Coronavirus Highlights: Gurgaon Paytm employee tests positive

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Hyderabad techies wearing protective masks | Dasarath Reddy
A new case of Coronavirus was reported in India on Wednesday after Paytm in a statement said that one of its employees in Gurgaon office tested positive, taking the toll of confirmed cases in India to 29. The company also said that it had shut down all offices in the NCR region and will undertake disinfection process. Panic gripped Hyderabad Hitech city after a techie, who returned from Italy, tested positive for the virus forcing other firms to ask their employees to work from home. With concerns mounting over spreading of the virus, Delhi government also decided to form a task force and set up isolation wards in 19 government and six private hospitals. Three schools in the Noida and adjoining areas were also shut as a precautionary measure. President Kovind, PM Modi along with other BJP leaders cancelled Holi gatherings over coronavirus scare. PMO also chaired an inter-ministerial meet to review preparedness and response to Coronavirus.

According to the World Health Organisation, over 93,042 confirmed COVID-19 cases and over 3,201 deaths reported globally in 67 countries. Coronavirus death toll in China climbed to 2,981 with 38 more deaths reported on Wednesday, while 119 confirmed cases were reported, the lowest since January 20, Chinese health officials said on Tuesday. 115 cases alone were reported from Hubei. Meanwhile, nine people have died of the deadly virus in the United States. Reports also suggested that over 51,100 people have recovered from the deadly virus worldwide.

 


11:52 PM IST Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India: Medical check-up ongoing at Dera Baba Nanak & Attari. Full checkup and scanning are being undertaken at all land ports & a status report is being submitted on a daily basis. #COVID19 pic.twitter.com/75MjQ63Sxw — ANI (@ANI) March 4, 2020

11:49 PM IST Lawmakers reached bipartisan agreement on an $8.3 billion emergency bill to help fund efforts to contain the virus in the United States

11:36 PM IST Army Sources: Medical sample of the Indian Army Major who returned recently from Iran has been tested negative for #COVID19. The officer is currently in Mhow, Madhya Pradesh. #CoronaVirus — ANI (@ANI) March 4, 2020

10:25 PM IST Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India issues advisory for schools in view of #CoronaVirus. #COVID19 pic.twitter.com/QZsBa30n3w — ANI (@ANI) March 4, 2020

9:39 PM IST Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday encouraged his countrymen to adopt 'Namaste' - the Indian way of greeting - instead of the normal handshakeas one of the measures to prevent the spread of the deadly virus.   At a press conference following a review meeting to contain the Coronavirus here, Netanyahu said that several measures will be announced to prevent the spread of Coronavirus but some simple measures like avoiding the normal handshake while greeting people may possibly be replaced with other forms of greetings like the Indian 'Namaste'.

8:31 PM IST A Paytm employee in Gurgaon has tested positive for novel coronavirus, the company said in a statement on Wednesday. It said the employee had recently returned from a vacation in Italy, one of the worst-hit countries from coronavirus.   Paytm has advised all its employees to work from home for the next couple of days while the Gurgaon unit gets sanitised, according to the statement.

8:09 PM IST The new coronavirus epidemic poses a "serious threat" to people and the world economy, and will slow growth below the 2.9 per cent posted last year, IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva said on Wednesday.   The COVID-19 outbreak "is no longer regional issue, it is a global problem (that) calls for global response," Georgieva said. The epidemic's impact on confidence and steps to contain it are impacting economic activity, with the result that "global growth in 2020 will dip below last year's levels," she said.   The IMF in January forecast growth this year of 3.3 per cent, which means at least a half point will be lost to the virus.

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US lawmakers agree to $8.3 bn emergency bill to fight Coronavirus

Lawmakers reached bipartisan agreement on an $8.3 billion emergency bill to help fund efforts to contain the virus in the United States

Netanyahu encourages Israelis to adopt 'Namaste' to greet amid Coronavirus scare

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday encouraged his countrymen to adopt 'Namaste' - the Indian way of greeting - instead of the normal handshakeas one of the measures to prevent the spread of the deadly virus.
 
At a press conference following a review meeting to contain the Coronavirus here, Netanyahu said that several measures will be announced to prevent the spread of Coronavirus but some simple measures like avoiding the normal handshake while greeting people may possibly be replaced with other forms of greetings like the Indian 'Namaste'.

Paytm employee in Gurgaon tests positive for coronavirus: Company statement

A Paytm employee in Gurgaon has tested positive for novel coronavirus, the company said in a statement on Wednesday. It said the employee had recently returned from a vacation in Italy, one of the worst-hit countries from coronavirus.
 
Paytm has advised all its employees to work from home for the next couple of days while the Gurgaon unit gets sanitised, according to the statement.

Global growth to 'dip below' last year's rate: IMF chief

The new coronavirus epidemic poses a "serious threat" to people and the world economy, and will slow growth below the 2.9 per cent posted last year, IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva said on Wednesday.
 
The COVID-19 outbreak "is no longer regional issue, it is a global problem (that) calls for global response," Georgieva said.
The epidemic's impact on confidence and steps to contain it are impacting economic activity, with the result that "global growth in 2020 will dip below last year's levels," she said.
 
The IMF in January forecast growth this year of 3.3 per cent, which means at least a half point will be lost to the virus.

9 Italian tourists, Indian guide quarantined in MP Chhatarpur

Nine Italian tourists and their Indian guide were sent to a quarantine facility here on Wednesday for suspected exposure to the novel coronavirus, an official said.
 
The Italian tourists and their Indian guide reached here in Madhya Pradesh on Tuesday evening by road after travelling by a train to Jhansi from Agra, he said.
 
They were taken to a quarantine facility at Naugaon near here, district collector Sheelendra Singh told PTI.
 
"Two of them are suffering form cough and cold. They have been quarantined as a precaution," he said.

IMF briefs media on Coronavirus

Sarojini Nagar Market to procure masks, distribute to customers amid coronavirus scare

Amid coronavirus scare, the traders' association of Sarojini Nagar Market is planning to procure masks and distribute them to customers when they come to shop.
 
Ashok Randhawa, president of the Sarojini Nagar mini market traders' association, said they will also put up banners in the market informing people about various precautions to be taken in the wake of the current situation.
 
"We will be distributing masks to customers who visit the market. We are planning to procure 1,000 to 2,000 masks in the next few days and will be distributing them to customers.

Lufthansa to ground 150 aircraft due to coronavirus

Lufthansa will ground 150 aircraft due to the coronavirus, the German airline said on Wednesday, confirming what company sources had told Reuters earlier.
 
"We are dynamically adjusting our plans to reflect extraordinary circumstances," a Lufthansa spokesman said.
 
European airline bosses warned on Tuesday that the worst is still to come for the airline industry in terms of economic damage from the coronavirus outbreak, but they predicted that travel demand could stabilise in the coming weeks.

PM, other top BJP leaders to stay away from Holi gatherings due to Coronavirus concerns

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other top BJP leaders, including Home Minister Amit Shah and party president JP Nadda, on Wednesday said that they would not attend any Holi Milan function in view of the coronavirus outbreak.
 
Holi is on March 10. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath too said that he will not take part in 'Holi milan' later this month in "public interest" and appealed to all the people of the state to refrain from attending social functions.

Italy to close all schools, universities over virus: news agencies

Italy is closing all schools and universities from Thursday until mid-March to help curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, Ansa and other Italian news agencies cited government sources as saying.
 
The measure was one of several being considered by the government at a meeting on Wednesday to combat COVID-19, which has killed 79 people in Italy and infected more than 2,500, the most in Europe. 

West bengal schools asked to make students aware of steps to check spread of coronavirus

The West Bengal government has asked all state-run schools to sensitise students about steps needed to reduce the risk of novel coronavirus infection.
 
In a circular, the school education department directed district inspectors of schools to instruct heads of institutes to distribute pamphlets to students, advising them to follow basic hygiene habits like frequently washing hands, using handkerchief/tissue paper while sneezing to reduce the risk of infection.
 
The department will send the pamphlets to schools for distribution among students.

Coronavirus: Some Delhi-NCR schools announce holidays, advance spring break

Three schools in the national capital and adjoining areas have announced holiday for students and staff as a precautionary measure to prevent spread of coronavirus, while two schools advanced their spring break and others sent out advisories to parents.
 
On Tuesday, a day after the Union Health Ministry reported two fresh cases of coronavirus in the country with one of them in Delhi, two Noida schools sent messages to parents announcing their closure. Read More...

Coronavirus: Hyd IT park techie tests positive, firms send workers on leave

There was panic at an information technology park in Hyderabad on Wednesday after a techie reportedly tested positive for COVID-19.
 
Some companies at Raheja Mindspace IT Park in the IT hub of Hitech City sent their employees home as a precautionary measure. Read More...

DMRC issues advisory, to step up cleaning on Metro premises

The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) on Wednesday said it would increase the frequency of cleaning on its premises in view of the coronavirus outbreak.
 
DMRC has also issued Do's and Dont's in both English and Hindi regarding the virus.
 
It will also be run on digital screens at major stations like Rajiv Chowk, Kashmere Gate, Central Secretariat, Chandni Chowk, New Delhi.

Coronavirus: Rajasthan govt, hotels follow infected Italian tourists' trail

Labs were analysing blood samples and hotel staff disinfecting rooms along the Rajasthan tourist trail followed by a group of Italian travellers, 16 of whom have now tested positive for coronavirus.
 
Rajasthan Health Minister Raghu Sharma told the assembly on Wednesday that at least 215 people came in contact with the Italian tourists who visited several places in the state from February 21 to 28. Read More...

HRD issues advisory for schools over Coronavirus

Wuhan seeing increase in empty hospital beds

A Beijing-based intensive care doctor now working in Wuhan – the city at the epicenter of China's coronavirus outbreak – says designated hospitals in the city are seeing an increasing number of empty beds after a large number of virus patients were discharged.

AIBA postpones Congress in Budapest due to coronavirus outbreak

The International Boxing Association (AIBA) on Wednesday postponed its annual congress in Budapest by three months to June, citing the novel coronavirus outbreak across the world.
 
The decision, prompted by a request from the Hungarian Boxing Federation, comes a few days after the world body cancelled the European leg of its continental forum in Italy.

PMO takes stock of coronavirus preparedness

Over 370 who travelled abroad since Jan 15 put on surveillance in Noida, none positive yet

As many as 373 people who have travelled abroad since January 15 have been kept under surveillance so far as possible carriers of coronavirus in Gautam Buddh Nagar, officials said on Wednesday.
 
The instructions to put such people who have travelled abroad had come from the Ministry of Health, Uttar Pradesh in mid January itself, the officials said.  Noida, adjoining Delhi, was caught in panic after samples of six people, including three children, were sent for coronavirus test on Tuesday, four days after they came in contact with a Delhi-based man who has tested positive for COVID 19. All six samples have tested negative, district administration and health officials said on Wednesday. Read More...

WHO asks countries in South-East Asia region to strengthen preparedness

With India, Indonesia and Thailand confirming new cases of COVID-19, the World Health Organization on Wednesday asked countries in its South-East Asia region to strengthen preparedness for all possible scenarios and ensure early containment measures.
 
"Top priority of countries should be to be ready to roll out speedy response to the first case, first cluster, and first evidences of community transmission. Early containment measures can help countries stop transmission," Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, regional director of WHO South-East Asia Region said.
 
Five of the 11 countries in the region have confirmed novel coronavirus cases -- Thailand 43, India 28, Indonesia two and Sri Lanka and Nepal one each.
 
The risk of the new coronavirus is very high across the world and in WHO South-East Asia Region. More cases can be expected, Singh said while stressing on identifying them early and isolating them and following their contacts to help limit person-to-person transmission.

