top officials in Iran's Shiite theocracy have caught the virus.

Oil slumps more than 4.0% on coronavirus fears

World oil prices tumbled by more than four per cent on Thursday, as traders fretted about the impact of spreading coronavirus on crude demand, particularly from key consumer China.
 
Brent oil for April delivery tanked almost 4.2 per cent to $51.20 per barrel, while New York's WTI crude for the same month dived nearly 5.0 per cent to $46.31.

Geneva watch expo cancelled over coronavirus

The organiser of Geneva's international expo of fine watches said Thursday it had decided to cancel the April event because of the spread of the deadly new coronavirus.
 
"In view of the latest developments concerning the worldwide spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus... the decision has been taken to cancel the upcoming edition of Watches and Wonders Geneva," said the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie.
 
The announcement came as more than 2,700 people worldwide have died of COVID-19, and almost 80,000 have been infected, mainly in China.
 
Switzerland reported its first case this week, and by Thursday the number of cases had grown to five, including one in Geneva.

55,785 screened for coronavirus at Mumbai airport so far

The Maharashtra Health Department said on Thursday that a total of 55,785 travelers have been screened for possible novel coronavirus infection at the Mumbai international airport so far.
 
Passengers arriving from 12 Covid-19 affected countries/regions -- China, Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore, South Korea, Japan, Nepal, Indonesia, Vietnam, Italy, Iran and Malaysia -- are being screened at the Mumbai airport.
 
Those who are suspected to have contracted the deadly infection are sent to isolation facilities for treatment.
 
However, no case of coronavirus infection has come to light in the state so far, the Health Department said in the statement.

Coronavirus outbreak has affected auto, forging industry: AIFI

Disruption in supplies due to the coronavirus outbreak in China has hit domestic forging industry along with automobile and auto component manufacturing sectors, the Association of Indian Forging Industry (AIFI) said on Thursday.
 
The domestic automobile industry, which has been riding through the worst slump in two decades, is likely to be negatively impacted and its supply chain disrupted if the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in China and South-East Asia persists longer, rating agency Icra had said last week.
 
"The disruption caused by coronavirus has hit the automotive industry and thus also affected the automotive component and forging industries," AIFI said in a statement. Read More...

New coronavirus epidemic at 'decisive point': WHO chief

The new coronavirus epidemic is at a "decisive point" globally, World Health Organisation chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Thursday, urging affected countries to "move swiftly" to contain the disease.
 
"We're at a decisive point," Tedros told reporters in Geneva.
 
Pointing to a decline in new cases in China, Tedros said: "It's what's happening in the rest of the world that's now our greatest concern." Urging countries at the early stages of the outbreak of the COVID-19 disease to "move swiftly", he said: "If you act aggressively now, you can contain this virus, you can prevent people getting sick, you can save lives." "There does not appear to be widespread community transmission," he added.

Saudi Arabia suspends entry for pilgrims over coronavirus

Saudi Arabia on Thursday suspended visas for visits to Islam's holiest sites for the "umrah" pilgrimage, an unprecedented move triggered by coronavirus fears that raises questions over the annual hajj.
 
The kingdom, which hosts millions of pilgrims every year in the cities of Mecca and Medina, also suspended visas for tourists from countries with reported infections as fears of a pandemic deepen.
 
Saudi Arabia, which so far has reported no cases of the virus but has expressed alarm over its spread in neighbouring countries, said the suspensions were temporary.
 
But it provided no timeframe for when they will be lifted, and the decision left tens of thousands of pilgrims preparing to visit the kingdom from around the world in limbo.

Trump faces credibility test as he plays down virus threat

President Donald Trump faces a critical personal challenge in grappling with the new coronavirus outbreak: asking Americans to believe him after he and some of his top advisers have contradicted federal scientists in playing down the threat.
 
Keenly aware of the stakes not just for public health but also his credibility, Trump conducted a lengthy press conference Wednesday evening aimed at reassuring everyone that he has the crisis well in hand.
 
Trump surrounded himself with his administration's top health experts. And he encouraged Americans to be prepared for the virus' potential spread.
 
But he continued to minimize the risk, saying the outbreak “may get a little bigger; it may not get bigger at all.” And he continued to distance himself from the stated opinion of public health officials that it's inevitable the virus will spread within the United States.

List of sports events affected by the new virus from China

ARCHERY
 
ISSF International Solidarity Championships in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on Feb. 22-28 postponed.
World Cup in Shanghai from May 4-10 canceled.
 
ATHLETICS
 
World indoor championships in Nanjing from March 13-15 postponed to March 2021.
 
Hong Kong Marathon on Feb. 9 canceled.
 
Asian indoor championships in Hangzhou from Feb. 12-13 cancelled.
 
Asian cross-country championships in Hong Kong on March 29 postponed.
 
Tokyo Marathon on March 1: Restricted to elite runners.
 
Nagoya Women's Marathon on March 8: Restricted to elite runners.
 
Pyongyang Marathon in North Korea on April 12 canceled.
 
AUTO RACING
 
Formula One's Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai on April 19 postponed. New date not set.
 
Formula E's Sanya E-Prix in Sanya on March 21 canceled.
 
BADMINTON
 
China Masters in Hainan from Feb. 25-March 1 postponed. New dates not set.
 
Asian team championships in Manila from Feb. 11-16: China and Hong Kong withdrew.
 
German Open in Mulheim from March 3-8 canceled.
 
Polish Open in Krakow from March 26-29 postponed.
 
Vietnam International Challenge in Hanoi postponed from March 24-29 to June 2-7.
 
FIELD HOCKEY
 
Hockey Pro League matches between China and Belgium on Feb. 8-9 and Australia on March 14-15 postponed.
 
India women's tour of China from March 14-25 cancelled.
 
Ireland women's tour of Malaysia in March-April cancelled.
 
FOOTBALL
 
Asian Champions League: Matches involving Chinese clubs Guangzhou Evergrande, Shanghai Shenhua and Shanghai SIPG postponed to April-May. Beijing FC allowed to play from Feb. 18. Matches involving South Korean clubs Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors, Suwon Samsung Bluewings and FC Seoul to be played with no spectators from March 3. Matches involving Iranian clubs Esteghlal, Persepolis, Shahr Khodro, Sepahan on March 2-3 postponed.
 
Europa League: Inter Milan vs. Ludogorets on Feb. 27 behind closed doors.
 
Asian women's Olympic qualifying Group B tournament relocated from Wuhan to Sydney from Feb. 3-13. China vs. South Korea playoff on March 11 moved from China to Sydney.
 
2022 World Cup qualifying: China vs. Maldives on March 26 and vs. Guam on March 31 moved to Buriram, Thailand. Spectators banned.
AFC Cup: All group stage and playoff matches in east zone delayed to April 7.
 
Chinese Super League, due to start on Feb. 22, delayed.
 
Serie A, B, C, D and Women's Serie A matches in Lombardy and Veneto regions postponed from Feb. 22. Serie A: 5 matches on Feb. 29-March 1 with no spectators.
 
Iran Pro League: Spectators banned from all matches from Feb. 24.
 
K League in South Korea, due to start on Feb. 29, delayed.
 
J League in Japan: All matches from Feb. 25-March 15 postponed.
 
Asian men's futsal championship in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, from Feb. 26-March 8 postponed.
 
Japan vs. South Africa men's friendly on March 27 canceled.
 
FIFA Council meeting in Asuncion, Paraguay, on March 20 changed to video conference.
 
SWIMMING
 
Asian water polo championships in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, from Feb. 12-16 canceled.
 
Diving Grand Prix in Madrid from Feb. 14-16: China team withdrew.
 
Diving world series event in Beijing from March 7-9 canceled.
 
China Olympic trials in Qingdao from March 28-April 4 moved to May 10-16.
 
TABLE TENNIS
 
World team championships in Busan, South Korea, postponed from May 22-29 to June 21-28.
 
South Korea Open in Busan on June 16-21 suspended.
 
Australian Open in Geelong on June 23-28 suspended.
 
TENNIS
 
Fed Cup Asia-Oceania Group I tournament moved from Dongguan, China to Dubai, United Arab Emirates from March 3-7.
 
Davis Cup: China forfeited World Group I playoff vs. Romania in Piatra Neamt on March 6-7.
 
WTA: Xi'an Open from April 13-19 canceled.
 
WEIGHTLIFTING
 
Asian Championships from April 18-25 moved from Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, to Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
 
WRESTLING
 
Asian Championships in New Delhi from Feb. 20-23: China, North Korea, Turkmenistan teams withdrew.
 
Asian Olympic qualifying event from March 27-29 moved from Xi'an, China to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
 

Coronavirus: Screening arrangements at Goa airport reviewed

A high-level meeting was held at the Dabolim international airport near here in Goa on Thursday to review the arrangements to screen passengers for the novel coronavirus (Covid-19).
 
Goa Health Minister Vishwajit Rane chaired the meeting, which was also attended by Union health ministry's joint secretary Alok Saxena, along with officials from the Airports Authority of India and the state health department.
 
"We have taken adequate precautions to screen passengers arriving at the airport. We will ensure that all passengers are examined and suspected cases are identified," Rane told reporters after the meeting.
 
Necessary arrangements are in place at the airport so that people in the state are safe, he said, adding awareness is being spread about Covid-19.

Coronavirus can hit Indian companies amid supply chain disruptions: Report

Coronavirus outbreak could cause a dent to the recovery of the Indian economy amid supply chain disruptions and inflationary pressures, a report said on Thursday.
 
According to Dun & Bradstreet's Economy Observer report, manufacturing companies could face production disruptions if the length of the outbreak gets prolonged and their supply chain is not restored to normalcy.
 
"The outbreak of coronavirus, through the direct and indirect linkages of trade and commerce and global supply chain, could impact Indian companies," said Arun Singh, Chief Economist Dun & Bradstreet India. Read More...

Coronavirus may hit global GDP by $250 bn, cut growth: Industry body PHDCCI

The coronavirus outbreak may negatively impact global growth by 30 basis points or $250 billion, industry body PHDCCI said on Thursday.
 
PHDCCI President D K Aggarwal said disruptions in the global supply chains will not only hit China's exports but also the exports of the importing countries as they import a large chunk of raw materials and intermediate goods from China while exporting to other respective destinations.
 
"At this juncture, we need to boost our domestic consumption demand and domestic capacities to mitigate the likely impact of coronavirus on global trade," said Aggarwal, adding that sectors such as pharmaceuticals, solar and iron and steel have been facing disruptions in imports of raw materials from China due to the outbreak of the virus. Read More...

Virus quarantines must be 'proportionate', respect rights: UN

Countries should only use quarantine against the deadly new coronavirus when truly needed, and must respect the rights of those in isolation, the UN rights chief said Thursday.
 
Addressing the UN Human Rights Council, Michelle Bachelet hailed the medical teams around the world working to rein in the COVID-19 outbreak that has killed more than 2,700 people and infected more than 80,000 worldwide.
 
But she said that respec for human rights needed to guide the response.
 
"All public health measures should be carried out without discrimination of any kind," the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said.

Existing antiviral drugs may be key to treating novel coronavirus: Study

Already approved broad-spectrum antiviral drugs may offer a first-line treatment for the novel coronavirus which has so far killed over 2,700 people and infected around 80,000, according to a study unveiled on Thursday.
 
Researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) noted that there is no vaccine or cure for the virus in sight.
 
This means that doctors can do little more than offer supportive treatment to the very sick, and hope their bodies can survive the infection, they said.
 
According to the study, published as a pre-proof in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases, already approved drugs might hold the key to treating the new virus.

IAF brings back 114 Indians, 5 foreign nationals who were on board cruise ship off Japan coast

Coronavirus can hit Indian companies amid supply chain disruptions: Report

Coronavirus outbreak could cause a dent to the recovery of the Indian economy amid supply chain disruptions and inflationary pressures, a report said on Thursday.

According to Dun & Bradstreet's Economy Observer report, manufacturing companies could face production disruptions if the length of the outbreak gets prolonged and their supply chain is not restored to normalcy.

