Coronavirus LIVE: Four Indians on board cruise ship test positive

Topics Coronavirus | China | Beijing

Medical staff attends to COVID-19 patients in a temporary hospital in Wuhan in central China's Hubei province. (Photo: AP/PTI)

Four Indian crew members, who underwent tests for the coronavirus along with others still on board the cruise ship moored off the Japan coast, have tested positive for COVID-19, taking the total number of Indians infected with the virus on the vessel to 12, the Indian embassy said on Sunday.

Passengers showing no signs of the deadly disease started deboarding the ship, Diamond Princess, after the quarantine period ended last week.

A total of 397 new confirmed cases were reported on Friday, while 109 deaths were reported from 31 provincial-level regions, Chinese health officials said.

The viral outbreak has so far infected more than 77,000 people globally.

 
Meanwhile, China reported a sharp fall in new deaths and cases on Saturday. However, world health officials warned it was premature to make predictions about the outbreak as new infections continued to rise in other countries.

The virus, now named COVID-19, has spread to over 20 countries, including India.


10:46 AM IST South Korea reported a sharp jump in coronavirus cases on Sunday, while Italy and Iran took drastic containment steps as worldwide fears over the epidemic spiralled higher.

10:46 AM IST Two deaths from the new coronavirus sparked fears throughout northern Italy, as about 50,000 people were poised for a weeks-long lockdown imposed by authorities trying to halt a further increase in infections. Italy on Friday became the first country in Europe to report the death of one of its own nationals from the virus, triggering travel restrictions on about a dozen towns where the number of people contaminated has continued to rise.

10:45 AM IST The World Health Organization cautioned years ago that a mysterious “disease X” could spark an international contagion. The new coronavirus, with its ability to quickly morph from mild to deadly, is emerging as a contender.

12:44 AM IST China reported a sharp fall in new deaths and cases of the coronavirus, but world health officials warned it was too early to make predictions about the outbreak as new infections continued to rise in other countries In South Korea, authorities said, the number of new infections had doubled to 433, and suggested the tally could rise significantly as more than 1,000 people who attended a church at the centre of the outbreak reported flu-like symptoms

12:04 AM IST The world's top economies called for a coordinated response to the coronavirus outbreak, which the IMF predicted would lower China's growth this year to 5.6 per cent and shave 0.1 percentage points from global growth   International Monetary Fund presented the outlook to central bankers and finance ministers from the Group of 20 countries, but said the IMF continued to look at more dire scenarios. 

12:02 AM IST Authorities in Iran announced the detection of at least 10 new cases of coronavirus and two more deaths, deepening a sense of public unease over the handling of the spread of the disease

10:00 PM IST India remained protected from novel Coronavirus due to its robust health surveillance system, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said here on Saturday.   He also hailed qualified health professionals for "resisting" the Ebola, Nipah virus and Swineflu in the past.   Speaking at the foundation stone laying ceremony of the Academic and Administrative Building of the International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS) here, the Health Minister said India is now in a position to achieve the World Health Organisation's (WHO) 'Health for All' goal and to form a healthcare model that can be emulated by other countries.

9:55 PM IST Around 100 more passengers were allowed to disembark from the coronavirus-stricken Diamond Princess cruise ship on Saturday as Japan's health minister apologised after 23 others were allowed to leave without being properly tested.   The 100 passengers who left on Saturday had been in close contact with infected people on board, local media said.   They included the last group of Japanese passengers to leave the ship while some foreign passengers were still waiting on board for chartered aircraft to be sent by their governments. Around 970 passengers disembarked earlier this week.

9:51 PM IST A team of researchers at the University of Queensland in Australia has created their first vaccine candidate in the laboratory for the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.   The team will move immediately into further development before formal pre-clinical testing, the university said on Friday.   The proof-of-concept milestone comes in less than a month after the project's announcement on January 24 as part of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) rapid response programme.

9:40 PM IST China is "deliberately delaying" permission for an Indian Air Force plane to coronavirus-hit Wuhan to supply relief materials and bring back more Indians from the city, official sources said on Saturday.   India submitted its request with Chinese authorities on February 13 for the C-17 military transport aircraft while the flight plan was submitted on February 15 with a proposal mentioning February 20 as its date of departure, they said.   When contacted, a Chinese Embassy spokesperson said there was no deliberate delay in grant of permission for the Indian plane to reach Wuhan, adding China always attaches great importance to health and safety of Indian nationals in living in the country.

9:40 PM IST Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso said on Saturday that Group of 20 nations generally agreed on the need to coordinate in responding to the new coronavirus that emerged in China and has spread globally.   Aso said he did not believe that risks to Japan's economy have heightened dramatically but declined comment on recent weakness in the yen.   He said almost all the G20 finance leaders gathered in Saudi Arabia on Saturday had mentioned risk from the new coronavirus, which has led to massive business disruptions in China that are starting to spill over into the global economy.

LIVE UPDATES

South Korea virus cases spike, as Italy and Iran take drastic steps

South Korea reported a sharp jump in coronavirus cases on Sunday, while Italy and Iran took drastic containment steps as worldwide fears over the epidemic spiralled higher.

Italy clamps down on travel after virus deaths, as cases rise

Two deaths from the new coronavirus sparked fears throughout northern Italy, as about 50,000 people were poised for a weeks-long lockdown imposed by authorities trying to halt a further increase in infections.

Italy on Friday became the first country in Europe to report the death of one of its own nationals from the virus, triggering travel restrictions on about a dozen towns where the number of people contaminated has continued to rise.


Coronavirus may be the 'Disease X' WHO cautioned about years ago

The cautioned years ago that a mysterious “disease X” could spark an contagion. The new coronavirus, with its ability to quickly morph from mild to deadly, is emerging as a contender.

New coronavirus cases fall in China, but WHO concerned by global spread

China reported a sharp fall in new deaths and cases of the coronavirus, but world health officials warned it was too early to make predictions about the outbreak as new infections continued to rise in other countries

In South Korea, authorities said, the number of new infections had doubled to 433, and suggested the tally could rise significantly as more than 1,000 people who attended a church at the centre of the outbreak reported flu-like symptoms

G20 sees need to coordinate response as IMF trims growth forecasts

The world's top economies called for a coordinated response to the coronavirus outbreak, which the IMF predicted would lower China's growth this year to 5.6 per cent and shave 0.1 percentage points from global growth
 
International Monetary Fund presented the outlook to central bankers and finance ministers from the Group of 20 countries, but said the IMF continued to look at more dire scenarios. 

Ten new cases of coronavirus in Iran, two dead

Authorities in Iran announced the detection of at least 10 new cases of coronavirus and two more deaths, deepening a sense of public unease over the handling of the spread of the disease

India's robust health surveillance stalled coronavirus entry: Harsh Vardhan

India remained protected from novel Coronavirus due to its robust health surveillance system, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said here on Saturday.
 
He also hailed qualified health professionals for "resisting" the Ebola, Nipah virus and Swineflu in the past.
 
Speaking at the foundation stone laying ceremony of the Academic and Administrative Building of the International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS) here, the Health Minister said India is now in a position to achieve the World Health Organisation's (WHO) 'Health for All' goal and to form a healthcare model that can be emulated by other countries.

100 passengers in close contact with infected leave Japan ship

Around 100 more passengers were allowed to disembark from the coronavirus-stricken Diamond Princess cruise ship on Saturday as Japan's health minister apologised after 23 others were allowed to leave without being properly tested.
 
The 100 passengers who left on Saturday had been in close contact with infected people on board, local media said.
 
They included the last group of Japanese passengers to leave the ship while some foreign passengers were still waiting on board for chartered aircraft to be sent by their governments. Around 970 passengers disembarked earlier this week.

Researchers develop coronavirus vaccine candidate

A team of researchers at the University of Queensland in Australia has created their first vaccine candidate in the laboratory for the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.
 
The team will move immediately into further development before formal pre-clinical testing, the university said on Friday.
 
The proof-of-concept milestone comes in less than a month after the project's announcement on January 24 as part of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) rapid response programme.

China delaying permission to India to send IAF plane to Wuhan: Sources

China is "deliberately delaying" permission for an Indian Air Force plane to coronavirus-hit Wuhan to supply relief materials and bring back more Indians from the city, official sources said on Saturday.
 
India submitted its request with Chinese authorities on February 13 for the C-17 military transport aircraft while the flight plan was submitted on February 15 with a proposal mentioning February 20 as its date of departure, they said.
 
When contacted, a Chinese Embassy spokesperson said there was no deliberate delay in grant of permission for the Indian plane to reach Wuhan, adding China always attaches great importance to health and safety of Indian nationals in living in the country.

Japan finmin: G20 generally agrees on need to coordinate over coronavirus

Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso said on Saturday that Group of 20 nations generally agreed on the need to coordinate in responding to the new coronavirus that emerged in China and has spread globally.
 
Aso said he did not believe that risks to Japan's economy have heightened dramatically but declined comment on recent weakness in the yen.
 
He said almost all the G20 finance leaders gathered in Saudi Arabia on Saturday had mentioned risk from the new coronavirus, which has led to massive business disruptions in China that are starting to spill over into the global economy.

Covid-19: Over 46k screened at Mumbai airport since January 18

As many as 46,218 people have been screened at the Mumbai international airport till Saturday since January 18 as part of the protocol to tackle the novel coronavirus (covid-19) outbreak, the Maharashtra government has said.
 
The virus outbreak was first detected in Wuhan in China in December and has since affected thousands of people across the globe.
 
A Maharashtra government release stated that 80 of the 82 people admitted in isolation wards in hospitals in the state for suspected exposure to covid-19 have tested negative, while two remain admitted in Mumbai hospitals.

Coronavirus may have started in Xinjiang's prison camps

The coronavirus epidemic in China appears to have started from the cramped prison system, possibly at internment facilities in Xinjiang, according to media reports and social media posts.
 
China's Ministry of Justice officials on Friday said that more than 500 prisoners in five prisons in three provinces had contracted the virus which has so far sickened almost 80,000 people and killed more than 2,000 people, mostly in China.
 
Some 56 million people in central Hubei province and its capital Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak, have been placed under unprecedented lockdown.

China yet to allow India to evacuate citizens from Wuhan

A week after India sought permission to send a special flight to deliver medical supplies and evacuate remaining Indian nationals from Wuhan, the epicentre of Covid-19 epidemic, China is yet to respond.
 
China permitted two special Air India flights to evacuate 647 Indians and seven Maldivians earlier this month.
 
Sources said India on February 13 had submitted its request for a third flight. An Indian Air Force's largest plane C-17 Globemaster with medical supplies was to go to Wuhan and evacuate remaining Indian citizens and of the neighbouring countries.

US says Russia behind huge coronavirus disinformation campaign

Thousands of Russian-linked social media accounts have launched a coordinated effort to spread alarm about the new coronavirus, disrupting global efforts to combat the epidemic, US officials told AFP.
 
The disinformation campaign promotes unfounded conspiracy theories that the United States is behind the COVID-19 outbreak, in an apparent bid to damage the US image by seizing on international health concerns, they said.
 
False personas are being used on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to advance Russian talking points and conspiracies, including suggesting that the CIA is behind the virus that has claimed more than 2,300 lives, mostly in China.

WHO team visits Wuhan city as death toll in China's coronovirus crosses over 2,300

A team of WHO experts visited China's Wuhan city, the epicentre of the novel coronavirus, on Saturday as death toll due to the epidemic climbed to 2,345 with 109 more fatalities reported, while the confirmed cases of infection rose to 76,288, Chinese health officials said on Saturday.
 
The team of public health experts from the World Health Organisation (WHO) has visited Wuhan city, the capital of Hubei province, to conduct a detailed probe about the virus which reportedly originated from a sea food market in December last year.
 
The NHC said the WHO experts along with their Chinese counterparts who formed a joint investigation team have held talks with the local health authority in Wuhan and visited relevant healthcare institutions.
 
The UN team comprises specialists from the United States, Germany, Japan, Nigeria, Russia, Singapore and South Korea, Hong-Kong based South China Morning Post reported.
 
The 12-member team, which arrived in China on Monday, was initially designated to visit only Beijing, Guangdong and Sichuan provinces, while the worst-affected Hubei province and its capital Wuhan were missing from the list.

IMF's Georgieva says coronavirus to shave 0.1 percentage points from global growth

The fast-spreading coronavirus outbreak will likely lower China's economic growth this year to 5.6%, down 0.4 percentage points from its January outlook, and shave 0.1 percentage points from global growth, the IMF said on Saturday.
 
International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva presented the outlook to central bankers and finance ministers from the world's 20 largest economies gathered in Riyadh, but said the IMF continued to look at more dire scenarios.
 
China reported a sharp fall in new deaths and cases of the coronavirus on Saturday but world health officials warned it was too early to make predictions about the outbreak as new infections continued to rise in other countries.

WHO sounds alarm over Africa coronavirus preparedness

The World Health Organisation warned Saturday that African health systems would be ill-equipped to respond to the deadly coronavirus outbreak should cases start to proliferate on the continent. WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called on African Union member 
states "to come together to be more aggressive in attacking" the virus, known as COVID-19.
 
"Our biggest concern continues to be the potential for COVID-19 to spread in countries with weaker health systems," Tedros, speaking by video link from Geneva, said during a meeting of African health ministers at AU headquarters in Addis Ababa.
 
 
The outbreak which began in December has already killed more than 2,200 people and infected more than 75,500 in China.

Amid Coronavirus threat, Centre plans to begin screening for flights from Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia too

In the wake of Coronavirus outbreak, the Centre is now planning to start universal screening at airports for flights from Kathmandu (Nepal), Indonesia, Vietnam and Malaysia along with those from other countries, this decision was taken in a high-level meeting chaired by Union Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba on Saturday.
 
This universal screening will be in addition to those as per the earlier advisories.
 
Gauba chaired the high-level meeting to review the status, actions taken and preparedness of states and union territories, amid the scare caused by Novel Coronavirus outbreak.
 
According to a release by the PIB, Secretaries of Health and Family Welfare, Civil Aviation, Defence, Information and Broadcasting, DG AFMS and representatives from External Affairs, Home Affairs, Bureau of Immigration, ITBP and Army were also present in the meeting.

G20 ministers weigh coronavirus risks at Saudi meeting

Finance ministers and central bank governors from G20 nations weighed the potential impact of the coronavirus epidemic on the world economy as they met in Riyadh Saturday for a two-day gathering.
 
At the meeting in Saudi Arabia, the first Arab nation to hold the G20 presidency, financial leaders from the world's top 20 economies are also seeking consensus on ways to achieve a global taxation system for the digital era.
 
The gathering comes amid growing alarm over the new coronavirus as Chinese authorities lock down millions of people to prevent the spread of the disease, with major knock-on effects for the global economy.

Markets underprice coronavirus risk: UBS chairman

Markets are underpricing the risk that the coronavirus outbreak poses to the global economy, and central banks need to help business survive the impact of the virus, the chairman of Swiss lender UBS, Axel Weber, said.
 

Iran now says 5 dead out of 28 infected with new coronavirus

Iranian health authorities on Saturday reported a fifth death from the new virus that emerged in China, and said the fatality was from 
among 10 new confirmed cases of the virus in Iran.
 
So far, 28 cases have been confirmed in Iran, including the five who died.

India's apparel exports may get boost as coronavirus impacts China's market

India may register an increase in its apparel export as China's market has been hit due to the outbreak of Novel Coronavirus (nCoV), said A Sakthivel, the chairman of the Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC).
 
Since December, more than 2,000 people, mainly in China, have lost their lives to Coronavirus that causes a respiratory disease called Covid-19.
 
"Maybe there will be a 20 per cent immediate increase in the exports and later it may slowly increase up to 50-60 per cent," A Sakthivel said.

Aamir Khan urges Chinese fans to take precautions, follow instructions of govt

Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan, who is very popular in China, has expressed concern over the coronavirus outbreak in the country that has claimed over 2,300 lives and advised people to take precautions and follow government's instructions in "this time of crisis".
 
Khan, 54, has become a household name in China due to the huge popularity of his movies such as "3 Idiots" and "Dangal".
 
The actor interacts with his Chinese fans through Weibo social media account which is akin to Twitter.

Vietnam reports supply chain issues from virus, says may hit Samsung output

Vietnam's manufacturing sector is suffering supply chain problems caused by the coronavirus epidemic, which may delay production of Samsung Electronics' new phones, the Ministry of Industry and Trade told Reuters on Friday.
 
"Car, electronics and phone manufacturers are experiencing difficulty in acquiring supplies and materials due to disruptions from the virus," the ministry's Industry Agency said in an emailed statement.
 
"Vietnam relies much on China for materials and equipment, which makes the country become vulnerable when such outbreak happens," it said.

China expects more transport companies to resume operations by late Feb, early March

More transport sector companies in China are expected to resume operations by late February or March, a transport official said on Saturday, as officials try to get the economy up and running again while containing a coronavirus outbreak that has created massive business disruptions.
 
In particular, authorities are trying to get delivery companies back in operation as quickly as possible, Wu Chungeng, an official at the Ministry of Transport, told a news briefing.
 
Some companies which have reopened have complained of shortages of parts and materials due to transport restrictions imposed to curb the spread of the virus, while others say they can't get finished goods to customers. The disruptions are increasingly spilling over into global supply chains.

Japan's new virus cases rise again as doubts about prevention grow

Japanese government officials confirmed 14 new cases of the coronavirus on Saturday as public health authorities struggle to contain a global epidemic.
 
Among the cases was a junior high school teacher in Chiba prefecture just east of Tokyo, who went to work even though she had symptoms, raising fears the virus could spread among her students and co-workers.
 
In the northern prefecture of Hokkaido, a boy less than 10 years old was added to the list. On Friday, two brothers in an elementary school in Hokkaido were confirmed infected.

Second coronavirus patient dies in Italy: Reports

A second patient infected with the new coronavirus has died in Italy, ANSA news agency reported citing healthcare sources, as an outbreak spreads in the north of the country with 30 cases reported so far.
 
The victim was a female resident in Milan's Lombardy region, ANSA said. Her reported death comes hours after a 77-year-old man died overnight near Padua, in the nearby Veneto region.

Govt asks citizens to avoid non-essential travel to Singapore

In furtherance to the travel advisory issued earlier in the wake of the deadly coronavirus outbreak, the government on Saturday advised citizens to avoid all non-essential travel to Singapore.
 
It also said screening at airports is now being planned for flight passengers coming to India from Kathmandu, Indonesia, Vietnam and Malaysia from Monday.
 
Currently, passengers from China, Hong Kong, Thailand, South Korea, Singapore and Japan are screened at 21 designated airports in the country for a possible exposure to the novel coronavirus. Read more
 

Samsung Electronics confirms one coronavirus case at phone factory complex in S Korea

Samsung Electronics said on Saturday that one coronavirus case had been confirmed at its mobile device factory complex in the southeastern city of Gumi, causing a shutdown of its entire facility.
 
Samsung Electronics, the world's top smartphone maker, said it plans to close the complex until the morning of Feb. 24 The floor where the infected employee worked will be shut down until the morning of Feb. 25.

Flights from Japan, Ukraine, France allowed to operate between Feb 16-20 but India's request not approved yet: Official sources

 

Coronavirus cases in UAE increases to 11

Two more people in the UAE have tested positive for the deadly coronavirus, taking the total number of such cases to 11, health authorities said on Saturday.
 
The two male patients include a 34-year-old from Philippines and a 39-year-old from Bangladesh, who got infected as they were in direct contact with the Chinese patients recently diagnosed with coronavirus, the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) said in a statement.
 
The death toll in China's novel coronavirus climbed to 2,345 with 109 more deaths reported, while the confirmed cases rose to 76,288.

Ten new cases of coranavirus in Iran, one dead: Health ministry

Ten new cases of coronavirus have been detected in Iran, one of whom has died, Health Ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur said on state TV on Saturday.
 
The new numbers announced by the health ministry bring the total number of cases of the new coronavirus in the country to 28, with five of the total having died.
 

WHO concerned about coronavirus cases with no clear epidemiological link

The World Health Organization (WHO) is concerned about the number of coronavirus cases with no clear epidemiological link, although the total number of cases outside China remains relatively small, its director general said on Saturday.
 
Cases with no clear link include those with no travel history to China or contact with a confirmed case, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Twitter.
 
According to reports, the disease remained mild in 80% of coronavirus patients, and was severe or critical in 20% of patients, he said. In 2% 
of reported cases, the virus was fatal.

South Korea coronavirus cases surge due to church, hospital outbreaks

Coronavirus cases in South Korea almost doubled on Saturday to 346 and officials flagged the tally could rise significantly higher as more than 1,000 people who attended a church at the centre of the outbreak reported flu-like symptoms.
 
Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said there were 142 new confirmed cases, almost all linked to outbreaks at a branch of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus in Daegu and a hospital in Cheongdo county.
 
Also among the new cases were the first reported infections in Busan, South Korea's second-largest city, and on the Island of Jeju, a popular tourist destination.

100 passengers in close contact with infected leave Japan ship

Some 100 passengers who were in close contact with infected people on board began disembarking from the coronavirus-stricken Diamond Princess cruise ship on Saturday, local media said.
 
They included the last batch of Japanese passengers to leave the ship while some foreign passengers were still waiting on board for chartered aircraft to be sent by their governments.
 
Around 970 passengers disembarked earlier this week.

Hubei's medical supply situation improving, but shortages remain: Official

The medical supply situation in China's Hubei, which has been hard hit by the coronavirus outbreak, has improved, but items such as protective suits remain scarce, a provincial official said at a briefing on Saturday.
 
Cao Guangjing, the vice governor of Hubei, said that despite the improvements, levels of supplies such as the suits were lower than they should be.
 
He added that the food inventory in Wuhan, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak, was ample and cross-provincial logistics were smooth.

China's central bank vows to take more steps to support virus-hit economy

China's central bank will take further steps to support the virus-hit economy, including releasing more liquidity and lowering funding costs for companies, a vice governor of the bank told state media.
 
The People's Bank of China (PBOC) will guide market interest rates lower, Liu Guoqiang, the bank official, told the Financial News in an interview.
 
"China's monetary policy space is still very sufficient, and the toolbox is also sufficient. We are confident and able to offset the impact of the epidemic," Liu told the newspaper.
 
The PBOC also will release more liquidity to some banks due to annual changes in assessments of targeted reserve requirement ratio (RRR) cuts, which will free up more funds to lend to smaller firms, Liu said.

China's central bank vows to take more steps to support virus-hit economy

China's central bank will take further steps to support the virus-hit economy, including releasing more liquidity and lowering funding costs for companies, a vice governor of the bank told state media.
 
The People's Bank of China (PBOC) will guide market interest rates lower, Liu Guoqiang, the bank official, told the Financial News in an interview.
 
"China's monetary policy space is still very sufficient, and the toolbox is also sufficient. We are confident and able to offset the impact of the epidemic," Liu told the newspaper.
 
The PBOC also will release more liquidity to some banks due to annual changes in assessments of targeted reserve requirement ratio (RRR) cuts, which will free up more funds to lend to smaller firms, Liu said.

Indian nationals still on cruise ship to be tested for coronavirus: Embassy

Indians, who are still on board a cruise ship moored off the Japanese coast, will be tested for the novel coronavirus infection along with others on the vessel by the Japanese authorities, the Indian embassy said on Saturday as all the healthy passengers deboarded after the quarantine period ended.
 
The last batch of passengers showing no signs of the deadly disease deboarded the ship, Diamond Princess, on Friday after the end of the quarantine period.
 
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said that over 1,000 passengers and crew will remain on board the ship after Friday's disembarkations.

'China delaying permission to India to send flight carrying relief materials to Wuhan'

China is delaying grant of clearance to India's proposal to send an Indian Air Force flight to carry relief material for people affected by coronavirus in the neighbouring country and bring back Indians from its city of Wuhan, official sources said Saturday.
 
India was to send a C-17 military transport aircraft to Wuhan, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak, on February 20 but the plane could not take off as permission was not granted for the flight.
 
"China is deliberately delaying grant of clearance for the evacuation flight," a high-level source said.
 
The aircraft was to carry a large consignment of medical supplies to China and bring back more Indians from Wuhan.

China's Xi writes thank you note to Bill Gates for virus pledge

Chinese President Xi Jinping has written a letter expressing thanks to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for the organisation's "generosity" and support tackling a deadly virus epidemic, state media said Saturday.
 
The outbreak of the new COVID-19 strain has claimed 2,345 lives in mainland China and infected more than 76,000 people, with cases in more than 25 countries.
 
Earlier this month the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation committed up to $100 million for the global response to the outbreak.
 

Coronavirus patient re-hospitalized in China's Chengdu after testing positive again

A coronavirus patient initially discharged after recovering in southwestern Sichuan province's Chengdu city has been readmitted after testing positive during a quarantine period at home, the city's public health clinical center said on Friday.
 
The patient tested positive during a check-up 10 days after being discharged, the centre said in a statement. Similar cases have been reported in other regions.
 
The positive result after discharge was likely due to a discrepancy in samples, the state media People's Daily reported late Friday, citing an expert.

China brings in seven cruise ships to house Wuhan medical workers

China is bringing in seven cruise ships to house medical workers in Wuhan, state media said on Saturday, at a time when such ships are under scrutiny after hundreds of passengers on the Diamond Princess liner in Japan contracted the coronavirus.
 
The first of these ships, the Blue Whale, arrived in Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak, on Friday from Yichang, a nearby city down the Yangtze River.
 
The seven ships will provide 1,469 beds in total.
 
Tens of thousands of medical workers have been brought into central Hubei province and its capital, Wuhan, from across China to help contain the coronavirus outbreak.

China reports fall in coronavirus cases, says economy resilient, but infections rising elsewhere

China reported a decrease in the number of new deaths and new cases of the coronavirus on Saturday, while its central bank predicted a limited short-term economic impact and said the country was confident in winning the fight against the epidemic.
 
Mainland China had 397 new confirmed cases of coronavirus infections on Friday, down from 889 a day earlier, the national health authority said.
 
But the number of infections continued to rise elsewhere, with outbreaks worsening in South Korea, Italy and Iran and Lebanon. The World Health Organisation warned that the window of opportunity to contain the international spread was closing.

New virus has infected more than 77,000 people globally

A viral outbreak that began in China has infected more than 77,000 people globally.
 
The World Health Organization has named the illness COVID-19, referring to its origin late last year and the coronavirus that causes it.
 

China's couriers take hands-off approach amid virus

China's armies of racing, swerving motorcycle deliverymen have been hailed as saviours during the coronavirus crisis, keeping shut-in citizens fed and stocked up.
 
But it's come with major adjustments for couriers like Gao Yuchao.
 
A Shanghai driver for leading meal take-out service ele.me, Gao's job has changed: his temperature is taken several times daily at restaurants and delivery points, he wears not one but two masks for protection, and frequently disinfects his delivery box.

China badminton players cleared for Europe despite virus

China's badminton players have been cleared of the coronavirus and will play three tournaments in Europe during a "critical stage" of Tokyo Olympic qualifying, officials said on Saturday.
 
The Chinese Badminton Association said "no one is infected" and that the team would compete at next week's German Open, the All England Open and the Swiss Open.

South Korea reports 142 more coronavirus cases, total 346

South Korea reported 142 more coronavirus cases Saturday morning, bringing the nationwide total to 346.
 
An additional death was also reported, bringing the total to two, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a statement.
Among the latest cases, 92 were connected to a hospital in Cheongdo, a southern city connected to a religious sect.
 
More than 150 members of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus have now been infected, starting with a 61-year-old woman who developed a fever on February 10 but attended at least four church services in Daegu before being diagnosed.

China's coronavirus death toll crosses 2,300, WHO team to visit Wuhan

The death toll in China's novel coronavirus climbed to 2,345 with 109 more deaths reported, while the confirmed cases rose to 76,288 as a team of WHO experts, currently in the country to investigate the COVID-19 outbreak, is expected to visit the worst-affected Wuhan city on Saturday, Chinese health officials said.
 
A total of 397 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 were reported on Friday, while 109 deaths were reported from 31 provincial-level regions, Chinese health authority said on Saturday.
 
By the end of Friday, a total of 2,345 people died of the disease and 76,288 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus infection had been reported 
from all over the country, a daily report from the National Health Commission (NHC) said on Saturday.

UK begins repatriating citizens from virus-stricken Japan cruise ship

The British government said Saturday it had begun repatriating its citizens from a cruise ship quarantined off Tokyo for more than two weeks by Japanese authorities over the coronavirus outbreak.
 
"We can confirm the evacuation flight from Japan has now departed with 32 British and European passengers on board, as well as British government and medical staff. It is due to arrive in the UK on Saturday morning," the Foreign Office said in a statement.

First death in Italy from coronavirus: Official

A 78-year old Italian who had tested positive for the coronavirus has died, Italy's health minister said Friday.
 
The man had been in hospital in the northern region of Veneto for around 10 days for an unrelated illness, minister Roberto Speranza said.
 
The news broke after all public spaces in 10 towns in the northern region of Lombardy were closed, and sports events and religious masses cancelled, after a flurry of new virus cases.

US virus cases climb to 35 with return of cruise passengers

At least 18 Americans who returned home from a quarantined cruise ship are infected with the new virus, bringing the number of cases in the US to 35, health officials said Friday.
 
More confirmed cases are likely among the returned passengers from the Diamond Princess which had been quarantined in Japan, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
 
More than 300 passengers were flown back to the US last weekend and are now quarantined for two weeks at military bases and hospitals.

WHO team to visit Wuhan to investigate coronavirus outbreak

A team of WHO experts would travel to Wuhan, the epicentre of the coronavirus epidemic, on Saturday to investigate the disease outbreak, the global health body announced on Friday.
 
The 12-member team, which arrived in China on Monday, was initially designated to visit only Beijing, Guangdong and Sichuan provinces as the Hubei province and its provincial capital Wuhan was conspicuously absent from the list. Read more...

Coronavirus spreads in Middle East as death toll hits 4 in Iran

New coronavirus cases surged across the Middle East on Friday, after a rapid spread in Iran, where authorities say the death toll from the virus has hit four, prompting alarm and travel bans. Since December, the SARS-like virus has killed more than 2,200 people in China, the epidemic's epicentre. Elsewhere in the world, it has killed over a dozen people and spread across some 27 countries. Read more...

Condition of 8 coronavirus-infected Indians onboard Diamond Princess improving

The condition of eight Indians, who were onboard quarantined cruise ship off the coast of Japan and currently undergoing treatment for the new strain of coronavirus, is improving, the Indian Embassy in Tokyo said on Friday.
 
In a tweet, the embassy informed that no additional Indian national onboard Diamond Princess has tested positive for novel coronavirus since Thursday. Read more...

Virus cases swell in South Korea as outbreak shifts, spreads

Schools were shuttered, churches told worshipers to stay away and some mass gatherings were banned as cases of a new virus swelled Friday in South Korea, the newest front in a widening global outbreak.
 
The country said two people have died and 204 have been infected with the virus, quadruple the number of cases it had two days earlier, as a crisis centered in China has begun strongly reverberating elsewhere. Read more...

China car sales slump 92% in first two weeks of Feb on coronavirus threat

China car sales plunged 92 per cent during the first two weeks of February in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
 
It was even worse in the first week, when nationwide sales tumbled 96 per cent to a daily average of only 811 units, the China Passenger Car Association said in a report released earlier this week. Deliveries this month may slide by about 70%, resulting in a roughly 40% drop in the first two months of 2020, it said. The figures exclude minivans. Read more...

Too early for accurate figures on coronavirus impact on global growth: IMF

It is premature to give precise projections of economic growth in China and the world in 2020 following the outbreak of coronavirus, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said on Thursday.
 
The IMF is still reviewing its projections for growth in China while looking at the impact of the epidemic on the global economy, Georgieva told a news conference in Morocco’s capital Rabat, where she discussed preparations for IMF and World Bank Group meetings to be held in October 2021 in Marrakech. Read more...

WHO says window of opportunity to stem coronavirus 'narrowing'

The head of the World Health Organisation warned on Friday that the window of opportunity to stem the spread of the coronavirus was shrinking.
 
"Our window of opportunity is narrowing, and that's why we called (on) the international community to act quickly, including the financing," Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news conference in Geneva, adding: "That's not what we see." 

Wall Street slides as data shows early business impact of coronavirus

U.S. stock indexes fell on Friday after data showed U.S. business activity stalled in February, and a spike in new coronavirus cases in China and elsewhere sent investors scrambling for safer assets such as gold and government bonds.
 

A flash reading of the IHS Markit services sector Purchasing Managers' Index dropped to its lowest level since October 2013, signalling a contraction for the first time since 2016. The manufacturing sector also clocked its lowest reading since August.
 

Declines on Friday were led by heavyweights Microsoft Corp, Amazon.com Inc and Apple Inc for a second straight day.
 

The S&P technology index dropped 1.5%. Chipmakers, heavily reliant on China for their revenue, also took a beating, with the Philadelphia Semiconductor index slipping 2.1%.
 

"With the stock market overvalued and extended, especially with tech stocks being overweight, when you get these negative data points, it is an excuse to take some profits," said Mike Gibbs, director of portfolio and technical strategy at Raymond James.
 

Hopes of monetary easing by major central banks had propelled the benchmark S&P 500 and thetech-heavy Nasdaq to all-time highs earlier this week, but the indexes tumbled on Thursday as the virus appeared harder to contain.
 

South Korea reported 100 new cases, while more than 80 people tested positive for the virus in Japan on Friday.
 

The CBOE volatility index hit its highest level in nearly three weeks, while oil prices fell about 2%. Conversely, gold prices rose to their highest in seven years.

WHO chief says international team heading to Wuhan on Saturday

The head of the World Health Organisation Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said an international team would visit Wuhan on Saturday as part of its work coordinating the response to the coronavirus outbreak.
 
"The WHO-led joint mission in China has been working in Beijing, Sichuan and Guangdong, and will travel to Wuhan tomorrow to continue its work at the epicentre of the outbreak," he told reporters in Geneva on Friday.

Xi warns coronavirus yet to peak amidst its spread to Chinese prisons

The deadly coronavirus, which has brought the world's second largest economy to a standstill, has not yet peaked, Chinese President Xi Jinping warned the ruling Communist party officials on Friday amidst its spread to prisons across the country as the death toll climbed to over 2,200.

The death toll has gone up to 2,236 while the overall confirmed infection cases have climbed to 75,567, the country's health officials said amidst mounting concern over its spread to prisons in different provinces.

The coronavirus epidemic had not reached its peak despite a drop in the daily number of infections, state broadcaster CCTV quoted Xi as saying at a meeting of the Communist party's Politburo on Friday.

He said that the situation in Hubei, the worst-hit province, was still serious.

"The battles to defend Hubei province and Wuhan should be well fought, and measures should be taken to contain the spread of the outbreak," Xi said, Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported.

Oil retreats in face of renewed coronavirus uncertainties

Oil prices fell on Friday as a rise in new cases of coronavirus and weak Asian data fuelled uncertainty about the economic outlook while leading crude producers appeared to be in no rush to curb output.

Brent crude was down $1.06, or 1.8%, at $58.25 a barrel by 1258 GMT, while U.S. crude dropped 84 cents, or 1.6%, to $53.04.

"With Brent failing to breach the $60 level on Thursday despite better than expected U.S. oil inventory data, rising market uncertainty is dragging down oil prices on Friday," said UBS analyst Giovanni Staunovo.

"Market participants who benefited from the price rise in recent days might prefer not to go into the weekend with a long position."

Finance leaders from the Group of 20 major economies meet in Saudi Arabia at the weekend to discuss risks to the global economy after new Asian economic and health data kept investors on guard.

Coronavirus: All 77 in Maha''s isolation wards test negative

All 77 people kept in isolation wards in Maharashtra for suspected exposure to the novel coronavirus since January 18 this year have tested negative, and 73 of them have been discharged, a state Health department official said on Friday.

The Naidu Hospital in Pune and Mumbai's Kasturba Hospital have two people each in isolation as on Friday, he added.

"Till Friday, all 77 samples sent by the state have tested negative as per reports of Pune's National Institute of Virology (NIV)," the health department official said.

Harsh Vardhan asks states to maintain vigil against coronavirus; no new cases in India

Health Minister Harsh Vardhan Friday urged states to keep high vigil against the novel coronavirus and asked them to continue raising public awareness for its prevention, even though no new case was reported in the country.
 
The minister reviewed the preparedness and actions taken so far to handle the situation arising out of outbreak of novel coronavirus (COVID19) in China in a meeting here with senior ministry officials, according to a release.
 
He was informed that several precautionary measures have been taken at the central level in coordination with ministries concerned.
 
All states have been advised to accurately update information about screening and surveillance on a portal set up as a special web tool to monitor the cases on a real time basis, the statement quoted Health Secretary Preeti Sudan as saying.

China's richest man Jack Ma teams up with Columbia University to find cure for coronavirus

China's tech billionaire Jack Ma has pledged over USD 2 million to support the development of antiviral drugs to combat the new coronavirus which has killed 2,236 people in the country and infected more than 75,000 others.
 
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the epidemic as a public health emergency.
 
In accordance with a deal signed between the Jack Ma foundation and Columbia University, the 15 million yuan will be used for supporting a research project led by Dr David Ho, a world-renowned HIV/AIDS researcher with the university, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

Solar projects delayed by coronavirus in China may get relief

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) will give extra time for the commissioning of power projects that face delays due to squeezing of supply lines from China which is facing deadly spread of coronavirus.

On the lines of clarification given by Ministry of Finance (Department of Expenditure Procurement Policy Division) that coronavirus will be covered in the force majeure clause (FMC), the MNRE will soon issue a separate notification allowing developers facing delays extra time to commission their project without inviting any penalties.

Renewable energy projects, particularly solar power projects, has been badly impacted due to spread of coronavirus in China as it has completely stopped critical supply of modules. Nearly, 80 per cent of solar modules is sourced from China.

IBM tech support to institutes fighting coronavirus

Software giant IBM on Friday said it will provide its Clinical Development (ICD) system free of charge to institutions in China that are researching novel coronavirus (COVID-19) drugs and conducting related clinical trials.

During this critical period, IBM intends to work together with medical institutions and practitioners by leveraging the ICD system to help support the accelerated development of key drugs to combat the virus.

ICD is a unified SaaS-based data capture solution, designed to provide end-to-end visibility as well as patient, site, and clinical trial management capabilities.

According to the company, ICD is designed to reduce the time and cost of clinical trials by centralising and organising clinical trial details, providing 24/7 access to clinical trial data via a single URL from any web-enabled device, and providing a flexible and scalable data management platform to help design and manage clinical trials by incorporating optional clinical trial-specific features and services.

IBM intends to provide ICD system free of charge to eligible applicable novel coronavirus-related clinical trials in China.

Plane lands with Canadians evacuated from Japan virus ship

A chartered plane carrying more than 200 Canadians evacuated from the coronavirus-quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship landed at a military base in Ontario province early Friday.
 
All the passengers who arrived at Canadian Forces Base Trenton, 200 kilometers (120 miles) southwest of Ottawa, had tested negative for COVID-19, CBC reported.
 
They will however be quarantined for a further 14 days at the Nav Centre in Cornwall, Ontario, a hotel and conference center which has previously been used by the government as an emergency shelter, the national broadcaster said.

59 Hong Kong police quarantined after meal with coronavirus infected colleague

Dozens of Hong Kong police officers have been placed in quarantine after attending a banquet with a colleague who later tested positive for the new coronavirus, officials said Friday.
 
The news prompted celebrations among some pro-democracy protesters, a vivid illustration of how deeply polarised the city has become after months of rallies and thousands of arrests last year.
 
The 48-year-old officer found to be carrying the virus had dinner on Tuesday with 59 colleagues, police said.
All have been classified as "close contacts" and ordered to undergo mandatory quarantine.

Iran says two more deaths among 13 new coronavirus cases

Iran's health ministry Friday reported two more deaths among 13 new cases of coronavirus in the Islamic republic, bringing the total number of deaths to four and infections to 18.
 
"Thirteen new cases have been confirmed," ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said on Twitter. "Unfortunately two of them have lost their lives." The COVID-19 outbreak first appeared in Iran on Wednesday, when officials said it killed two elderly people in the Shiite holy city of Qom, the first confirmed deaths from the disease in the Middle East.

Controversial church at center of South Korean coronavirus outbreak

A church whose leader claims he is an angel of Jesus has become the biggest cluster of viral infections in South Korea, where a surge in new cases raises fears that the outbreak is getting out of control.
 
A total of 110 cases of the new virus, including the country's first death, have been found in the southeast city of Daegju and nearby areas since Wednesday. Of those, about 70% have been linked to a Daegu branch of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus, where two recent services were attended by a previously confirmed patient.
 
South Korea has a total of 156 cases of the virus, which causes COVID-19 disease.
 
Little is known about the “patient zero" except that the woman in her early 60s had no recent record of overseas travel and was diagnosed with pneumonia last weekend.