Chemist shops run out of hand sanitizers, face masks in several parts of Delhi-NCR

Hand sanitizers and face masks vanished from chemist shops in many areas of the national capital and adjoining towns as people resorted to panic buying amid the coronavirus outbreak.
 
Many chemist shops in several localities have run out of stock and manufacturers have not replenished the stock as demand took a sudden spike in the past couple of days.
 
Some chemist shops who have stocks available for masks have also jacked up prices, selling items that were available earlier for Rs 150 at Rs 300.

3 Delhi-NCR schools closed, 2 advance spring break as precautionary measure

Three schools in the national capital and adjoining areas have announced holiday for students and staff as a precautionary measure to prevent spread of coronavirus, while two schools advanced their spring break and others sent out advisories to parents.
 
On Tuesday, a day after the Union Health Ministry reported two fresh cases of coronavirus in the country with one of them in Delhi, two Noida schools sent messages to parents announcing their closure.
 
One of the two schools, where the infected Delhi man's son is a student in a primary class, said it will remain shut from March 4 to March 6. A health department team fumigated and sanitised the school campus on Tuesday.

2 passengers with travel history to Italy, South Korea quarantined at Jammu hospital

Two passengers with a travel history to Italy and South Korea have been shifted to the quarantine ward at a government medical college hospital in Jammu, officials said on Wednesday.
 
Jammu and Kashmir has been put on alert to deal with any threat emerging due to coronavirus, even though no positive case has been found in the Union Territory so far, officials said.
 
The tests of the two persons have been sent to Delhi and symptomatic passengers have been instructed for home quarantine, they said.

Germany bans export of medical protective gear over coronavirus

Germany's interior ministry on Wednesday said it had banned exports of medical protection gear such as masks and gloves to ensure that health workers in the country have enough to deal with the coronavirus outbreak.
 
The move comes as governments around the world are scrambling to protect supplies as fears over the deadly virus have sparked panic buying, hoarding and even theft.
 
Exceptions can be made, it added, for instance as part of "international aid missions".
 
Germany has recorded 240 cases of the novel coronavirus so far, the bulk of them in North Rhine-Westphalia state where an infected couple attended carnival celebrations last month.

Facebook to help combat virus misinformation

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says the social network is stepping up its efforts to combat virus-related misinformation by giving the World Health Organization free advertising.
 
Zuckerberg said in a post on his Facebook account that the company is working with national health ministries and global organizations like the World Health Orgnization, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and UNICEF to get out timely and accurate information on the virus.
 
Zuckerberg said Facebook will also give “support and millions more in ad credits” to other unspecified organizations.

No confirmed coronavirus case so far in Madhya Pradesh: Secy

No confirmed novel coronavirus case has been reported so far in Madhya Pradesh, where the government has taken all steps to deal with any situation in the wake of reports of outbreak of the disease in different parts of the country, a health department official said on Wednesday.
 
The department has advised people to shun large social gatherings and exercise caution while playing Holi.
 
Due to suspected exposure to the coronavirus (COVID- 19), the blood and swab samples of 14 persons were sent to two laboratories for examination, Principal Secretary, Health, Pallavi Jain Govil, told reporters here.
 
Of these, examination reports of 13 persons have been received and none of them tested positive (for the virus).

Two samples from Telangana sent to Pune for confirmation on COVID-19, 45 others test negative

Samples of two persons have been sent to the National Institute of Virology at Pune for confirmation of coronavirus, health authorities said on Wednesday, as the government stepped up precautionary measures.
 
The virus scare hit the IT corridor at Cyberabad herewith a complex, housing software companies, being "closed" for sanitisation after a person working there was suspected to be suffering from the infection.
 
The state reported its first COVID-19 case on Monday when a 24-year-old software personnel, who recently returned from Dubai, had tested positive for the virus.
 
The two persons are among the 47 whose samples were tested at the state-run Gandhi hospital here on Tuesday.
 
According to the minister, 45 samples tested negative.

China says Hubei virus control and prevention still heavy task

The task of controlling and preventing the spread of the coronavirus in Hubei province, origin of the global outbreak, is still heavy, the ruling Communist Party's Politburo said on Wednesday, according to state television.

Attempts on to create panic over coronavirus to divert focus from Delhi riots: Mamata

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Wednesday alleged that "some people and channels" were trying to create panic over coronovirus in the country to divert attention from the Delhi communal riots.
 
She said "happy and healthy" people were killed in Delhi because of violence and not a virus.
 
"Today some people are shouting corona, corona [coronavirus] a bit too much. Yes, it's a dreaded disease but don't create panic. Some (TV) channels are creating hype over it to suppress Delhi violence. Do report when it occurs. We don't want the disease to spread, but don't create panic," she told a TMC meeting here in South Dinajpur.
 
A total of 28 COVID-19 positive cases have been detected in India so far, according to Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan. None of these are in West Bengal.

Coronavirus epidemic forced several sporting events to be postponed: Here is a complete list

The outbreak of the Coronavirus epidemic has not only impacted sporting event scheduled to be held in China but also those across the globe.
 
Here is a list of sporting events around the world that have been affected by the Coronavirus outbreak in China:
 
* ISSF International Solidarity Championships in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on Feb. 22-28 postponed.
 
* World Cup in Shanghai from May 4-10 cancelled.  Read More...

Iran's oil and gas production not affected by Coronavirus, says official

Coronavirus has not had any effect on oil or gas production in Iran, the deputy head of the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) said on Wednesday, according to the Tasnim news agency.
 
"The production and distribution of Iran's oil and gas is being carried out without any effect from the outbreak," Farokh Alikhani was quoted as saying. Read More...

Iran has 92 coronavirus deaths, 2,922 infections - health ministry

92 people have died in Iran from the novel coronavirus and 2,922 have been infected, Health Ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur announced on state TV on Wednesday.

South Korea reports lowest new infections for a week

South Korea reported its lowest number of new novel coronavirus cases for a week Wednesday, as the government proposed a near-USD 10 billion additional budget to try to address the epidemic's impact.
 
Seoul announced 435 new cases Wednesday, far below Tuesday's rise of 851 -- when President Moon Jae-in declared "war" on the virus -- and its lowest increase since February 26.
 
The South's total, which is already the largest in the world outside China, reached 5,621, and the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said four more people had died, taking the toll to 32.

Iraq announces first coronavirus death

Iraq said a 70-year-old Muslim cleric died on Wednesday from the novel coronavirus, the first death from the outbreak in a country where 31 people have been infected.
 
The Iraqi preacher had been quarantined in the northeastern city of Sulaimaniyah before his death, a spokesman for the Kurdish autonomous region's health authority said.

Harsh Vardhan says govt intends to set up coronavirus testing facility for Indians in Iran

India intends to set up a laboratory in Iran so that Indians there can be tested for a possible exposure to novel coronavirus before being brought back, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said on Wednesday.
 
The Iranian government has not yet given permission for it.
 
An estimated 1,200 Indians, mostly students and pilgrims, are in Iran currently.
 
"If the Iranian government lends its support, a testing facility could be set up there as well, so that Indians there can be tested before they can be brought back," Vardhan said.

Poland announces first coronavirus case

Poland on Wednesday announced its first case of coronavirus while adding that nearly 70 people were being tested for the disease.
 
The man, who had visited Germany, is "not part of a risk group" and his life is not in danger, Health Minister Lukasz Szumowski told a news conference.
 
He indicated the man was not elderly, whose lives are at greater risk.
 
He was hospitalised in the western city of Zielona Gora with a high fever and other symptoms of the disease that has killed more than 3,000 people and infected around 92,000 globally.

Sebi internally assessing potential impact of coronavirus on markets: Member

Sebi is "internally assessing" the potential impact of the coronavirus epidemic on the capital markets, its Whole-Time Member S K Mohanty said on Wednesday.
 
He, however, said the Financial Sector Development Council (FSDC), an apex body of regulators formed by the government, is yet to get involved in the discussions.
 
The comments come a day after the action by central banks across the world, including a surprise 50 basis points cut in rates by the US Federal Reserve. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Tuesday also came out with a statement assuring the markets of all help.
"Sebi is aware of coronavirus and the possible impact that it can have on the market. We are taking the necessary steps," Mohanty told reporters here.

Coronavirus in West Bengal: Another 345 under lens; 986 in home isolation

As many as 345 people in the state were added to the list of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) suspects and advised to be put in home isolation on Tuesday. So far, there has been no positive case of Covid-19 in the state. West Bengal health department is continuously monitoring 986 persons kept in home isolation, many of them from Kolkata, reports TOI.

Coronavirus update: Thousands wait for hospital beds in South Korea as coronavirus cases surge

South Korea reported hundreds of new coronavirus cases on Wednesday as many sick people waited for hospital beds in Daegu, the city at the center of the worst outbreak outside China.
 
The new cases bring South Korea’s total to 5,621, with at least 32 deaths, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said.

Coronavirus update: 5 persons are admitted in the isolation wards of Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases in Bengaluru

Karnataka: At present, total 5 persons are admitted in the isolation wards of Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases in Bengaluru. Samples have been collected. Reports will be received later today.

COVID-19: Face mask ads banned for misleading claims

Adverts by two companies which made false claims about using face masks to prevent the spread of coronavirus have been banned.
 
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) of Britain ruled the claims by Easy Shopping 4 Home Ltd and Novads OU were in breach of its code, the BBC reported on Wednesday.
 
The adverts were "misleading, irresponsible and likely to cause fear without justifiable reason", it said.
 
Officials have urged more hand-washing to delay the spread of the virus.
 
The rulings were made against adverts by Easy Shopping 4 Home Ltd, which appeared on the Amazon website, and adverts by Novads OU for its Oxybreath Pro mask, which appeared on the Scottish Sun website via the Taboola network and other sites.

Coronavirus: Harsh Vardhan asks Delhi govt to increase isolation wards

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Wednesday said that he held talks with the Delhi government officials and ministers over the coronavirus situation and appealed them to increase isolation wards in advance so as to stay well-prepared in the case of an outbreak.
 
"We conducted meeting with the Delhi government officers, corporation officials along with ministers of the Delhi government as one case of coronavirus has been reported from Delhi. We held detailed conversation about the developments regarding coronavirus and the steps taken by the government. We have asked the Delhi government to create isolation wards with all facilities, in order to stay prepared," Harsh Vardhan said at a press conference here.
 
 
"Yesterday two cases were reported, one each in Delhi and Telangana. The contact tracing showed that the person from Delhi had come in contact with 66 people. It was found out that he infected six people from his family in Agra," he said.

25 suspected Coronavirus patients admitted to Safdarjung Hospital, 4 in RML: Health Ministry officials

At least 25 people suspected of coronavirus are admitted to Safdarjung Hospital here in the national capital, said the Health Ministry officials.
 
Four more patients, who have been suspected of Coronavirus, are kept at Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, they said.

Nothing in India, didn't even discuss Coronavirus: Sourav Ganguly after BCCI meet

There is no threat to the Indian Premier League due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, said BCCI President Sourav Ganguly.
 
He also asserted that the South Africa series is on as per schedule and there is no threat.
 
The three-match series is beginning with the first ODI on March 12 at Dharamsala.
 
"Nothing in India. Not even discussed it (Coronovirus)," Ganguly said.

Coronavirus scare: Indonesia seizes half a million virus masks amid panic buying

Indonesian police seized over half a million face masks from a Jakarta-area warehouse after the country's first confirmed cases of coronavirus sparked panic buying and sent prices for prevention products skyrocketing.
 
Authorities were questioning two people after the Tuesday evening raid at a warehouse in satellite city Tangerang, where nearly 600,000 surgical masks were found.
 