"The outbreak of coronavirus, through the direct and indirect linkages of trade and commerce and global supply chain, could impact Indian companies," said Arun Singh, Chief Economist Dun & Bradstreet India.

Singh further said that inflationary pressures are likely to rise, at least in the short term, through the channels of uncertainty and disruption in the supply chain.

The coronavirus outbreak has brought a large part of the world's second-largest economy China to a standstill and its impact has been felt across industries.

On January 30, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak a global health emergency. Read More...

Trump downplays epidemic fears as virus spreads around world

President Donald Trump has played down fears of a major coronavirus outbreak in the United States, even as infections ricochet around the world, prompting Saudi Arabia to ban pilgrims from visiting Islam's holiest sites.
 
China is no longer the only breeding ground for the deadly virus as countries fret over possible contagion coming from other hotbeds of infection, including Iran, South Korea and Italy.
 
There are now more daily cases being recorded outside China than inside the country, where the virus first emerged in December, according to the World Health Organization.

Two new UK coronavirus cases linked to Italy, Tenerife

Two more patients have tested positive for coronavirus in Britain, health authorities said Thursday, bringing the total number of diagnosed cases in the UK to 15.
 
The two patients have been transferred to specialist infection centres after contracting the virus in Italy and on the Spanish island of Tenerife, said Professor Chris Whitty, England's chief medical officer.
 
The patients are in hospitals in London and in Liverpool in northwest England.
 
Doctor Tom Wingfield, senior clinical lecturer at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, said the two new infections were "not surprising".

Coronavirus impact: AIBA cancels European forum in Italy

The International Boxing Association (AIBA) on Thursday cancelled the European leg of its continental forum in Italy, citing the novel coronavirus outbreak in that country.
 
The forum was scheduled to be held on Saturday in Assisi, where the Indian boxing team is currently participating in a preparatory camp for next month's Olympic qualifiers in Jordan.
 
"Scheduled for February 29th in Assisi, Italy AIBA European Forum 2020 is cancelled due to COVID-19 (coronavirus). This decision was taken by AIBA leadership in the best interests of the delegates," AIBA Interim President Dr Mohamed Moustahsane said in a statement. Read More...

Emirates won't fly Umrah pilgrims, some tourists to Saudi due to coronavirus outbreak

Emirates airline said it would no longer carry to Saudi Arabia passengers with Umrah pilgrimage visas or tourists from nearly two dozen countries until further notice, in compliance with a Saudi government directive to contain the coronavirus outbreak.
 
Holders of Saudi tourist visas travelling from China, Japan, Italy, Iran, India, Pakistan and a number of other countries will be barred from boarding Emirates flights with Saudi Arabia as the final destination, the airline said on its website.
 
The ban takes effect on Thursday.

Air France cuts costs as coronavirus stings: letter

Air France is taking new cost-cutting measures, including a partial hiring freeze, to offset the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the travel sector, according to an internal letter obtained by AFP.
 
The impact on airline passenger traffic from the COVID-19 virus "increased strongly since last week, with cancellations not only to China and Asia, but to destinations across our entire network," Air France's financial director, Steven Zaat, said in the letter to managers seen by AFP late Wednesday.
 
The letter said several of the company's corporate clients had ordered their staff to cut back or eliminate travel.
 
"The consequences of these measures will necessarily influence our financial trajectory and could put us in a difficult cash flow position if we do not react immediately," Zaan said in the letter, first reported by the French business daily Les Echos. Read More...

Japan PM calls for closure of public schools over virus

Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday called on public schools to close nationwide from March 2 to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.
 
"The government considers the health and safety of children above anything else," Abe said.
 
"We request all primary, junior high and high schools... across the nation to close temporarily from March 2 next week until their spring break." 

Evacuees brought from Wuhan in IAF's C-17 Globemaster kept under quarantine in Chhawla

New US coronavirus case may be 1st from unknown origin

A new coronavirus case in California could be the first in the US that has no known connection to travel abroad or another known case, a possible sign the virus is spreading in a US community, health officials said.
 
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the case Wednesday.
 
California officials said the person is a resident of Solano County, northeast of San Francisco, and is getting medical care in Sacramento County. They said they have begun the process of tracking down people who the patient has been in contact with, a process known as contact tracing.

China aims to bar those infected with virus from crossing borders: Health official

China will focus on preventing those infected with coronavirus from crossing borders and work to strengthen international cooperation, a spokesman for the National Health Commission (NHC) said on Thursday.
 
Mi Feng made the comments at a news conference where the market regulator said it had suspended 11,000 vendors involved in illegal wildlife trade and dropped more than 750,000 items from online platforms related to such trade.

Geneva watch fair cancelled due to coronavirus, Baselworld still on

The Watches & Wonders watch fair in Geneva will not take place this year given the spreading coronavirus outbreak, while managers of the rival Baselworld event in Basel are still evaluating the situation, organisers said on Thursday.
 
The Chinese, whose nation has been hardest hit so far by the fast-spreading virus, are also the biggest customers of Swiss watches. Many Chinese retailers and watch lovers would normally attend the shows.
 
"In view of the latest developments concerning the worldwide spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, it is the FHH's duty ... to anticipate the potential risks that travel and important international gatherings could entail," the Fine Watchmaking Foundation (FHH) which organises the Geneva show said.

North Korea extends school breaks over virus fears

North Korea has postponed the new school term to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, reports said Thursday, the latest measure as the ill-equipped country ramps up efforts to prevent a devastating outbreak.
 
Pyongyang has not reported a single case of the virus now known as COVID-19, which originated in the central Chinese city of Wuhan and has since spread around the world including South Korea.

Olympic badminton qualifiers in Germany, Poland hit by virus

Badminton's German Open will not go ahead next week and the Polish Open has been postponed, officials said as two more Olympic qualifying events fell victim to the coronavirus.
 
It hasn't yet been decided whether the German Open, originally scheduled for March 3-8, will be postponed or cancelled entirely, the Badminton World Federation said late Wednesday.
 
New dates are being sought for the Polish Open, which was meant to take place on March 26-29, but it will not now fall in the qualifying period for the Tokyo Olympics.

Crew leaves Japan virus-hit ship for new quarantine

Crew members from a coronavirus-stricken cruise ship off Japan began leaving the vessel Thursday for a new quarantine on-shore after passengers left the boat, the government said.
 
"Today, 240 crew members are leaving the ship and this disembarking operation will continue for a couple of days," a health ministry official told AFP.
 
Those leaving the boat will be placed in medical observation for 14 days at government-designated dormitories before being allowed to leave Japan, they said.
 
Hundreds of crew members of the Diamond Princess remained on the vessels to continue operations while Japanese officials placed thousands of passengers in a quarantine after the ship arrived at a port near Tokyo on February 3.

Secretive church at centre of S Korea's explosive coronavirus outbreak

An So-young had a gut feeling that the 31st person in South Korea to test positive for the coronavirus might be a member of the controversial religious sect she quit four years ago.
 
The person, dubbed "Patient 31," was the first of an explosive wave of cases that made South Korea's outbreak the largest outside of China. 
 
What caught An's attention was how health authorities were struggling to track the woman's movements before she was tested.
 
"That's their culture, they have to hide their movements, and that's why I guessed she was with Shincheonji," An, 27, said in an interview, referring to the Shincheonji Church of Jesus.
 

Trump mulls travel bans on Italy, S Korea over coronavirus

Donald Trump has said he was considering US travel restrictions on Italy and South Korea over coronavirus fears, adding the situation would not inevitably worsen in the United States.
 
The president's optimism about containing the pathogen contradicted a senior health official in his own administration and came as authorities said they had identified the first case of unknown origin in the United States.
 
"I don't think it's inevitable. I think that there's a chance that it could get worse, a chance it could get fairly substantially worse, but nothing's inevitable," Trump told reporters at the White Houseon Wednesday.

Governments ramp up preparations for coronavirus pandemic

Governments ramped up measures on Thursday to battle a global pandemic of the coronavirus as the number of infections outside China, the source of the outbreak, for the first time surpassed those appearing inside the country.
 
Australia initiated emergency measures and Taiwan raised its epidemic response level to its highest, a day after US.
 
President Donald Trump put his vice president, Mike Pence, in charge of the US response to the looming global health crisis.

Iraq reports sixth case of coronavirus in man who had been to Iran

Iraq has confirmed its sixth case of coronavirus, in a young Iraqi man in Baghdad who had traveled from Iran, the health ministry said on Thursday.

Virus strikes another blow at religious tourism in Iraq

Iraq's vital religious tourism sector was already suffering after months of protests, political turmoil and sanctions hitting pilgrims from neighbouring Iran - then the novel coronavirus arrived.
 
In the southern Shiite holy city of Karbala, hotels have closed and face masks are more common on the street than the full-length black veils worn by female pilgrims.
 
Visitors are scarce at the golden-domed tomb of Imam Hussein, grandson of the Prophet Mohammed, despite twice-daily visits by health officials to sanitise the site.

Pakistan confirms first two cases of coronavirus

Pakistan has confirmed its first two cases of the novel coronavirus, but the government has assured the public that there was "no need to panic".
 
"I can confirm first two cases of coronavirus in Pakistan. Both cases are being taken care of according to clinical standard protocols and both of them are stable," Dawn news quoted Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Zafar Mirza as saying in a tweet on Wednesday evening.
 
"No need to panic, things are under control," he added.

Coronavirus disrupts sports events, affects stadiums' revenue: Fitch

The novel coronavirus has led to postponements or cancellations of various sports events, primarily in the Asia Pacific which will put pressure on affected stadiums' revenues, according to Fitch Ratings.
 
"We expect the impact on Fitch-rated portfolio of stadium transactions to be limited as many of them have sufficient liquidity reserves to absorb short-term revenue disruptions, but much will depend on the authorities' ability to control and contain the virus," it said.
 
Several high-profile sporting events scheduled to take place in China have been postponed, cancelled or relocated including the Formula 1 Grand Prix, some Olympic qualifiers, and football, tennis, athletics and golf events.

Expect Tokyo Olympics to go ahead as scheduled despite coronavirus concerns: Rijiju

Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju on Thursday said he expects this year's Tokyo Olympics to go ahead smoothly despite fears being expressed over the fate of the Games amid the novel coronavirus threat.
 
The Olympic Games are scheduled to be held in July-August this year but a senior IOC member Dick Pound has said that the event might have to be cancelled if the deadly coronavirus outbreak is not brought under control by May.
 
"Virus China mein hai, Tokyo mein Nahi (the virus is in China not Tokyo)," Rijiju said in response to questions about the Games on the sidelines of a workshop to sensitise Indian athletes about Japanese etiquette and culture in New Delhi.

Denmark confirms first coronavirus case in man returning from holiday in Italy

Denmark has confirmed its first coronavirus infection in a man who returned from a ski holiday in northern Italy, the Danish health authority said on Thursday.
 
The man was put in isolation in his own home.

World about to be gripped by coronavirus pandemic, Australia's Morrison says

There is every sign the world is about to be gripped by a pandemic of coronavirus, Prime Minister Scott Morrison warned on Thursday, as Australia kicked off emergency measures to restrain the spread of the disease.
 
"The advice we have received today is...there is every indication that the world will soon enter a pandemic phase of the coronavirus," Morrison told a televised news conference in Canberra, the capital.
 
"And as a result we have agreed today and initiated the...coronavirus emergency response plan," he added.

Formula One faces testing times over coronavirus

Formula One teams were trying to focus on the second session of winter testing in Barcelona while casting worrying glances towards the spread of coronavirus with the message: "We are concerned, but there's no need to panic".
 
As veteran driver Robert Kubica steered his Alfa Romeo to the day's best time at Montmelo, talk in the paddock was of growing fears over the spread of the virus which has killed over 2,700 people and infected more than 80,000 in 34 countries.
 