Chinese prisons emerge as the new hotspot for coronavirus cases

More than 500 cases of the new coronavirus have been detected in prisons across China, authorities said Friday, prompting the sacking of a slew of officials.
 
Hubei, the hard-hit central province where the virus emerged late last year, said Friday that 271 cases were reported by its prisons on Thursday, including 220 that had previously not been known to provincial authorities.
 
Most of those cases were at the Wuhan Women's Prison in Hubei's capital, He Ping, director for prison administration at the Ministry of Justice, told reporters.

Coronavirus scare may erase $29 bn from global airlines' revenue, says IATA

The outbreak of the new virus threatens to erase $29 billion of this year's revenue for global airlines, mostly for Chinese carriers, as travel crashes worldwide, according to the International Air Transport Association.
 
The trade group for global airlines said Thursday that the virus causing COVID-19 has the potential for causing a 13% decline in demand for Asian carriers this year.
 
The contraction comes at a time when Asian airlines' sales had been growing, the group said.
 
Global air traffic will be reduced by 4.7% for the year, marking the first overall decline in such demand since the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009, IATA said in a statement. How profits will be affected was still unclear, it said. Read More...

Asian markets fall on fears over spreading virus

A spike in new virus cases outside China spooked Asian markets Friday after Wall Street pulled back from record highs as more companies warned earnings could be hurt by the epidemic.
 
More than 2,200 people have died from the novel coronavirus, which has infected over 75,000 people, mostly in China, and spread panic around the world.
 
While Beijing claims its epidemic control efforts are working, the rising death toll and number of new infections abroad have rattled investors.

Nomura suspends work travel of employees to countries with coronavirus cases

Nomura Holdings Inc. has asked employees to refrain from all unnecessary travel to countries stricken by the coronavirus.
 
The restriction applies to business trips to all areas where the World Health Organization has confirmed infections, spokesman Yoshitaka Otsu said Friday by phone. It will take effect on Monday.
 
Nomura’s measures are broader than those introduced by many other financial firms, which have mainly focused their restrictions on China and other parts of Asia. It means workers at Japan’s biggest brokerage will be deterred from travel even to the U.K. and the U.S., each of which has fewer than 20 infections and where the company has a large presence.

China-returned Italian tests positive for coronavirus, first case in Italy

An Italian national has tested positive for the new coronavirus after meeting a friend who had recently returned from China, the northern Lombardy region said on Friday.
 
It is the first known case of local transmission of the potentially deadly illness in Italy.
 
ANSA news agency reported that two other people, including the wife of the initial patient, had tested positive. There was no immediate confirmation of this from local authorities.
 
Giulio Gallera, a member of the Lombardy regional government, said the infected Italian had dinner in early February with a friend who had just come back from China.

Condition of 8 infected Indians on board quarantined cruise ship improving: Indian Embassy

The condition of eight Indians, who were on board the cruise ship off the Japanese coast and undergoing treatment for the deadly coronavirus, is improving as the last batch of healthy passengers was set to disembark the vessel on Friday after the quarantine period ended.
 
The Indian embassy said in a tweet that no additional Indian national on board the ship has tested positive for the virus since Thursday.

South Korea Confirms 48 More Virus Cases, Total Rises to 204

Confirmed coronavirus infections in South Korea nearly doubled in 24 hours with health officials adding another 100 cases, the bulk of them stemming from a religious sect in Daegu.
 
The country’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday that the total number of coronavirus infections rose to 204, with the city of Daegu accounting for most of the new cases. The city of about 2.5 million people has become a something of a ghost town with numerous public facilities closed and many residents staying indoors.
 
Of the new infections reported Friday, 85 were tied to the Temple of the Tabernacle of the Testimony, formerly known as Shincheonji Church of Jesus based in Daegu, CDC said.

Young doctor in China's Wuhan city dies of coronavirus

A 29-year-old Chinese doctor, who postponed his wedding to treat patients infected with the deadly coronavirus, has died treating them after being infected by the virus, the ninth fatality among the healthcare providers working to contain the outbreak.
 
Dr Peng Yinhua, doctor of a Wuhan hospital who treated patients infected with the coronavirus, died on Thursday night, according to the health bureau.
 
Peng, a respiratory acute care medical professional, became infected while working to combat the novel coronavirus at the First People's Hospital of Jiangxia District of Wuhan. He was hospitalised on January 25 and transferred to the Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital for treatment on January 30.

Virus shows plight of China's overstretched doctors

The coronavirus epidemic has shined a spotlight on another simmering crisis in China's healthcare system: a critical shortage of doctors.
 
Rising demand for health care has far outpaced the increase in the supply of doctors. Between 2005 and 2018, the number of fully licensed doctors nearly doubled, but the number of hospital admissions nearly quadrupled, according to Chinese government data. The result is a vicious cycle, doctors and industry consultants say.
 
"There are less doctors to see more patients, and the patients are frustrated that they don't get more time with doctors, and they take that out on the doctors, and those doctors go home and tell their kids never to become a doctor," said Scott Rein, founding principal of China Healthcare Advisory Group, a Shanghai-based consultancy that advises hospital operators, investors and physicians' groups.

Coronavirus: ICRA revises Indian pharma outlook to negative

ICRA has revised its outlook of the Indian pharmaceutical industry from stable to negative in view of the ongoing lockouts in parts of China following the coronavirus outbreak.
 
Consequently, a prolonged outbreak and lockout in China is expected to adversely impact the supply of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), which are key raw materials used to manufacture drugs.
 
Presently, the domestic pharmaceutical industry is highly dependent on imports, with more than 60 per cent of its API requirement being imported, and in some specific APIs, like cephalosporins, azithromycin and penicillin, the dependence is as high as 80 to 90 per cent.
 
Out of the total imports of APIs and intermediates into India, China accounts for 65-70 per cent.

COVID-19 cuts aviation demand and revenues: IATA

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has announced that its initial assessment of the impact of Novel Coronavirus 2019 outbreak (COVID-19) shows a potential 13 per cent full-year loss of passenger demand for carriers in the Asia Pacific region.
 
Considering that growth for the region's airlines was forecast to be 4.8 per cent, the net impact will be an 8.2 per cent full-year contraction compared to 2019 demand levels.
 
In this scenario, said IATA, that will translate into a 27.8 billion dollar revenue loss in 2020 for carriers in the Asia Pacific region -- the bulk of which will be borne by carriers registered in China, with 12.8 billion dollars lost in the China domestic market alone.

Northwest China's Gansu lowers coronavirus emergency response level

Northwest China's Gansu province has lowered its coronavirus emergency response measures from level I to level III, its local health commission said on Friday, making it the first region in the country to do so.
 
Gansu has reported an accumulated total of 91 cases and two deaths. In the seven-day period ending on Thursday, there was only one new case.
 
China has a four-tier response system for pubic health emergencies that determines what measures it will implement, with level I the most serious.

Amid virus crackdown, Uighurs hope Chinese 'waking up' to their plight

Chinese suffering under harsh measures used to fight the deadly new coronavirus should recognise that similar methods have been deployed against China's minorities for years, an exiled Uighur rights activist said this week.
 
Jewher Ilham, the daughter of jailed Uighur intellectual Ilham Tohti, criticised some of the measures imposed by Beijing, including placing tens of millions of people under lockdown with little freedom of movement.
 
But she said she hoped the crackdown might raise awareness and more sympathy among the general Chinese public for the Uighur minority in the northwestern Xinjiang region, who she said had long faced similar oppressive methods.

Japan to let off last healthy cruise travellers, isolate rest

Japan's health minister said the last cruise ship passengers who tested negative for a new virus will leave the Diamond Princess on Friday after a much-criticized quarantine of the vessel ended.
 
The ship docked at a Yokohama port has the most COVID-19 cases outside of China, with 634 confirmed by late Thursday. Two former passengers have died.
 
Health Minister Katsunobu Kato told a news conference the mass disembarkation into Japan of passengers from the ship is set to end Friday, while dozens of foreign passengers are flying back to their home countries on flights chartered by their governments.

From coal to cars - what big data is China tracking to put virus-hit businesses back on track?

China is tracking big data on an array of industrial barometers such as power use and traffic flows to take the pulse of general activity and target stimulus measures aimed at mitigating the impact of the coronavirus on its struggling economy.
 
The flu-like epidemic - which has killed over 2,200 people and infected more than 74,000 - has disrupted businesses across China, spilling over several key global supply chains. Analysts say it will knock more than 1 percentage point off China's economic growth in 2020 and cut electricity demand by 1.5%.
 
Beijing is aiming to restore normal business activity by offering financial support to companies that have been hit by the virus and has urged local authorities to reduce logistical hurdles for manufacturers and plant operators.

China's chicken chain comes unstuck amid chaos of virus measures

China's chicken farmers had been looking forward to a bumper year.
 
But an unprecedented lockdown on people and goods to curb the coronavirus outbreak has disrupted the short but intense poultry lifecycle, threatening output of meat just as the world's most populous country faces a massive pork shortfall.
 
China's poultry production expanded by 12% last year to 22.39 million tonnes, after farmers sought to plug the gap from the pork shortage caused by African swine fever that ravaged the domestic hog herd.
 
About half of China's chickens are raised by individual farmers involved in only one or two steps of the chicken chain, rather than integrated operations.

Virus hotspots emerge in Chinese prisons

More than 400 cases of the new coronavirus have been detected in prisons across China, officials said Friday, fuelling concerns about new clusters of the epidemic.
 
Seven guards and 200 inmates tested positive for the virus at Rencheng prison in eastern Shandong province, the provincial health commission said at a press conference.
 
Xie Weijun, head of Shandong's justice department, was sacked over the outbreak along with two other provincial prison administration officials and five officials from the penitentiary, officials said.
 
Wu Lei, director of Shandong's prison administration, said the new cases showed that "the implementation of our prevention and control measures has not been effective".

Coronavirus weakens job market for record number of Chinese graduates

The coronavirus outbreak is denting the prospects of this year's record 8.7 million-strong Chinese university graduating class, with many students stuck at home just as the corporate recruitment season usually swings into high gear.
 
Graduates are worrying less about catching the virus than the impact it will have on their careers as company-organised recruiting events on campuses across China are pushed back or cancelled amid nationwide bans on public gatherings to avoid the spread of disease.
 
"Companies are recruiting fewer people than last year and competition will get even more fierce. I can't be sure if I'll be able to find a job," Di Qingyu, a philosophy student at Nanjing University, told Reuters via WeChat.

China's Hubei revises Thursday's tally of new coronavirus cases upward

China's central province of Hubei said on Friday it has revised the number of new confirmed cases of coronavirus infections on Thursday upward to 631 from 411 after including cases in the province's prison system.
 
The province's health commission said in a statement that it now had a total of 62,662 cases as of Thursday, after including 220 cases in Hubei's prison system.
 
The death toll in Hubei from the outbreak reached 2,144 as of the end of Thursday, up by 115 from the previous day.
 
The number of new confirmed cases in the provincial capital of Wuhan, epicentre of the outbreak, stood at 319 on Thursday, down from 615 a day earlier and the lowest since Jan. 28.

Outbreak will not change China's commitments to buy US goods: Senior US official

The US government expects China to honor its commitments to buy more US goods under a trade deal signed by the world's two largest economies in January despite the fast-spreading coronavirus outbreak, a senior US official said on Thursday.
 
The US Treasury official said it was too soon to make accurate forecasts for the impact of the virus on the global economy, but the base case scenario sees China's growth dropping in the first quarter and then rebounding sharply. The impact could be more significant if the outbreak worsens, the official told reporters ahead of this week's G20 meeting.
 
The International Monetary Fund said this week the epidemic had already disrupted economic growth in China and could derail a highly fragile projected recovery in the global economy in 2020 if it spread to other countries.

Australian coronavirus victims had tested negative in Japan

Two Australians evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship have tested positive for coronavirus on their return home, despite being cleared in Japan, authorities said Friday.
 
"We have two people who are positive for the COVID-19 virus. Those two people have mild illness," said Dianne Stephens, acting chief health officer for the Northern Territories.
 
Health officials in Canberra told AFP all 164 Australians who returned home earlier this week "were tested for COVID-19 in Japan and returned negative results".

Iran confirms three new coronavirus cases

Iran has confirmed three new coronavirus cases following the deaths of two elderly men, the health ministry told AFP on Thursday, as Iraq banned travel to and from its neighbour.
 
The pair who died were elderly Iranian citizens and residents of the city of Qom. They were the first confirmed deaths from the COVID-19 virus in the Middle East.
 
Health ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpour said two of the new cases were also in Qom and the other was in Arak, south of the holy city.

India faces low downside risk, global coronavirus impact a buying opportunity: JP Morgan currency chief

India's financial market faces low downside risk from coronavirus' impact on supply chains, will instead continue trading on domestic triggers and the current global health scare represents a "buying opportunity", according to Luis Oganes, JP Morgan's head of currencies, commodities, and emerging market research.
 
"I would say that the things to watch are the turning point in the coronavirus episode, I think that it can lead to a big rebound in emerging market equities," Luis Oganes told IANS in New York.
 
Oganes is predicting that the next few months are going to be "very interesting" for markets and recommending investors turn to local currency bonds. Emerging market central banks may cut interest rates further and the dollar will remain strong, he said.

Coronavirus on G20 agenda as China reports uptick in cases

China reported an uptick in new cases of coronavirus on Friday, boosted by more than 200 people testing positive for the disease in two prisons outside of Hubei province, the epicentre of the outbreak.
 
The epidemic is set to be a major focus of discussion at a meeting on the weekend of finance leaders from the Group of 20 major economies, Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said, amid rising risks to global growth.

Over 160 nations express support for China to defeat COVID-19

Leaders from more than 160 countries and 30 international organisations have expressed their sympathy and support to China in the fighting against the COVID-19 outbreak, a senior Chinese diplomat said on Thursday.
 
Chen Xu, head of the Chinese Mission to UN at Geneva, said at a press conference here that China's prevention and control measures not only protect the life and health of the Chinese people, but also buy time for global preparedness, the Xinhua news agency reported.
 
"At this moment, we need to take an objective, rational and scientific attitude towards the epidemic prevention and control, act in line with the WHO recommendations and avoid overreaction," he said.

China's passenger car sales tumble 92% in first half of Feb due to virus outbreak

Retail sales of China's passenger car crumbled 92% on an annual basis in the first 16 days of February, according to China Passenger Car Association (CPCA), as the coronavirus outbreak slammed the brakes on businesses across the country.
 
China's passenger vehicle sales recorded 4,909 units in the first 16 days, down from 59,930 vehicles a year earlier, data from CPCA showed.
 
"Very few dealerships are opening in the first weeks of February and they have very little customer traffic," it said.

China says earliest coronavirus vaccine to be submitted for trials late April

The earliest vaccine for the coronavius that has killed more than 2,000 in China alone will be submitted for clinical trials around late April, China's Vice Science and Technology Minister Xu Nanping said on Friday.
 
Xu made the remarks during a press briefing. Zhou Qi, deputy secretary-general of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, also told reporters companies which have resumed operations should ensure proper ventilation and maintain a safe distance among workers.
 

Two Australian evacuees from Japan ship have coronavirus

Two Australians evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship have tested positive for coronavirus, authorities said Friday, raising questions about Japan's policy of allowing evacuees to return home after testing negative.
 
"We have two people who are positive for the COVID-19 virus. Those two people have mild illness," said Dianne Stephens, acting chief health officer for the Northern Territories.
 
Hundreds of people have been allowed to leave the ship after testing negative for the disease and many have returned to their home countries to face further quarantine.

Asia-Pacific airlines could lose $27.8 bn to coronavirus: IATA

Airlines operating in the Asia-Pacific region stand to lose a combined $27.8 billion of revenue this year in the ongoing coronavirus crisis, the International Air Transport Association said on Thursday.
 
The estimate is based on projections of a 13-percent full-year decline in passenger demand, mostly in China, the trade body said.
 
"This will be a very tough year for airlines," IATA CEO Alexandre de Juniac said in a statement. "Stopping the spread of the virus is the top priority." IATA said its estimate assumed that COVID-19 behaved like the SARS outbreak nearly two decades ago, which was "characterised by a six-month period with a sharp decline followed by an equally quick recovery".

Coronavirus likely to have severe but short-lived economic impact: Kemp

Epidemics normally have a severe but relatively short-lived impact on economic activity, with the impact on manufacturing and consumption measured in weeks or at worst a few months.
 
Even pandemics such as the Black Death (1348/49), Spanish influenza (1918/19), Asian influenza (1957/58) and Hong Kong influenza (1968/69) that caused large numbers of deaths had a brief impact on the economy.
 
China's coronavirus outbreak should conform to this pattern of a severe downturn followed by swift recovery, provided it does not initiate a broader cyclical slowdown in the already-fragile global economy.

South Korea confirms 52 more coronavirus cases, total 156

South Korea confirmed 52 more cases of novel coronavirus on Friday, taking its overall figure to 156 and making it the worst-infected country outside China.
 
Altogether 39 of the new cases were linked to the Shincheonji Church of Jesus in the southern city of Daegu, the Korean Centres for Disease Control and Prevention said.
 
More than 80 members of Shincheonji have now been infected, starting with a 61-year-old woman who developed a fever on February 10 but attended at least four church services before being diagnosed.
 
The mayor of Daegu -- South Korea's fourth-biggest city, with a population of over 2.5 million -- has advised residents to stay indoors, and commanders at a major US base in the area restricted access.

New virus will be major topic for debate at G20, says BOJ Governor Kuroda

The new coronavirus outbreak could become the biggest issue for discussion at a weekend gathering of finance leaders from the Group of 20 major economies, Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said on Friday.
 
It was not time yet to discuss specific monetary policy response to the new virus, but the BOJ will stand ready to take additional steps if necessary, Kuroda told a parliament committee session.
 
Kuroda and Finance Minister Taro Aso are scheduled to attend the meeting on Feb. 22-23, in Riyadh.

China reports 889 new confirmed cases of coronavirus on mainland on Thursday

Mainland China had 889 new confirmed cases of coronavirus infections on Thursday, the National Health Commission said on Friday, up from 394 cases a day earlier.
 
That brings the total accumulated number of confirmed cases in mainland China so far to 75,465.
 
The death toll from the outbreak in mainland China reached 2,236 as of the end of Thursday, up by 118 from the previous day.

Third flight enroute China to evacuate 100 more Indians

India will be sending a third flight to Wuhan, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak in Hubei province of China, to evacuate nearly 100 Indian citizens

Manufacturers, retailers flock to offices of ministries

Amid fears of massive disruption in business across sectors, industry bodies, lobby groups and key players are flocking the offices of union ministries and departments. As the government opens door to the business community, seeking suggestions to minimise the impact of the impending crisis arising out of the coronavirus epidemic, many are actively peddling their interests in disguise. Read on...
 
 
 

Coronavirus: Air traffic may fall 13% in Asia-Pacific region, says IATA

oronavirus (COVID-19) is expected to cause a 13 per cent full-year loss of passenger demand for carriers in the Asia-Pacific region, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said on Thursday.

According to IATA, considering that growth for the region's airlines was forecast to be 4.8 per cent, the net impact will be an 8.2 per cent full-year contraction compared to 2019 demand levels.

"In this scenario, that would translate into a $27.8 billion revenue loss in 2020 for carriers in the Asia-Pacific region - the bulk of which would be borne by carriers registered in China, with $12.8 billion lost in the China domestic market alone," IATA said in a statement.

"In the same scenario, carriers outside Asia-Pacific are forecast to bear a revenue loss of $1.5 billion, assuming the loss of demand is limited to markets linked to China."

Consequently, the total global lost revenue will come to $29.3 billion and represent a 4.7 per cent hit to global demand.

Airlines that have cancelled some China flights/routes

- Air Canada - Extended the suspension of its flights to Beijing and Shanghai until March 27. It also suspended its Toronto to Hong Kong flights from March 1 to March 27, but its Vancouver to Hong Kong route remains active. 
 
- Air China - Said on Feb. 12 it will cancel flights to Athens, Greece, from Feb. 17 to March 18
 
- Air China - State carrier said on Feb. 9 it will "adjust" flights between China and the United States.
 
- Air New Zealand - Suspended Auckland-Shanghai service Feb. 9-March 29. Reduced capacity on Shanghai route throughout April and Hong Kong route throughout April and May.
 
- ANA Holdings - Suspended routes including Shanghai and Hong Kong from Feb. 10 until further notice.
 
- Cathay Pacific Airways - Plans to cut a third of its capacity over the next two months, including 90% of flights to mainland China. It has encouraged its 27,000 employees to take three weeks of unpaid leave in a bid to preserve cash.
 
- Emirates and Etihad - The United Arab Emirates, a major international transit hub, suspended flights to and from China, except for Beijing.
 