The owners did not have permission to distribute the masks, police said.
 
"Mask prices have skyrocketed everywhere and there are shortages, most likely because hoarders are trying to make money at the public's expense," Jakarta police spokesman Yusri Yunus told AFP Wednesday.

14 Italians quarantined at ITBP's Chhawla facility record high viral load

Fourteen out of twenty-one Italian nationals who were shifted to Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) quarantine facility for coronavirus screening, have recorded high viral load and are asymptomatic.
 
According to government sources, further tests are underway to examine their conditions.
 
This comes after, 24 people including three Indians and 21 Italian nationals residing in a hotel in South Delhi were shifted to ITBP quarantine facility on Tuesday.
 
Out of 21 Italian nationals, 8 are males and 13 are females and three Indians include one tourist guide, one driver and one helper, said the sources.
 
Upon arrival, an initial screening was done at the facility and their samples sent to AIIMS.
 
Earlier, ITBP had said that no fresh symptoms of coronavirus were seen in 112 people housed at its quarantine facility in Chhawla. READ ON...

7 districts on high alert after Italian couple tests positive in Jaipur

Rajasthan Additional Chief Secretary Rohit Kumar Singh on Wednesday ordered seven district collectors to follow instructions for disinfecting the bus in which two Italian patients who tested positive for coronavirus travelled from Delhi to the state.
 
District Collectors of Jhunjhunu, Bikaner, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Udaipur and Jaipur-I and II are putting all resources together to carry out the order at the earliest.
 
The bus needs to be disinfected, driver and cleaner shall be home quarantined for 14 day, the Additional Chief Secretary said.

No positive case of coronavirus in Maharashtra till date, says state Health Min Rajesh Tope

Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope on Wednesday said that no positive case of coronavirus has been reported in the state till date.
 
"No positive case of coronavirus in Maharashtra till now. People are advised not to spread or believe in rumours," Tope told reporters here.
 
Speaking about preparation for tackling the situation he added, "We are taking measures and are alert. As of now, no anti-viral drug is available, so precautions must be taken by the people. Isolation wards have been set up in every district and 10 extra beds are placed in every hospital."

Won't participate in any Holi Milan celebration this year, says Amit Shah

From now on, all flights and passengers will be part of universal screening

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan: From now on, all flights and passengers will be part of universal screening, not just the 12 countries which we had listed earlier.

Odisha govt advisory to keep coronavirus at bay

The Odisha government has in its list of dos and dont's asked people to avoid hugging, shaking hands while greeting and keep their workplace clean to ward off coronavirus infection.
 
The state government issued the workplace advisory based on the containment plan prepared by the Health Ministry to tackle the Covid-19 disease.
 
Asking the employers to ensure workplace cleanliness, it mentioned, "Surfaces (desks and tables) and objects (telephone, keyboards) need to be wiped with disinfectant like 70 per cent alcohol regularly."
 
Soaps or sanitizing hand rub should be provided near wash basins and water supply should be ensured as frequent hand washing kills the virus and prevents spread of Covid-19, it said.
Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan: We have requested all hospitals in Delhi to develop good quality isolation wards, in order to stay prepared if more cases of CoronaVirus are suspected in the national capital.

No need to panic from coronavirus, says Hardeep Singh Puri

Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Wednesday said that there is no need to panic from coronavirus and all possible arrangements have been made by the government to deal with the situation.
 
"There is no room for panic. All the arrangement that could have possibly been made, have been made against coronavirus. Prime Minister has said and the Health Minister has said that we are fully prepared for handling this situation," Puri told reporters.
 
"From identifying the source countries to imposing a travel restriction on people coming from those countries -- every measure has been put in place. Screening at airports, lab facilities, clinical testing, and the quarantine facilities -- all are being done," he added.

China approves use of Roche arthritis drug for coronavirus patients

China will use a Roche Holding AG arthritis drug to treat some coronavirus patients in severe conditions, health authorities said on Wednesday, as the country seeks to build up treatment regiments to help the infected recover.
 
Tocilizumab, sold by the Swiss pharma giant under the trade name Actemra, can be prescribed to coronavirus patients who show serious lung damage and show elevated level of a protein called Interleukin 6, which could indicate inflammation or immunological diseases, the National Health Commission said in the latest version of its treatment guidelines published online.
 
Actemra can help contain inflammation related to Interleukin 6, according to Roche.
 
There is no clinical trial evidence yet that the drug will be effective on coronavirus patients, however. Actemra also has not received approval from China's National Medical Product Administration to be sold for use for coronavirus infections.
 
Chinese researchers recently registered a 3-month clinical trial for Actemra that will recruit 188 coronavirus patients and take place from Feb. 10 to May 10, according to records shown on China's clinical trials registration database.

PM Narendra Modi to stay away from 'Holi Milan' events

Experts across the world have advised to reduce mass gatherings to avoid the spread of COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus. Hence, this year I have decided not to participate in any Holi Milan programme.


RML, Safdarjung hospitals made nodal offices to deal with Coronavirus: Satyendar Jain

In view of Coronavirus scare and the first positive case being reported from the national capital, Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain on Tuesday informed that Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) and Safdarjung hospitals had been made nodal offices to deal with a possible outbreak.
 
"Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) and Safdarjung hospitals have been made nodal offices for the programme. The government has arranged over 3 lakh N95 masks for medical staff, patients and others," said Jain at a press conference where Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia was also present.
 
He said 8,000 medial kits have been procured for medical staff treating patients and a total of 230 beds are being arranged in the 25 hospitals to treat people in case of an outbreak.

Japanese coronavirus infections reach 1,000, Olympics preparations on track

The number of confirmed coronavirus infections in Japan reached the 1,000 mark on Wednesday, as the government reiterated that plans to host the Tokyo Summer Olympics in July remained on track. The newest infection case was confirmed in a man in his 40s in the western prefecture of Yamaguchi, the prefecture's governor, Tsugumasa Muraoka, told a news conference.
 
Cases in Japan have now hit the 1,000 mark, public broadcaster NHK said. Of those, 706 are from the Diamond Princess cruise ship, while 12 have died, the health ministry said.
 
Meanwhile, the government's top spokesman said on Wednesday that Japan would go ahead in preparing to host the Olympics as planned, amid speculation they could be postponed because of the coronavirus threat.
 
"We would steadily proceed with our preparations while closely coordinating with the IOC (the International Olympic Committee) and the organising committee," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a regular news conference.

Fifteen Italian citizens in India have tested positive for coronavirus

Fifteen Italian citizens in India have tested positive for coronavirus, media said on Wednesday.
 
State broadcaster Doordarshan as well as private TV networks NDTV and CNN-News18 all said 21 Italian tourists had been tested in the capital New Delhi, citing unidentified sources.
 
An Italian had tested positive for the virus in the western desert state of Rajasthan, a health offical said on Monday.

Coronavirus: Adopt ''Namaskar'' greeting style, says BJP leader

In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, a BJP leader from Goa has suggested that people should adopt the Indian 'Namaskar' style of greeting each other with folded hands.
 
Former Panaji MLA Siddharth Kunkolienkar also said it is high time that people take adequate precautions to check the spread of the potentially deadly virus.
 
"As cases detected for nCovid19 increase, albeit in single digit, it's high time we take adequate precautions and adopt #Indian style of greeting with #Namaskar," Kunkolienkar, who was a close aide of former Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar, tweeted on Wednesday.
 
Six people in India have so far been confirmed to be infected by coronavirus, including an Italian couple in Rajasthan.

Hand sanitising points to gloves: DGCA asks airlines, airports to take measures to fight coronavirus

Amid a coronavirus scare, the DGCA on Tuesday asked airlines and airports to take specific measures such as providing protective gears like surgical masks and gloves to crew members and passengers and having multiple hand sanitising points at terminals.
 
The aviation regulator stated that airports and airlines must ensure that each aircraft arriving from South Korea, Japan and Italy is subjected to disinfection process before boarding begins for the next flight on the plane. READ ON...

One Intel employee potentially exposed to coronavirus, under quarantine

Tech giant Intel has said one of its employees in Bengaluru has "potentially been exposed" to coronavirus and is currently under quarantine.
The company also said it has implemented precautionary measures like travel restrictions, increased frequency of office sanitisation, and work-from-home provisions in India.
 
"An Intel employee in Bangalore has potentially been exposed and is currently under quarantine in accordance with government requirements," Intel said in a late night statement on Tuesday.
 
The company said it is monitoring the coronavirus situation closely and working to ensure that its employees have the information and resources they need to stay safe and informed.

Coronavirus scare: Yatra.com says airfares to Southeast Asia, Italy dropped by 20-30%

The online travel agency Yatra.com has claimed that airfares to Southeast Asia and Italy have dropped by 20-30 per cent in the backdrop of coronavirus.
 
The travel agency also said that there is a hike in enquires with respect to domestic destinations including Andaman & Nicobar, Goa, and cities in North-East.
 
"Southeast Asia and Italy being one of the most preferred destinations for Indians, we can anticipate a drop of about 20-25 per cent in terms of future bookings, though it is too early to predict any drastic impact. They are wary of making fresh bookings to the affected locations and airfares to these destinations have dropped by 20-30 per cent," Sabina Chopra, Co-Founder, Yatra.com said in a statement.
 
"Travelers are now looking at alternate foreign destinations from India, such as Sri Lanka and Bhutan for summer travel. There is a hike in enquires to domestic destinations such as Andaman & Nicobar, Goa, Ujjain, North-east cities among others," she said.

Amazon confirms first coronavirus case among US employees

Online retailer Amazon.com Inc said on Tuesday an employee in the United States tested positive for the coronavirus.
 
"We're supporting the affected employee who is in quarantine," a company spokeswoman said in an email to Reuters.
 
The spokeswoman confirmed a report by Bloomberg News that all co-workers in contact with the employee, who worked at Amazon's South Lake Union office complex in Seattle, had been informed.
 
The company said on Sunday two employees in Milan, Italy, had been infected with the virus and were under quarantine.

Singapore minister warns of spike in coronavirus cases

A Singapore Minister has warned of spikes in the novel coronavirus cases in the country as the health ministry reported two new cases of the fast spreading disease.
 
National Development Minister Lawrence Wong asked people and authorities to be prepared for "new spikes" in COVID-19 cases in Singapore.
 
"We will be exposed to new waves of infection and increasingly it will not be possible to stop the virus at our borders. We also cannot isolate Singapore and shut ourselves from the world," the Health Ministry said.
 
"So, despite our best efforts, we have to be prepared for new spikes in COVID-19 cases in Singapore, as has happened elsewhere," it said.
 
Singapore is blocking the entry and transit for new visitors who travelled to Iran, northern Italy or South Korea within the last 14 days, Wong said on Tuesday.
 

South Korea adds 142 more coronavirus cases

South Korea reported 142 more novel coronavirus cases Wednesday, a significantly lower increase than the day before, taking its total to 5,328 -- the largest in the world outside China.
 
Seoul had reported 851 new cases on Tuesday, its biggest daily case increase to date, with South Korean President Moon Jae-in declaring "war" against the deadly virus.
Four more people had died, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Wednesday, taking the toll to 32.
 
South Korea has seen a rapid rise in infections in recent days as authorities carry out checks on more than 260,000 people associated with the Shincheonji Church of Jesus, a religious sect often condemned as a cult that is now linked to more than half the cases.
 
More than 4,000 cases have now been confirmed in southern city of Daegu -- where the outbreak among Shincheonji members began with a 61-year-old woman, who developed symptoms on February 10 but attended at least four worship services in the city.