The F1 world championship, which gets under way in Melbourne on March 15, had already lost the Chinese Grand Prix from its schedule.
Ferrari, whose headquarters are at Maranello in northern Italy, one of the areas affected by the COVID-19, insisted that the team was taking all sensible precautions.

76 Indians, 36 foreigners evacuated from coronavirus-hit Wuhan taken to ITBP quarantine facility

The 76 Indians and 36 foreigners evacuated from coronavirus-affected Wuhan city of China on Thursday morning were being taken to an ITBP facility in the national capital for quarantine, officials said.
 
"The evacuees will go through a thermal screening procedure at the tarmac of the airport after which they will be kept at our facility in Chhawla area for quarantine," a spokesperson of the Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) said.
 
An Indian Air Force (IAF) C-17 Globemaster III transport aircraft brought 112 people that includes 76 Indians, 23 citizens from Bangladesh, six from China, two each from Myanmar and the Maldives and one each from South Africa, the US and Madagascar.

Trump faces credibility test as he plays down virus threat

President Donald Trump faces a critical personal challenge in grappling with the new coronavirus outbreak: Asking Americans to believe him after he and some of his top advisers have contradicted federal scientists in playing down the threat.
 
Keenly aware of the stakes not just for public health but also his credibility, Trump conducted a lengthy press conference Wednesday evening aimed at reassuring everyone that he has the crisis well in hand.
 
Trump surrounded himself with his administration's top health experts. And he encouraged Americans to be prepared for the virus' potential spread.

IAF aircraft brings back 76 Indians, 36 foreigners from China's coronavirus-hit Wuhan

An Indian Air Force aircraft on Thursday evacuated 76 Indians and 36 foreign nationals from the coronavirus-hit Chinese city of Wuhan.
 
The C-17 Globemaster III transport aircraft was sent to Wuhan on Wednesday and it carried 15 tonnes of medical supplies for coronavirus-affected people in China.
 
On its return, the aircraft brought back 112 people including 23 citizens from Bangladesh, six from China, two each from Myanmar and the Maldives and one each from South Africa, the US and Madagascar.
 
Earlier, India had evacuated around 650 Indians from Wuhan in two Air India flights.

China investigates release of coronavirus-infected inmate in Hubei

China has sent an investigation team to Wuhan, the city at the epicentre of a coronavirus outbreak, after reports that a prison released an infected inmate who then travelled to Beijing.
 
A team led by the Ministry of Justice, Supreme Court and Ministry of Public Security will look into the incident, the Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission of the Communist Party of China said in a news release on Thursday.
 
Media reports said an infected inmate was released from a Wuhan women's prison after completing her sentence. Family members then drove her to Beijing.
 
The report has caused an uproar, with netizens asking how she got out of a city that has been sealed off for more than a month.

Taiwan raises epidemic response level to highest amid virus concerns

Taiwan on Thursday raised its epidemic response level to the highest, official media reported, amid growing concerns over the coronavirus outbreak.
 
Taiwan's Central News Agency said Premier Su Tseng-chang announced the decision in a cabinet meeting on Thursday, citing sporadic cases of community transmission on the island.
 
Taiwan has logged 32 cases of the coronavirus and one death, and has largely suspended travel and tourism links with China to curb its spread.

Japanese woman confirmed as coronavirus case for 2nd time, weeks after initial recovery

A woman working as a tour-bus guide in Japan tested positive for the coronavirus for a second time, Osaka's prefectural government said on Wednesday, the first person in the country to do so amid growing concerns about the spread of the infection.
 
The second positive test comes as the number of confirmed cases in Japan rose to 186 by Thursday from around 170 the day before. Tokyo has urged big gatherings and sports events be scrapped or curtailed for two weeks to contain the virus while pledging the 2020 Olympic Games will still go ahead in the city.

Saudi Arabia suspends entry for Umrah pilgrimage, tourism amid coronavirus

Saudi Arabia on Thursday suspended foreigners' entry for the Umrah pilgrimage and tourism from countries where the new coronavirus has spread, as a growing number of cases outside China deepened fears of a pandemic.
 
The kingdom, which hosts the two holiest sites of Islam in Mecca and Medina, welcomes millions of Muslim visitors throughout the year with a peak for the haj pilgrimage. It introduced a new tourism visa last October for 49 countries.
 
The ministry of foreign affairs said in a statement that the suspensions were temporary but provided no timeframe for their expiry. It was unclear if the haj pilgrimage, which is scheduled to begin in late July, would be impacted.
 
Entry is also suspended for visits to the Prophet's Mosque in Medina.

Japan defends cautious approach on coronavirus testing amid concerns

Japan's health ministry on Wednesday defended its cautious approach to coronavirus testing as domestic cases increased and South Korea prepared to test more than 200,000 members of a church at the heart of a surge in its outbreak.
 
Japan had 175 domestic cases of infection from the virus as of Wednesday evening, separate from 705 from a cruise liner quarantined near Tokyo early this month and 14 from returnees on charter flights from Wuhan, China, public broadcaster NHK said.
 
The northern island of Hokkaido, the most affected area in Japan with 38 cases, reported another death while a Tokyo man in his 80s also died, bringing the country's total fatalities to seven including four from the cruise liner.

AI flight brings back 119 Indians, 5 foreigners from coronavirus-hit cruise ship in Japan

An Air India flight on Thursday brought back to the national capital 119 Indians and 5 foreigners who were on board a coronavirus-hit cruise ship docked off Yokohama in Japan.
 
The foreigners, who were brought back to India on board the special Air India flight, included two from Sri Lanka and one each from Nepal, South Africa and Peru.
 
All the evacuees will undergo a 14-day quarantine at a medical facility set-up by the Indian Army in Manesar.
 
Three Indian crew members did not board the special flight and conveyed their wish to continue their stay on board the cruise ship to complete the period of extended quarantine put in place by the government of Japan, a government statement said.

US: Mike Pence to lead efforts against coronavirus

US President Donald Trump on Wednesday announced that his deputy Mike Pence will lead the administration efforts against coronavirus in the country.
 
Hours after returning from India, Trump on Wednesday held a series of meetings to take stock of the situation in the United States.
 
At a White House press conference late in the evening, he announced that Vice-president Pence will lead the efforts to contain the spread of the virus that has claimed over 2,700 lives globally.

New Zealand prepared for "serious impact" on economy from virus: Finmin

The coronavirus outbreak could have a serious impact on New Zealand's economy in the short term, the country's finance minister said on Thursday, amid new data that showed businesses were feeling more pessimistic about their prospects.
 
Grant Robertson also said the government may need to step in with immediate fiscal stimulus if the virus outbreak becomes a global pandemic that, in turn, creates a worldwide downturn or recession.
 
"This will have a serious impact on the New Zealand economy in the short term," Robertson said in comments about the coronavirus outbreak made at an event in Auckland that was shared with the media.

US, South Korea postpone joint exercises due to virus: Statement

The US and South Korean militaries on Thursday postponed forthcoming joint exercises due to the coronavirus outbreak, they said.
 
The decision was made after Seoul declared its highest "severe" alert level over the virus, Combined Forces Command said in a statement, adding the combined command post training had been postponed "until further notice".

Facebook bans ads with false claims about new virus

Facebook said Wednesday that it is banning ads that make false claims about products tied to the new coronavirus.
 
The social network said it is removing ads that feature a product and imply a limited supply, seeking create a “sense of urgency” in their mention of coronavirus.
 
Ads that guarantee a cure or prevention are also banned, it said.
 
For instance, ads for face masks that claim the products are 100% guaranteed to prevent the spread of the virus are not allowed, the company said.

Coronavirus clouds Apple's timeline for new iPhones

Travel restrictions to China because of the coronavirus have come just as Apple Inc's engineers usually jet off to Asia to perfect the production of this fall's new iPhones, former employees and supply chain experts said.
 
High-volume manufacturing is not scheduled until summer, but the first months of the year are when Apple irons out assembly processes with partners such as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co's Foxconn, two former Apple employees said.

Saudi Arabia suspends entry for pilgrims over coronavirus

Saudi Arabia on Thursday suspended visas for pilgrims wishing to visit Mecca over coronavirus fears, the foreign ministry said.
 
The government is "suspending entry to the Kingdom for the purpose of Umrah and visiting the Prophet's Mosque temporarily", the foreign ministry said in a statement, referring to the Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca that can be undertaken at any time of year.
 
Umrah attracts tens of thousands of devout Muslims from all over the globe each month.

US CDC flags possibility of community spread of coronavirus

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday warned of the possibility of a community spread of the coronavirus in the country after a person who reportedly did not have relevant travel history or exposure to another known patient was infected.
 
The infection was detected in California, bringing the total number of COVID-19 cases in the United States to 15, according to the agency.
 
Community spread is the spread of an illness for which the source of infection is unknown.

S Korea reports 334 additional coronavirus cases, raising total to 1,595: KCDC

South Korea reported 334 additional cases of the new coronavirus on Thursday, raising the total tally to 1,595, the Korea Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (KCDC) said.
 
The figure is the largest reported additional cases in the country since its first case was confirmed on Jan. 20.
 
Of the new cases, 307 were in the southeastern city of Daegu, where a church that was at the centre of the outbreak is located, the KCDC said in its statement.

Mainland China reports 433 new coronavirus cases, 29 deaths on Feb 26

The virulence of the novel coronavirus continues to show a declining trend in China which reported 29 new fatalities, the lowest in weeks, taking the death toll to 2,744 while the confirmed cases climbed to 78,497, officials said on Thursday.
 
The country's National Health Commission (NHC) said it received reports 433 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus infection and 29 deaths on Wednesday from 31 provincial-level regions on the mainland.
 
Among the deaths, 26 were from the epicentre of the virus Hubei province and its capital Wuhan and one each from Beijing, Heilongjiang and Henan, it said.
 
In Hubei province alone 2,641 people died due to the virus since it erupted in December last year including 2,104 fatalities in Wuhan.
 
The province, which is under lockdown, reported 409 new confirmed cases on Wednesday, taking the total confirmed cases to 65,596, local health commission said.

Uighur activists say coronavirus measures causing hunger

Draconian measures by China to curb the coronavirus have caused widespread hunger in the tightly controlled Muslim-majority region of Xinjiang, ethnic Uighur activists charged Wednesday.
 
The Uighur Human Rights Project, a Washington-based advocacy group, also voiced concern that the COVID-19 could spread in internationally condemned camps where more than one million Uighurs and other Turkic Muslims are incarcerated.
 
The group said that China imposed a quarantine with little advance notice in parts of Xinjiang in late January after at least two COVID-19 cases in the regional capital Urumqi. Read More...
 

Germany is at start of coronavirus epidemic - health minister

Germany is at the beginning of a coronavirus epidemic after new cases sprung up which can no longer be traced to the virus's original source in China, Health Minister Jens Spahn said on Wednesday.
 
He urged health ministries in Germany's federal states as well as hospitals and employers to review their pandemic planning.
 
"The infection chains are partially no longer trackable, and that is a new thing," he told a news conference. "Large numbers of people have had contact with the patients, and that is a big change to the 16 patients we had until now where the chain could be traced back to the origin in China."

Iran 'seems to be concealing' coronavirus information: media watchdog

Iran "seems to be concealing" information on the coronavirus, which has officially killed 19 people in the country, media rights watchdog Reporters Without Borders said on Wednesday, accusing it of blocking independent reporting of the outbreak.
 
The Islamic republic "seems to be concealing information about the epidemic in line with China's example", the NGO known by its French acronym RSF said in a statement.
 
"The authorities insist they have the situation under control but they have refused to publish exact figures for deaths and infections and have obstructed journalists trying to cover the story," it said.

Odisha man hospitalised with suspected coronavirus symptoms

A man, who recently returned from South Korea, was admitted to a hospital in Odisha's Sambalpur with suspected novel coronavirus symptoms after he was found suffering from prolonged cold, fever and cough, a bulletin issued by the health department said.
 
The youth was admitted to Hemgir hospital in Sundergarh district on Monday and then referred to VIMSAR, Burla on Tuesday night keeping in view his stay in South Korea, it said.
 