- Finnair - Cancelled all flights to mainland China and decreased the number of flights to Hong Kong until March 28.
 
- Hainan Airlines - Suspended flights between Budapest, Hungary, and Chongqing Feb. 7-March 27.
 
- Korean Air Lines Co. - The national flag carrier suspended eight routes to China and reduced services on nine Chinese routes between Feb. 7 and 22.
 
- Philippine Airlines - Cut the number of flights between Manila and China by over half.
 
- Qantas Airways - Suspended direct flights to China from Feb. 1. The Australian national carrier halted flights from Sydney to Beijing and Sydney to Shanghai between Feb. 9-March 29.
 
- Royal Air Maroc - The Moroccan airline suspended direct flights to China Jan. 31-Feb. 29. On Jan. 16, it had launched a direct air route with three flights weekly between its Casablanca hub and Beijing.
 
- Russia - All Russian airlines, with the exception of national airline Aeroflot, stopped flying to China from Jan. 31. Small airline Ikar will also continue flights between Moscow and China. All planes arriving from China will be sent to a separate terminal in the Moscow Sheremetyevo airport. Aeroflot reduced the frequency of flights to Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou until Feb. 29.
 
- Nordic airline SAS - Extended its suspension of flights to Shanghai and Beijing until March 29.
 
- Singapore Airlines - Suspended or cut capacity on flights to Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Chengdu, Xiamen and Chongqing, some of which are flown by regional arm SilkAir.
 
- UPS - Cancelled 22 flights to China because of the virus and normal manufacturing closures due to the Lunar New Year holiday.
 
- Virgin Atlantic - Extended its suspension of daily operations to Shanghai until March 28.
 

Airlines that have cancelled all China flights

- American Airlines - extends suspension of China and Hong Kong flights through April 24 from March 27 earlier

- Air France - Said on Feb.6 it would suspend flights to and from mainland China for much of March

- Air Seoul - The South Korean budget carrier suspended China flights from Jan. 28 until further notice.

- Air Tanzania - Tanzania's state-owned carrier, which had planned to begin charter flights to China in February, postponed its maiden flights.

- Air Mauritius - Suspended all flights to China and Hong Kong

- Austrian Airlines - until end-February.

- British Airways - Jan. 29-March 31.

- Delta Airlines - Feb. 2-April 30

- Egyptair - Feb. 1 until further notice.

- El Al Israel Airlines - Said on Feb. 12 it would suspend its Hong Kong flights until March 20 and reduce its daily flights to Bangkok. It suspended flights to Beijing from Jan. 30 to March 25 following a health ministry directive.

- Iberia Airlines - The Spanish carrier extended its suspension of flights from Madrid to Shanghai, its only route, from Feb. 29 until the end of April.

- JejuAir Co Ltd - Korean airline to suspend all China routes starting March 1

- Kenya Airways - Jan. 31 until further notice.

- KLM - Will extend its ban up to March 15

- Lion Air - All of February.

- LOT - Extends flight suspension until March 28

- Oman and Saudia, Saudi Arabia's state airline, both suspended flights on Feb. 2 until further notice.

- Qatar Airways - Feb. 1 until further notice.

- Rwandair - Jan. 31 until further notice.

- Scoot, Singapore Airlines' low-cost carrier - Feb. 8 until further notice.

- United Airlines - Feb. 5-April 23. Service to Hong Kong suspended Feb. 8-April 23.

- Vietjet and Vietnam Airlines - Suspended flights to the mainland as well as Hong Kong and Macau Feb. 1-April 30, in line with its aviation authority's directive.

 

Prez Xi says coronavirus won't have long-term impact on China's development

As the global concern over the coronavirus outbreak's impact on the Chinese economy mounted, President Xi Jinping on Thursday assured its 'all-weather ally' Pakistan that the epidemic will not undermine China's long-term development even as the death toll climbed to 2,118.
 
It is perhaps unusual for Xi -- heading the world's second-largest economy which has come to a standstill for over a month -- to assure Prime Minister Imran Khan whose cash-strapped country is banking on China's continued financial support, especially to the USD 60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
 
The CPEC, over which India protested as it is being laid through the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), is the flagship project of China's multi-billion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) aimed at furthering Beijing's influence.

Watch: World Health Organisation briefs media on coronavirus outbreak

China changes method of counting virus infected again Beijing

China said Thursday it has again changed the method of counting patients with the novel coronavirus and will now include only those diagnosed by sophisticated laboratory testing.
 
It is the second time in just eight days that the country has revised its criteria -- a move that could muddle statistics and complicate efforts to track the spread of the illness.
 
Chinese health officials last week said patients from Hubei province and its capital Wuhan -- the epicentre of the outbreak -- who had been diagnosed via clinical methods including lung imaging would be added to the count in addition to those confirmed by lab studies.
This led to a huge one-day increase in the number of confirmed cases -- 14,840 -- on February 13.
 
The change was made due to a backlog of patients awaiting nucleic acid tests whose condition was deteriorating, said Wang Guiqiang, chief physician at Peking University First Hospital in Beijing.
"Patients needed active treatment," he said.

Air India extends suspension of its China flights till June 30

As Chinese authorities try to contain the spread of the deadly novel coronavirus outbreak, Air India on Thursday announced that it is extending the suspension of its flights to the neighbouring country till June 30.
 
Last month, the national carrier had suspended its six weekly Delhi-Shanghai flights from January 31 to February 14. However, it did not restart the flight operations from February 15 onwards.
 
The national carrier had also suspended its Delhi-Hong Kong flights due to the coronavirus epidemic that has killed more than 2,000 people in China till date.

South Korea confirms first death from coronavirus, infected people rise over 100

South Korea reported its first death Thursday from coronavirus as the number of infections nearly doubled to over 100 - almost half of them from a cluster centred on a religious sect.

The sharp rise came as the mayor of Daegu - South Korea's fourth biggest city, with a population of over 2.5 million -- advised residents to stay indoors, and commanders at a major US base in the area restricted access.

The Korea Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) announced a total of 51 new confirmed cases, taking the nationwide total to 104.

Of those, more than 40 were in a cluster in Daegu centred on the Shincheonji Church of Jesus, an entity often accused of being a cult.

A man in his 60s in neighbouring North Gyeongsang province -- who Yonhap news agency said had been hospitalised for more than 20 years -- tested positive for the coronavirus after dying Wednesday following symptoms of pneumonia, authorities said.

Coronavirus impact: Icra downgrades domestic pharma outlook to negative

Rating agency Icra on Thursday said it has revised its outlook on Indian pharmaceutical industry to negative from stable due to ongoing lockouts in parts of China following the outbreak of coronavirus.
 
The domestic drug industry is highly dependent on imports, with more than 60 per cent of its active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) requirement being shipped from overseas locations, especially China.
 
In some specific active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), like cephalosporins, azithromycin and penicillin, the dependence is as high as 80 to 90 per cent, ICRA said in a statement. Of the total imports of APIs and intermediates into India, China accounts for 65-70 per cent, it added. Read More...

One more Indian tests positive for coronavirus on cruise ship off

One more Indian aboard a quarantined cruise ship off Japan was tested positive for the novel coronavirus and shifted to hospital, taking the number of Indian nationals infected with the virus on the vessel to eight, the Indian embassy said on Thursday.
 
The Diamond Princess cruise ship arrived in Yokohama, near Tokyo, on February 3 with 3,711 passengers and crew on board, 621 people were found to be infected with the deadly coronavirus after it was diagnosed in a man who disembarked last month in Hong Kong. A total of 138 Indians, including 132 crew and 6 passengers, were among the 3,711 people on board the ship.

ITBP honours staffers who served at its Delhi quarantine facility for coronavirus

The Indo Tibetan Border Police, on Thursday honoured its doctors, paramedics, cooks and sanitation officials who served in a special quarantine centre set up here housing 406 people suspected to have been exposed to coronavirus, a spokesperson of the force said.
 
"Thank you for what you did. The country and the force is proud of you," ITBP Director General (DG) S S Deswal told the personnel after he held a special 'sainik sammelan' at the Chhawla camp of the force.

2 more Russians on cruise ship diagnosed with virus

Two more Russians aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship quarantined in Japan have been diagnosed with a new virus, the Russian Embassy in Japan said Thursday.
 
The two will be transferred to a hospital in Japan for treatment, according to the embassy statement published on Facebook.
 
The Diamond Princess has been docked in the Yokohama port near Tokyo since February 4, when 10 people on board tested positive for the virus.

Coronavirus buffets Air France as 2019 profits dive

French-Dutch airline Air France-KLM said Thursday the coronavirus had blown a large hole in 2020 earnings while separately unveiling lower profits for 2019.
 
"Assuming a progressive resumption of (full-scale) operations from April, the estimated impact of COVID-19 on operating income is for a 150 to 200 million euros hit between February and April," the group said in a statement.
 
Air France-KLM said its forward guidance on the virus hit came on the heels of a 31 per cent drop in net profit to 290 million euros ($313 million), on the back of a fall-off in freight and rising fuel bills.

S Korea reports first virus death as 2.5 mn urged to stay home

Yonhap news agency says South Korea has reported its first death from a new coronavirus.
 
The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did not immediately provide details.
 
The report came as South Korea is struggling to cope with the outbreak and its economic fallout.

Coronavirus may drag global GDP by 1 percentage point if containment delayed beyond June: Report

The cascading effect of coronavirus epidemic might cause a drag of about a percentage point on global GDP growth, if the containment is delayed beyond June, a report said in Thursday.
 
According to the report by Dun & Bradstreet, the outbreak of coronavirus is already having a considerable impact on the Chinese economy, and its implications will increase for global businesses with operations or suppliers in the region.
 
On January 30, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak a global health emergency.

POSCO's China JV shuts steel production for one week

Zhangjiagang Pohang Stainless Steel Co Ltd, a China-based joint venture of China's Jiangsu Shagang Group and South Korea's POSCO, said on Thursday it had shut down production lines for one week from Feb.20 due to the coronavirus outbreak.
 
The shutdown, which involves the venture's steel smelting, hot-rolled and cold-rolled production, is expected to reduce the company's monthly steel output by 21,000 tonnes, a spokesman from the company said.

Australian evacuees from virus-hit ship begin second quarantine

Around 180 Australians evacuated from a virus-stricken cruise ship in Japan arrived Thursday in the city of Darwin to begin a second quarantine period.
 
The former cruise ship passengers will spend the next two weeks in a camp facility near the northern Australian city, health officials said.
 
The new coronavirus that causes the COVID-19 illness has infected more than 620 people on the Diamond Princess.

Virus limits next Tokyo Olympic test event to Japanese-only

A test event for the Tokyo Olympics scheduled for later this month that would have involved some non-Japanese athletes is being revamped because of fear of the spreading virus from China.
 
It's now limited to only Japanese athletes with the Olympics just over five months away.
 
The two-day test event opens at the new Ariake Arena on Feb. 28 and is relatively obscure — a Paralympic test for boccia, a precision ball sport similar to bocce and related to lawn bowling. It's the first of 19 remaining test events before the Olympics are to open on July 24.
 

Egyptair to resume flights to China from next week: Statement

Egyptair said in a statement on Thursday that it will resume some flights to and from China starting next week.
 
The national airline suspended all flights to China in early February over the coronavirus outbreak.
 
"Egyptair has decided to resume a flight weekly every Thursday," the statement said.

Gripped with coronavirus fears, German consumers pinch their pennies: GfK

German consumer morale deteriorated slightly in February as fears that the coronavirus outbreak in China would worsen a slowdown in Europe's biggest economy made Germans less willing to take out their wallets, a survey showed on Thursday.
 
The Nuremberg-based GfK institute said its survey of around 2,000 Germans showed consumer sentiment falling to 9.8 points in February from 9.9 points a month earlier, in line with a Reuters poll.
 
"The spread of the coronavirus has undoubtedly contributed to uncertainty among consumers," said GfK researcher Rolf Buerkl.

South Korea city urges 2.5 mn to stay home as virus cases grow

The mayor of the South Korean city of Daegu urged its 2.5 million people on Thursday to refrain from going outside as cases of a new virus spiked and he pleaded for help from the central government.
 
Mayor Kwon Young-jin made the request in a televised news conference after the southeastern city and its nearby towns reported 35 additional cases of infection with the new coronavirus on Thursday.
 
Kwon also asked Daegu citizens to wear masks even indoors if possible. He expressed fears that the rising infections in the region will soon overwhelm the city's health infrastructure and called for urgent help from the central government in Seoul.

India''s third coronavirus patient discharged from hospital in Kerala

A woman medico, who was India's first novel coronavirus patient being treated at the Government Medical College hospital here was discharged on Thursday, official sources said.
 
The decision to discharge her from the hospital was taken by the Medical Board, which met and examined the results of the woman's samples that had tested negative for the second time, they said.
 
The discharge of the student marked the recovery of all three cases of infection in India reported from Kerala.

China says media spreading racial discrimination must pay the price

Media organisations that spread racial discrimination and maliciously smear China must pay the price, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said on Thursday, following Beijing's decision to revoke the press credentials of three Wall Street Journal correspondents.
 
Geng told reporters during a press briefing that China was not interested in the division of labour at the Wall Street Journal in response to a question on why it is acting against the paper's journalists, who had no involvement in the publication of a opinion column in the paper that the Chinese government found offensive.
 
"There is only one media agency called the WSJ (Wall Street Journal), and it must be responsible for what it has said and done," he said.

Air France-KLM expects coronavirus impact of 200 mln euros, could climb higher

Air France-KLM expects the coronavirus outbreak to wipe 150 million to 200 million euros ($162-216 million) off earnings by April, assuming China flights remain suspended until then, the Franco-Dutch airline group said on Thursday.
 
As the first European network carrier to publish its full-year results and 2020 outlook, Air France-KLM is likely to be closely watched for signs of the coronavirus' impact on the aviation industry beyond its epicentre in Asia.
 
Like many global airlines, Air France-KLM has cancelled mainland China flights through March, basing its impact estimate on the assumption they resume progressively after that.

Taiwan's Foxconn warns of negative revenue impact from virus outbreak

Taiwan's Foxconn on Thursday said a coronavirus outbreak will lead to lower full-year revenue and the company will "cautiously" resume output at its main factories in China that were shut because of the outbreak.
 
Foxconn said in a statement to the Taipei stock exchange that its factories in countries including Vietnam, India and Mexico continued to be operating at full capacity and expansion plans were underway.
 
Foxcon, the world's largest contract electronics maker and formally called Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd, is a supplier to Apple Inc and others.

Trump: "Confident China is trying very hard" in handling coronavirus outbreak

US President Donald Trump is confident that China is "trying very hard" in its handling of the coronavirus outbreak, he said in a television interview late on Wednesday.
 
China has reported a dramatic drop in new cases in the province at the heart of the outbreak, although the toll of more than 2,000 ranks the epidemic among the biggest global health emergencies of recent decades.
 
"Well, I am confident that they are trying very hard," Trump said in an interview with Fox 10 Phoenix. "I think the numbers are going to get progressively better as we go along."

Why Singapore's admired virus playbook can't be replicated

A day after Jeanhee Kim learned of a coronavirus case in her Singapore apartment block, she was visited by a distinguished-looking man she later learned was a senior government minister.
 
Kim, a 51-year old American who had just relocated to the island as the outbreak began, said the man had asked her how her family were feeling, gave her some surgical masks and reassured her that Singapore was on top of the situation.
 
Her experience exemplifies the fastidious approach taken to combat the outbreak in the city-state - which has included using police investigators and security cameras to help track and quarantine more than 2,500 people, and won international praise.

South Korea coronavirus cult cluster spikes

A cluster of novel coronavirus infections centred on a cult church in the South Korean city of Daegu leaped to 39 cases Thursday, as the country's total spiked for the second successive day.
 
Almost half the country's patients are linked to a 61-year-old woman who is a member of the Daegu branch of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus, an entity often accused of being a cult.
 
She first developed a fever on February 10 but reportedly twice refused to be tested for the coronavirus on the grounds that she had not recently travelled abroad, and attended at least four services before being diagnosed. So far 37 other members of the church have been confirmed as infected.

Lenovo warns of coronavirus challenges

Chinese personal computer maker Lenovo Group warned on Thursday it faced short-term volatility and challenges from the coronavirus outbreak, as it reported a better than expected quarterly profit and record revenue.
 
The world's largest PC maker is among companies facing disruptions to their supply chain after local governments extended a Lunar New Year holiday and imposed strict travel curbs to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

China's Hebei province sets up $7 bn financing vehicle to shore up economy

The northern Chinese province of Hebei has set up a special financing project worth 50 billion yuan ($7.12 billion) with China Development Bank to help get the regional economy up and running again after coronavirus disruptions.
 
The project will help businesses to resume production, stabilize investment and guarantee major infrastructure projects in the first half of 2020, the Hebei Development and Reform Commission said on its website on Thursday.

In coronavirus fight, Shanghai river town opts for caution

In Qibao, an old river town on the outskirts of Shanghai, officials have deployed more than 2,700 staff and volunteers to check temperatures and monitor traffic as they work to contain the coronavirus that has now killed more than 2,000 in China.
 
With large parts of the town sealed off and its teashops and boutiques shuttered, the crackdown in Qibao has been far tougher than elsewhere in Shanghai, reflecting the variety of sometimes heavy-handed approaches taken by jurisdictions across the country.
 
In a recent speech, President Xi Jinping told local governments to "protect the normal economic and social order" while at the same time promising to punish officials found to be negligent in the fight against the outbreak.

Indonesia to evacuate 74 people from coronavirus-affected ship off Japan

Indonesia is "committed" to evacuating 74 of its nationals from the Diamond Princess cruise off the Japanese port city of Yokohama that has been affected by a coronavirus outbreak, a senior minister said on Thursday.
 
Muhadjir Effendy, Indonesia's chief development minister, told reporters that the government is still considering whether to bring them back using a naval vessel or by plane.
 
Four Indonesians who were part of the crew on the cruise liner were infected with the coronavirus, according to a foreign ministry official.

McLaren taking coronavirus precautions at Barcelona F1 test

Formula One team McLaren revealed Wednesday that they are taking measures to counter the threat of the deadly coronavirus, including banning entry to their motorhome at winter testing to anyone who has travelled from China. The announcement was made after a Chinese journalist, who had journeyed to Barcelona from Shanghai, was refused entry to the team's hospitality suite in the Montmelo paddock for the three-day pre-season test session which runs until Friday.

Coronavirus outbreak slashes China carbon emissions: Study

The coronavirus epidemic that has paralysed the Chinese economy may have a silver lining for the environment.
 
China's carbon emissions have dropped by least 100 million metric tonnes over the past two weeks, according to a study published on Wednesday by the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) in Finland.
 
That is nearly six percent of global emissions during the same period last year.
 
The rapid spread of the novel coronavirus -- which has killed over 2,000 and infected more than 74,000 people across China -- has led to a drop in demand for coal and oil, resulting in the emissions slump, the study published on the British-based Carbon Brief website said.

China FM to meet ASEAN peers at virus summit

China's foreign minister is set to meet his Southeast Asian peers in Laos on Thursday for crisis talks over the coronavirus which has seeded panic and constricted economies dependent on the flow of goods and tourists.
 
Wang Yi will hold talks with counterparts from the 10 Southeast Asian (ASEAN) countries in Vientiane in a hastily-convened meeting over the health scare.
 
China's foreign ministry has described the summit as part of a "tradition of supporting each other through thick and thin". A similar meeting was held in 2003 following the outbreak of SARS.

China records drop in new coronavirus cases

China reported a dramatic drop in new coronavirus infections on Thursday although scientists warned the flu-like pathogen may spread even more easily than previously believed, while more passengers disembarked a quarantined cruise ship off Japan.
 
South Korea reported a spike in infections, with 23 new cases linked to a church congregation, up from 14 on Wednesday, in what health officials called a "super-spreading event".
 
A 61-year-old woman known as "Patient 31" is suspected of passing the disease to others who attended religious services at a church in the central city of Daegu.

Two coronavirus patients from Japan cruise ship dead: Media

Two elderly coronavirus patients from a quarantined cruise ship off Japan have died, media reports said on Thursday, citing a government source.
 
A man and a woman in their 80s who had been infected have died, public broadcaster NHK and other media said.
 
No immediate confirmation was available from the health ministry. They would be the first fatal cases among more than 600 confirmed on the ship. 

Coronavirus poses risks to fragile recovery in global economy: IMF

The coronavirus epidemic has already disrupted economic growth in China and a further spread to other countries could derail a "highly fragile" projected recovery in the global economy in 2020, the International Monetary Fund warned on Wednesday.
 