Unfazed by coronavirus fears, Kerala beckons tourists

Allaying fears of Coronavirus impacting visitors, Kerala is beckoning domestic and overseas tourists to discover 'God's own country' in the southern coastal state, a state tourism official said on Tuesday.
 
"No fears of coronavirus affecting tourists, as all precautionary and preventive measures are being taken to ensure their health and welfare remains safe across the state," Kerala Tourism officer Pradeep Chandran told IANS here.
 
Though three persons were affected by the disease in the state recently, they were treated and discharged from hospitals after recovering fully.
 
"As of now, there is no impact on tourists visiting the state from other parts of the country or abroad. Kerala is safe like any other state. Foreign visitors coming from affected countries are screened at all the four airports in the state and quarantined if they have symptoms of the virus," Chandran said.

World Bank doles out $12 bn in emergency aid to combat coronavirus

The World Bank unveiled a $12 billion aid package on Tuesday that will provide fast-track funds to help countries combat the coronavirus outbreak.
 
"The goal is to provide fast, effective action that responds to country needs," World Bank President David Malpass told reporters.
 
He said it is critical to "recognize the extra burden on poor countries" least equipped in the struggle to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
 
The funds, some of which are targeted to the world's poorest nations, can be used for medical equipment or health services and will include expertise and policy advice, the bank said in a statement.

Coronavirus sends Hong Kong Feb business activity plunging to record low

The coronavirus epidemic dealt a severe blow to businesses in Hong Kong in February with activity plummeting to the lowest on record, a private survey showed on Wednesday, in a sign of a sharp economic downturn in the first quarter.
 
The adjusted IHS Markit headline Hong Kong Purchasing Manager's Index (PMI) dived to 33.1 in February, from 46.8 in January and marked the steepest downturn since at least 1998, when the survey began. The previous record low, at 38.1, was posted during a 2003 epidemic of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, another coronavirus.
 
The 50-mark separates growth from contraction on a monthly basis.
 
The fast-spreading virus has killed nearly 3,000 people and infected over 80,000 in China, a vital source of trade for the city which has so far reported two deaths and around 100 cases.

Australian economic growth picks up but outlook cloudy on virus fears

Australia's economy expanded by more than expected last quarter, erasing the risk of a recession even as as raging bushfires and the coronavirus crisis wreaked havoc with tourism and travel at the start of the new year.
 
Wednesday's data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) showed the A$2 trillion ($1.3 trillion) economy accelerated by 0.5% last quarter. Encouragingly, the previous quarter was revised upwards to show 0.6% increase from 0.4% earlier.
 
That took the annual pace to 2.3%, still well below the 2.75% that policy makers consider "trend".

Coronavirus: Panic buying prompts toilet roll rationing

Australia's biggest supermarket on Wednesday announced a limit on toilet paper purchases after the global spread of coronavirus sparked a spate of panic buying Down Under.
 
Woolworths said the restriction of four packs of toilet paper per person would apply "to ensure more customers have access to the products".
 
"It will help shore up stock levels as suppliers ramp up local production and deliveries in response to higher-than-usual demand," the company said in a statement.
Despite government assurances, there has been a run on some items at Australian supermarkets in recent days, with images on social media purportedly showing shelves stripped of goods such as toilet paper, pasta and canned food.
 
Retailers have also experienced shortages of masks and hand sanitisers amid fears over the deadly coronavirus outbreak, which has infected more than 90,000 people and killed 3,100.

Intel employee quarantined

The Karnataka government is on alert and has started isolating people who came in direct contact with the software engineer who travelled from Bengaluru to Hyderabad in February and was later tested positive for coronavirus in Telangana. An Intel employee, who was the patient's roommate, has been quarantined. 

World Bank announces up to $12 bn in immediate funds for coronavirus

The World Bank on Tuesday announced an initial $12 billion in immediate funds to assist countries grappling with the health and economic impacts of the coronavirus virus outbreak that has spread quickly from China to over 60 countries.
 
World Bank President David Malpass said there were still "many unknowns" about the fast-spreading virus and "much more" aid might be required, but he declined to elaborate.

Xi Jinping calls for international collaboration to find cure

With the coronavirus outbreak emerging as a global menace claiming over 3,000 lives in China and abroad, Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for international cooperation to develop a cure and vaccine to halt the COVID-19 on its tracks.
 
Public health security is a common challenge faced by the humanity, and all the countries should join hands to cope with it, Xi said during an inspection to research institutes here on Monday, calling on countries to share research data and jointly work out response strategies, official media reported here on Tuesday.

Foxconn says China factories operating at 50% of seasonal capacity

Taiwanese tech giant and iPhone assembler Foxconn said Tuesday its Chinese factories are operating at 50 percent of seasonal capacity and are expecting to take a hit for the current quarter due to the coronavirus outbreak.
 
Also known by its official name Hon Hai Precision Industry, Foxconn is the world's biggest contract electronics manufacturer and makes Apple's iPhones as well as gadgets for other international brands.

Rupee closes above 73, experts see more pain

The rupee fell again on Tuesday, crossing 73 level to close at 73.30 a dollar level, as coronavirus positive cases increased to six in India.
 
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) did not intervene in the market, even as the offshore markets showed rupee to be weaker by 10-11 paise against the dollar till the market close in India.

Coronavirus outbreak raises risks to outlook: US Fed chief Jerome Powell

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the coronavirus outbreak had increased risks to the US outlook causing the central bank to deliver an emergency half-percentage point interest rate cut to protect the country's record economic expansion.
 
“My colleagues and I took this action to help the US economy keep strong in the face of new risks to the economic outlook,” he told a hastily convened press conference in Washington on Tuesday. “The spread of the coronavirus has brought new challenges and risks.”

G-7 to use 'all appropriate tools' to limit harm

Group of Seven finance chiefs said they’re ready to act to shelter their economies from the spreading coronavirus, though they stopped short of spelling out what measures they would put into place.
 
“We reaffirm our commitment to use all appropriate policy tools to achieve strong, sustainable growth and safeguard against downside risks,” the G7’s finance ministers and central bankers said Tuesday in a statement following a rare conference call. They said they are “closely monitoring” the virus and its impact on economies and markets.

Air India cuts flights, IndiGo's crew under observation

Air India has cut flights to Italy, Japan and Korea while IndiGo has placed four of its crew members under home observation to check the spread of coronavirus.
 
The civil aviation regulator has issued instructions to disinfect aircraft and come up with safety precautions to prevent spread of the virus. The national carrier’s decision to reduce frequencies comes as the government suspended visas of citizens of the three countries. Earlier, the government had issued an advisory to citizens to avoid non-essential travel to these countries. It expanded health screening at airports to cover passengers arriving from 12 countries.

Govt plans to set up Rs 600-crore fund for DSA

The Union government is planning to create a Rs 600-crore fund to set up the proposed drug security authority (DSA), which would monitor the growth of the indigenous bulk drug ecosystem through a cess on raw material imports.
 
A high-level committee headed by Eswara Reddy, joint drug controller general, was formed after the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak in China to study the situation in India and make recommendations on how to improve preparedness. The panel submitted its report to the government recently.

Twitter asks 5,000 staff to work from home amid coronavirus spread

Twitter Inc. is “strongly encouraging” its almost 5,000 global employees to work from home due to concerns over the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus, the company said Monday.
 
The social media company made the suggestion as part of a blog update one day after it suspended all non-critical travel for workers, including pulling out of the South by Southwest conference scheduled for later this month in Austin, Texas.

Centre restricts exports of 13 APIs, formulations

In the wake of the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak and supply disruptions from China, India on Tuesday “restricted” exports of 13 active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and their formulations to ensure there was no shortage of key drugs.
 
The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) said in a notification issued on Tuesday that exports of 13 APIs — including paracetamol, tinidazole (antibiotic), metronidazole (antibiotic), vitamin B1, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, acyclovir (anti-viral), progesterone (hormone) — along with formulations made from these APIs, would be restricted.

Coronavirus impact: $13 to fly in China as airlines offer 'cabbage prices'

Chinese airlines are offering tickets at what are known colloquially as cabbage prices as they start restoring seat capacity following drastic capacity cuts enforced by the coronavirus.
 
A one-way direct trip from Shanghai to Chengdu on Juneyao Airlines Co. this Saturday costs just 90 yuan ($13) plus 50 yuan in taxes. That’s a three-and-a-half hour journey, about the same as a flight from New York to New Orleans.

Digit Insurance comes up with insurance cover

Bengaluru-based Digit Insurance has come up with a product that will insure a person against the deadly coronavirus. The maximum coverage that the product assures is to the tune of Rs 2 lakh. However, one can choose from multiple sum insured options starting from Rs 25,000 which goes up to Rs 2 lakh.

Protective gear to fight virus 'rapidly depleting': WHO

The World Health Organisation warned on Tuesday that protective gear such as masks and goggles used by health workers fighting the new coronavirus were running out, warning against "hoarding and misuse." "We are concerned that countries' abilities to respond are being compromised by the severe and increasing disruption to the global supply of personal protective equipment ... caused by rising demand, hoarding and misuse," WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters in Geneva, warning that "supplies are rapidly depleting."

Suspected Coronavirus patient admitted in Himachal hospital

A suspected coronavirus patient has been admitted to Indira Gandhi Medical College and Hospital (IGMC) in Himachal Pradesh's Shimla, a health official said on Tuesday.
 
The 32-year-old man from Bilaspur is currently suffering from sore throat, IGMC senior medical superintendent Janak Raj said.
He arrived here from South Korea on February 29, he added.
 
"He only has a sore throat and is stable. No symptoms suggestive of coronavirus have been found yet. We have received the patient in IGMC for diagnostic and prevention only," Raj said.
 
However, as a precautionary measure, his samples will be sent for testing, he said further.

Only one per cent of China coronavirus cases without symptoms: WHO

The World Health Organisation on Tuesday said only one per cent of new coronavirus cases registered in China were without symptoms, which appears to bely fears the virus spreads via people who appear healthy.
 
"Evidence from China is that only one percent of reported cases do not have symptoms, and most of those cases develop symptoms within two days," WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters in Geneva.

Iran-returned Army officer quarantined in Madhya Pradesh

An Army officer was admitted to the isolation ward of a military hospital at Mhow in Madhya Pradesh on Tuesday for suspected exposure to the coronavirus after returning from Iran, a health official said here.
 
The 32-year-old officer returned on February 25 from Tehran, Iran's capital, and was admitted to hospital after he complained of sore throat, said Dr Santosh Sisodia, district in-charge of Integrated Disease Surveillance Program.

Screen all coming to India for coronavirus irrespective of flight's country of origin: IATO

The Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) on Tuesday asked the government to screen all travellers coming to India, irrespective of which country they are coming from amid rising number of coronavirus cases.
 
IATO has learnt from its members and travellers that there is weak or no screening being done at Indian airports upon arrival at international airports other than the nationals from the affected countries, the association said in a statement.

Report: 23 cases of new virus among Iranian MPs

An Iranian lawmaker reportedly has told colleagues to stop their contact with public as there are 23 cases of the new coronavirus among parliament members.
 
That's according to lawmaker Abdolreza Mesri, who was quoted by Iranian state television's Young Journalists Club program.
The comment comes as Iran's supreme leader put the country on war footing against the virus outbreak, which is the deadliest outside of China.
 
Iran's supreme leader put the Islamic Republic on war footing Tuesday against the new coronavirus by ordering its armed forces to assist health officials in combating the outbreak - the deadliest outside of China - that authorities say has killed 77 people.

No COVID-19 case in AP, state alert to tackle situation:Dy CM

Andhra Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister A K K Srinivas said here on Tuesday there was no impact of the deadly novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the state but the health machinery was on full alert to handle the situation.
 