His blood and swab samples have been collected and sent for examination, the bulletin said.

Cyber police in virus-hit Iran arrest 24 over COVID-19 rumours

Iranian cyber police on Wednesday announced the arrests of 24 people accused of online rumour-mongering about the spread of a coronavirus outbreak that has claimed 19 lives in the country.
 
The Islamic republic is scrambling to contain COVID-19 a week after announcing the first two deaths in Qom, a centre for Islamic studies that draws pilgrims and scholars from abroad.
 
Schools, universities and cultural centres have been closed, sporting events cancelled and teams of sanitary workers deployed to disinfect buses, trains and public spaces.

White House denies report it is mulling appointing a coronavirus 'czar'

The White House on Wednesday denied a report that it was considering appointing a coronavirus "czar" to coordinate the U.S. response to the disease.
 
Politico reported on Wednesday that U.S. officials were debating the necessity of such a role, but White House spokesman Judd Deere wrote in a post on Twitter that this was not true.
 
President Donald Trump "is pleased with the leadership of @SecAzar to protect the public health," Deere wrote, referring to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, who is leading a coronavirus task force.
A special flight of Indian Air Force (IAF) comprising of crew, medical team and support staff before their departure from Air Force Station in Palam to Wuhan in China

'Situation in Hubei due to coronavirus epidemic remained complex'

The situation arising out of coronavirus epidemic in Hubei province remained "complex" and there was no "deliberate delay" in grant of permission to an Indian flight to bring back more Indians from Wuhan city, Chinese sources familiar with the issue said on Wednesday.
They said Chinese authorities provided necessary support and assistance to the Indian aircraft.
 
On Wednesday, an Indian Air Force aircraft carrying around 15 tonnes of medical supplies landed in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province.

White House is considering appointment of coronavirus "czar"

The White House is considering appointing a coronavirus "czar" to coordinate the U.S. response to the disease, Politico reported on Wednesday, citing two officials familiar with the matter.
 
Politico said officials are still debating whether such a role is necessary. Trump is due to hold a news conference on the government's coronavirus response at 6 p.m. 
 
Global markets have slumped for the past five days over the prolonged disruption to supply chains from the disease, which has infected about 80,000 people and killed nearly 3,000.

Two Chinese nurses seek international help to treat coronavirus patients

Two Chinese nurses treating coronavirus cases in virus-hit Wuhan city have published an open letter pleading for health workers from around the world to come to China to help fight the COVID-19, saying that the prolonged duty is taking toll of their health.
 
Yingchun Zeng, of the Guangzhou Medical hospital, and Yan Zhen, of the Sun Yet-sen Memorial hospital, also in Guangzhou, published the letter in the medical journal the Lancet on Monday describing mental and physical exhaustion and severe supply shortages on the frontlines of the outbreak, the Britain's The Guardian reported on Wednesday.
 
Ten medical workers, including three doctors and a nurse, have died. On Tuesday, Liang Wannian, who headed the Chinese experts team along with WHO experts, said that over 3,000 medical workers have been infected nationwide.

Coronavirus transmission increases in lower temperature: Medical study

The Coronavirus outbreak could have been triggered by lower temperatures, which provided for easy transmission of the virus. A new medical study, published by medRxiv, a “preprint server for the health sciences”, suggests that temperature factors could significantly change the impact of COVID-19, with the virus transmission increasing in places with lower temperatures.
 
The study, conducted by Mao Wang, Mao Wang, Aili Jiang, Lijuan Gong, Lina Lu, Wenbin Guo, Chuyi Li, Jing Zheng, Chaoyong Li, Bixing Yang, Jietong Zeng, Youping Chen, Ke Zheng, Hongyan Li at the Sun Yat-sen University in China, calls for countries and regions with lower temperatures to adopt the strictest control measures to prevent future transmission and outbreaks. Read More...

Pope Francis expresses solidarity with coronavirus victims

Pope Francis expressed his solidarity with those hit by the global outbreak of the novel coronavirus on Wednesday, praising those working to battle the virus.
 
Italy has suffered the worst outbreak of the novel coronavirus in Europe, with 374 cases of the disease and 12 deaths.
 
"I would like to express my closeness to the coronavirus patients and to the health workers who are treating them, as well as to the civil authorities," the pope said at his weekly audience at the Vatican.
 
Only a few of the 12,000 or so faithful who turned out to see him on Saint Peter's Square were wearing face masks.

Russia warns against travel to Italy, Iran, South Korea over virus

Russia on Wednesday warned citizens against travel to Italy, South Korea and Iran and announced new visa restrictions on Iranians to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
 
Noting a "sharp rise" in cases in all three countries, state consumer watchdog Rospotrebnadzor urged Russians to avoid travel "until the epidemiological situation stabilises".
 
More than 1,200 people have been infected in South Korea -- the hardest-hit area outside of China -- and 12 people have died.
Iran has emerged as another hotspot, with more than 130 reported infections, resulting in 19 deaths. Italy has recorded 12 deaths and more than 370 coronavirus cases.

Relief material to China expression of India's solidarity with Chinese people: Jaishankar

An Indian Air Force aircraft carrying 15 tonnes of medical supplies for coronavirus-affected people in China landed in the Chinese city of Wuhan on Tuesday.
 
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar described the consignment of relief material as a strong expression of India's solidarity with the Chinese people in their "difficult time".
 
"Consignment (15 tonnes) of Indian medical relief for #COVID19 lands in Wuhan. Strong expression of our solidarity with the Chinese people at this difficult time. Thank you @IAF_MCC and @EOIBeijing for your efforts," he tweeted.

US President Donald Trump announces press conference on coronavirus outbreak

US President Donald Trump announced a news conference from the White House on the coronavirus epidemic Wednesday, with experts warning they expect it to spread in the United States.
 
"I will be having a News Conference at the White House, on this subject, today at 6:00 PM" Trump tweeted, adding that officials from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would attend.
 
Authorities have urged Americans to develop plans to avoid mass gatherings amid dire warnings that countries are not ready to contain an outbreak that has infected 80,000 people, mostly in China.
 
Critics, including lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, have expressed growing alarm over the Trump administration's response to the crisis.
A woman holding a child is shown the way to a screening area by health officials in protective suits as they arrived at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang, Malaysia

Xi says situation in Wuhan remains 'complex and grim'

President Xi Jinping said on Wednesday that the situation in coronavirus-hit Wuhan city remains "complex and grim" despite the decline in the number of cases and risk of rebound cannot be overlooked, as the death toll climbed to 2,715 and confirmed cases rose to over 78,000.
 
China's National Health Commission (NHC) said that 52 fatalities were reported on Tuesday, all from the worst-hit Hubei province and it's capital Wuhan, the lowest in three weeks. Read More...

Coronavirus: travelers from Iran, Italy too will be screened

Passengers arriving at the Mumbai International Airport from Iran and Italy will also be screened for the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) infection, Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope said on Wednesday.
 
Passengers arriving from China, Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore, South Korea, Japan, Nepal, Indonesia, Vietnam and Malaysia are already undergoing screening at the airport.
 
Iran and Italy were added to the list on Wednesday on the instructions of the Union government, Tope said.
 
"Travelers from two more countries, Iran and Italy, will be screened at the airport apart from those from ten other countries," the minister said. Read More...

Kuwait says total of 25 coronavirus cases confirmed

Kuwait's health ministry said on Twitter on Wednesday that the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus in the country had risen to 25 after 13 more cases were confirmed.
 
The ministry also said in a statement that the new cases were related to people traveling to Iran.
 
Kuwait said it would suspend all private and public schools and universities for two weeks beginning on March 1, the state news agency said on Wednesday.

No reason to panic about coronavirus in Europe: EU

The novel coronavirus is concerning for Europe but there is no reason for alarm, the EU's health commissioner said on Wednesday as Italy battles the world's third-biggest outbreak.
 
"This is a situation of concern but we must not give in to panic," Stella Kyriakides told reporters in Rome after meeting Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza.
 
"In the EU we are still in containment phase, it is important to underline this," she added, calling on member states to reinforce their preparations against a possible pandemic of the disease.
 
A joint EU and WHO team arrived in Italy to help tackle the outbreak, and Kyriakides said she hoped they would help people better understand the outbreak and "identify areas where further EU support will be needed".

Coronavirus screening 'missing more than half of cases': study

Global screening efforts to prevent the rapid spread of coronavirus are likely to fail, according to new research warning that even best-case screenings of air travellers will miss more than half of infected people.
 
The novel coronavirus has infected more than 80,000 people worldwide since its emergence in central China last month.
 
Traveller screening using temperature monitors and questionnaires is a key response measure, yet the World Health Organisation (WHO) on Wednesday said for the first time the number of new cases outside mainland China exceeded those within it.
 
Researchers in the United States and Britain in a study published in the journal eLife used computer models to predict the impact of screening, based on the latest data of how the coronavirus behaves and how long it takes for patients to show symptoms.
 
Building on similar work in 2015, they found that many cases would inevitably be missed and called for a re-think in how nations screen passengers.

Japan reports two virus-linked deaths, urges public events cancelled

Japan reported two more deaths linked to the coronavirus on Wednesday as the government called for organisers to reconsider holding major events in coming weeks to limit the outbreak.
 
The news came as dozens of passengers allowed off a virus-stricken cruise ship were reported to have developed symptoms including fever, and will be asked to be re-tested for the virus.
 
A Tokyo man in his 80s who tested positive for the infection died of pneumonia, the health ministry said.
 
He had not travelled to China recently and there was no sign he had contact with known infected individuals, it said in a statement.
Another elderly person in the Hokkaido region of northern Japan died of viral pneumonia, the ministry said. 

'Fear and panic' as virus threatens Afghanistan, Pakistan

With porous borders, creaking hospitals and large illiterate populations, Afghanistan and Pakistan face a potentially devastating health crisis after the new coronavirus erupted in neighbouring Iran.
 
Islamabad has closed official border crossings while Kabul has suspended all travel to the Islamic republic, which has reported 15 deaths out of nearly 100 infections -- making it one of the hardest hit countries outside the virus epicentre China.
 
But experts fear the measures could prove ineffective with thousands of people -- refugees fleeing violence, Shiite pilgrims, smugglers and migrants looking for work -- likely crossing the long, poorly patrolled frontiers every day.

IAF flight leaves for China carrying 15 tonnes of medical supplies

An Indian Air Force aircraft carrying around 15 tonnes of medical supplies left for the coronavirus-hit Chinese city of Wuhan on Wednesday.
 
The C-17 military aircraft will bring back over 80 Indians and around 40 citizens from neighbouring countries, government sources said.
 
Last week, India accused China of deliberately delaying permission to send the aircraft while allowing other countries to operate flight from Wuhan to evacuate their citizens. China had rejected India's charges. Read More...

12th coronavirus death in Italy, 374 cases Rome

Italy saw a fresh jump in the number of cases of the new coronavirus on Wednesday, with another death also reported to bring the total to 12 and 374 infections.
 
The new toll published by the country's civil protection department is a jump from the 322 cases and 10 deaths recorded on Tuesday evening.
 
All of those who have died so far in Italy were either elderly or had pre-existing medical conditions.

WHO: More coronavirus cases outside China reported than inside

The World Health Organisation said on Wednesday there were now more new daily cases of the coronavirus outside China than inside the hard-hit country, marking a shift in the outbreak.
 
"Yesterday, the number of new cases reported outside China exceeded the number of new cases in China for the first time," WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told diplomats in Geneva.
 
The UN health agency put the number of new cases in China on Tuesday at 411 while those registered outside the country stood at 427.

Coronavirus: NRAI tells shooters to train in country, considers pullout from Olympic test event

India's national shooting federation on Wednesday said it will not allow its shooters to travel abroad for training due to the novel coronavirus threat and won't hesitate in pulling out of a Tokyo Olympics Test event in April if it becomes a health risk.