In a note for G20 finance ministers and central bankers, the global lender mapped out many risks facing the global economy, including the disease and a renewed spike in US-China trade tensions, as well as climate-related disasters.

IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said the outbreak was a stark reminder of how unforeseen events could threaten a fragile recovery, and urged G20 policymakers to work to reduce other uncertainties linked to trade, climate change and inequality.
 

Mainland China reports 394 new confirmed cases of coronavirus, lowest since Jan 23

Mainland China had 394 new confirmed cases of coronavirus infections on Wednesday, the National Health Commission said on Thursday, down from 1,749 cases a day earlier and the lowest since Jan. 23.
 
That brings the total accumulated number of confirmed cases in mainland China so far to 74,576.
 
The death toll from the outbreak in mainland China had reached 2,118 as of the end of Wednesday, up by 114 from the previous day.
 
The central province of Hubei, the epicentre of the outbreak, reported 108 new deaths, while in the provincial capital of Wuhan, 88 people died.

First batch of Diamond Princess Passengers arrive in Hong Kong to face further quarantine

More than 100 Hong Kong residents who were quarantined on the Diamond Princess cruise in Japan for over two weeks landed on Thursday morning in the Asian financial hub, where they will face a further 14 days of quarantine.
 
Arriving on a chartered Cathay Pacific aircraft, the 106 passengers were part of a first batch of at least two government arranged flights to bring back hundreds of remaining citizens.
 
Authorities said 55 of the 364 Hong Kong residents on the ship were infected with the coronavirus. They will remain in Japan along with 33 other citizens who have been in close contact with them.

Chinese banks rush to issue "virus NCDs" to fund anti-virus campaign

Chinese banks are rushing to issue low-cost deposits via the interbank market to help fund companies that are fighting the coronavirus outbreak.
 
A total of 26 banks are issuing negotiable certificate of deposits (NCDs) on Thursday to raise roughly 17 billion yuan ($2.43 billion) in total that will to be lent to companies involved in epidemic prevention and control, according to the National Interbank Funding Center.
 
Such "virus NCDs" carry lower interest rates than normal NCDs, which could help lower funding costs for such companies.

Indian students from Wuhan initial reaction on coronavirus

Two students from Gujarat, who have returned to India from the coronavirus-hit Chinese city of Wuhan said initially they did not take reports about the outbreak seriously.
 
Shreya Jaiman (18) and Vrund Patel (19), both classmates, were among the the hundreds of Indians who were airlifted from Wuhan last month after the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in China.
 
On return from China, they were quarantined for nearly 17 days at a facility at an ITBP camp in Delhi from where they have now come back to their homes in Vadodara 

Coronavirus threatens modest pickup in global growth

Financial leaders of the world's 20 largest economies (G20) expect a modest pickup of global growth this year and next, but see the coronavirus epidemic as a downside risk, a draft communique prepared for the meeting on Feb. 22-23 said
 
G20 finance ministers and central bank governors meet on Saturday and Sunday in Riyadh to discuss the global economy, as China grapples with a virus that has killed more than 2,000 people and forced drastic curbs on travel and commerce
 

Coronavirus: Six Chinese nationals put under surveillance in Shimla

Six Chinese nationals, who arrived in Himachal Pradesh in the past few days, were put under surveillance here on Wednesday in view of the novel coronavirus outbreak in China, an official said.
 
The Chinese nationals, who arrived here in two batches on February 13 and February 16 via Kolkata, were "asymptomatic".
The state health department got to know about their presence here on Tuesday night. They have been put under surveillance and advised to report to the health officials in case of symptoms of cough and fever, the official said. Officials of the integrated disease surveillance programme (IDSP) on Wednesday visited the home stay in Lakkar Bazar where they have been staying and found that they were "asymptomatic".
 
None of the six Chinese nationals visited Wuhan, the epicentre of the novel coronavirus outbreak, after January 15, the official said.

New semester in Chinese universities postponed over coronavirus outbreak

The State Council of China has decided to postpone the new semester of universities in the wake of the deadly coronavirus outbreak, the Chinese Embassy has informed the Union Health ministry.
 
The students will be notified by their respective universities. According to an official, several students who had returned from China after the epidemic had approached the health ministry saying their respective universities were asking them to join back or they would lose their admission status.

Coronavirus: 7 Indian nationals tested positive in Japan undergoing treatment

Altogether 7 Indian nationals (crew members onboard Diamond Princess) are receiving treatment in hospitals in Japan, after testing positive for COVID-19 over last few days. Their health conditions are improving. : Indian Embassy in Japan

Two Chinese crew members test negative for coronavirus, Chennai Port Trust

Two Chinese crew members of a ship, which arrived in Chennai from novel coronavirus-hit China, have tested negative for the disease known as COVID-19, the Chennai Port Trust said on Wednesday.
 
The port authority's statement came hours after it announced their isolation due to fever.
 
The isolated persons' blood samples had been collected on Wednesday morning and sent for testing at city-based King's Institute for Preventive Medicine.
 
"The laboratory test reports of the two Chinese crew on board the ship MV MAGNATE has been reported negative for COVID-19 by King's Institute for Preventive Medicine, Guindy," the Chennai Port Trust said in a release.

Coronavirus outbreak: Two confirmed cases reported in Iran, says health ministry

Two people in Iran tested positive Wednesday for the deadly new coronavirus, the health ministry said, in the Islamic republic's first cases of the disease.
Kianoush Jahanpour, a ministry spokesman, said the cases were detected in the holy city of Qom, south of the Iranian capital.

Government panel recommends curbs on exports of 12 active pharmaceutical ingredient

A government committee formed to monitor supply of raw materials for drugs from China has recommended restrictions on exports of 12 active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and formulations in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, sources said.
 
The APIs and formulations include common antibiotics and vitamins.
 
In a letter sent to the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), Deputy Secretary at Chemicals and Fertilisers Ministry M K Bhardwaj sought orders restricting export of the 12 APIs and formulations.   Read More...

Final batch of inmates released from ITBP quarantined facility

The third and final batch of inmates quarantined at an ITBP facility here after being evacuated from the coronavirus-hit Chinese city of Wuhan was discharged, a senior official said on Wednesday.
 
With the latest release, all 406 people at the Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) facility have been discharged after being declared free of coronavirus by the doctors. 

Thailand plans steps to help virus-hit economy this month: FinMin

Thailand is preparing new measures to help the economy cope with the aftermath of the coronavirus, the finance minister said on Wednesday.
 
The new measures - which the cabinet is expected to vote on this month - will be substantial enough to boost consumption, tourism and other economic activity, Uttama Savanayana told reporters.
 
The government has sufficient fiscal and financial tools to handle economic problems in the short term, he said.

China's virus-hit industrial cities start to ease curbs, restore production

Big manufacturing hubs on the Chinese coast are starting to loosen curbs on the movement of people and traffic while local governments prod factories to restart production, following weeks of stoppages due to the coronavirus outbreak.
 
In their early efforts to contain the virus, authorities extended a week-long Lunar New Year holiday in late January by about 10 days, instituted quarantines, and imposed restrictions on traffic in large parts of the country.
 
The measures slowed the sprawling industrial sector to a crawl, with companies unable to resume production or restore output to normal levels due to a lack of workers. Many have also been unable to take delivery of raw materials or send products to clients due to logistical hurdles, with the disruptions knocking on along supply chains worldwide.

China won't send officials to G20 meeting amid virus outbreak: Sources

China's central bank and its finance ministry will not send any officials to a G20 meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors in Riyadh due to virus outbreak, officials said.
 
But Chinese representatives at the World Bank will attend the meeting, to be held Feb. 22 and 23, an official at the finance ministry said.

China revokes credentials of three Wall Street Journal reporters over opinion piece

China has revoked the press credentials of three journalists of the Wall Street Journal after the newspaper declined to apologise for a column with a headline calling China the "real sick man of Asia", the foreign ministry said on Wednesday.
 
Spokesman Geng Shuang told a briefing that Beijing made several representations to the paper over the column published on Feb 3, which China criticised as racist and denigrating its efforts to combat the coronavirus epidemic, but that the paper had failed to apologise or investigate those responsible.
 
"The Chinese people do not welcome media that publish racist statements and maliciously attacks China," Geng told reporters.

2 crew members of Chinese ship under isolation in TN

Two Chinese crew members of a ship, which arrived from the novel coronavirus-hit China, have been kept in isolation due to fever while the vessel has been "kept away from access", the Chennai Port Trust said here on Wednesday.
 
The ship with 19 Chinese crew had visited ports in that country and was allowed here on Tuesday after the 14-day incubation period from its last visit to a Chinese Port and after ensuring that all the crew were healthy based on pre arrival monitoring, a release from the Port Trust said.
 
On berthing, a health team of the Port Health Officer (PHO) boarded the vessel and examined all the crew.
 
"It was observed that two of the 19 crew members had mild fever without other respiratory symptoms and otherwise healthy in all respects."

Apple's budget iPhone may face delay due to coronavirus

Apple's next iPhone -- the iPhone 9 or iPhone SE2 -- is likely to see a delay in launch in the wake of the deadly coronavirus outbreak in China.
 
Touted as a budget iPhone, the mass production of the device was supposed to start by the end of this month but may be delayed until sometime in March, according to a report in Nikkei Asian Review.
 
This follows a warning from the Cupertino-based tech giant that coronavirus outbreak will affect its business in the January-March quarter as global iPhone supply will be temporarily constrained.

Japan govt conducts emergency survey on banks amid China virus outbreak

Japan's financial watchdog has begun conducting an emergency survey on domestic financial institutions with business operations in China to gauge how the coronavirus outbreak could affect credit costs, government sources said on Wednesday.
 
The virus has killed more than 2,000 people in China and has already taken a toll on the world's second-largest economy, hampering supply chains for companies from car manufacturers to smartphone makers and disrupting tourism.
 
The Financial Services Agency is surveying Japanese financial institutions over concern some of their lending to Chinese borrowers could sour, the sources said on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak publicly.

Coronavirus weakens demand, disrupts supply chains for China's manufacturing

Moody's Investors Service said in a new report on Wednesday that the coronavirus outbreak has weakened demand and disrupted supply chains in the component, consumer electronics, consumer durables manufacturing and packaged goods sectors.
 
"Demand in these sectors will be weaker than we expected as consumers stay home and purchase only basic necessities, while production and transport will be hampered by ongoing work stoppages," said Moody's Senior Vice President Lina Choi.
 
"While these factors will weigh on sales and revenue, the rated companies in these sectors boast strong market positions, flexible cost structures and robust credit metrics that provide them with a buffer against temporary weakness and profitability pressure," added Choi.

'Completely chaotic': Japan expert blasts handling of virus cruise ship

A Japanese infectious diseases expert has made waves with videos slamming the government's handling of a quarantined cruise ship, racking up hundreds of thousands of views as passengers start to leave the boat.
 
The situation on the Diamond Princess was "completely chaotic" and violated quarantine procedures, said Kentaro Iwata, a professor at Kobe University, in unvarnished criticism rarely seen in Japanese officialdom or academia.
 
"The cruise ship was completely inadequate in terms of infection control," said Iwata in videos in English and Japanese posted late Tuesday.

Mongolia to shut schools until March 30 to curb virus outbreak

Mongolia will keep all its schools shut until March 30 in order to prevent the coronavirus from spreading in the country, the government said on Wednesday.
 
The flu-like virus has already killed more than 2,000 people in its southern neighbour, China.
 
Though Mongolia has yet to report any cases, it has sealed off the border and refused entry to anyone travelling through China. It still has 336 citizens in China seeking to return home, it said on Tuesday.

Elated passengers leave Cambodia cruise ship after virus all-clear

Dozens of passengers stuck for nearly a week on a US cruise ship in Cambodia disembarked Wednesday, after being given the all-clear from a deadly coronavirus.
 
The Westerdam made shore in Sihanoukville on February 13 after being rejected by five countries over fears its passengers could be carrying the new virus, which has killed more than 2,000 people.
 
Hundreds were allowed off after basic health checks -- among them an 83-year-old American woman who was later diagnosed with the virus while in transit in Malaysia.

Their market shut, traders in China's Silicon Valley do business from bags

While coronavirus fears curtail much of China's bustle, traders are getting back to business at the world's largest electronics market, buying and selling from bags and suitcases on the streets outside their shut premises.
 
The Huaqiangbei area in the southern city of Shenzhen is home to dozens of multi-storey malls housing around 38,000 trading desks packed with reels of microchips, phone parts, and other components. The markets remain closed this week, with vendors uncertain of when formal business will resume.
 
But word travelled across groups on the WeChat messaging platform that some were doing business on the streets. By Tuesday afternoon, hundreds of traders had gathered.

All 406 inmates at ITBP's Delhi camp sent home

All 406 persons quarantined at the Chhawla ITBP camp here as a precautionary measure against COVID-19 have been sent home, after the last batch was seen off on Wednesday morning after medical reports confirmed their negative status vis-a-vis coronavirus infection last week.
 
Seven Maldivians and seven children were among these 406 persons shifted to the west Delhi quarantine facility of Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) after they was evacuated from China's Wuhan -- the epicentre of the deadly coronavirus -- on February 1 and 2.
 
The final batch comprising a family of six was sent to the Indira Gandhi International Airport here at 9 am on Wednesday from Chhawla, ITBP Spokesperson Vivek Pandey told said.

Sulzer CEO sees coronavirus impact during first half of 2020

Sulzer said it expects the coronavirus outbreak to cause a downturn in the Swiss pumpmaker's orders and revenue in China during the first half of 2020 before a recovery in the second half of the year.
 
"For orders and sales we think it is mostly going to be recovered during the year," Chief Executive Greg Poux-Guillaume told reporters on a call on Wednesday. "We don't expect the impact will be neutral in the first half, that would be ambitious."
 
"We will be running at 100% capacity in the later part of March, and the likelihood is we have something of an orders and sales impact in the first half and then a recovery in the second half."

Are Indian imports worth $70.4 bn from China at risk due to coronavirus?

At a time when the global economy and financial markets are grappling with the spreading coronavirus, analysts believe India could stand to benefit over the longer term as companies look at setting up alternative manufacturing base than China. In the short-term, however, there could be some supply-chain disruptions.
 
In their latest report, analysts at CLSA have pegged the total Indian imports from China in financial year 2018-19 (FY19) at $70.4 billion. A deep-dive in this import basket from China suggests Indian pharma, chemicals and electronic companies could see a disruption in supply chain in case of a prolonged issue with production activity in China. Read more

With stricken cruise ship, Japan draws criticism over coronavirus response

As the virus-stricken Diamond Princess cruise ship is evacuated, Japan faces deepening criticism over its response to the outbreak, tarnishing what was supposed to be a triumphant Olympic year for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
 
More than 540 people onboard have been infected with the coronavirus, the most outside of China. The United States evacuated more than 300 citizens from the ship on Monday, and more countries are following suit.
 
But as the crisis off the coast of Yokohama winds down, focus now turns to Tokyo, where critics say the government's response has seemed more concerned with managing public perception than the outbreak. They say the ship quarantine may not have been effective.

Coronavirus outbreak dents impact of China's scrap metal tax relief

China's exemptions on import duties for US copper and aluminium scrap will not massively increase shipments of the material as metal demand has dropped because of the effects of the coronavirus outbreak.
 
China on Tuesday granted tariff exemptions on duties of 25% tariffs on US copper scrap and 50% on aluminium scrap. The taxes were in place since 2018 as part of its trade war with the United States.
 
At the same time, Beijing is fighting a new coronavirus outbreak that has killed more than 2,000 people and disrupted logistics, labour flows and economic activities.

Passengers leave Japan virus ship as China toll tops 2,000

Relieved passengers began leaving a coronavirus-wracked cruise ship in Japan on Wednesday after testing negative for the disease that has now claimed more than 2,000 lives in China.
 
The Diamond Princess has proved a fertile breeding ground for the virus with at least 542 positive cases, and there is mounting criticism of Japan's handling of quarantine arrangements as passengers ready to disperse into the wider world.
 
The ship is the biggest cluster outside China, where new figures showed the death toll surging beyond 2,000 with more than 74,000 infected. Hundreds more cases have been reported in two dozen countries.

WHO chief condoles death of Chinese doctor in fight against coronavirus outbreak

The World Health Organisation (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has condoled the death of a Chinese hospital chief who died of the deadly coronavirus in Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak.
 
Dr Liu Zhiming, president of the Wuhan Wuchang Hospital in Hubei province died of the novel coronavirus pneumonia on Tuesday despite medical efforts to revive him, the state-run CCTV reported, the latest fatality among medical workers as they rush to save tens of thousands of patients at the epicenter of the outbreak.
 
"My deepest condolences to the family of Dr Liu Zhiming, his colleagues and patients for this enormous loss," the WHO chief tweeted on Tuesday.

China turns to internet for food supplies amid virus fears

Demand for online food vendors has surged since China's government told the public to stay home as part of the most sweeping anti-disease controls ever imposed.
 
E-commerce is one of the few industries to thrive after anti-virus controls starting in late January closed factories, restaurants, cinemas, offices and shops nationwide and extinguished auto and real estate sales.

The government is trying to revive economic activity but has told anyone who can work from home to stay there. Some cities have imposed controls that allow only one member of a family out each day. That creates a ready market for online entertainment and shopping.

Foreign pilots at Chinese airlines return home on unpaid leave as demand plummets

Foreign pilots at some Chinese airlines have returned to their home countries and are considering other jobs after being placed on unpaid leave as demand falls because of the coronavirus, affected flight crew told Reuters.
 
Meanwhile, Chinese pilots with greater job security said their income has been sharply reduced because most of their pay is based on flying hours.
 
Data firm OAG estimates about 80% of scheduled airline capacity to, from and within China has been cut this week because of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that has killed more than 2,000 people. Chinese airlines have been the hardest hit.

South Korea coronavirus cases jump by half

South Korea reported 15 new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus on Wednesday -- increasing its total by nearly 50 percent -- including a cluster of at least 11 centred on the southern city of Daegu.
 
The trade-dependent South has been hit by the economic fallout from the virus outbreak in neighbouring China, but until Wednesday's jump, its own case numbers had hardly changed for several days.
 
The Korea Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said in a statement that 15 new coronavirus cases had been confirmed, raising its total from 31 to 46.

Hong Kong reports second coronavirus fatality

An elderly Hong Kong man who contracted the new coronavirus died on Wednesday, authorities announced, the second fatality from the outbreak in the semi-autonomous Chinese city.
 
"A 70-year-old male patient who was infected with the novel coronavirus deteriorated and succumbed in Princess Margaret Hospital this morning," the Hospital Authority said in a statement.
 
Officials said the man was taken to hospital on 12 February after a fall at home. He had a fever and tested positive for the virus, dying a week later.

China races to contain job losses as coronavirus batters economy

When cameraman Mark Xia returned to his job this month after holidays, the Shanghai video production house where he worked told him to take three months of leave with no pay, as a coronavirus epidemic takes a toll of China's businesses.
 
Now Xia is looking for a part-time job after the company, with a workforce of about 100, rejected his request to pay at least half his monthly salary during the suspension, and left him no choice but to resign.

WHO says 'no indications' of coronavirus cases in North Korea

There are no indications that there are cases of the new coronavirus in North Korea, a World Health Organization (WHO) official said, despite South Korean media reports suggesting the outbreak had spread to the isolated country.
 
"At the moment there are no signals, there are no indications we are dealing with any COVID-19 there," Dr. Mike Ryan, head of WHO's 
emergencies programme, told a news conference in Geneva on Tuesday.
 
COVID-19 is the name of the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

Virus-hit cruise ship passengers to start disembarking in Japan

Around 500 passengers on the virus-hit cruise ship quarantined off Yokohama near Tokyo were set to disembark on Wednesday, although those sharing a room with people testing positive would have to stay on board longer, media and officials said.
 
The Diamond Princess, operated by Carnival Corp, has been quarantined in Yokohama since Feb. 3 after a man, who disembarked in Hong Kong before it travelled to Japan, was diagnosed with the virus.
 
More than 540 people have been infected with the virus on the liner, which originally carried some 3,700 passengers and crew. Many of those infected have been transfered to hospitals.

coronavirus cloud on Olympics?

Too early to say whether virus threatens Olympics, says WHO 
 
Tokyo organisers and the International Olympic Committee have repeatedly said they have no contingency plans for the July 24-August 9 Summer Games since the WHO declared a global health emergency last month

Russia to ban entry of Chinese nationals to halt virus

Russia will temporarily ban Chinese nationals from entering the country. The entry ban goes into effect Thursday at midnight Moscow time for an indefinite period

Govt to send C-17 aircraft, medical supplies to Wuhan on February 20

India to send C-17 military aircraft to China on February 20 to evacuate its nationals from coronavirus-hit Wuhan, according to Indian Air Force. The government will also send medical supplies to China for infected people. 