Rapid response teams, comprising a microbiologist, physicians, epidemiologist and paramedical staff, have been kept ready in each district and all precautionary measures put in place.

Spanish health workers isolated after 5 infected

About 100 health workers are under isolation in northern Spain and at least 120 others are being closely watched by authorities after at least five doctors and nurses were infected with the new virus in hospitals.
 
The Basque region health minister, Nekane Murga, says authorities in the northern region are also speeding up procedures to hire new doctors to make it up for possible shortages of health professionals in coming months.
 
A virus cluster in the city of Vitoria is one of two local infection sources being closely watched by authorities. The other is in a town near Madrid where cases have been linked to the activities of a religious group.
 
Authorities on Tuesday said Spain has 149 virus cases, 35 more than the previous day.

Telangana, Karnataka step up precautionary measures after Hyderabad man tests positive

The Telangana and Karnataka governments on Tuesday reviewed their Coronavirus (COVID-19) preparedness after a Bengaluru-based man who travelled to Secunderabad tested positive for the infection, making him the fourth confirmed case from south India.
 
Earlier, three positive cases were reported from Kerala but all of them were discharged later from hospitals on recovery.
 
Meanwhile, a 25-year-old man, who returned to Kerala from Malaysia on Monday, is under observation at the isolation ward of a government medical college hospital in Ernakulam district.
 
Both Karnataka and Telangana declared that the health condition of the 24-year-old Bengaluru-based software professional had improved and he was stable, even as they stepped up efforts to track and bring people associated with him, including air passengers, under observation. 

Schools close in French, German virus cluster zones

Tens of thousands of students in virus cluster zones are home from school in France on Tuesday, with a smaller number in Germany and Poland facing quarantines or days without class.
 
France's education minister, Jean-Michel Blanquer, said around 120 schools have been ordered to close, most in Brittany and the Oise region north of Paris, which have been hit hard by COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.
 
Italy closed schools in the hard-hit regions of Lombardy and Veneto last week and the closure of schools in Emilia Romagna was announced last weekend.
 
All student outings have been cancelled nationwide, including off-site after-school activities.

Northern Railway Central Hospital sets up dedicated ward

Northern Railway Central Hospital has set up a dedicated ward for clinically suspected cases of the novel coronavirus in New Delhi, the Indian Railways said on Tuesday.
 
It said the facility will help in countering the emerging threat of the virus, that has spread to over 60 countries and claimed over 3,100 lives since its outbreak in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December.
 
On Monday, two fresh cases of the virus were reported in India, including one in Delhi.
 
By Tuesday, the number of coronavirus cases in India went up to six, including three from Kerala who have recovered. Blood samples of more suspected cases are being tested for a confirmation.

 

Govt asks TV, FM channels to publicise travel advisory, awareness messages

The Information and Broadcasting Ministry on Tuesday urged all private radio and TV channels to give "adequate publicity" to the travel advisory issued by the Health Ministry in the wake of coronavirus outbreak in China and its spread in some other countries.

21 Italian tourists, 3 Indians sent to ITBP quarantine centre in Delhi

Twenty-one Italian tourists and three Indian tour operators have been sent to an ITBP quarantine facility in Delhi on Tuesday for suspected coronavirus exposure, official sources said.
 
Health Ministry sources said these foreigners, 13 women and eight men, were in the same group of which an Italian and his wife have tested positive in Rajasthan capital Jaipur.
 
"His (Italian in Jaipur) condition is stable," a source said.
 
Three Indians, who were accompanying this Italian group as tour operators, have also been sent to the ITBP facility in Chhawla area of south-west Delhi, they said.

Ensure protective gears for crew, passengers at all airports for international flights: DGCA

DGCA in a statement to airlines said that ground handling staff entering international flights should have disposable protective gears like surgical masks, gloves. The agency also advised that crew on all flights have protective gears like surgical masks and gloves.

DGCA further said, adequate hand sanitising facilities should be there at multiple locations in airports for staff and passengers. Ensure that adequate protective gears like surgical masks, gloves are available in flights for passengers, said DGCA.

High alert in New Mangalore port, airport

With the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) virus spreading to more countries and two more confirmed cases reported in India, the seaport and airport here have been put under high alert, officials said on Tuesday.
 
Dakshina Kannada district is particularly under surveillance as three confirmed cases of coronavirus were reported from neighbouring Kerala earlier.
 
All the three were discharged from hospitals last month following recovery.
 
Besides DK, alert has been sounded in Udupi, Kodagu, Chamarajanagar and Mysuru.
 
As part of the nationwide alert sounded in 21 airports and 77 ports in the country, authorities here also have taken maximum precautionary measures and passengers to the city are undergoing scrutiny both at the airport and the New Mangalore port.

Disinfect airlines coming from South Korea, Japan, Italy: DGCA

DGCA asks all airlines to ensure that aircraft arriving from South Korea, Japan and Italy are subjected to disinfection process.

Provide masks, gloves to personnel: Haryana Police to field units

The Haryana Police on Tuesday directed its field units to take immediate action to safeguard on-duty personnel from potential coronavirus infection by providing them masks, gloves and hand sanitisers.
 
In an official communication, Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Navdeep Singh Virk said all police personnel who come in close contact with other persons during frisking, interacting, crowd control, access control, traffic duties are at risk of exposure.
 
They need to be protected by equipping them appropriately with masks, gloves and hand sanitisers, he said.

Xiaomi, realme cancel launch events amid coronavirus scare

Chinese smartphone companies Xiaomi and realme have cancelled their launch events scheduled for the next two weeks in the wake of coronavirus fears in the country.
 
With an Italian tourist in Jaipur testing positive for novel coranavirus, the total number of confirmed cases in India is now six.
 
While realme was scheduled to unveil its realme 6 series on March 5, Xiaomi was slated to launch Redmi Note series on March 12.
 
However, it is not clear whether Motorola - which is to launch its new flagship 'Motorola Razr' in India on March 16 - will go ahead with its launch event.

CISF provides sanitisers, gloves and masks to its airport-guarding troops

The CISF has provided medical kits containing hand sanitisers, gloves and masks to all its personnel deployed to guard 62 civil airports in the country in view of the coronavirus scare, officials said on Tuesday.
 
They said as the personnel have close physical interaction with the outgoing and incoming passengers by way of frisking and talking to them, it has been ordered that the medical kit be stocked and used at all international and domestic airports under the force's security cover.
 
All the airports have been provided alcohol-based sanitiser bottles, hand gloves and face masks of the normal and N95 variety for use by our personnel, a senior CISF official said.

Tajikistan cancels Indian U-16 football team's tour amid coronavirus outbreak

Indian U-16 football team's exposure trip to Tajikistan has been cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak.
 
The U-16 boys, currently the U-15 SAFF Champions, were slated to depart on March 5 to play two friendlies against Tajikistan, the AFC U-16 Championship runners-up.
 
"Please note that as directed by the government of the republic of Tajikistan due to the situation around the coronavirus, the citizens of 35 countries including India cannot visit Tajikistan," Tajikistan Football Federation said in an official mail to All India Football Federation (AIFF).

COVID-19 is a new infection, but there is no need to panic: Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain

He said that, govt taking all possible steps to keep Delhi safe, isolation wards being readied in 25 hospitals. 3.5-lakh N95 masks arranged. We have over 8,000 separation kits for staff treating coronavirus patients, the health minister added.
 
Deputy CM Sisodia on the infected delhi resident said, we are trying to get in touch with people who could be infected or were in contact with coronavirus-infected man.

Pope Francis tests negative for coronavirus: Report

Pope Francis, who is suffering from a cold, has tested negative for the coronavirus, an Italian newspaper reported Tuesday, as Italy battles Europe's worst outbreak.
 
Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni did not respond to a request for comment on the report in the Messaggero newspaper.
 
Francis cancelled a Lent retreat for the first time in his papacy this weekend, after axing all public meetings at the end of last week over the cold.

Iran: Supreme leader orders armed forces to combat new virus

Iran's supreme leader ordered on Tuesday the Islamic Republic's armed forces to assist its Health Ministry in combating the spread of the new coronavirus.
 
The decision by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei comes as Iran has the highest death toll from the new virus and the COVID-19 illness it causes outside of China, the epicenter of the virus.
 
Khamenei's decision was announced after state media broadcast images of him planting a tree wearing disposable gloves ahead of Iran's upcoming arbor day.
 
"Whatever helps public health and prevents the spread of the disease is good and what helps to spread it is sin," Khamenei said. 

Iran reports 11 new coronavirus deaths, total now 77

Iran announced on Tuesday that 11 more people had died from the new coronavirus in the past day, bringing the Islamic republic's overall death toll to 77.
 
In all, 2,336 people have been infected with COVID-19 since the outbreak began, including 835 new cases, Deputy Health Minister Alireza Raisi said, in remarks aired live on state television.

Don't waste time on social media accounts, deal with coronavirus: Rahul to PM

 
 
Rahul gandhi took a jab at PM Modi asking him to not waste time playing clown with social media accounts and deal with coronavirus. 
 
Rahul said, "Quit wasting India's time playing the clown with your social media accounts, when India is facing an emergency. Focus the attention of every Indian on taking on the Corona virus challenge."

PM Modi on Monday had raised a storm after he hinted at quitting social media accounts. But, on Tuesday cleared that he will give 
 
away social media handles to inspire women on March 8 for a day on account of International Women's Day.
 
 

Coronavirus: Agra hotels told to report arrival of visitors from Italy, Iran, China

Hotels and the authorities at tourist sites in Agra have been told to inform the office of the chief medical officer as soon as visitors from Italy, Iran or China arrive, so that they can be screened for coronavirus infection, an official said on Tuesday. Meanwhile in Lucknow, samples of an Uttar Pradesh residents who had returned from Saudi Arabia on Tuesday morning have been sent for testing. He will be quarantined for 14 days in the hospital. The instructions came a day after an Italian tourist was tested positive for coronavirus in Jaipur.
 
The 69-year-old man was part of a group of 20 tourists, who were in Agra on Sunday.
 
As soon as any information is received, a team of doctors will be dispatched to examine the visitors for symptoms of COVID-19, Agra Chief Medical Officer Dr Mukesh Vats told PTI.

Monitoring coronavirus impact on markets, ready to take action: RBI

The Reserve Bank on Tuesday said it is closely monitoring global as well as domestic situation regarding the impact of deadly coronavirus and ready to take necessary action to ensure orderly functioning of financial markets.
 
Globally, financial markets have been experiencing considerable volatility, with the spread of coronavirus, triggering risk-off sentiments and flights to safe haven, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said in a statement.

Myanmar postpones annual military parade due to coronavirus fears

Myanmar's armed forces has announced it will postpone its annual military parade in order to try and prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Coronavirus update: Australia stimulus plan

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said his government will announce a stimulus package, amid a financial slowdown in China and the global spread of the coronavirus. There are now 35 cases of the virus in Australia.

Six cases with high viral load detected in Agra


Coronavirus: South Korea church leader apologises for virus spread

Lee Man-hee, the leader of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus, got on his knees and bowed at a news conference.
 
About 60% of the country's more than 4,000 confirmed cases are sect members. Deaths nationwide now stand at 28.
 
Fatalities globally have now passed the 3,000 mark, although the vast majority are in China, where the outbreak began.

Iran receives medical supplies

The World Health Organization has sent aid to Iran, which is currently working to contain a quickly spreading coronavirus epidemic. At least 1,500 people have been infected in the country, killing 66, including a top government adviser.

