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.


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 m