Watch: World Health Organisation briefing on Covid-19

Another batch of 100 people quarantined in Delhi ITBP facility leave on Tuesday

Another batch of about 100 people, who were among the over 400 quarantined at an ITBP facility in Delhi after being evacuated earlier this month from coronavirus-hit Wuhan, were discharged on Tuesday. A total of 406 people were housed initially of which 200 people were allowed to leave on Monday, including seven Maldivians. 

Singapore announces $4.6 bn boost to fight coronavirus


Old people with existing conditions more prone to dying from infection, says study

A study published in Chinese journal, Epidemiology, revealed that old people already, infected with coronavirus, who are more than 80 years old are highly prone to dying of all age groups. The study is the highest detailed report on the fast-spreading coronavirus that has claimed over 1,800 deaths and affected more than 72,000 people worldwide. 

China's economy not affected by coronavirus, govt capable to tackle economic fluctuations: Sun Weidong

Chinese Ambassador Sun Weidong said that the govt has sufficient resources and policy tools to cope with economic fluctuations following coronavirus epidemic. Clarifying on the current downturn, he said that coronavirus outbreak has not been able to impact strong fundamentals of China's strong economy.

China allocated RMB 80 billion to contain virus, confirmed cases outside Hubei decreasing: Sun Weidong

China has full confidence it will win battle against coronavirus epidemic, said Chinese Ambassador Sun Weidong. He further stressed that China has put in place multi-level control and prevention mechanisms to contain coronavirus. 

Further, Sun Weidong stated that China has allocated RMB 80 billion to prevent the virus from spreading. He also said that number of confirmed coronavirus cases outside Hubei province coming down. 

88 more people test positive for coronavirus on ship off Japan

The new cases came from a total of 681 fresh results, the ministry said, taking the total number of positive cases on the Diamond Princess to 542

UK to repatriate citizens from ship quarantined off Japan

The British government on Tuesday became the latest country to announce it will evacuate its citizens stranded on board a cruise ship quarantined off Japan because of the new coronavirus.

Pak posts two officials in coronavirus-hit Wuhan to reassure jittery students

Pakistan has posted two officials from its embassy in Beijing to Wuhan, the epicentre of the deadly coronavirus outbreak, to meet students in different universities and get an update on their well-being, the Foreign Office said on Tuesday.

Corona outbreak hits industries dependent on Chinese parts

The coronavirus outbreak has hit industries in Maharashtra's Aurangabad district, a prominent manufacturing hub, with companies finding it difficult to procure substitutes for Chinese parts.

Companies have started sourcing products from other countries to continue their manufacturing without interruptions.

 

Wuhan hospital director dies of coronavirus

A hospital director at the epicentre of China's virus epidemic died Tuesday, state media said, the latest medical worker to fall victim to the coronavirus which has spread across the country.

Coronavirus Outbreak To Impact Steel Industry For Next 2-3 Years: Pradhan

The impact of Coronavirus outbreak will be felt on global steel industry for at least two to three years, as China is the largest producer of the alloy, Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said on Monday.
 
The minister also asked Indian steel companies to enhance output, particularly special steel, to grab larger global market share. Read more...

Coronavirus Outbreak To Impact Steel Industry For Next 2-3 Years: Pradhan

The impact of Coronavirus outbreak will be felt on global steel industry for at least two to three years, as China is the largest producer of the alloy, Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said on Monday.
 
The minister also asked Indian steel companies to enhance output, particularly special steel, to grab larger global market share. Read more...

Oil Holds Steady Even As Outbreak Continues To Have Impact

China’s coronavirus epidemic continues to remain a concern globally with the outbreak now claiming at least 1,770 lives. The concerns weighed heavy especially since China is the world's largest oil importing country.
 
Oil prices remained steady on Monday as worries over the economic fallout of the outbreak were balanced-out by investor hopes that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies will approve a proposal to further cut production to tighten global supplies and support prices. Read more...

Paracetamol Prices Jump 40% In India After Shutdowns In China

India is facing the ripple effects of shutdowns in China with prices of paracetamol, the most commonly used analgesic, rising by 40 per cent. The cost of azithromycin, an antibiotic used for treating bacterial infections, has risen by 70 per cent, said Pankaj R Patel, chairman of Zydus Cadila.
 
The pharma industry could face shortages in finished drug formulations starting April if supplies aren't restored by the first week of next month, he said. Read more...

Coronavirus outbreak: Rs 16,000-crore solar projects face threat

As China battles the deadly coronavirus, business of solar power project developers in India could fall sick. Over 3 GW of solar power projects, awarded in 2018-19, will face delay in commissioning due to lag in procuring panels from China, CRISIL said in its report.
 
“Nearly 3 GW of solar projects of worth Rs 16,000 crore could be at risk of penalties for missing their respective scheduled commercial operation date if the impact of Coronavirus on trade with China prolongs,” CRISIL said. Close to 80 per cent of Indian solar power projects are built in Chinese solar equipment. According to the standard terms of power-purchase deals, non-adherence to completion timelines attracts penalties. Read more...

Delhi govt's Maharishi Valmiki Hospital suspends biometric attendance

A Delhi government hospital has suspended biometric attendance for its employees as a "precautionary measure" after many of them complained of "psychological unease" over the coronavirus scare, a senior official said on Monday. The order to suspend biometric attendance at the Maharishi Valmiki Hospital was issued recently, after many employees "expressed concern" over its usage, he said. The attendance is now being marked manually till further orders.

US evacuates infected Citizens as death toll hits 1,775

The U.S. evacuated citizens from the Diamond Princess cruise liner, including 14 who tested positive for the virus. Japan said infections from the ship jumped to 454 after 99 new cases were identified. Macau said casinos could reopen on Thursday. China pledged to support the economy, boosting markets.

In Pics: China struggles as Coronavirus takes over

People wear face masks and plastic raincoats as a protection from coronavirus at Shanghai railway station, in Shanghai. Reuters
A medical worker in protective suit transports an oxygen tank at Wuhan Red Cross Hospital in Wuhan, the epicentre of the novel coronavirus outbreak, in Hubei province. Reuters

Medical workers in protective suits attend to a patient inside an isolated ward of Wuhan Red Cross Hospital in Wuhan, the epicentre of the novel coronavirus outbreak, in Hubei province. Reuters

Coronavirus outbreak may dampen trade prospects further: WTO

Growth in world merchandise trade is expected to remain weak in early 2020 and coronavirus outbreak may dampen trade prospects further, according to the WTO. "World merchandise trade growth is likely to remain weak in early 2020," according to the WTO Goods Trade Barometer released on Monday. This does not augur well for India's exports, which have recorded negative growth from August till January.

Oil holds steady even as outbreak continues to have impact

China’s coronavirus epidemic continues to remain a concern globally with the outbreak now claiming at least 1,770 lives. The concerns weighed heavy especially since China is the world's largest oil importing country. Oil prices remained steady on Monday as worries over the economic fallout of the outbreak were balanced-out by investor hopes that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies will approve a proposal to further cut production to tighten global supplies and support prices. Read More Here

Coronavirus impact on euro zone economy to be temporary

The head of the Eurogroup Mario Centeno said on Monday he expected the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the euro zone economy to be temporary. "We expect it to be a temporary effect," Centeno told reporters in Brussels, adding that the EU should carefully assess developments also for the long-term.

China mulls postponing annual Parliament session

In an unprecedented move, China is considering an to postpone its annual Parliament session next month during which the ruling Communist Party showcases its political clout, as the country grapples with the coronavirus outbreak that has claimed over 1,700 lives. Moves are afoot to put off both the National People's Congress (NPC) and the top advisory body Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), which together have over 5,000 members in their ranks.

Oil prices steady as coronavirus-related demand concerns weigh

Oil prices were little changed on Monday as concerns over the economic fallout from the coronavirus outbreak in China were offset by hopes that potential output cuts from major producers could tighten crude supply. Brent crude was at $57.18 a barrel, down 14 cents, by 1306 GMT after rising 5.2% last week, its biggest weekly gain since September 2019.

Harsh Vardhan meets quarantined Indians

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Monday met the Indians evacuated from the coronavirus-hit Chinese city of Wuhan at an ITBP quarantine facility here, as the first batch of nearly 200 of them left for their respective homes. "Vardhan interacted with the evacuees housed at an ITBP camp, many of whom are being discharged to leave for their homes," the Health Ministry said in a statement.

China asks recovered patients to donate plasma for virus treatment

Chinese health officials Monday urged patients who have recovered from the coronavirus to donate blood so that plasma can be extracted to treat others who are critically ill. Drugmakers are racing to develop a vaccine and treatment for the epidemic, which has which killed 1,770 people and infected over 70,500 people across China. Plasma from patients who have recovered from a spell of pneumonia triggered by COVID-19 contains antibodies that can help reduce the virus load in critically ill patients, an official from China's National Health Commission told a press briefing Monday.

Indians infected with coronavirus on board cruise ship responding well to treatment

The Indian embassy here on Monday said the four Indians infected with the novel coronavirus on board the quarantined cruise ship moored off the Japanese coast were responding well to treatment even as 99 new cases of COVID-19 were reported, taking the number of those infected to 454 on the vessel. The embassy in a tweet on Sunday said the number of infected Indians on the ship, Diamond Princess, rose to five with two more testing positive for the disease. However, on Monday, the mission revised the figure to four. "All 4 #COVID19 positive Indian nationals as on today receiving medical attention onshore are responding well to the treatment," it said in a tweet.

 

Beijing autoshow postponed due to coronavirus

Organisers of China's biggest car show announced Monday the event was the latest to be postponed due to the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus. More than 70,000 people have been infected by the epidemic, which started in central Hubei province and has spread across China. The outbreak has claimed 1,770 lives and prompted the closure of many schools, entertainment venues and large-scale events. The Beijing autoshow, which is held every two years, attracted 820,000 people in 2018 from 14 different countries and regions.

Coronavirus outbreak to impact steel industry for next 2-3 years: Pradhan

The impact of Coronavirus outbreak will be felt on global steel industry for at least two to three years, as China is the largest producer of the alloy, Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said on Monday. The minister also asked Indian steel companies to enhance output, particularly special steel, to grab larger global market share. A strategy paper was being prepared for producing 10 million tonnes of special steel at a cost of Rs 50,000 crore with 50,000 employment potential in the present scenario, he said.

Letters of appreciation signed by PM given to AI crew members for Wuhan evacuation

A total of 68 Air India crew members, who were part of the two special flights that evacuated 647 Indians and seven Maldivians from coronavirus-hit Chinese city of Wuhan, were handed over letters of appreciation signed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday.  
 
Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri handed over the letters of appreciation to each crew member in a ceremony held here.

Additional 99 virus infections confirmed on cruise ship in Japan: Reports

An additional 99 people on a quarantined cruise ship off Yokohama have been confirmed to have been infected with the coronavirus, Japanese media reported on Monday.
 
The widening impact of the outbreak, which began in China in December and has killed over 1,700 people, is threatening large public events and damaging output and tourism in Japan.

Facing uptick in virus infections, Japan moves to limit public crowds

Japan said on Monday it would limit public crowds in Tokyo to prevent a further spread of the deadly coronavirus, scrapping the emperor's birthday celebrations and closing next month's Tokyo Marathon to all but elite professional runners.
 
The widening fallout of the outbreak, which began in China in December and has killed over 1,700 people, is threatening large public events and damaging output and tourism in Japan.
 
A further spread of the virus, dubbed SARS-CoV-2, could undermine growth and potentially push the country into recession, analysts say.

New coronavirus is 'preventable and treatable': China health official

The novel coronavirus that has killed more than 1,700 people in China is "preventable and treatable", an official from the country's National Health Commission said on Monday.
 
Guo Yanhong, a hospital administration supervisor at the commission, made the remarks at a daily press conference, in which she also said the percentage of infected patients in virus epicentre Wuhan who are critically ill had dropped to 18% now from 38% at the beginning of the outbreak.

Cathay Pacific expects coronavirus hit to H1 results

Cathay Pacific Airways on Monday said it expected a significant drop in its first-half results due to the coronavirus outbreak, causing it to cut capacity.
 
The airline said in a statement it had cut capacity by 40% for February and March, and pointed to a likely reduction in April as well.

US firms in China report staff shortages, say coronavirus hitting global operations: AmCham

Nearly half of the US companies in China say their global operations are already seeing an impact from business shutdowns due to the coronavirus epidemic, according to a poll by Shanghai's American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham).
 
Some 78% of the respondents also said they do not have sufficient staff at their Chinese plants to resume full production, as public health restrictions make it harder to workers to return to their jobs after an extended holiday.
 
The survey polled 109 companies with manufacturing operations in Shanghai, Suzhou, Nanjing and the wider Yangtze River Delta.

China mulls postponing annual parliament session amid coronavirus spread

China is considering a rare move to postpone its annual parliament session scheduled to be held in early March as the country grapples with the coronavirus outbreak that has claimed over 1,700 lives, official media reported on Monday.
 
The 13th National People's Congress (NPC), the country's top legislature, is due to hold its annual session in Beijing on March 5, according to an official announcement in December last year.
 
But amid the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), the NPC Standing Committee is to discuss postponing this year's NPC plenary session, the state-run China Daily said in a brief report.

India to send consignment of medical supplies to China later this week to combat coronavirus

India will send a consignment of medical supplies on a relief flight to Wuhan city later this week to support China in combating the deadly coronavirus outbreak in the country, Indian Embassy in China said on Monday.
 
The death toll from COVID-19 outbreak in China has climbed to 1,770 after 105 more people died, mostly in the worst-hit Hubei province, officials said on Monday.
 
"GoI will send a consignment of medical supplies on a relief flight to Wuhan later this week to support China to fight the COVID-19 epidemic. On its return, the flight will have limited capacity to take on board Indians wishing to return to India from Wuhan/Hubei," the embassy tweeted.

China says WHO delegation to visit Beijing, Guangdong, Sichuan

China says a World Health Organization (WHO) delegation of experts will visit Beijing, and the provinces of Guangdong and Sichuan from Feb. 17 onwards.
 
A spokesman for the National Health Commission announced the details of the visit at a media briefing Monday.

Beijing autoshow delayed due to coronavirus

Organisers of Beijing autoshow, which is scheduled to be held in late-April, said on Monday the event will be delayed event due to the coronavirus outbreak.
 
Across mainland China, officials said the total number of coronavirus cases rose by 2,048 to 70,548, with 1,770 deaths.

S&P warns coronavirus travel restrictions could hurt Dubai's hospitality industry

Dubai's hospitality industry is most at risk in the Gulf Arab states region from being negatively impacted by travel restrictions associated with the new coronavirus outbreak, ratings agency S&P Global said in a research note.
 
S&P said the travel restrictions could weigh on Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and Kuwait.
 
It said the UAE's Dubai, which saw almost 1 million Chinese visitors last year, could see the biggest impact.

China parliament body to discuss delaying key annual March session: Report

A top legislative body of the Chinese parliament will meet on Feb. 24 to discuss a proposal on delaying the key annual March meeting of parliament, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Monday.
 
The proposal for the delay is due to the coronavirus outbreak, Xinhua reported.

Another Kerala patient of COVID-19 discharged

The Union Ministry of Health and Family Affairs, on Monday, informed that one more patient of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) was discharged from the hospital.
 
A statement, released by the Health Ministry, stated: "Another patient in Kerala, who was earlier found nCOV positive, has been discharged from hospital and is presently under home isolation. Earlier, one patient was already discharged. The number of patients discharged is now 2."
 
The third patient, according to health ministry, is said to be stable.

14 test positive among US plane evacuees from Japan virus ship: State Dept

Fourteen people who had tested positive for the new coronavirus were among the more than 300 US citizens and family members evacuated by plane from a quarantined ship in Japan, the US State Department said Monday.
 
The passengers had already disembarked from the Diamond Princess and were preparing to return to the United States on chartered aircraft when US officials were informed 14 of them who had been tested days earlier were positive for COVID-19, it said in a joint statement with the Department of Health and Human Services.
 
"These individuals were moved in the most expeditious and safe manner to a specialized containment area on the evacuation aircraft to isolate them in accordance with standard protocols," it said.

Japan cancels Emperor's birthday public celebrations amid virus fears

Japan said Monday it would cancel a public gathering to celebrate the birthday of new Emperor Naruhito, as fears grow over the spread of the new coronavirus in the country.
 
"In light of various situations, we have decided to cancel the visit by the general public to the palace for His Majesty's birthday," the imperial household agency said in a statement a day after the government warned people to avoid crowds and "non-essential gatherings."
 

China's central bank cuts medium-term rate amid COVID-19 blow

China's central bank on Monday cut the interest rate on its medium-term loans by 10 basis points to 3.15 per cent amid attempts to reduce the economic impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in the country where 70,548 people have been infected.
 
The People's Bank of China said the rate on 200 billion yuan ($28.65 billion) worth of one-year medium-term lending facility (MLF) loans to financial institutions was being reduced from 3.25 per cent.
 
On November 5, the central bank had cut the interest rate on one-year MLF loans by five basis points from 3.30 per cent to 3.25 per cent, the first reduction in this indicator since 2016, Efe news reported.

Analysts cut forecasts for gas demand in China

Several analysts have cut their forecasts for gas demand in China, the world's top gas importer, as the coronavirus outbreak in the country is expected to depress industrial, commercial and transportation appetite for the fuel over the next few months.

Gaza children express solidarity with China against COVID-19

Around 100 Palestinian children in the Gaza Strip have joined a rally to show solidarity with China in its fight against the disease caused by novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
 
Wearing green medical masks on Sunday, the children chanted support for China to "keep fighting this fatal disease" and for the Chinese children to live a "healthy and secure" life.
 
According to Xinhua news agency, the children also carried banners saying "China can kill the virus," "China is fighting a fatal disease alone to protect humanity," and "Palestinians are in solidarity with the people of China."

Australia to evacuate more than 200 citizens from cruise ship quarantined at Japan port

Australia will evacuate more than 200 of its citizens onboard a coronavirus-stricken cruise ship being held under quarantine in the Japanese port of Yokohama, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Monday.
 
Morrison said the passengers will be taken to Australia's tropical north, where they will be required to be quarantined for another 14 days.
 
The Diamond Princess, cruise ship, owned by Carnival Corp, has been quarantined since arriving in Yokohama on Feb. 3, after a man who disembarked in Hong Kong before it travelled to Japan was diagnosed with the virus.

Singapore downgrades GDP forecast to 0.5% due to coronavirus outbreak

Singapore has downgraded its gross domestic product (GDP) forecast for 2020 to around 0.5 per cent, the mid-point of a new estimated range of (-)0.5 per cent to 1.5 per cent on Monday, citing impact of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
 
The previous forecast range announced last November was 0.5 per cent to 2.5 per cent. Singapore's economy grew at a decade-low of 0.7 per cent last year.
 
Singapore has so far confirmed 75 cases of the coronavirus with authorities earlier this month raising the Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (DORSCON) to Orange, it was reported on Monday.

Taiwan embraces cute mascots for virus prevention campaign

While China deploys stern communist slogans in its battle against a deadly new coronavirus, democratic Taiwan has embraced cuddly mascots and humour to ease public anxiety and educate on best practices.
 
Images of cute animals have featured in daily social media updates from government agencies to tackle disinformation and prevent the spread of infections.

Thailand reports new coronavirus case, to increase entry screening

Thailand said on Monday it had recorded one new case of the coronavirus and was increasing screening of visitors from Singapore and Japan entering the country in response to the widening outbreak.
 
The new case, a 60-year-old Chinese woman whose family members earlier contracted the virus, takes the total number of cases in Thailand to 35 since January, Sukhum Kanchanapimai, the health ministry's permanent secretary told a news conference.
 
"This is the from an old case of a Chinese family of nine, all of them have now been infected," he said.
 
Fifteen of the infected people in Thailand have recovered and returned home, while 20 are still being treated in hospital.
 

Japan keeps high coronavirus alert as more citizens return from China

Japan evacuated more citizens from the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak on Monday, while the disease's spread prompted a hospital to stop accepting new patients and raised the possibility of restricting participants at next month's Tokyo Marathon.
 
A fifth government-chartered flight carrying 65 Japanese arrived in Tokyo from Wuhan, China, early on Monday, bringing the total number repatriated from the city to 763, broadcaster NHK reported.
 
With more than 400 people infected, most of whom are passengers on a cruise ship docked in Yokohama, Japan is the country most affected by the epidemic behind China, where the outbreak was first detected in December and which has now killed more than 1,700 people.