Coronavirus outbreak fuels China black market for supplies

China's coronavirus crisis has sparked a thriving black market in fake medical supplies, forcing a crackdown from authorities who have seized 31 million counterfeit or substandard face masks.
 
Fraudsters have begun producing illegal products to satisfy runaway demand as masks and disinfectant remain in short supply and manufacturers struggle to keep up.
 
In one case this month, swindlers took customers' cash and gave them fake delivery notes for masks that didn't exist, Chinese security officials said.
 
Du Hangwei, deputy minister of public security, told a press conference Wednesday that masks and other products worth 174 million yuan ($24 million) had been seized and police had dealt with 22,000 criminal cases related to the virus epidemic.

Iran president slams US for spreading 'fear' over virus

President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday accused the United States of trying to spread "fear" in Iran over a deadly outbreak of the novel coronavirus.
 
Coronavirus has claimed the lives of 19 people among 139 infections in Iran, including the deputy health minister -- making it the deadliest outbreak outside China.
 
"We shouldn't let America mount a new virus on top of coronavirus that is called... extreme fear," Rouhani told a weekly cabinet meeting, a day after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused Iran of suppressing information about the outbreak.

Greece reports first coronavirus case

Greece on Wednesday reported its first coronavirus case, a woman who had recently travelled to northern Italy.
 
A health ministry spokesman said the 38-year-old woman was in a Thessaloniki hospital and in good condition.
 
The announcement comes as the COVID-19 virus continues to surge in Italy, making it the hardest-hit country in Europe.
 
The Greek government on Tuesday said a shutdown of some public areas and travel restrictions would be activated in case of a mass outbreak.

Vistara to cancel 54 int'l flights next month as COVID-19 weakens demand

Full service carrier Vistara will cancel 54 international flights next month, including on routes connecting Delhi with Bangkok and Singapore, amid weak demand due to the coronavirus outbreak.
 
In a statement on Wednesday, the airline said it has made temporary adjustments to selected services to/ from Bangkok and Singapore for March.
 
"20 flights between Delhi and Bangkok, 26 flights between Mumbai and Singapore and 8 flights between Delhi and Singapore will be cancelled in March 2020," it said.
 
The airline said the adjustments have been made to the services in response to weak demand due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Coronavirus: Six countries, including China, pull out of shooting World Cup in Delhi

The novel coronavirus outbreak has prompted six countries, including the deadly disease's epicentre China, to withdraw from next month's shooting World Cup here, the National Rifles Association of India (NRAI) revealed on Wednesday.
 
The ISSF World Cup is slated to be held from March 15 to 26 at the Karni Singh Shooting Range here.
 
"There were some countries which were coming but because of the Coronavirus outbreak, their national policies dictate that they can't come," NRAI President Raninder Singh told reporters.
 
"China have taken a wise decision on their own as a nation. They don't want to infect others and hence won't travel. Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, North Korea and Turkmenistan have also backed out because of national policies," he added, referring to the domestic travel restrictions imposed by the governments of these countries. Read More...

Singapore charges man with virus for lying to health officials

A Chinese man infected with coronavirus and his wife have been charged in Singapore for lying to health authorities investigating whether they had passed the illness to others, officals said Wednesday.
 
Singapore has recorded nearly 100 cases of the COVID-19 infection since the illness first originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan last December.
 
With nearly 2,800 confirmed deaths and more than 81,000 cases worldwide, Singapore has banned the entry of visitors who have travelled through China or parts of South Korea within two weeks of their arrival.
 
Hu Jun, originally from Wuhan, arrived in Singapore on January 22 and later tested positive for the illness. The 38-year-old has since recovered and been discharged from hospital.
 
His Chinese wife, a resident of the city-state, was issued a quarantine order. Read More...

France reports first French death from coronavirus

A 60-year-old man has become the first French victim of the coronavirus in the country, the health ministry announced on Wednesday.
The man died overnight after being rushed to a Paris hospital in serious condition on Tuesday evening, bringing the death toll in the country to two, said the ministry's deputy head Jerome Salomon.
 
The first victim was an 80-year-old Chinese tourist, who died in hospital in mid-February.
 
France has reported four other new cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, including two people returning from Italy, bringing the total number of infections to 17.

Nineteen dead, 139 infected with coronavirus in Iran - health ministry

Nineteen people have died and 139 people have been infected by coronavirus in Iran, health ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur said on Wednesday in an announcement on state TV.
 
Iran has had the highest number of deaths from coronavirus outside China, where the virus emerged in late 2019.
 
Iranian officials announced the first deaths and infections from coronavirus in the Islamic Republic last week, and the spike in numbers in a short period of time has led Iranians to criticize authorities online and accuse them of a cover-up, a charge officials have denied.
 
Several of Iran's neighbours have closed their borders and banned flights from Iran due to fears over the virus, which could hurt the Islamic Republic's already fragile economy.
 

Lufthansa says to freeze hiring, cut costs over coronavirus

German airline Lufthansa on Wednesday said it would freeze new hires and use unpaid leave and additional short-time work to cut costs to help cushion the economic impact of the novel coronavirus.
 
"To counteract the economic impact of the coronavirus of the early stage," the group, which also owns carriers Austrian and Swiss, said in a statement that "all new hires... will be reassessed, suspended or deferred".
 
Employees would be offered unpaid leave and more part-time work and the group would also seek to cut administrative costs, it said.

Hong Kong says around 3,000 residents in Hubei have contacted govt for help

The Hong Kong government said on Wednesday around 3,000 of its residents currently in mainland China's Hubei province, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak, have made contact and it has given them until Friday to register to return home.
 
More than 500 were in the province's Wuhan city, the government said. Any residents who returned to Hong Kong would need to be quarantined for 14 days, it added.
 
Hong Kong has 90 cases of the virus, which has killed two people in the city. The government has turned some public housing into quarantine facilities as it struggles to find adequate space.

Thai Airways executives take pay cut because of coronavirus

Thailand's national carrier announced salary cuts for management and other airlines lowered targets as travel slowed from the coronavirus outbreak and the number of cases in the country reached 40 on Wednesday.
 
Thai Airways Pcl said senior management voluntarily reduced their salaries by 15% to 25% for six months beginning March in a bid to cut expenses amid reduction of passenger travel.
 
"Thai Airways has implemented measures such as reduction of operational expenses and delayed unnecessary investments," said the airline president, Sumeth Damrongchaitham.

Coronavirus should not become 'enemy weapon' for shutting down business in Iran: Rouhani

Coronavirus must not become an "enemy weapon" that prevents business in Iran, President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday, according to the official presidency website.
 
"Corona should not be turned into a weapon of our enemies for shutting down work and production in the country," Rouhani said.

Coronavirus stings world's top honey makers with China beekeepers locked down

Beekeepers in China, the world's top honey producer, are bracing for a bleak start to the key spring pollinating season as travel curbs aimed at containing a coronavirus outbreak keep them at home while their bees go without food for weeks.
 
Jue, a beekeeper from Xinjiang in northwest China, said he has not slept for days, worrying about his 300 beehives that are stuck in wooden boxes about 200 miles from where he has been confined due to the curbs.
 
"I am really anxious," said Jue, who wanted to be identified only by his family name. "If all my bees die, I will lose my entire year's income," the 55-year-old nomadic beekeeper added.

How deadly is new coronavirus? It's still too early to tell

Scientists can't tell yet how deadly the new virus that's spreading around the globe really is — and deepening the mystery, the fatality rate differs even within China.
 
As infections of the virus that causes COVID-19 surge in other countries, even a low fatality rate can add up to lots of victims, and understanding why one place fares better than another becomes critical to unravel.
 
"You could have bad outcomes with this initially until you really get the hang of how to manage" it, Dr Bruce Aylward, the World Health Organisation envoy who led a team of scientists just back from China, warned on Tuesday.

Chinese police handle 22,000 epidemic-related criminal cases

Public security authorities across China have handled around 22,000 criminal cases related to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as of Monday, a media report quoted the Ministry of Public Security.
 
A total of 4,260 suspects implicated in the cases have been detained, Vice Minister Du Hangwei was quoted by Xinhua as saying at a press conference on Wednesday.
 
So far, police have cracked 688 cases involving the production and sale of counterfeit and shoddy protective materials, with more than 1,560 suspects apprehended and over 31 million fake or inferior face masks seized, Du said.

Worried Chinese turn to online doctor consultations amid outbreak

Spooked by a sneeze or a cough, Chinese consumers are turning to online consultations in droves for advice about possible coronavirus symptoms - a boon for a fledgling industry that has struggled to win over customers.
 
Due to the epidemic, hundreds of millions of Chinese are stuck at home due to quarantine restrictions imposed by authorities or companies. Even if not under quarantine, many are too worried to venture for long outside or to visit a hospital for other ailments as they fear they might catch the highly contagious virus.
 
The surge of inquiries has also been driven by healthcare platforms offering some services for free amid the epidemic.

As coronavirus looms over Olympics, Japan PM urges 2-week curbs on sports events

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday called for sports and cultural events to be scrapped or curtailed for two weeks as the country battles to stem coronavirus contagion amid mounting concerns the 2020 Tokyo Olympics could be cancelled.
 
Abe's call came after a Tokyo baseball team said it would play games in an empty stadium this weekend, while two businesses in central Tokyo reported confirmed cases of infection a day after the government had urged companies to encourage staff to work from home or stagger commutes.
 
"Taking into account that the next one to two weeks are extremely important in stopping the spread of infection, the government considers there to be a large risk of transmission at sports, cultural events and large gatherings of people," Abe said in parliament.

Russia warns against travel to Italy, Iran, S Korea over virus

Russia on Wednesday warned against travel to Italy, South Korea and Iran so as to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.
 
Noting the spike in cases in the three countries, consumer safety regulator Rospotrebnadzor urged Russians to avoid travel there "until the epidemiological situation stabilised".
 
More than 1,100 people have been infected in South Korea -- the hardest-hit area outside of China -- and 11 people died.
 
Iran has emerged as another hotspot, with 15 deaths out of nearly 100 reported infections. Italy has recorded 11 deaths and more than 300 coronavirus cases.

Five more Chinese regions lower emergency response level as virus threat recedes

Five Chinese regions have downgraded their emergency response level after assessing that health risks from the coronavirus outbreak have receded, state media and government authorities reported.
 
The northwestern Chinese regions of Inner Mongolia and Xinjiang, the southwestern province of Sichuan, the northeastern province of Jilin and the southern island of Hainan have all cut their emergency response levels.
 
China has a four-tier response system for public health emergencies that determines what measures a region will implement, with level I the most serious.

S Korea reports 169 new coronavirus cases, including first US soldier

South Korea reported 169 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, including a US soldier, as health authorities readied an ambitious plan to test more than 200,000 members of a church hit hardest by the country's outbreak.
 
The new cases pushed the total tally to 1,146, with the numbers expected to rise as the government widens its testing.

Bahrain at 26 cases as three more people diagnosed: BNA

Bahrain announced on Wednesday that the number of coronavirus infections has risen to 26 after 3 new cases were confirmed, according to the state news agency (BNA).
 
The three were identified as Bahraini women who arrived at Bahrain international airport on indirect flights from Iran.

Vietnam bars tourists from virus-hit parts of South Korea

Vietnam banned tourists from coronavirus-hit areas of South Korea on Wednesday, a blow to a tourism industry already reeling from a collapse in Chinese visitor numbers.
 
The government said in a news release that people from those areas who needed to come to Vietnam for other reasons must be quarantined for 14 days when entering the country. The move came after the number of cases of the new coronavirus reported in South Korea rose above 1,100.
 
South Korea accounted for a quarter of Vietnam's 18 million tourists last year - the biggest group after Chinese visitors, whose travel had already been curtailed because of the virus.

Global recession likely if coronavirus becomes pandemic: Moody's Analytics

A global recession is likely if coronavirus becomes a pandemic, and the odds of that are uncomfortably high and rising with infections surging in Italy and Korea, Moody's Analytics said on Wednesday.
 