There is no need to panic: PM Modi on Coronavirus

Colleague of whistleblower doctor Li Wenliang dies of coronavirus

A Wuhan doctor, from the same department as whistleblower doctor Li Wenliang, died from coronavirus on Tuesday, according to Wuhan Central Hospital.
 
Mei Zhongming was the 57-year-old chief doctor and deputy director of the ophthalmology department at Wuhan Central Hospital, and was Dr Li’s superior.

South Korea coronavirus cases surge past 5,000

The South Korean government has announced another 374 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, bringing the total number of infections in the country to 5,186.
 
South Korea has the largest outbreak of coronavirus outside of mainland China.

No fresh symptoms of CoronaVirus seen in 112 people housed at ITBP quarantine facility in Chhawla

Indo-Tibetan Border Police: No fresh symptoms of CoronaVirus seen in 112 people housed at ITBP quarantine facility in Chhawla; All 112 people had tested negative last Sunday

Had an extensive review regarding preparedness on the COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus, says Modi

Had an extensive review regarding preparedness on the COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus. Different ministries & states are working together, from screening people arriving in India to providing prompt medical attention.


Government of India: Six cases with high viral load have been detected during sample testing in Agra. These are the ones who have come in contact with the COVID-19 patient from Delhi, reported yesterday. They have been kept in isolation.
 
The samples are being sent to National Institute of Virology for confirmation. Contact tracing of the persons who have come in contact with these six persons is also simultaneously being done through the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) network.

South Korean President says the country has "entered a war" against coronavirus

South Korean President Moon Jae-in declared war on the novel coronavirus during a Cabinet meeting today
Anurag Bhargav, Chief Medical Officer of Gautam Buddh Nagar: Several schoolmates of children of a COVID-19 infected man came into contact with him at a party. We have closed down the school to sanitize it. The infected man is admitted to a hospital in Delhi.

Coronavirus Update | 6 new cases with high viral load being tested in Agra, says Govt

— The six patients had come in contact with the patient in New Delhi
— Patients kept in isolation, samples sent for confirmation

Noida school shuts down over COVID-19 scare

A leading school in Noida cancelled its annual school examination on Tuesday after it turned out that a student's parent tested positive with COVID-19 on Monday.
 
According to screen shots of Whatsapp messages being circulated online, several students of the school had attended a birthday party, on February 28, which the infected person had organised.
 
Gautam Buddh Nagar District Magistrate B.N. Singh said, "We've quarantined two families of children who had dined with the family of the child in Agra. And a team of doctors and CMO are in the school. There's no reason to panic."
 
As a precautionary measure, the school has shut down and postponed its annual examinations and the students and their parents have decided to get themselves tested.

China reports rise in imported virus cases

China reported on Tuesday an increase in cases of the new coronavirus coming from abroad, as the country where the disease first emerged now worries about importing infections.
 
In total there have been 13 confirmed cases of the virus being imported into the mainland -- all Chinese nationals returning from overseas.
 
More than 3,100 people have died and over 90,000 have been infected worldwide.
 
The vast majority of cases are in China but South Korea, Italy and Iran have emerged as the countries with the most cases outside the epicentre.
 
Eight Chinese nationals who worked in the same restaurant in Italy's northern Lombardy region have tested positive for the virus in eastern Zhejiang province, according to the local government.

COVID-19: Sule seeks MEA help for 34 Indians stuck in Iran

NCP leader Supriya Sule has said 34 people from Maharashtra's Kolhapur are stranded in Iran amid the coronavirus scare, and demanded that External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar ensure their safe return.
 
She also shared names and passport details of the stranded persons on Twitter.
 
"Amidst the Corona Virus Crisis 34 Individuals frm Kolhapur and surrounding regions are stuck in Iran Their Names and Passport details are attached," the Lok Sabha member from Baramati tweeted on Monday.
 
"Requesting Hon. @DrSJaishankarJi to help all the Indians who are stuck abroad to return home safely @MEAIndia@meaMADAD@OfficeofUT," she said.
 
The NCP leader on Tuesday thanked Jaishankar "for all the help and prompt replies always @MEAIndia".

G-7's draft coronavirus statement does not detail fiscal, monetary response: Report

Group of Seven nations are drafting a statement on how they plan to soften the global economic hit of the coronavirus but are not yet making specific calls for new government spending or coordinated central bank rate cuts, a G-7 official said on Tuesday.
 
In the statement, expected on Tuesday or Wednesday, the G-7 countries will pledge to work together to mitigate the damage to their economies from the fast-spreading epidemic, the official told Reuters on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter.

UN scales back annual gathering on gender equality amid coronavirus fears

Amid concerns over the global spread of the coronavirus, the United Nations has decided to significantly scale back one of the largest annual meetings on gender equality and women empowerment at the world body's headquarters here this month.
 
With the United States reporting six deaths due to COVID-19 and over 90 confirmed cases with one in New York where the global agency in based, the UN Commission on the Status of Women decided to scale back its 64th session (CSW64) to just one day from the originally scheduled March 9-20 session.
 
The annual gathering takes place at the United Nations Headquarters and thousands of representatives from 193 Member States, UN entities, and non-governmental organizations accredited by the United Nations Economic and Social Council from all regions of the world arrive in New York to participate in the session.

Pakistan's coronavirus infections rise to 5

A 45-year-old woman, who returned from Iran, tested positive for the deadly coronavirus in Pakistan, taking the total number of the COVID-19 infections in the country to five, officials said on Tuesday.
 
Earlier, on February 29, two more positive cases were reported in Pakistan.
 
The woman, who returned from Iran some days ago, is a resident of Gilgit city in Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) region in the north.
 
"We have now 5th confirmed case of #COVID19 in federal areas. Patient is stable and is being managed well. I request the media to respect the privacy of the patient and the family,” tweeted Dr Zafar Mirza, Special Advisor on Health.

Here are the other countries that have reported coronavirus deaths

Iran: 66 deaths
 
Italy: 52
 
South Korea: 28
 
Japan: 12
 
United States: 6
 
Hong Kong: 2
 
France: 2
 
The Philippines, Taiwan, Australia, and Thailand have each have reported 1 death from the coronavirus.

Twitter encourages all employees to work from home

Twitter is asking all of its employees worldwide to stay away from their offices until further notice to avoid spreading the novel coronavirus, the company said in a message posted Monday on the its official blog.

Cow urine, cow dung can be used to treat coronavirus: BJP MLA Suman Haripriya

Amid increasing concern over novel coronavirus across the world, BJP MLA Suman Haripriya on Monday suggested a bizarre remedy for the infection saying that cow urine and cow dung could be used to treat the deadly virus.
 
"I believe gau-mutra (cow-urine) and gobar (cow-dung) could be used to treat coronavirus," said Haripriya in Assam Assembly earlier on Monday.
 
"Cow is an asset through which medicines for several diseases including cancer have also been invented. In an Ayurvedic hospital in Gujarat, cancer patients are allowed to live with cows. Cow dung is applied to the cancer patients there. They are given Panchamrit prepared from cow urine," she added.

Coronavirus is a risk to the Olympics?

In 1906, preparations for the 1908 Olympics were underway in Rome when Mount Vesuvius erupted and devastated Naples. The Italians, already strapped for funds to build Olympic venues, used the disaster as an excuse to back out of their commitment. The International Olympic Committee didn’t miss a beat: In November 1906 — a mere 15 months before the opening ceremonies — London was selected as a replacement and held the games on time. Among other feats, the city built the first dedicated Olympic Stadium.
 
In 2020, the new coronavirus is a much graver threat to the Olympics than any volcano. Cases are spreading across Japan, qualifying events are being canceled, and countries around the world are cutting off travel to the country. With three weeks until the start of the torch relay, and five months until the opening ceremonies, the future of the 2020 Summer Games is less certain than any Olympics in decades.

South Korea coronavirus cases approach 5,000

South Korea's coronavirus case total -- the largest in the world outside China -- approached 5,000 Tuesday as authorities reported 477 new cases.
 
Two more people had died, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said, taking the toll to 28.
 
South Korea has seen a rapid rise in infections in recent days as authorities carry out checks on more than 260,000 people associated with the Shincheonji Church of Jesus, a religious group often condemned as a cult that is linked to more than half the cases.
 
Scores of events -- from K-pop concerts to sports seasons -- have been cancelled or postponed over the contagion, with school and kindergarten breaks extended by three weeks nationwide.

Trump administration says drug makers will work together to combat coronavirus

The Trump administration said on Monday it had secured commitments from top pharmaceutical companies to work together to develop a vaccine and treatments to fight the coronavirus.
 
At a meeting with industry executives at the White House, President Donald Trump exhorted the companies to collaborate to speed the process of getting a vaccine and therapeutics to victims of the virus.
 
The company leaders indicated a willingness to cooperate with one another, but did not lay out how that would happen.
 
The White House, which has clashed previously with the pharmaceutical industry over high drug prices and has been struggling in recent weeks to show it is on top of the virus response, saw the meeting as a victory.
 
"This is all hands on deck. And the news out of this meeting that you've already formed a consortia ... now we know they will be working together to create therapeutics and ultimately a new vaccine," Vice President Mike Pence said as the session drew to a close.

Americans keep buying cars, but coronavirus concerns loom over industry

Customers streamed into auto showrooms from California to Florida over the weekend, car dealers across the United States said on Monday, shrugging off concerns that coronavirus worries might dampen sales.
 
Industry analysts cautioned that a growing number of virus infections could deter Americans in March, and automakers face difficult calls on pricing and production. But dealers and analysts said there was no discernable impact on February US car sales, a strong month for dealerships.

Car makers are expected to give dealerships 

Pakistan confirms fifth coronavirus case

Pakistan on Tuesday reported a new coronavirus case, bringing the total to five in the south Asian nation since last week, officials said.
 
"We have now 5th confirmed case of COVID19 in federal areas," Zafar Mirza, health minister said a in tweet early Tuesday morning.
 
The patient is stable and being managed well, the minister added.

Medical team monitoring people who came in contact with coronavirus-hit techie: Karnataka Health Minister

Karnataka Health Minister B Sriramulu has said that a medical team is monitoring the health condition of all those people who had stayed with the coronavirus-hit techie who is admitted to a hospital in Hyderabad.
 
The first confirmed case of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Telangana was reported from Hyderabad on Monday where a man from Bengaluru, who recently returned from Dubai, tested postive for the virus.
 
"It has come to our knowledge that the coronavirus-hit person in Hyderabad had gone from Bengaluru. Therefore, all the members in the house where he had stayed here have been identified and are under watch," Sriramulu tweeted on late Monday night.
 
The minister said he has convened a meeting with the additional chief secretary, commissioner and other senior officials of the health department on Tuesday morning.

Mainland China reports lowest number of new coronavirus cases since January

Mainland China had 125 new confirmed cases of coronavirus infections on Monday, the National Health Commission said on Tuesday, down from 202 cases a day earlier and the lowest since the authority started publishing nationwide data in January.
 
The sharp drop in new infections from a day earlier was driven by a further decline in new confirmed cases in Wuhan, the city hit hardest by the pathogen in China.
 
New cases in Wuhan fell to 111 from 193 a day earlier, and accounted for almost all of the 114 new infections in central Hubei province on Monday.
 
Excluding Hubei, there were 11 new cases in mainland China on Monday.

Coronavirus treatments could be available by summer, says US Vice President Mike Pence

Drugs to treat the novel coronavirus could be available by this summer or fall, US Vice President Mike Pence said Monday.
 
"The vaccine may not be available until late this year or early next, but the therapeutics to give relief to the people who contract the coronavirus could be available by summer or early fall," he told a news conference.
 