US evacuates from Japan virus ship as China death toll climbs

The US flew home its citizens from a coronavirus-infected cruise ship in Japan Monday, with other nations preparing to follow suit as global concerns grow over the spread of the disease and the death toll at its Chinese epicentre topped 1,700.
 
Outside China, the biggest cluster of infections is on the Diamond Princess cruise ship off Yokohama, where coronavirus cases have climbed quickly to 355 despite passengers being confined to their cabins during a 14-day quarantine.
 
And amid growing criticism of Japan's handling of the ship, governments are scrambling to repatriate their citizens, with Canada, Australia, Italy, Israel and Hong Kong poised to follow Washington's lead.

405 of the 418 samples test negative for coronavirus, says Kerala govt

Out of the total 418 samples of suspect coronavirus cases sent for testing to National Institute of Virology from Kerala, 405 have come out as negative, while the results for the rest, barring three, are awaited.
 
"Out of three persons in whom the disease was confirmed, two persons have been discharged. One person is stable and the repeat sample results are awaited," according to a release by the Health and Family Welfare Department of the Kerala government.
 
The release added that till Sunday a total of 2,276 persons have been placed under surveillance, "out of which 2262 are under home isolation and 14 are admitted in designated isolation facilities."
 
The health condition of all symptomatic persons under isolation is stable, according to the release.

Nepalis evacuated from coronavirus-hit China sent to quarantine facility in Bhaktapur

175 Nepali nationals evacuated from the coronavirus-hit Chinese province of Hubei have been sent to a quarantine facility set up at Kharipati in Bhaktapur district of the Himalayan country.
 
The Nepalis -- 170 students, 1 employee, 2 visitors, and 2 children -- arrived in Kathmandu on Sunday morning on a chartered flight of National Flag carrier Nepal Airlines.
 
Several of these evacuees took to social media to express their contentment over their return to their homeland, sharing selfies and tweets from the quarantine facilities, and sharing the updates on Facebook.

Scramble to track Cambodia cruise ship passengers after coronavirus case reported

Holland America Line said it is working with governments and health experts to track passengers who disembarked from its Westerdam cruise ship docked in Cambodia after an American woman tested positive for coronavirus in Malaysia.
 
The cruise line, which is owned by cruise giant Carnival Corp, said none of the other 1,454 passengers and 802 crew have reported any symptoms.
 
"Guests who have already returned home will be contacted by their local health department and be provided further information," a statement from the company said.

Chinese hospitals discharge 10,844 recovered patients of COVID-19

A total of 10,844 patients infected with the novel coronavirus had been discharged from hospital after recovery by the end of Sunday, Chinese health authority announced on Monday.
 
Sunday saw 1,425 people walk out of hospital after recovery, the National Health Commission said in its daily report, according to the Xinhua news agency.

20 cured coronavirus patients donate plasma to critically ill in China

As many as 20 people who recovered from novel coronavirus in China have donated their plasma to the critically ill patients in the city of Wuhan as several patients showed improved clinical symptoms after receiving plasma treatment, province's COVID-19 scientific research team has said.
 
Xinhua news agency reported that the donors are doctors and nurses who have now recovered from the disease for 10 days at the Jiangxia District's No. 1 people's hospital and traditional Chinese medicine hospital.
 
An expert with Jiangxia District's No. 1 people's hospital has said that twelve patients who were in severe condition began to show improved clinical symptoms about 12 to 24 hours after receiving plasma treatment.

China's Hubei announces further measures to contain coronavirus spread

China's Hubei Province, the centre of the novel coronavirus outbreak, announced on Sunday a slew of wide-ranging and more stringent measures to control the epidemic.
 
The measures include enforcing province-wide traffic restrictions on all non-emergency vehicles and closing all non-essential public venues, according to a circular issued by the provincial government, the Xinhua news agency reported.
 
The measures came as the province is at a "critical stage" to control the epidemic and the situation remains "grave," said the circular.

Online healthcare services assist China's fight against coronavirus

Online healthcare services have been assisting the fight against the novel coronavirus in China, thanks to the application of information technology in medical systems.
 
Based on 5G and other information technology, many Internet healthcare service providers have cooperated with doctors and experts all over the country to provide services such as online consultation, online diagnosis and psychological assistance, making it possible for people to consult with a doctor at home and helping prevent and control the epidemic in an intelligent way, the Xinhua news agency reported.

Australia should ease travel ban on foreigners from China: Ambassador

Australia should lift its ban on the arrival of foreign nationals from mainland China, China's ambassador to Australia said on Monday.
 
Australia has since Feb. 1 prevented anyone but citizens and permanent residents from entering the country directly from mainland China, citing a need to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus.
 
The number of cases in Australia have held steady at 15, China's Ambassador to Australia said, and the restrictions should be eased when Canberra next reviews the policy before Feb 22.

Japan keeps high coronavirus alert as nationals return from China

Japan evacuated more nationals from the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak on Monday, while concerns about the spreading disease raised the possibility that organisers may cut the number of participants at next month's Tokyo Marathon.
 
A fifth government-chartered flight carrying 65 Japanese nationals arrived in Tokyo from Wuhan, China, early on Monday, bringing the total number of Japanese repatriated from the city to 763, broadcaster NHK reported.
 
With more than 400 people infected, the majority passengers on a cruise ship docked off the country, Japan is the country most affected by the epidemic after China, where the outbreak was first detected in December and which has now killed more than 1,700 people.

China's auto sales may fall 10% in H1 due to coronavirus: Industry association

China's auto market, the world's largest, is likely to see sales slide more than 10% in the first half of the year due to the coronavirus epidemic, the country's top auto industry body told Reuters on Friday.
 
"We predict auto sales will drop by more than 10% in the first half of this year, and around 5% for the whole year if the epidemic is effectively contained before April," Fu Bingfeng, executive vice chairman of the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM), told Reuters in a written interview.

China's January home prices up 6.3% y/y, slowest since July 2018 as virus takes toll

New home prices in China rose 0.2% in January from a month earlier, easing from a 0.3% increase in December, Reuters calculated from official data on Monday, as a coronavirus outbreak brought the country's property market to a halt.
 
On an annual basis, average new home prices in China's 70 major cities rose 6.3% in January, below the 6.6% growth seen in December and marked the slowest year-on-year pace since July 2018, Reuters calculations based on National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) data showed.
 
Home sales have plummeted as the virus outbreak keeps property showrooms shut and potential buyers are afraid or unable to venture outside for long.

Indian airlines to see a marginal impact on revenues

Domestic airlines will see a marginal impact on their revenue due to the coronavirus crisis because of limited presence in East Asia, but will gain from the drop in crude oil prices and possible reduction in aircraft lease rentals. Air India, IndiGo, and SpiceJet have suspended flights to China and Hong Kong.
 
Loads to Bangkok and Singapore have declined as customers cancel or postpone their trips. Senior executives, however, say the outbreak will not negatively impact airlines in India.

Coronavirus heat: Govt to rework supply chain as China shutdown intensifies

India could run out of supplies in mobile phones, auto parts, insecticides and harmaceuticals within a fortnight as the China shutdown intensifies due to coronavirus, according to government officials. Describing the concern as grave, an official pointed out, “we do not have enough time to arrange supplies from other countries”.
 
While the crisis situation has prompted the government to rework the supply chains, there’s no clear road map yet on how the supply shortfall can be met in the near term at least.

China reports 105 new deaths from coronavirus on mainland on Feb 16

China reported 105 new deaths due to the new coronavirus on Monday, pushing the overall death toll to 1,770, as officials announced stringent measures such as closing non-essential public venues and traffic restrictions to control the epidemic in the worst-hit Hubei province.
 
The National Health Commission said 2,048 new cases of the virus have been confirmed, taking the total number of COVID-19 infected cases to 70,548, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
 
Of the new deaths, 100 were from Hubei Province, three in Henan, and two in Guangdong.
 
Though 10,844 people had been discharged from hospitals after recovery, the commission said in its daily report said that 7,264 people were still suspected to be infected by the deadly virus.
 

Japan ready to take steps against virus impact on tourism: Econmin

Japanese Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said on Monday the government was ready to take all necessary steps flexibly with an eye on the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the economy and tourism.
 
"The government had hoped Japan's economy would continue a moderate recovery. But we must be vigilant against the impact of the coronavirus on domestic and overseas economies," Nishimura said in a statement after the release of October-December gross domestic product (GDP) data.

China virus toll reaches 1,770: Govt

The death toll from China's new coronavirus epidemic jumped past 1,700 on Monday after 100 more people died in the hard-hit Hubei province, the epicentre of the outbreak.
 
In its daily update, the province's health commission also reported 1,933 new cases.
 
At least 70,400 people have now been infected nationwide.

Govt to rework supply chain as China shutdown intensifies

India could run out of supplies in mobile phones, auto parts, insecticides and harmaceuticals within a fortnight as the China shutdown intensifies due to coronavirus, according to government officials.
 
Describing the concern as grave, an official pointed out, “we do not have enough time to arrange supplies from other countries”.
 
While the crisis situation has prompted the government to rework the supply chains, there’s no clear road map yet on how the supply shortfall can be met in the near term at least. Officials have indicated that it’s an opportunity for India to scale up its manufacturing capabilities, but that will take time. Read more here

Coronavirus may damage global growth in 2020: IMF's Kristalina Georgieva

The coronavirus epidemic could damage global economic growth this year, the IMF head said on Sunday, but a sharp and rapid economic rebound could follow.
 
“There may be a cut that we are still hoping would be in the 0.1-0.2 percentage space,” the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, Kristalina Georgieva, told the Global Women’s Forum in Dubai. Read more here

Daily lives, biz to be disrupted if Coronavirus not contained: Study

With over 68,500 infected across the globe and over 1,600 dead, the fear of the newly identified virus is spreading fast. Two more Indians on board a cruise ship off the Japanese cost tested positive for the virus on Sunday.

Only three cases have so far been detected in India, but a recent survey by LocalCircles shows if not contained soon it has potential to disrupt daily lives and businesses alike. Read more here

Coronavirus scare: Indian airlines to see a marginal impact on revenues

Domestic airlines will see a marginal impact on their revenue due to the coronavirus crisis because of limited presence in East Asia, but will gain from the drop in crude oil prices and possible reduction in aircraft lease rentals. Air India, IndiGo, and SpiceJet have suspended flights to China and Hong Kong. Loads to Bangkok and Singapore have declined as customers cancel or postpone their trips.
 
Senior executives, however, say the outbreak will not negatively impact airlines in India. Willy Boulter, chief commercial officer, IndiGo, said: “The flights to China that we have suspended so far account for less than 1 per cent of our capacity. While we are seeing weaker demand to and from Southeast Asia, our flights are still operating as normal, except in Vietnam where we have reduced from two flights per day to one from March 1. The total impact will be around 2 per cent of capacity and part of that we are redeploying in the domestic market.” Read more here

Second coronavirus patient discharged in Kerala

In further relief to Kerala, a student treated for the novel coronavirus in the state was discharged on Sunday after two consecutive test results returned negative, becoming India's second patient to recover from the infection, health authorities said.
 
The patient from Kasaragod, one of the three positive cases of coronavirus detected in the country on their return from China, would, however, remain under home quarantine for ten days, the state health department said.
 
 
 
 

Coronavirus effect: Shrimp exports to decline on weakening global demand

India’s shrimp exports are likely to decline by 10-15 per cent in coming quarters due to weakening global demand following the coronavirus crisis in China, the second largest importer of India’s seafood after the United States.
 
“China largely imports lower-value added and block frozen shrimp from India to which demand is serviced by several smaller exporters and few large players. Companies with high concentration on the Chinese markets would be impacted immediately, as demand falls. Smaller companies with limited financial flexibility will be impacted most. The broader impact on India would stem from not only a reduction in Chinese demand but a correction in prices as the global supply-demand dynamics are disturbed,” said Pavethra Ponniah, Vice President and Sector Head, Icra. READ MORE

Will provide all possible help to Indians on cruise ship: India Embassy

India will provide all possible assistance to its nationals on board the quarantined cruise ship moored off the Japanese coast to return home after they test negative in the final coronavirus tests that would begin on Monday, the Indian Embassy said on Sunday. A total of 138 Indians, including 132 crew and 6 passengers, were among the 3,711 people on board the ship, Diamond Princess, that arrived at the Japanese coast earlier this month. The Indian Embassy in a tweet said that the final tests for the COVID?19 on the ship would begin on February 17 and continue over multiple days. "Hoping our Indian nationals - braving the situation, to test negative, allowing them to travel back HOME. @IndianEmbTokyo stands ready for all possible assistance," the mission said.

 

Nepal government evacuates 175 nationals from coronavirus-hit China

The Nepal government on Sunday evacuated 175 Nepali citizens, mostly students, from Hubei province, the epicentre of the novel coronavirus, by a special aircraft and put them under quarantine for two weeks. A chartered plane- Airbus A330- took off from Tribhuvan International Airport to Wuhan Tianhe International Airport on Saturday afternoon to bring back the Nepali nationals, including 170 students, an employee, two visitors and two children. Three pilots, six crew members, an engineer, a loadmaster and a medical team comprising a doctor, nurses and paramedics from the Nepal Army were on board the flight to China.

Southeast Asia feels the burn as virus keeps Chinese tourists at home

Elephant parks unvisited, curios at markets unsold as tuk-tuks sit idle: Southeast Asia is facing billions of dollars in losses from a collapse in Chinese tourism since the outbreak of a deadly new coronavirus. From Luang Prabang in northern Laos to Pattaya in Thailand, Hoi An in Vietnam and the Cambodian casino town of Sihanoukville, takings have plummeted as Chinese travellers find themselves subject to a host of restrictions at home and abroad.

Clean hands frequently to ward off infections: WHO DG



Coronavirus: Canada to evacuate passengers from quarantined Japanese ship

Canadian passengers who exhibit symptoms of the coronavirus infection will not be permitted to board the flight and will instead be transferred to the Japanese health care system to receive appropriate care, the government said. Read More
 

Coronavirus cases on Japan ship rise to 355: Minister

The number of people who have tested positive for the new coronavirus on a quarantined ship off Japan's coast has risen to 355, the country's health minister said Sunday. "So far, we have conducted tests for 1,219 individuals. Of those, 355 people tested positive. Of those, 73 individuals are not showing symptoms," Katsunobu Kato told a roundtable discussion on public broadcaster NHK.

Toyota to restart three China plants this week amid virus fight

Toyota Motor Corp. will partly resume operations at three plants in China this week, bringing back some of the capacity that had been on an extended halt in response to the coronavirus outbreak that’s killed more than 1,600 people and pitched Asia’s top economy into turmoil.

China virus death toll exceeds 1,600

The death toll from China's coronavirus epidemic jumped past 1,600 on Sunday after 139 more people died in hard-hit Hubei province, the epicentre of the outbreak. In its daily update, the province's health commission also reported 1,843 fresh cases -- the third day that reported new infections declined in the province.

American from cruise ship docked in Cambodia tests positive in Malaysia for coronavirus

An 83-year-old American woman who had been a passenger on a cruise ship that docked in Cambodia after being shunned by other countries has tested positive for the new coronavirus in Malaysia, health authorities said on Saturday.
 
She was the first passenger on the MS Westerdam, operated by Carnival Corp unit Holland America Inc, to test positive for the virus.
 
The ship docked in the Cambodian port of Sihanoukville on Thursday carrying 1,455 passengers and 802 crew. It had spent two weeks at sea after being turned away by Japan, Taiwan, Guam, the Philippines and Thailand.

China tells officials to help feed, poultry firms after virus disruption

China's government told local authorities on Saturday to allow companies involved in feed production and poultry slaughtering to resume work as soon as possible and overcome disruptions caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
 
Local authorities should ensure transport runs smoothly between cities and the countryside and should provide tax rebates, low interest rates and other financial support to help the companies, Chinese state planner, as well as the agriculture and transport ministries said in a joint statement.
 
In an effort to contain the spread of the virus, some provincial governments have imposed restrictions that have disrupted feed supplies and the transport of live animals to slaughterhouses.

Several drugs against coronavirus already under clinical trials: Chinese official

Several antiviral drugs to treat the novel coronavirus outbreak in China that has claimed over 1,500 lives are under clinical trials and some have shown fairly good efficacy, a Chinese official said on Saturday.
 
The death toll in China's novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has risen to 1,523 with 143 new fatalities reported mostly from the worst-affected Hubei province while the confirmed cases have jumped to over 66,000, health officials said on Saturday.
 
Chinese researchers have narrowed down their focus to a few existing drugs, including Chloroquine Phosphate, Favipiravir and Remdesivir, after multiple rounds of screening, Zhang Xinmin, director of the China National Center for Biotechnology Development under the Ministry of Science and Technology, told reporters here.

Eight of 9 UK coronavirus sufferers leave hospital

Eight of the nine people diagnosed with the new coronavirus in Britain have left hospital having now tested negatively twice for the virus, NHS England said on Saturday.
 
"I want to stress that any individuals who are discharged from hospital are now well and do not pose any public health risk," said Health Secretary Matt Hancock.
 
The final person is still being treated at Guy's and St Thomas's Hospital in central London.
 
In addition, all 94 people who were quarantined at Arrowe Park hospital in north west England after being flown back from Wuhan have now left the site.

WHO chief says coronavirus still an emergency for China

The coronavirus outbreak is still an emergency for China and it is impossible to tell where the epidemic will spread, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization, said on Saturday.
 
Tedros told the Munich Security Conference in Germany he was encouraged by actions China had taken to slow the spread of virus but was still concerned about the increasing number of cases.
 
French officials said on Saturday an elderly Chinese tourist infected with the coronavirus had died in France, becoming the first fatality in Europe and the fourth outside mainland China from an epidemic that has rattled the world.

WHO experts set to join battle against coronavirus in China as death toll crosses 1500

Top WHO experts are set to arrive in Beijing this weekend to assist China to contain the coronavirus outbreak as the death toll climbed to 1,523 in China and France reported the first fatality outside Asia, fuelling concerns about the epidemic.
 
More than 66,000 people are now infected from the virus in China, health officials said.
 
On Saturday China's Health Commission said the death toll in China rose to 1,523 after 143 more people died in the country, most in Hubei, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak.
 
There were reports of 2,641 new confirmed cases of novel coronavirus infection and 143 deaths on Friday from 31 provincial-level regions, it said.

China's finance ministry issues $1.2 bn in funds for epidemic control efforts

China's finance ministry on Saturday issued 8 billion yuan ($1.15 billion) in subsidy funds to support local authorities' epidemic control efforts, 3.5 billion yuan of which are earmarked for Hubei province, the epicentre of the outbreak.
 
To date, 90.15 billion yuan in funds has been arranged by various finance authorities for coronavirus control efforts, the Ministry of Finance said in a statement published on its website.

China's Xi urges more policing as virus toll rises

Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for tightened control over online discussion and increased policing to ensure "positive energy" and social stability, state media said Saturday, as the country struggles to contain the deadly new coronavirus.
 
Xi's remarks were made public as the authorities have faced rare bouts of public anger over the handling of an epidemic that has killed more than 1,500 people and infected some 66,000 across the country.
 
Censors had allowed some online criticism of local officials in central Hubei -- the epicentre and origin of the crisis -- but calls for freedom of speech and political reform were scrubbed after the death of a whistleblowing doctor from the virus.

WHO underestimates coronavirus' ability to spread: Study

The novel coronavirus may have greater ability to spread than the World Health Organization (WHO) has estimated so far, according to a review of previous studies of the virus' transmissibility.
 
"Our review shows that the coronavirus is at least as transmissible as the SARS virus. And that says a great deal about the seriousness of the situation," said Joacim Rocklov, Professor of Sustainable Health at Umea University in Sweden and one of the authors of the study, published in the Journal of Travel Medicine.
 
The WHO estimates that the coronavirus has a transmissibility, expressed as a reproduction number, of between 1.4 and 2.5.
 
A reproduction number is a measurement of how many people a contaminated person transmits the virus to in a previously healthy population. The higher the number, the more transferable the virus is and the higher the risk of its rapid spread.

Xi says China must keep economic, social order while battling coronavirus

China must make every effort to maintain economic and social control as it battles the coronavirus epidemic, and avoid causing panic that could lead to secondary "disasters," President Xi Jinping told senior officials earlier this month.
 
Reuters reported this week that Xi had warned officials on Feb. 3 that efforts to contain the new coronavirus had gone too far, threatening the economy. Those comments came days before Beijing rolled out measures to soften the blow.
 
The epidemic has become a major test for Xi in how to balance stamping out the epidemic with protecting an economy already growing at its slowest in nearly three decades.