"The coronavirus has been a body blow to the Chinese economy, which now threatens to take out the entire global economy," Chief Economist at Moody's Analytics Mark Zandi said.
 
The outbreak of the virus, officially called COVID-19, was first detected in Wuhan in China in December and has since affected thousands of people across the globe.

Kazakhstan to suspend Iran flight routes due to coronavirus

Kazakhstan plans to suspend flights to and from Iran from March 1 because of the spread of coronavirus in the Gulf nation, Kazakhstan's chief sanitary doctor, Zhandarbek Bekshin, said on Wednesday.
 
Kazakhstan will also reduce the number of flights to and from South Korea, another country with a large number of coronavirus cases, he told a briefing.

Thailand reports 3 new virus cases, urges disclosure of travel history

Thailand reported three new cases of a coronavirus on Wednesday, taking total infections to 40, health ministry officials said, criticizing patients for not disclosing their travel history.
 
Two of the new patients, all of whom were Thai nationals, had returned from vacation in Japan's northern island of Hokkaido and came into contact with the third patient, an 8-year old boy, said Sukhum Kanchanapimai, permanent secretary at the ministry.
 
The male patient had not disclosed his travel history when he first sought medical attention and risked becoming a super-spreader, an incident of large transmission from a single source, health minister Anutin Charnvirakul said.

China orders disinfection of banknotes in coronavirus fight: Report

China has told lenders to disinfect and store banknotes in a dry area for 7 days, as part of the battle to contain the contagious coronavirus, a newspaper reported on Wednesday.
 
The guidelines on how banks can help reduce the transmission of the virus were circulated by the Beijing branch of China's banking and insurance regulator (CBIRC), according to the China Securities Journal. The newspaper did not say how the notes would be cleaned.
 
Banks should also increase the frequency of disinfection of public places, such as counters and public appliances such as password entry devices, said the CBIRC, according to the paper.

Dashboard of a downturn: Coronavirus starts to set off some recession alarm bells

Will China's coronavirus outbreak send the world economy into recession?
 
As cases spread across Asia and in Europe, only some of the multiple indicators investors use to monitor recession signals are flashing red, implying the frail global economy may not necessarily be heading towards a contraction.
 
It is too early to be sure, however. The outbreak is still continuing to spread and key data points for February are still unavailable.
 
What's more, forecasting global recessions is tricky because most countries can't match U.S. data for its breadth. It's also rare for the world economy to actually shrink - prior to 2008-2009, that happened only in 1990-1991.

Covid-19 curbs to hit Holi shopping

With less than a fortnight left for Holi, the traders here in Uttar Pradesh are finding themselves in an unpleasant situation -- one that could cast a shadow on the celebrations.
 
With the Coronavirus scare and the curbs on imports from China, the toy industry is facing a crunch since water pistols, in various shapes and sizes, were being imported from China for Holi.
 
"Since the past one decade, indigenously made Pichkaris (water pistols) have gone out of fashion and the Chinese water guns and colour bombs were largely sold in the market. Apart from being highly attractive, these water guns are preferred by children because they are easy to refill and use. The colour bombs are also very popular. They are cheaper than the ones made in India," said Mithilesh Yadav, a local trader.
 

China struggles to revive manufacturing amid virus outbreak

Factories that make the world's smartphones, toys and other goods are struggling to reopen after a virus outbreak idled China's economy.
 
But even with the ruling Communist Party promising help, companies and economists say it may be months before production is back to normal.
 
The problem is supply chains — the thousands of companies that provide components, from auto parts to zippers to microchips. China's are famously nimble and resourceful, but they lack raw materials and workers after the most intensive anti-disease measures ever imposed closed factories, cut off most access to cities with more than 60 million people and imposed travel curbs.

Spread of coronavirus in S Korea prompts Chinese cities to curb entry by outsiders

More Chinese cities close to the Korean Peninsula are imposing travel restrictions on outsiders as the coronavirus spreads rapidly through South Korea.
 
Yancheng city in China's Jiangsu province has advised South Koreans with permanent residence to stay at home, according to a government social media post posted on Wednesday.
 
Short-term visitors, meanwhile, have been advised to stay at hotels designated by the local government.
 
Dalian city, a major port hub across from the Korean Peninsula, imposed its own restrictions on visitors, according to a government notice published on Wednesday.

UAE says equipped for 'worst case scenarios' as virus spreads in Middle East

The United Arab Emirates is "well prepared and equipped for the worst case scenarios" as the coronavirus spreads in Middle East, an official from the UAE National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority told Reuters on Wednesday.
 
The UAE has enough facilities to quarantine patients and relevant bodies have been instructed to undertake "a complete surveillance of all people entering the country", the official said.
 
The UAE has reported 13 people have been diagnosed with the infection, of whom three have recovered and two are in critical condition.

South Korean virus cases jump again

The number of new virus infections in South Korea jumped again Wednesday and the US military reported its first case among its soldiers based in the Asian country, with his case and many others connected to a southeastern city with an illness cluster.
 
South Korea's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 134 of the 169 new cases were confirmed in Daegu, where the government has been mobilizing public health tools to contain the virus.
 
Another 19 cases were in neighboring North Gyeongsang province towns.

Hong Kong schools to remain shut beyond Easter

Owing to the coronavirus outbreak, schools in Hong Kong which had remained shut for over three weeks are set to not open after Easter holidays even as the university entrance exams will go ahead as scheduled, Hong Kong education officials said on Tuesday.
 
"Classes at all kindergartens, primary and secondary schools would be suspended until April 20 at the earliest," said Secretary for Education Kevin Yeung Yun-hung, as quoted by the South China Morning Post.
 
"The World Health Organisation and virologists have already predicted that the epidemic will last for a longer period of time, so further extending the suspension of classes is the safest option," he added.

Dozens allowed off Japan virus-hit ship have 'symptoms': Minister

Dozens of passengers who were allowed off a coronavirus-stricken cruise ship have developed symptoms including fever and will be asked to take tests for the virus, Japan's health minister said Wednesday.
 
The government has contacted 813 former passengers of the Diamond Princess. Around 970 were allowed off the boat last week after testing negative for the virus, but several have subsequently been found to be carrying the disease.
 
The ministry found "45 people had certain symptoms," health minister Katsunobu Kato told parliament.

Hong Kong to give big cash handouts as economy reels from virus

Hong Kong's government on Wednesday said it will give a HK$10,000 ($1,280) handout to seven million permanent residents in a bid to jump-start a recession-hit economy now compounded by the coronavirus outbreak.
 
Financial Secretary Paul Chan unveiled the cash gift in an annual budget, committing $120 billion to help alleviate the worst economic downtown the international financial hub has faced in a decade.
 
Hong Kong boasts significant fiscal reserves of more than HK$1 trillion built up over the boom years, a stockpile that the government is now tapping into.
 
The cash handout alone will cost HK$71 billion but officials hope consumers will plough much of the money back into local businesses.

China: Death toll climbs to over 2,700 amidst signs of slowdown

The death toll in China's novel coronavirus epidemic on Wednesday climbed to 2,715 with 52 new fatalities while the confirmed cases rose to 78,064, amidst strong signs of COVID-19 slowing down even at its epicentre Hubei province.
 
The country's National Health Commission (NHC) in its daily update said it received reports of 52 deaths, all from Hubei, and 406 new 
confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus infection from all over the country.
 
The death toll has gone up to 2,715 and overall confirmed cases reached 78,064, it said.
 
Another 439 new suspected cases were reported on Tuesday while the number of severe cases decreased by 374 to 8,752, it said.
Ships arriving from or departing to China, Korea, Italy, Singapore, Thaialnd, Japan,Iraq are banned at Kuwaiti ports: Notice
 
Ships from the oil sector are excluded from the Kuwaiti port ban: Second Notice

Hong Kong unveils $15 bn in relief against coronavirus, protests

Hong Kong unveiled measures worth HK$120 billion ($15 billion) in its annual budget on Wednesday to bolster an economy grappling with a coronavirus outbreak and months of anti-government protests.
 
Financial Secretary Paul Chan said the measures would include handouts of HK$10,000 for residents older than 18.

US forces in South Korea report first coronavirus case

A US soldier stationed in South Korea has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, commanders said Wednesday, the first US serviceman to do so.
 
The soldier is stationed at Camp Carroll, 30 kilometres north of Daegu, the city that is the epicentre of the outbreak in the South, US Forces Korea said in a statement, adding that he had been put in self-quarantine at his off-base residence.

Kuwait reports two new coronavirus cases, taking total to 11

Kuwait announced on Wednesday there were two new coronavirus cases in the country, with the infections occurring among people returning from Iran.
 
The new cases bring the total number to 11 in Kuwait, according to a statement by the health ministry.

US warned to prepare for coronavirus pandemic as Europe lockdowns spread

A second European hotel was in lockdown on Wednesday as authorities around the world battled to prevent the spread of coronavirus, although a senior U.S. health official said a pandemic was inevitable and urged Americans to prepare.
 
Austria sealed off the 108-room Grand Hotel Europa in the Alpine tourist hub of Innsbruck after an Italian receptionist tested positive for the flu-like virus that originated in China and has spread to about 30 countries.
 
Italy has become a frontline in the global outbreak of the virus, with 280 cases and 10 deaths, most in Lombardy and nearby Veneto. The receptionist and her partner, who also tested positive, visited their home in Lombardy last week.

Iran's deputy health minister contracts coronavirus

Iran's deputy health minister, Iraj Harirchi has said he had been infected with COVID-19, a day after he appeared symptomatic in a press conference.
 
The virus has killed 15 people in Iran, making it the worst-hit region outside of China.
 
"I've had a fever since Monday. The first test I took late last night came back positive and I have been in isolation since then. Just now they told me the final test was also positive.
 
Harirchi said he was receiving treatment and that he was waiting for his fever to drop.

Mainland China reports 406 new cases of coronavirus on Tuesday, deaths up by 52

Mainland China had 406 new confirmed cases of coronavirus infections on Tuesday, the country's National Health Commission (NHC) said on Wednesday, down from 508 cases a day earlier.
 
That brings the total number of confirmed cases in mainland China so far to 78,064.
 
The death toll from the outbreak in mainland China had reached 2,715 as of the end of Tuesday, up by 52 from the previous day, the commission said.
 
All the new deaths were in Hubei province, the epicentre of the outbreak. Hubei also reported 401 new cases on Feb. 25, down from 499 a day earlier.
 
Outside Hubei, the number of new mainland China cases fell to 5, down for the fifth consecutive day and the lowest since Jan. 20, when the NHC began publishing nationwide figures.

China quarantines 94 on flight from Seoul after 3 show fever symptoms: State TV

China has quarantined 94 passengers on a flight from Seoul to Nanjing after three were showing signs of fever, the state broadcaster CCTV said early on Wednesday.
 
Flight OZ349 from Seoul landed in the eastern Chinese city of Nanjing on Tuesday afternoon.
 
None of the three Chinese tourists suffering from fever had any recent links to Wuhan or Hubei province, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak, CCTV said.

Three more Chinese regions lower emergency response level as virus threat recedes

The northwestern Chinese regions of Inner Mongolia and Xinjiang and the southwestern province of Sichuan have downgraded their emergency response level after assessing that health risks from the coronavirus outbreak have receded, state media reported.
 
China has a four-tier response system for public health emergencies that determines what measures a region will implement, with level I the most serious.
 
Sichuan announced it would adjust its measures from level I to level II, while Inner Mongolia will change from level I to level III, state news agency Xinhua said on Wednesday.

Food giant Nestle delays all business trips over virus

Swiss food giant Nestle, owner of KitKat and Nespresso, on Tuesday said it was postponing all business trips until March 15 at the earliest because of the new coronavirus epidemic.
 
"We have asked all of our employees worldwide not to travel for business purposes until March 15 2020. We will review this measure in light of external developments," a company spokesman told AFP, quoting an internal note.
 