The Gilead drug remdesivir has already been used to treat one infected patient in the US as part of a trial, and the intravenous antiviral is also being deployed in trials in Asia.
 
Other notable potential treatments include one being developed by Regeneron that uses monoclonal antibodies to fight the infection. The same strategy has been shown to be effective against Ebola.

US coronavirus death toll rises to six

The number of US deaths from the novel coronavirus rose to six on Monday, all in the state of Washington, officials said, signaling the contagion has taken root in the Pacific Northwest.
 
Vice President Mike Pence announced a treatment for the disease could be available by summer or early fall, but that a vaccine was farther off.
 
Pence, the administration's pointman for the crisis, also said the government was moving to screen 100 percent of passengers flying in from Italy and South Korea, two serious virus hot zones.

'Very safe' to hold campaign rallies despite coronavirus spread: Trump

US President Donald Trump on Monday insisted that campaign rallies do not put his supporters at risk of catching or spreading the coronavirus, and insisted the country was well prepared for the disease.
 
"I think it's very safe," to continue holding frequent rallies across the country, Trump said when questioned in the Oval Office.

The United States has been spared the worst so far as the virus spreads around the world, but over the weekend it announced its first two recorded deaths, in the area around Seattle in the western state of Washington, which has been the worst hit region in the country.

US manufacturing sector stalls as coronavirus outbreak hits supply chains

US manufacturing activity grew at the most tepid pace in six months in February as the supply chain disruptions arising from the coronavirus outbreak dragged on output and new orders, a survey of purchasing managers showed on Monday.
 
The final reading of the IHS Markit US Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index slid to 50.7 last month from 51.9 in January.
 
 
The data was slightly weaker than the preliminary - or "flash" - reading of 50.8 reported in mid-February and was the lowest reading since August.

OECD slashes India's FY21 growth forecast to 5.1% on coronavirus woes

OECD on Monday lowered India’s GDP growth forecast to 5.1 per cent, from its earlier projection of 6.2 per cent, for 2020 on concerns over the impact of deadly coronavirus on the domestic as well as the global economy.
 
The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said the adverse impact on confidence, financial markets, travel sector and disruption to supply chains contributes to the downward revisions in all the G20 economies in 2020, particularly ones strongly interconnected to China.
India is a member of G20, a grouping of developed and developing economies.

Civil aviation ministry may accept IATA demand for suspension of slot rules

The civil aviation ministry is likely to accept International Air Transport Association's (IATA) demand for suspension of the rules on allocation and use of airport slots. IATA, which represents over 250 airlines, has requested global regulators for suspension of the rules in view of the coronavirus outbreak resulting in widespread cancellation and suspension of international flights. Read on

Markets seesaw as coronavirus fears linger; Sensex ends 153 points lower

The rebound in domestic markets, which had seen a 7 per cent fall in the past six sessions, was stopped in its tracks after the health ministry reported two new coronavirus cases on Monday
 
The 50 stocks in the index swung an average 5.7 per cent. Most Asian indices closed with gains on optimism that global central banks would announce stimulus packages. Read more here

Coronavirus outbreak puts break on travel companies' recruitment drive

Travel companies have deferred staff increments and put recruitment on hold, in view of the impact of coronavirus on the tourism sector. Bookings for South-East Asia have hit a snag, and travel firms are bracing for further cancellations with the virus now having spread to Europe. Read more here

Saudi Arabia announces first case of coronavirus

Saudi Arabia on Monday confirmed its first case of coronavirus after one its citizens who had returned from COVID-19 hotspot Iran tested positive.
 
The health ministry said the man, tested after entering the country through Bahrain, had been "isolated in a hospital".
 
Saudi Arabia is the last Arab state in the Gulf to report a confirmed case of COVID-19. Elsewhere in the Arab world, Jordan and Tunisia also confirmed their first cases on Monday.

Senegal confirms first coronavirus case

Senegal on Monday confirmed its first case of the novel coronavirus, a French citizen who visited France last month before returning to the West African country and being quarantined in the capital Dakar.
 
"The results of the tests carried out by the Pasteur Institute in Dakar came back positive," Senegal's Health Minister Diouf Sarr told journalists.
 
"So far the patient's condition has not raised any major concerns," he added.
 
It is the second confirmed case in sub-Saharan Africa after Nigeria, where an Italian national returned with the virus.

Nike temporarily closes European HQ after virus case

Nike on Monday temporarily closed its European headquarters near Amsterdam after an employee tested positive for the coronavirus, the apparel and sneaker giant said.
 
The closure came as novel coronavirus cases climbed to 18 in the country.
 
"We are aware of an employee coronavirus (COVID-19) case," Nike said in a statement sent to AFP.
 
"All European Headquarters buildings and facilities will be closed until Wednesday," the company added, to allow for a "deep cleaning of the campus out of an abundance of caution."

Italy coronavirus death toll jumps to 52

Italy on Monday reported a jump in the death toll from the coronavirus to 52, with more than 2,000 people infected, most of whom were in the country's northern Lombardy region.
 
The civil protection agency said 18 people had died since Sunday -- including three in Emilia Romagna -- all of whom were either elderly or had serious pre-existing medical conditions.

Nine times more new virus cases outside China than in: WHO

The World Health Organisation on Monday said the number of new coronavirus cases registered in the past day in China was far lower than in the rest of the world.
 
"In the last 24 hours there were almost nine times more COVID-19 cases reported outside China than inside China," World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters in Geneva.
 
To date, more than 3,000 people have died from the new virus, while nearly 90,000 have been infected around the world, according to AFP's latest toll based on official sources.
 
In China, where the deadly new virus first appeared last December, the number of new cases being registered each days is meanwhile continuing to decline, with only 206 new cases reported to WHO on Sunday.
 
That marks the lowest number of daily cases reported since January 22, Tedros said, adding that all but eight of those cases were reported in Hubei province -- the epicentre of the outbreak.

Sweden bans Iran flights over coronavirus

Sweden's transport authority on Monday halted direct flights to and from Iran on the advice of health officials who said Tehran was "not in control" of the outbreak of the new coronavirus on its soil.
 
The Swedish Transport Agency announced it was temporarily suspending the flight permits of Iran Air -- currently the only airline flying directly between Iran and Sweden -- saying they were responding to a request by Swedish health officials.
 
"We trust in the competence and expertise of the Public Health Agency of Sweden," Simon Posluk, head of the department for maritime and air traffic at the transport agency, said in a statement.

Singapore registers two more coronavirus cases on Monday

Singapore on Monday confirmed two more cases of coronavirus, taking the total number of infections in the city-state to 108.
 
The Health Ministry said one of the cases is linked to a cluster at Wizlearn Technologies at the Science Park hub in the residential and industrial region on the west coast of the city.
 
Singapore had reported four cases each on Saturday and Sunday. With the latest two cases, it has had 108 coronavirus cases.
The Ministry said four coronavirus patients have been discharged from hospitals on Monday.
 
In total, 78 patients have fully recovered from the infection and have been discharged from hospital. 

 

Portugal confirms first coronavirus

Portugal on Monday confirmed its first case of the new coronavirus, a 60-year-old man who had travelled back from northern Italy, which is the European hotspot for the virus.
 
A second person hospitalised in Portugal with coronavirus symptoms, a 33-year-old man, was awaiting final test results after initial exams suggested he might be ill with the virus as well.
 
The second suspected case was a person who had returned from eastern Spain, where several COVID-19 cases have been confirmed.

Air India asks Vienna-Delhi flight crew to stay in 14 day isolation

After the Union Health Ministry announced on Monday that a Delhi resident has tested positive for novel coronavirus, the Air India crew who had flown the Vienna-Delhi flight on February 25 on which he was the passenger have been asked to stay in isolation at their homes for 14 days, officials said. Read More...
 

IATA urges slot rules shift as coronavirus hits airlines

Rules allocating airline slots at airports should be "suspended immediately" due to the dire toll the new coronavirus outbreak is taking on the industry, the global aviation association said Monday.
 
Nearly half of passengers worldwide depart from more than 200 airports with slot coordination rules, which require airlines to operate at least 80 per cent of their allocated slots or risk losing their slot rights.
 
But the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said that "in exceptional circumstances, regulators can relax this requirement".

First coronavirus case confirmed in Moscow

Russian authorities on Monday confirmed the first case of coronavirus in Moscow, saying the patient had recently returned from Italy.
The anti-coronavirus task force said in a statement quoted by Russian news agencies that the "young man" had fallen ill on February 21 while on vacation to Italy.
 
The man, who resides outside Moscow, returned to Russia on February 23, and started showing signs of a respiratory viral infection, it said.
 
He sought medical help and was hospitalised on February 27. Testing confirmed the infection on Monday and his symptoms were not severe, the statement said.

Ficci calls for measures to prevent spread of Coronavirus

Industry body Ficci on Monday called for measures to prevent the spread of deadly coronavirus in India, even as two more cases -- one in Delhi and another in Telangana -- were reported in the country.
 
It suggested adoption of infection control practices and strengthening of screening at airports, among others.
 
"Till date India has been relatively untouched. The most important part of our strategy must be screening and ensuring that the virus does not enter and parallelly a hospital preparedness strategy is in place," Ficci president Sangita Reddy said.
 
She said this needs to be further backed by mapping of available health-care resources in both public and private sector, for sample testing, quarantine and treatment to prepare for likely spread.

WHO sends first medics, supplies to Iran to fight coronavirus

The World Health Organization on Monday sent its first planeload of assistance to Iran to help fight coronavirus, dispatching six medics with tonnes of medical equipment and test kits aboard a UAE military aircraft.
 
"Today's flight will carry 7.5 tonnes of medical equipment and supplies, primarily the critical items needed for infection prevention and control to support health care workers in Iran," said Robert Blanchard from the WHO in Dubai.
 
As the supplies worth more than USD 300,000 -- including gloves, surgical masks and respirators -- were loaded onto the United Arab Emirates military transport plane in Dubai, Blanchard warned that global supplies were running low.

Passengers from Italy, Iran too will be screened for coronavirus: DGCA

Aviation regulator DGCA said on Monday that all passengers coming from Italy and Iran would undergo thermal screening for novel coronavirus, hours after the government announced two fresh positive cases with one having a recent travel history of the European country.
 
Passengers from 10 countries -- China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore, Nepal, Indonesia, Vietnam and Malaysia -- are already being screened at Indian airports.

Italian tourist visiting Jaipur tests positive for coronavirus: Rajasthan health minister

Rajasthan health minister Raghu Sharma said an Italian tourist has been found positive of Coronavirus in Jaipur. In the first sample collected on February 29, the man was tested negative but his condition deteriorated so the second sample was collected which tested positive on Monday, the minister said, adding "since there is a variation in the reports, samples have been sent to NIV-Pune for testing."
 

Jaipur man admitted in hospital due to coronavirus symptoms

A man showing symptoms of coronavirus has been kept under observation at the Jaipur's SMS Hospital, an official said.
 
Whether he has been infected with the virus is yet to be confirmed. Blood samples have been sent for testing to the SMS medical college laboratory, a state Health Department spokesperson said.
 
So far, no confirmed case of coronavirus has been reported from the state.

Poultry sector faces Rs 1,750cr losses due to coronavirus rumours; demands relief package from govt

Poultry breeders on Monday demanded a relief package from the government claiming that the sector has incurred heavy losses of around Rs 1,750 crore in a month due to fake news that coronavirus was spreading due to chickens.
 
Poultry bird prices have plunged to Rs 10-30 per kg at farm gate level due to a slump in chicken demand while the average cost of production is Rs 80 per kg, the All India Poultry Breeders Association (AIPBA) said in a representation to the Ministry of Animal Husbandry.
 