The spokesman said that the company was not calling back expatriate employees but added: "We monitor the situation closely to ensure the safety of our employees." Nestle, which owns a range of household brands including also Nescafe, Maggi and Perrier, employs 291,000 people.

Air Canada extends flight suspension to Chinese cities, citing virus

Air Canada announced Tuesday it is extending its suspension of flights between Canada and the Chinese cities of Beijing and Shanghai until April 10 due to the new coronavirus epidemic.
 
Flights from Canada to the two cities had been temporarily suspended from January 30 to the end of February after the foreign ministry advised Canadians against non-essential travel to China in light of the virus's rapid spread there. The Air Canada website says the company and health authorities "will continue to monitor this evolving situation closely" and "will adjust its schedule as appropriate." The airline usually offers direct flights from Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver to Beijing and Shanghai.

China opens fuel export taps as coronavirus slams domestic demand for fuel

China has ramped up fuel exports to compensate for losses to domestic demand as it grapples with the coronavirus outbreak, having not been able to prevent a surplus in the world's second-largest oil consumer with cutbacks in its refining output.
 
China's refined oil product exports have surged to well above year-ago levels, according to trade sources and industry analysts, adding to supplies in the rest of Asia, which is also dealing with lacklustre demand due to the coronavirus epidemic.

Economic contagion spreads beyond China to other Asian economies

The effects of the coronavirus outbreak are likely to reverberate beyond China as most major economies in the region are expected to either slow down significantly, halt or shrink outright in the current quarter, Reuters polls found.
 
Many Asian economies, which were just limping back to growth from the spillover effects of the 18-month long U.S.-China trade dispute, were again dealt a blow by the outbreak, which has shut down businesses and cities.
 
With the contagion interrupting global supply chains that most countries depend on for trade and commerce, economic activity is likely to slow, but at varying degrees.

Most British firms in China see hit from coronavirus: Survey

Most British firms operating in China expect revenues to fall this year because of the coronavirus that has shaken the world's second largest economy, according to a poll by the British Chambers of Commerce in China.
 
Nearly 70% of the 135 companies surveyed expect the virus to pull down their China revenues in 2020, with half expecting their revenue to drop by more than 10%. A quarter of businesses expected a decrease of more than 20%.
 
In China, the epidemic has killed more than 2,600, infected more than 77,000, and led to widespread transport and business restrictions.

Hong Kong banks face coronavirus toll on asset quality, loan growth

Hong Kong's banks face at least two quarters of worsening asset quality and slowing loan growth as the coronavirus outbreak hits trade and consumer banking, analysts and bankers said.
 
Lenders in the Asian financial hub, including HSBC and Standard Chartered, are seeing a drop in demand for mortgages, credit card usage and corporate loans, bankers with knowledge of the matter said.

169 new coronavirus cases in South Korea

South Korea reports 169 new coronavirus cases, total tops 1,100, reports AFP

Stocks, oil fall further on accelerating coronavirus concerns

Stocks and oil prices tumbled again on Tuesday and the benchmark U.S. debt yield hit a record low on growing concern about the effects of the spread of coronavirus on the global economy.

The market sell-off followed the largest losses in stocks in over two years on Monday and accelerated after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Americans should begin to prepare for community spread of the disease.

One person under observation in Maharashtra, 52,000 screened

Only one person suspected of being affected by the novel coronavirus has been kept under observation at an isolation ward in Maharashtra, while over 52,000 travellers have been screened at the airport here for the disease till now, the health department said on Tuesday.
 
The lone patient has been kept under observation at an isolation facility in Pune-based Naidu Hospital, it said. Read more...
 

Coronavirus outbreak: Temasek to freeze salary, cut bonuses for a year

Temasek Holdings, Singapore’s state-owned investment firm, is implementing a company-wide wage freeze for an as yet undetermined period and asking senior management to take voluntary pay reductions for up to a year amid the coronavirus outbreak. Read more...

Austria places Innsbruck hotel under lockdown over coronavirus

Austria on Tuesday placed a hotel in the Alpine city of Innsbruck under lockdown after an Italian receptionist working there contracted the virus, media reports said.
 
"No one can get in and out while the authorities assess who she has been in contact with," a spokeswoman for the Tyrol province state government told AFP, adding the place where the woman lived in Innsbruck was also being isolated.

Borders stay open as Italy coronavirus outbreak spreads south

Italy's European neighbours pledged to keep borders open Tuesday despite the new coronavirus spreading down the country to Tuscany and Sicily and a surge in the number of infected people.
 
Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has blamed poor management in a hospital in the country's north for the outbreak, with the death toll in Italy rising to 11 and infections to 322, the largest number of people infected in Europe. Read more...

Study begins in US to test possible coronavirus treatment

The first clinical trial in the US of a possible coronavirus treatment is underway in Nebraska and is eventually expected to include 400 patients at 50 locations around the world, officials said Tuesday.
 
Half of the patients in the international study will receive the antiviral medicine remdesivir while the other half will receive a placebo. Several other studies, including one looking at the same drug, are already underway internationally. Read more...

Algeria reports first novel coronavirus case

Algerian authorities on Tuesday announced the country's first case of the novel coronavirus, in an Italian citizen who arrived in the country on February 17.
 
"One case was confirmed positive for coronavirus (COVID-19), out of two suspected cases (both) of Italian nationality," the North African country's health ministry said. Read more...

Coronavirus impact: BPCL snaps up 500 mn barrels of distress crude

Sell-off-bound Bharat Petroleum has procured 500 million barrels of distress crude (five shiploads) at a discount of USD 3-5 per barrel to the already low prevailing price following order cancellations by coronavirus-hit China this month.
 
Since the outbreak of the epidemic, crude prices have plunged over USD 15 a barrel to around USD 50 now as large parts of China, the largest importer and consumer of crude, are under Beijing-ordered lockdown and millions of factories are closed.
 
The deadly virus outbreak in China since mid-January has left more than 2,660 dead and over 77,600 infected in China alone even as it has spread to countries like Korea, Japan, Iran and far-flung nations like Italy and France. Read More...

World 'simply not ready' for virus spread: WHO China mission chief

The world is "simply not ready" to rein in the new coronavirus outbreak, the head of a joint WHO-China mission of experts said Tuesday, urging countries to learn from China's expertise.
 
"You have to be ready to manage this at a larger scale... and it has to be done fast," Bruce Aylward told reporters in Geneva, insisting countries everywhere have to "be ready as if this hits us tomorrow". 

Pompeo blasts China, Iran for response to virus outbreak

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday hit out at China and Iran for their response to the outbreak of coronavirus, accusing the two governments of censorship and of trying to cover up the severity of the spread of the deadly illness.
 
Pompeo assailed Beijing for expelling three Wall Street Journal reporters and said a free press was needed to ensure accurate information about the virus is available to the public and medical personnel. He also said Iranian authorities must “tell the truth” about the virus amid signs the outbreak there may be far wider than officially acknowledged.
 
“Expelling our journalists exposes once again the government's issue that led to SARS and now the coronavirus, namely censorship. It can have deadly consequences,” Pompeo said of China. Read More...

Coronavirus: One person under observation in Maharashtra, 52,000 screened

Only one person suspected of being affected by the novel coronavirus has been kept under observation at an isolation ward in Maharashtra, while over 52,000 travellers have been screened at the airport here for the disease till now, the health department said on Tuesday.
 
The lone patient has been kept under observation at an isolation facility in Pune-based Naidu Hospital, it said.
 
Until now, 87 travellers were admitted at various isolation facilities in the state after they showed symptoms of the viral infection (officially called COVID-19), whose outbreak was first reported from the Chinese city of Wuhan in December-end. Read More...

Switzerland confirms first case of coronavirus - health department

Switzerland has confirmed its first case of coronavirus, the Federal Office of Public Health said on Tuesday.Further details will be provided at 5pm CET, the health department said.

Indians on board coronavirus-hit cruise ship to be brought back on Wednesday

Indians, on board the cruise ship off the Japan coast, who have not tested positive for the novel coronavirus will be repatriated on February 26 by a chartered flight, the Indian embassy here said on Tuesday, as the number of infected Indians on the vessel rose to 16 after the completion of all tests.
 
A total of 138 Indians, including 132 crew and 6 passengers, were among the 3,711 people, on board the Diamond Princess ship when it docked at the Yokohama port, near Tokyo, on February 3.
 
"PCR test results for all Indian nationals declared-02 more Indians tested positive to #COVID19, taking the total to 16. Those fulfilling conditions and consenting to repatriation to India on 26 Feb being facilitated by the Indian Government. Details shared with them," the mission tweeted. 

Drugmaker Moderna readies possible coronavirus vaccine for testing

The drugmaker Moderna has shipped a potential coronavirus vaccine for humans to government researchers for testing.
Shares of the biotech company soared early Tuesday, a day after the company said it sent vials to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for early-stage testing in the United States. Read More...

Japan suspends football over virus as Olympics loom

Japan suspended its football league on Tuesday, making it the latest sporting victim of the deadly coronavirus with just five months to go before the Tokyo Olympics.
 
All J-League and cup games were postponed until mid-March as Japan joined China and South Korea in putting domestic football on hold in a bid to stem the outbreak.
 
"J-League made a big decision over the spread of infections of the new coronavirus," the league's chairman Mitsuru Murai told a news conference.
 
"We have decided to postpone Levain Cup games scheduled for tomorrow and all the official games... scheduled until March 15." On Monday, a medical panel advising Japan's government warned the coming weeks will be "critical" in preventing the outbreak from spreading out of control.
 
At least 156 people have tested positive for the virus in Japan, along with nearly 700 on a cruise ship that was quarantined off the country for two weeks.
 
Four people who fell ill on the ship have died. Domestically, Japan has reported one fatality linked to the virus. Read More...

Oman identifies two more cases of new coronavirus

Oman has identified two more cases of the new coronavirus, bringing the total number to four, its ministry of health said in a tweet on Tuesday.
 
The two new cases are "linked to travel to Iran", the ministry said.

Bahrain says 9 new cases of coronavirus registered

Bahrain's Health Ministry said on Tuesday nine further cases of the new coronavirus had been registered in the Gulf kingdom, bringing the total to 17.
 
The new cases were carried by Bahraini and Saudi nationals who arrived at Bahrain International Airport from Iran via Dubai or Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates before the country's civil aviation authority suspended flights from those cities.

Croatia reports first case of novel coronavirus in Balkans

Croatia's Prime Minister on Tuesday announced his country's first confirmed case of the new coronavirus, the first in the Balkans region.
 
"It has been confirmed that the first patient was infected with the COVID-19 virus," Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said at a press conference at a hospital in Zagreb.
 
The patient is a young man "showing mild symptoms", he added. 

Seoul: Workers in protective suits spray disinfectant as a precaution against the COVID-19 at an indoor gymnasium in Seoul, South Korea


May witness supply chain disruption in mid April due to virus: Blue Star

Air-conditioner maker Blue Star was closely monitoring the situation in coronavirus-hit China as the company expects disruption in supply chain for components in mid April, a top official said on Tuesday.
 
"Every industry player is somewhere or the other connected to China for supply of equipment. Particularly electronic component from China. The good news is we will not have problem. But, there could be supply chain disruption in mid April. We are monitoring..", Blue Star Ltd Managing Director, B Thiagarajan told reporters here.
 
He said this after unveiling a new range of air- conditioners under 'D', 'Q' and 'Y' brand priced from Rs 31,990.
 
China reported the outbreak of novel coronavirus on December 31, 2019. Read More...

As coronavirus scare spreads, gem and jewellery exports may lose sheen

The Coronavirus outbreak is expected to hit consumer demand and affect India’s gem & jewellery exports, says industry experts. Globally, over 80,000 cases of COVID-19 have been reported. South Korea health authorities said the number of coronavirus cases in the country rose to 893 on Tuesday and 60 fresh cases have been reported.
 