This will also impact maize and soyabean farmers because without poultry there is no market for soyabean meal and maize in the country, he said, adding that maize prices have droppped from Rs 25 per kg to Rs 15 per kg in the last few days.

Virus-hit Asian Champions League delays knock-out rounds

The Asian Champions League delayed the start of its Eastern zone knock-out rounds on Monday after the competition was severely disrupted by Coronavirus.
 
Extra dates for group games were scheduled for May and June, shunting the round of 16, which usually takes place in May, to August.
 
It is just the latest reshuffle for Asia's premier club football competition as it struggles to accommodate a raft of postponements.

Coronavirus: 'Flu corners' to be set up in hospitals in Punjab

Amid scare over deadly coronavirus, the Punjab government on Monday announced emergency measures, including setting up of 'flu corners' in all government and private hospitals, in the event of any exigency.
 
"The 'flu corners' will screen all suspected cases of respiratory tract infections at the earliest and ensure that the movement of such cases is restricted in order to prevent the spread of the (coronavirus) disease," an official statement said.
 
The decision was taken at a state cabinet meeting held here under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh.

No major impact on Indian fert sector due to COVID-19

While many sectors are under pressure due to the spread of coronavirus, the impact on Indian fertiliser players is expected to be soft even as a major portion of raw materials for phosphatic fertilisers are imported, according to a report.
 
The Hubei province is a major centre for production of phosphoric acid and phosphatic fertilisers. As per ICRA's analysis, the domestic industry imports a major portion of the raw materials for phosphatic fertilisers, mainly phosphoric acid and finished fertilisers – mainly DAP (47 per cent of total imports in FY2019) from China.
 
The Indian fertiliser industry, with the markets currently remaining well supplied and the fourth quarter of the financial year being an off-season period for the industry, the impact of the Chinese shutdown is expected to be muted.

EU raises coronavirus risk level to 'high'

The European Union's disease control agency has increased its risk level for the novel coronavirus COVID-19 from moderate to high, EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said on Monday.
 
"The ECDC has announced today that the risk level has risen from moderate to high for people in the European Union. In other words, the virus continues to spread," she said.

World economy may slow down because of virus: Watchdog

Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development or OECD says the spreading new virus could make the world economy shrink this quarter, for the first time since the international financial crisis more than a decade ago.
 
The agency says on Monday in a special report on the impact of the virus that the world economy is still expected to grow overall this year and rebound next year.
 
But it lowered its forecasts for global growth in 2020 by half a percentage point, to 2.4 per cent, and said the figure could go as low as 1.5 per cent if the virus lasts long and spreads widely.
 
The last time world GDP slowed down on a quarter-on-quarter basis was at the end of 2008, during the depths of the financial crisis. On a full-year basis, it last dipped in 2009.

Iran raises to 66 death toll from new virus

Iran says there are 66 dead amid 1,501 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus in the Islamic Republic.
 
That's according to Iran Health Ministry spokesman Ali Reza Azizi, who gave the figure at a news conference Monday in Tehran.
 
Iran has the highest death toll from the virus outside of China, the epicenter of the outbreak.
 
Iranian officials are among those affected, with a member of Iran's Expediency Council dying Monday. 

Lufthansa further slashes flight plan over virus

German airline group Lufthansa said Monday it was extending flight cancellations on Iran and China routes until late April, part of a broader rollback because of the novel coronavirus.
 
The group's namesake carrier and subsidiaries Austrian and Swiss will not fly to and from mainland China until April 24, Lufthansa said in a statement.
 
Meanwhile Tehran flights will be suspended until April 30.

The slashes to the flight plan are part of a wider scheme Lufthansa announced Friday that will ground 23 long-haul aircraft and cut short- and medium-haul services by up to 25 per cent.
 
Lufthansa said Monday it was reducing the frequency of flights between major German hubs like Frankfurt and Munich and Seoul and Hong Kong.

Egypt detects second coronavirus case

Egypt on Monday reported its second case of novel coronavirus, more than two weeks after announcing the first confirmed infection in Africa.
 
The foreigner is showing "minor symptoms" and has been quarantined, the ministry and the World Health Organization said in a joint statement.
 
Other people who had contact with the patient are undergoing medical tests, it added.
 
Egypt announced its first confirmed case of novel coronavirus on February 14.
 
The patient, a Chinese national, was released last week after recovering, the statement said.
 
Cairo has been cooperating with French and Canadian authorities after they both announced seven confirmed cases of the virus from travellers coming from Egypt.

Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament postponed due to coronavirus

The Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament on Monday became the latest sporting event to be affected by the novel coronavirus outbreak, pushed from April to September in the wake of the deadly disease which is spreading across the world.
 
The tournament, which was scheduled to be held in Ipoh, Malaysia from April 11 to 18, will now be held from September 24 to October 3, the organisers said in a statement. India, a regular at the event, was not supposed to participate this year.

Advise Indians to avoid non-essential travel to coronavirus affected countries: Dr Harsh Vardhan

Dr Harsh Vardhan: Under the travel advisory, existing visas including e-visas will remain suspended for China and Iran.  As the situation develops, the travel restrictions may be further extended to other countries also.

We advise Indians to avoid non-essential travel to China, Iran, Korea, Singapore, and Italy.

May extend travel restrictions to other countries too: Health minister

Health minister Hashvardhan during a press brief said that both the cases have travel history. He also said that to tackle the virus 15 new laboratories have been made operational.

We are keeping a keen watch on the evolving global scenario, and are in touch with concerned Ministries for necessary timely measures. Pharmaceutical resources are adequately available too : Health Minister

Screening of thousands in airports and seas ports: Health Minister

Screening of passengers being conducted at 21 airports, 12 major seaports, and 65 minor seaports. 5, 57,431 passengers have been screened so far at airports and 12,431 passengers have been screened on minor and major seaports

Thai man dies from coronavirus infection complications

A Thai man has died from complications doctors say were due to the deadly coronavirus, though health officials were reluctant Monday to conclusively confirm the cause of his death.
 
The 35-year-old was diagnosed with dengue fever in January before doctors detected the virus two weeks later and transferred him to Bamrasnaradura Hospital, where many confirmed coronavirus patients are being treated.
 
He tested negative for COVID-19 by February 16 but the lung infection had caused multiple organ failure and -- despite receiving anti-viral treatment -- the man passed away Saturday, disease control officials said.

First of Coronavirus confirmed in Delhi, Telangana

One positive case of COVID-19 has been detected in New Delhi, and one has been detected in Telangana. The person in Delhi has a travel history from Italy, while the one from Telangana has a travel history from Dubai.
 
Both the patients are being closely monitored, according to a notification by the government.
 

Coronavirus impact: Fitch Solutions cuts India's economic growth forecast to 4.9% for FY20

Fitch Solutions on Monday cut its forecast for India's economic growth to 4.9 per cent in the current fiscal that ends March 31, saying manufacturing could come under pressure from weak domestic demand and supply chain disruptions due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Kuwait has 10 new cases of coronavirus, brings total to 56

Kuwait's Health Ministry announced 10 new cases of coronavirus in the country on Monday bringing the total number to 56, a ministry official said.
 
The official, who was speaking during a news conference broadcast on state television, urged citizens to avoid gatherings to avoid spreading the virus in the Gulf state.

Nike temporarily closes European headquarters due to coronavirus case

Nike's will close its European headquarters in the Netherlands on Monday and Tuesday after an employee was infected with the coronavirus, Dutch news agency ANP said.
 
Citing an internal email, ANP reported overnight that the office in Hilversum would be disinfected. The employee was staying home in isolation for 14 days, it said.
 
Roughly 2,000 Nike employees from 80 countries work at the site.
 
A Nike representative could not immediately be reached for comment.
 
Dutch health authorities have reported 10 coronavirus infections since Feb 28.

Vietnam to suspend visa-free travel for Italians over coronavirus concerns

Vietnam will temporarily suspend visa-free travel for Italians from Tuesday due to concerns about the coronavirus, the government said.
 
"The government of Vietnam has decided to temporarily suspend visa exemption for citizens from Italy from March 3 amid fast rising COVID-19 infections in the European country," the government said.
 
Vietnam said on Friday it would suspend visa-free travel for South Koreans starting on Saturday, Feb. 29, amid concerns about the coronavirus spreading.

Founder of church at centre of South Korea's coronavirus outbreak regrets 'great calamity'

The founder of a controversial church at the centre of South Korea's coronavirus outbreak apologised on Monday that one of its members had infected many others, calling the epidemic a "great calamity." Lee Man-hee, who founded and heads the Shincheonji Church of Jesus, to which most of South Korea's cases have been traced, said at a news conference outside a church facility in Gapyeong, northeast of Seoul, that he was told he tested negative for the virus.
 
"We did our best but was not able to stop the spread of the virus," Lee said, thanking the government's efforts to fight the outbreak.

Season-opening Qatar MotoGP cancelled due to coronavirus

The season-opening Qatar MotoGP, scheduled to take place on March 8, was cancelled Sunday because of the spread of the coronavirus, the international motorcycling federation (FIM) announced.
 
"Due to Qatar travel restrictions brought into force affecting passengers from Italy (amongst other countries), the premier class will not race at the Losail circuit," the FIM said.
 
However, the Moto2 and Moto3 world championship races will go ahead as planned at the desert track as riders and teams were already in the Gulf state preparing for the event with winter testing.

Indonesia confirms two coronavirus cases: President

Indonesian President Joko Widodo said on Monday two Indonesians had tested positive for coronavirus, marking the first confirmed cases in the world's fourth most populous country.
 
The two had been hospitalized, Widodo told reporters at the presidential palace in Jakarta. He did not specify where the patients were being treated.

Mizoram sets up one more screening counter for coronavirus

The Mizoram government has set up one more screening counter for coronavirus at Thingsai in Hnahthial district on the Indo-Myanmar border, an official of the state Health department said.
 
Thingsai is the entry and exit point along the Indo- Myanmar border in Hnahthial district.
 
The official said that screening for coronavirus began at Thingsai police check gate on Saturday.

New York reports first case of Coronavirus

New York's governor confirmed his state's first positive case, as the virus moved out of its West Coast foothold.

Death toll in coronavirus crosses 2,900 in China

China has reported 42 new fatalities from the novel coronavirus outbreak, taking the death toll in the country to 2,912, Chinese health officials said on Monday, as the rapid spread of the epidemic wreaks havoc globally causing over 3,000 deaths and infecting more than 88,000 people.

Most Asia markets rise as bargain-hunting offsets virus fears

Most Asian markets rose Monday as bargain-buyers moved in following last week's global rout, but investors continue to fret over the economic fallout from the new coronavirus as the worldwide death toll rises.
 
After equities suffered their worst week since the financial crisis more than a decade ago, central banks began to flag support measures, with Federal Reserve boss Jerome Powell hinting at a fresh interest rate cut at the bank's next meeting.
 
Still, analysts warned of further turmoil on trading floors as governments struggle to contain the disease, which has now killed more than 3,000 people and infected almost 90,000.

Indonesia stock exchange says suspends short-selling

Indonesia's stock exchange said on Monday it is suspending short-selling by removing all stocks from a list in which the activity is allowed, until further notice.
 
Indonesia's stock market fell 7.3% last week, its biggest weekly drop since August 2013, as fears about the spread of the coronavirus outside China hit global financial markets.

Coronavirus impact: Most global markets have seen huge value erosion

The Indian markets have lost nearly $180 billion in market value. “If the epidemic is prolonged, it will have a big impact on global economic activity. If it is contained shortly, the risk-reward is very attractive after the latest correction,” says Gautam Chhaochharia, head of India research, UBS. READ ON...


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