The Indian gems & jewellery industry has estimated an additional loss of 5 per cent in its exports on account of Coronavirus, besides a generally low demand due to economic slowdown. The sudden Coronavirus outbreak in countries like Japan, China and South Korea have also contributed to a sharp fall in demand and impacted some export orders to these nations. Read More...

Italy coronavirus outbreak spreads to Tuscany, Sicily Rome

Italy's new coronavirus spread south on Tuesday to Tuscany and the island of Sicily, the civil protection agency said, reporting a surge in the number of infected people.  

Tuscany reported its first two cases, including one in the tourist destination of Florence, while Sicily reported one: a tourist from the worst-hit Lombardy region, where 212 people have tested positive, it said.

Austria confirms two cases of coronavirus

Austria has confirmed its first two cases of coronavirus, a spokeswoman for the health authority in the province of Tyrol said on Tuesday.
 
They are two Italians who live in the province and were probably infected in Italy's Lombardy region, Tyrol governor Guenther Platter was quoted as saying by local media.
 
The new virus has already killed more than 2,600 people, most of them in China, and spread to about 29 other countries, according to a Reuters tally. The number of confirmed cases has risen above 80,000.
 
Europe's biggest outbreak is in Italy with some 220 infections - from just three before Friday - and seven dead.

India-US discussed issue of coronavirus; US has it under control: Trump

US President Donald Trump on Tuesday said the coronavirus epidemic will soon be brought under control as China has been working very hard.
 
Addressing Indian CEOs here, Trump said the US plans to spend about $2.5 billion in fighting the deadly coronavirus.
 
"China is working very very hard, I have spoken to President Xi they are working very hard. They had a rough patch and right now it seems they are getting it under control, they are getting it more and more under control so I think it is a problem that is going to go away," Trump said.
 
Asserting that the situation in the US is under control, Trump said the US also does business with other nations and wants other countries to be "happy healthy and well". Read More...

China struggles to revive manufacturing amid virus outbreak

Factories that make the world's smartphones, toys and other goods are struggling to reopen after a virus outbreak idled China's economy.
 
But even with the ruling Communist Party promising help, companies and economists say it may be months before production is back to normal.
 
The problem is supply chains the thousands of companies that provide components, from auto parts to zippers to microchips. China's are famously nimble and resourceful, but they lack raw materials and workers after the most intensive anti-disease measures ever imposed closed factories, cut off most access to cities with more than 60 million people and imposed travel curbs.
 
In smartphones, an industry that relies on China to assemble almost all its handsets, some components suppliers say production is as low as 10% of normal levels, according to Nicole Peng of Canalys, a research firm. Read More...

Italy probes "insane" prices for coronavirus masks, sanitizers

Italian authorities have opened a probe into skyrocketing online prices for hygienic masks and sanitising gels following the coronavirus outbreak in northern Italy, two senior magistrates said on Tuesday.
 
"We have decided to open an investigation after media reports of the insane prices fetched up by these products on online sales websites in the last two days," Milan deputy chief prosecutor Tiziana Siciliano told Reuters.
 
Italy has seen the biggest outbreak of the disease in Europe, with more than 260 cases and seven deaths reported, most in the prosperous north of the country.
 
Many pharmacists say they have run out of hygienic masks and hand sanitizers and many people have turned to online sites where prices have shot up.

Indonesia announces nearly $750 mln stimulus in response to coronavirus

Indonesia has prepared a stimulus package worth 10.3 trillion rupiah ($742.6 million) to protect its economy from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak in China, ministers said on Tuesday.
 
The announcement came less than a week after Indonesia's central bank cut interest rates for a fifth time since May, while trimming its 2020 growth outlook over the virus epidemic.
 
Growth in Indonesia's economy had already slowed to 5.02% in 2019, its lowest in three years, amid a global slowdown.

Hundreds of tourists in Tenerife hotel lockdown over coronavirus: officials

Hundreds of people were confined to their rooms at a Tenerife hotel Tuesday after an Italian tourist was hospitalised with a suspected case of coronavirus, health officials in the Canary Islands said.
 
"Hundreds of hotel clients are being monitored for health reasons and the degree of supervision will be assessed during the day, but so far, we're not talking about quarantine," health authority spokeswoman Veronica Martin told AFP, confirming that the Italian tourist "was staying at this hotel while on holiday in Tenerife".

Iraq confirms four more novel coronavirus cases

Iraq on Tuesday confirmed four new cases of the novel coronavirus in an Iraqi family returning from neighbouring Iran, bringing its total number of diagnosed infections to five.
 
The health ministry said the four were quarantined in Kirkuk, an oil-rich region north of Baghdad, where the governor said authorities were implementing emergency measures to stymie a larger outbreak.
 
The latest infections came a day after Iraq confirmed its first COVID-19 case, an Iranian national studying in a Shiite seminary in the shrine city of Najaf in southern Iraq.
 
Iraq last week banned travel to and from the Islamic Republic, which has recorded 15 deaths from COVID-19, the highest death toll outside China, the epidemic's epicentre.

Spoke to Xi Jinping, China working hard to contain coronavirus, says Trump

Donald Trump during his press brief on Tuesday said that he has spoken to Xi Jinping who has assured him that China is working hard to contain coronavirus. 
A man collects bags of his food order as a worker places it in a basket to prevent human contact following the coronavirus outbreak, in Beijing
A child wearing an adult protective face mask stands next to a woman in Beijing

Britain advises travellers self isolate after north Italy trips

Britain said on Tuesday that people who had visited northern Italy should self isolate if they had any flu-like symptoms.
 
Italy is trying to contain Europe's worst outbreak of coronavirus so far that flared up in the regions of Lombardy and Veneto.
 
"The official advice which will be formally updated at eight o'clock this morning is going to change so that those who have been to northern Italy - that is essentially anybody who has been to Italy north of Pisa - should, if they have flu-like symptoms, self isolate," Health Secretary Matt Hancock said.

Fourth person from quarantined ship dies as Japan plans new measures

A fourth person has died in Japan after becoming ill aboard a coronavirus-stricken cruise ship, local media reported Tuesday, as the government unveiled a new policy to tackle the outbreak.
 
Nearly 700 people on board the Diamond Princess, which spent two weeks quarantined off Japan, have so far tested positive for the virus.
 
Four people who were hospitalised after being taken off the ship have died, the latest a man in his 80s, according to local media.

Chartered flight being arranged to bring back Indians on board cruise ship: Embassy

A chartered flight is being arranged to repatriate Indians on board the cruise ship off the Japan coast who have not tested positive for the novel coronavirus, the Indian embassy here said on Tuesday as the number of infected Indians on the vessel rose to 14 with two new cases.
 
A total of 138 Indians, including 132 crew and 6 passengers, were among the 3,711 people, on board the Diamond Princess ship when it docked at the Yokohama port, near Tokyo, on February 3.
 
Two more Indian crew members tested positive for COVID-19, taking the total number to 14, the embassy said on Monday, adding that all of them were responding well to the treatment.
A member of the medical team takes a rest outside a hospital in Daegu, South Korea

All 16 of Vietnam's coronavirus sufferers cured

All 16 people in Vietnam infected with COVID-19 have been cured, the health ministry said on Tuesday, adding that no new cases have been recorded since February 13.
 
The last known patient, a 50-year-old man infected by his daughter who returned from China's central city of Wuhan, where the virus first emerged, has recovered and is in good condition, the ministry said in a statement.

South Korea reports 60 new coronavirus cases, total 893

South Korea reported 60 more novel coronavirus cases on Tuesday, the smallest increase for four days in the Korea Centers for Disease Control (KCDC) and Prevention's morning updates.
 
The country now has 893 cases, the KCDC said -- the largest national total anywhere outside China -- adding one more person had died, taking the toll to eight.
 
For the previous three days, KCDC had reported triple-digit increases each morning as the outbreak took hold in South Korea.

Nikkei hits 4-month low as coronavirus epidemic spreads

Japan's Nikkei share average fell nearly 5% to a four-month low on Tuesday, as investors returning after a long weekend dumped riskier assets following a spike in coronavirus infections outside China that threatened global growth.
 
The Nikkei share average tumbled as much as 4.5% to its lowest since late October and was last down 2.99% at 22,686.61. An immediate support for the index was seen at its 200-day moving average at 22,196.
 
The index showed a delayed reaction to falls in global stocks on Monday, when Japanese markets were shut for the emperor's birthday.

Coronavirus scare looms over US mega toy show; China pavilion cancelled

There is no China Pavilion at this year's Toy Fair owing to the new coronavirus outbreak, and the travails of the world's second-biggest economy hang over the giant trade show.
 

Output in China -- by far the world's biggest maker of toys -- has slowed to a trickle as the country reels from a public health crisis that has already claimed nearly 2,600 lives and spread to dozens of countries, raising fears of a global pandemic.
 

As some 25,000 toy industry officials gather this week in New York for the largest toy show in the Americas held amongst a sea of stuffed animals, electronics and action figures, attendees are grappling with a considerably less cheerful topic: a deadly health crisis and its effect on the world's leading maker of consumer goods.

White House unveils $2.5 bn emergency coronavirus request

The White House on Monday sent lawmakers an urgent budget request for $2.5 billion to address the deadly coronavirus outbreak, whose rapid spread and threat to the global economy rocked financial markets.
 
The White House budget office said the funds are for vaccines, treatment, and protective equipment.
 
The request could advance quickly through Congress and came as coronavirus fears were credited with Monday's 1,000-plus point drop in the Dow Jones Industrials and are increasingly seen as a potential political threat to President Donald Trump.
Ambulances carrying patients infected with the novel coronavirus arrive at a hospital in Daegu, South Korea | Photo: AFP/PTI

With 71 new coronavirus deaths, total number of casualties touches 2,663 in China

Seventy-one new coronavirus deaths were reported from China, taking the total number of casualties to 2,663, even as reports suggested that the number of new cases has seen a sharp decline.
 
According to a daily report released by the National Health Commission (NHC) on Tuesday, the number of confirmed cases has reached 77,658, a jump of 508 cases.
 
The report stated that 68 deaths were reported in Hubei, two in Shandong and one in Guangdong.
 
China's daily new confirmed cases of COVID-19 outside ground zero Hubei came down to nine, indicating a continued declining trend.
 

Fourth passenger from cruise ship dies in Japan

A fourth passenger from the cruise ship "Diamond Princess" moored in Japan has died from the coronavirus, NHK public television said on Tuesday. The passenger was in their 80s, NHK said.
 
Japan has come under fire for its handling of the situation on the cruise ship, which is operated by Carnival Corp and where hundreds became infected. The number of patients is rising around Japan, with the government set to announce a set of measures to combat it later on Tuesday.
 

South Korea to test all church members at centre of coronavirus outbreak

The number of coronavirus cases in South Korea rose to 893 on Tuesday, as health authorities said they plan to test potentially more than 200,000 members of a church at the epicentre of the outbreak.
 
Of the new 60 cases reported on Tuesday, 16 were in the southeastern city of Daegu, where the church is located, and 33 from nearby North Gyeongsang Province, the Korea Centres for Disease Control and Prevention said.
 
South Korea also reported its ninth death from the virus, a patient from a hospital in North Gyeongsang Province.

Evaluate airlifting China consignments, Centre asks industries amid coronavirus outbreak

The Ministry of Civil Aviation has reached out to several industries asking their views on airlifting consignments from China, as the COVID-19 outbreak continues to disrupt business. However, the move may not be practical or feasible, given the challenges involved.
 
The direction from the Ministry of Civil Aviation came following a finance ministry-led meeting to address supply chain issues of the Indian industry. Following that, a note was sent to associations of various industries, asking for their requirements.
 

South Korea becomes biggest COVID-19 centre outside China

South Korea reported 161 more COVID-19 cases Monday, taking the nationwide total to 763 and making it the world's largest total outside China.
 
The country has seen a rapid surge in the number of coronavirus cases since a cluster of infections emerged from a religious sect in the southern city of Daegu last week.
 
In another development, New Zealand extended a ban on arrivals from mainland China into a fourth week to contain the risk of exposure to the coronavirus.

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