Chinese regulator promises to help firms resume work amid virus outbreak

China's market regulator announced on Saturday policies to encourage companies to resume work amid a coronavirus outbreak, saying it would accelerate the approval process for production licences.
 
The State Administration for Market Regulation would also facilitate online reporting for merger and acquisition deals, as well as anti-monopoly reviews, it said in a statement on its website.

Zydus Cadila launches research programme to develop vaccine for coronavirus

Pharmaceutical major Zydus Cadila on Saturday said it has initiated an accelerated research programme with multiple teams in India and Europe for developing a vaccine for coronavirus.
 
The first approach deals with development of a DNA vaccine against the major viral membrane protein responsible for the cell entry of the novel corona virus, now called COVID-19, the company said in a statement.
 
The plasm id DNA would be introduced into the host cells, where it would be translated into the viral protein and elicit a strong immune response mediated by the cellular and humoral arms of the human immune system, which play a vital role in protection from disease as well as viral clearance.

406 people brought back from Wuhan may be released next week if final samples test negative

A total of 406 people, who are housed at a quarantine facility of the ITBP after being brought back from China due to coronavirus outbreak there, may be released next week if their final samples turn out to be negative, officials said on Saturday.
 
The final samples of all the people quarantined at the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) facility here were collected by a team of doctors on Friday and the reports are expected to be received by Monday.  "Based on the reports, a decision will be taken to discharge the travellers, if agreed to by the authorities, which is expected to be done in next week observing laid down protocols and due medical procedures as per the directives of Health Ministry," PRO of the ITBP Vivek Kumar Pandey said in a statement.

China will build a complete epidemic emergency response system: CCTV

China will build a national supply and purchase system for emergency supplies as well as a complete epidemic emergency response system, state broadcaster CCTV reported on Saturday citing comments made by Chinese President Xi Jinping.
 
His comments come as China is battling a coronavirus outbreak, which has killed 1,523 so far.

Cambodia gets more praise for allowing cruise ship to dock

The cruise ship that was allowed to dock in Cambodia after being turned away at five other ports by authorities fearful of the spread of the deadly new virus from China disembarked passengers for a second day on Saturday so they can fly home.
 
After being stranded at sea for two weeks, the MS Westerdam was allowed by Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen to dock for what he said were humanitarian reasons.
 
The Cambodian leader's decision won praise from President Donald Trump, who tweeted: “Thank you to the beautiful country of Cambodia for accepting the @CarnivalCruise ship Westerdam into your port. The United States will remember your courtesy!” The first batch of hundreds of passengers who disembarked Friday saw Hun Sen arrive by helicopter and then personally hand them flowers as they made their way to land. 

Chinese tourist in France dies of coronavirus, first fatality in Europe: Minister

An elderly Chinese tourist hospitalised in France has died of the coronavirus, becoming the first fatality in Europe, French Health Minister Agnes Buzyn said on Saturday.
 
France has recorded 11 cases of the virus, out of a global total of 63,851. The vast majority of those suffering from the virus are in China. The epidemic has killed almost 1,400 people.

17 people from Delhi who returned from abroad before coronavirus screening showed symptoms, hospitalised

Seventeen people, out of a large number of passengers who had arrived in Delhi from China and other coronavirus-affected countries before the screening at the airport began around mid-January, have been found symptomatic for the infection and hospitalised, officials said.
 
Delhi health department officials have traced many of such passengers. According to data shared by the Delhi health department, till February 13, over 5,700 such passengers were approached after being informed by the Delhi airport authorities.
 
"As many as 4,707 passengers were found asymptomatic and advised for home isolation (self-quarantined). Seventeen patients were found symptomatic and hospitalised," a senior official of the Delhi health department said.

Baby and mother discharged from hospital after treatment for coronavirus in China

A 67-day-old baby and her mother, who suffered from the novel coronavirus, were on Saturday discharged from a hospital in China's Guizhou province after being successfully treated for the infection, health authorities said.
 
The baby, surnamed Jiang, was brought to central China's Hubei province, the epicentre of the coronavirus epidemic, by her parents on January 16 to spend the Spring Festival holiday.
 
However, Jiang's parents were confirmed infected with the new virus after returning to Guizhou on January 25, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

First suspected coronavirus case reported in Pak's Abbottabad

The first suspected case of the new strain of coronavirus was reported in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad, involving a person who had recently returned from China -- the epicentre of the outbreak.
 
The person, who hails from Gilgit-Baltistan in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), has been put under observation at the Ayub Medical Hospital (AMH) in Abbottabad.
 
Coronavirus originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December last year. It has since then killed more than 1,500 people in that country alone, while cases have been registered in several countries across the world, including India.

Hundreds march in Hong Kong against potential coronavirus quarantine clinics

Hundreds of anti-government protesters marched in multiple Hong Kong neighbourhoods on Saturday against government plans to potentially turn some buildings into coronavirus quarantine centres, demanding full closure of the mainland China border.
 
The protests - which escalated in June over a perceived tightening of Beijing's grip over the city, which Beijing denies - have lost their intensity in recent weeks as panic over the virus kept most people indoors.
 
But anger has been brewing over Chief Executive Carrie Lam's refusal to completely shut the border with mainland China, where the new fast-spreading coronavirus is believed to have originated, with some medical staff going on strike and small-scale protests emerging in various locations in support.

China to waive toll road fees until epidemic control work is done

China's transport ministry said on Saturday it will waive road and expressway toll fees nationally from Feb. 17 until the country's epidemic control work was done.
 
It made the announcement on its official WeChat account.

China confident epidemic will soon be over: Deputy foreign minister

China is confident the coronavirus epidemic will be over soon and that the impact will be only temporary on its economy, which will rebound strongly, Qin Gang, China's vice minister of foreign affairs said on Saturday.
 
"The impact of the epidemic on the Chinese economy will be short term and temporary," he said at the Munich Security Conference.
"When the epidemic is over, the subdued consumer demand will be released rapidly and the economy will rebound strongly."

Facebook cancels summit, IBM pulls out

After the flagship Mobile World Congress (MWC) Barcelona 2020 conference, coronavirus has derailed Facebook's Global Marketing Summit in San Francisco.
 
According to a report in The San Francisco Chronicle, Facebook has cancelled the event scheduled from March 9-12 here. Over 5,000 participants were expected to attend the event.
 
"Out of an abundance of caution, we cancelled our Global Marketing Summit due to evolving public health risks related to coronavirus," a spokesperson was quoted as saying in the report on Friday.
 
IBM said it has cancelled its participation in the RSA cybersecurity conference here from February 24-28 due to concerns over China virus outbreak.
 

These are the early symptoms of deadly China virus

Scientists have identified a pattern of symptoms associated with the Novel Coronavirus, now dubbed as COVID-19, and the most common symptom is fever.
 
Other common symptoms include fatigue, dry cough, muscle pain and difficulty breathing, according to a recent study of nearly 140 hospitalised patients in Wuhan, China.
 
It took nearly five days on average for a patient to experience breathing issues after first showing symptoms, reports Business Insider citing the study.
 
Some patients also showed symptoms associated with common cold or flu such sore throat but those were small in numbers.
 
The coronavirus is most likely to affect older men with pre-existing health problems.

Thailand reports one new case of coronavirus, brings total to 34

Thailand has recorded one new case of coronavirus, bringing the total in the country to 34 since January, a health ministry official said on Saturday.
 
The new case is a 35-year-old Thai woman, a medical personnel, who got the disease from contact with a patient, Suwanchai Wattanayingcharoenchia, the director-general of the Department of Disease Control, told a news conference.
 
Fourteen people have recovered and returned home.
 

US to evacuate American citizens aboard quarantined cruise ship off Japan: Reports

The US government is preparing to evacuate American citizens aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship, the site of the most coronavirus infections found outside China and currently quarantined off Japan, the Wall Street Journal reported.
 
About 380 people will be offered seats on two planes back to the United States and could arrive back home as early as Sunday, the newspaper said, adding that those with a fever, cough or other symptoms will not be allowed on the flights.
 
Evacuees will have additional health screenings in the United States and some will probably undergo a mandatory quarantine, which will likely be 14 days, Henry Walke, an official at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), was quoted as saying.

Confimed infections now more than 67,000 globally

The latest figures reported by each government's health authority 
 
--- China: 1,523 deaths among 66,492 cases, mostly in the central province of Hubei.
 
Hong Kong: 56 cases, 1 death
 
Macao: 10
 
Japan: 259, including 218 from a cruise ship docked in Yokohama, 1 death

Singapore: 67

Thailand: 33
 
South Korea: 28
 
Malaysia: 21
 
Taiwan: 18
 
Vietnam: 16
 
Germany: 16
 
United States: 15. Separately, one U.S. citizen died in China

Australia: 14

France: 11
 
United Kingdom: 9
 
United Arab Emirates: 8
 
Canada: 8
 
Philippines: 3 cases, including 1 death

India: 3

Italy: 3
 
Russia: 2
 
Spain: 2
 
Belgium: 1
 
Nepal: 1

China's central bank calls on lenders for support

China's central bank said that the country's lenders will tolerate higher levels of bad loans, part of efforts to support firms hit by the coronavirus epidemic.

Indian Embassy in Japan making efforts to disembark Indians from cruise ship

The Indian Embassy in Japan said it is making efforts to disembark all the Indians on board the cruise ship moored off the coast after the end of the quarantine period as authorities confirmed that 218 people, including three Indians, have been infected with the deadly disease on the ship

WHO defends China after US criticism over transparency

The World Health Organization on Friday defended China following US claims of a lack of transparency in Beijing's response to the new coronavirus outbreak.
 
Larry Kudlow, head of the US National Economic Council, had said on Thursday: "We're a little disappointed in the lack of transparency coming from the Chinese".

Coronavirus outbreak could impact US GDP in Q1: WH economic adviser

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on Friday the coronavirus outbreak in China could "maybe" knock two- to three-tenths of a per cent off US GDP in the first quarter.

Apple to reopen a store in Shanghai on Feb. 15

Apple Inc said on Friday it would reopen one of the seven retail stores it has in Shanghai from Feb. 15 with reduced working hours, a day after the iPhone maker said a few retail stores in Beijing would start functioning from Feb. 14.

US will test people with flu symptoms for novel coronavirus

The US will begin testing people identified by local health authorities as having flu-like symptoms for the novel coronavirus, a senior official said Friday, a significant expansion of the government's response to the epidemic.

Nirmala Sitharaman to meet industry bodies to assess coronavirus impact

"To assess impact of Coronavirus, presently endemic in China, on Indian trade & industry, Smt. @nsitharaman would be meeting Industry associations on Tuesday along with Secretaries in the Ministry," the finance ministry said in a tweet.

Coronavirus: DGCA extends airport screening to Japan, S Korea passengers

Aviation regulator DGCA asked airports and airlines on Friday that passengers arriving in flights from Japan and South Korea must be screened once they step out of aerobridges in order to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus infection.

Fed's Loretta Mester says economic drag of China virus could spill over to US

The epidemic caused by the coronavirus that has killed hundreds and sickened tens of thousands in China could drag on the US economy this quarter, Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank President Loretta Mester said Friday.
 
"I expect that, certainly in China and perhaps in Asia, the first quarter numbers are going to be weaker; there could be spillover to the US economy as well in the first quarter and it remains to be seen by how much and for how long that will persist," Mester said.
 

WHO defends China after US criticism over outbreak

The World Health Organization on Friday defended China following US claims of a lack of transparency in Beijing's response to the new coronavirus outbreak.
 
Larry Kudlow, head of the US National Economic Council, had said on Thursday: "We're a little disappointed in the lack of transparency coming from the Chinese".
 
Kudlow also said that Chinese President Xi Jinping had assured US President Donald Trump that Beijing would accept US help, but "they won't let us".

Coronavirus concerns loom over cruise industry

The rapid spread of the coronavirus disease is taking a toll on the $46 billion global ocean cruise industry.
 
Dominated by three US-listed companies, Carnival Corp , Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, the industry is under sharp scrutiny following the virus outbreak that has left one ship quarantined in Asia.
 
Many see Asia as a potential growth area for cruise tourism: 39 cruise brands were active in Asian waters last year, deploying a total of 79 ships, according to trade group Cruise Lines International Association.
 
The long-term impact of the virus on the industry is unclear and some analysts have cautioned investors against dumping cruise stocks.
 

IMF chief hopes for global policy response to mitigate coronavirus impact

The International Monetary Fund hopes governments and central banks will work on a response to the coronavirus outbreak once the economic impact becomes clear, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said on Friday.
 
Speaking at the Munich Security Conference, Georgieva said the next few weeks would be crucial to build up a "bottom-up" picture of the impact of the virus in China and worldwide.
 
"So then we can agree on synchronised, or even better, coordinated measures to protect the world economy from a more serious shock," Georgieva told delegates. "Can we do it? Yes.

FM to meet industry bodies to assess coronavirus impact

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will meet industry bodies on Tuesday to asses the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on Indian trade and businesses.
 
The virus outbreak in China has claimed nearly 1,500 lives and infected over 60,000. The deadly virus has spread to many countries, including India.
 
"To assess impact of Coronavirus, presently endemic in China, on Indian trade & industry, Finance Minister Smt. @nsitharaman would be meeting Industry associations on Tuesday along with Secretaries in the Ministry," the finance ministry said in a tweet.

83 under home quarantine in Odisha

The Odisha government has placed 83 people who have returned from novel Coronavirus (nCoV) affected countries since January 15 under home quarantine as a precautionary measure, officials said on Friday.
 
The health and family welfare department has opened a control room which is functioning round the clock.
 
A helpline number is also there to reply to the query of people on the disease.
 
The department has kept 80 beds at the SCB Medical College and Hospital ready for patients with suspected coronavirus but that wing is now empty after the discharge of three persons who tested negative to the disease, officials said.

Maybank Championship, Volvo China Open postponed due to concerns over coronavirus outbreak

The outbreak of the deadly coronavirus in China has forced the organisers to postpone the Maybank Championship Golf, which was scheduled to take place at the Saujana Golf and Country Club in Kuala Lumpur from April 16 to 19.
 
The Volvo China Open, a European Tour event in Guangdong, China, due to take place from April 20 to 23, has also been postponed.
 
The Asian Tour and European Tour accepted a request from title sponsor and promoter Maybank to postpone the Maybank Championship, while the decision to postpone the Volvo China Open was taken after consultation with tournament stakeholders -- the China Golf 
Association, Genzon Golf Club, Shenzhen Government, title sponsor Volvo and promoters Mitime Golf.

WHO says joint China mission to start coronavirus investigations this weekend

A World Health Organization-led joint mission with China will start its outbreak investigation work this weekend and will focus on how the new coronavirus is spreading and the severity of the disease, the WHO's director said on Friday.
 
The mission will also seek more details on how, where and when the more than 1,700 healthworkers infected so far contracted the new virus, WHO officials said.
 
"We expect the full team to touch down over the weekend," WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters at briefing.

Family recovered from coronavirus returns home in Beijing

After being treated for coronavirus in a Beijing hospital for over two weeks, three members of the Liu family have recovered and were allowed to return home on Friday, a family member said.
 
The family's encounter with the virus began when the parents of a 29-year-old Beijing man surnamed Liu, who are from central China's Hubei province, briefly stopped in Wuhan, the outbreak's epicentre, on their way to Beijing for the Lunar New Year.
 
The mother was diagnosed with coronavirus on Jan. 29, and her son and his wife and their one-year-old son were all subsequently found to have been infected with coronavirus.

Coronavirus empties exhibition halls, but over time the show will go on

When Victoria Beckham sends her models down the London catwalk on Sunday, many of her most important clients will not be sitting in the front row but following from afar as the coronavirus outbreak hobbles international events.
 
The drive by London Fashion Week to communicate with absent Chinese buyers is just one of the ways the global events industry is adapting, quickly, to keep the show on the road.
 
Caroline Rush, head of the British Fashion Council, said it wanted to keep dialogue open and buyers engaged.
 
 

Outbreak in China hits Indian pharmaceutical units

Shortage of life-saving drugs procured by Indian pharmaceutical companies from China has severely hit the output in Asia's largest pharmaceutical hub Baddi in Himachal Pradesh, trade insiders said on Friday.
 
They attribute the acute shortage mainly of paracetamol and antibiotic azithromycin to closure of pharmaceutical units in China following the coronavirus outbreak. Also the shortage of raw material has led to a spike in rates.
 
Indian drug manufacturers, mainly concentrated in Baddi, depend on Chinese companies and suppliers for close to 90 per cent raw material, a drug manufacturer said.

Cruise industry shuns Asia, seeking to limit coronavirus risks

The plight of the cruise ship off Japan with more than 200 coronavirus infections and the shunning of another luxury liner by five ports despite no known cases has led to a sharp change in tack for an industry in shock: avoid Asia.
 
To that end, many cruises in the region are being cancelled while others currently sailing are being re-routed, skipping originally scheduled stops in China, Hong Kong and Singapore.
 
Vietnam on Friday turned away two ships from docking, citing the need to prevent the virus from entering the country.
 
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd cancelled 18 cruises in Southeast Asia on Thursday after calling off eight trips to China last week. It joined industry leader Carnival Corp in warning that full-year earnings would be hit by the epidemic.

China's appreciates India's offer of help to fight coronavirus epidemic

China said on Friday it appreciated Prime Minister Narendra Modi's offer to provide support and help in its fight against the deadly coronavirus outbreak in the country that has claimed nearly 1,500 lives and infected over 60,000.
 
China's statement came as the foreign ministry released a list of 33 countries that have provided medical supplies and assistance to Beijing to combat the epidemic. However, India did not figure in the list.
 
During an online media briefing here on Friday, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Geng Shuang said China welcomed and thanked the international community, the developing countries in particular, for their sincere support and friendly assistance.

Coronavirus outbreak death toll spikes to nearly 1,500

The death toll in China's novel coronavirus outbreak has spiked to nearly 1,500, including six medical workers, while the confirmed cases of the infection are now around 65,000 even as the cases outside the worst-hit Hubei province dropped for the 10th consecutive day.
 
The coronavirus has posed a big threat to the medical staff in China as more than 1,700 Chinese health workers have been infected by the virus while treating the patients and six of them have died.
 
The worst-hit Hubei province and its provincial capital Wuhan reported 116 new fatalities on Thursday, lower than the highest toll of 242 on Wednesday. The province reported 4,823 new confirmed cases on Thursday.

WHO boss Tedros says he expects full team of WHO-led international health experts to touch down in China over weekend to help probe coronavirus.


Coronavirus impacts global shrimp demand, prices: Report

The unprecedented shutdown in China following the coronavirus pandemic will lead to global price correction and affect Indian companies with high exposure to the Chinese markets, according to a report.
 
Global shrimp prices are expected to face pressure over the next few months, as global trade adjusts to the changing demand dynamics in China, a key importer and consumer of farmed shrimp, which will affect the entire value chain, rating agency Icra said in a report.
 
The sizable domestic production (estimated at over 10.0 lakh tonne) and consumption of shrimp in China, makes it a key price-mover in global markets.

Beijing sets 14-day quarantine rule for arrivals': Official daily

All people returning to the Chinese capital Beijing should quarantine themselves for 14 days to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, the official Beijing Daily said on Friday.
 
Those who refuse to quarantine themselves or follow the official rules on virus containment will be punished, the newspaper said.

Shell confirms Singapore virus case, sends staff home after another scare

Shell said on Friday a contractor working at its Singapore refinery had contracted coronavirus, as the city state reported its biggest jump in new cases so far.
 
The oil giant said earlier it had sent some staff home from its main office in Singapore after discovering another employee had been in contact with a carrier.
 
The company said its operations at both locations had been unaffected by the incidents.
 

Haptik builds WhatsApp chatbot to spread awareness

Artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot company Haptik on Friday launched a WhatsApp chatbot called "nCov helpdesk" to spread awareness and answer frequently asked questions about the novel coronavirus (COVD-19).
 
Given the accessibility of WhatsApp as a medium and people's preference to chat, the helpdesk is available on WhatsApp to shatter myths and suggest basic hygiene practices around the virus.
 
According to the company, people tend to mass-forward messages they receive without verifying the contents, often leading to false or incorrect information being spread and the nCov helpdesk is trying to piece together this jigsaw by providing accurate information on the WhatsApp screen.

China develops convalescent plasma therapy for COVID-19 patients

China has developed convalescent plasma to treat patients who are infected with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), according to the China National Biotec Group.
 
The company said they have collected plasma from some recovered patients to prepare therapeutic products including convalescent plasma and immune globulin, Xinhua reported on Friday.
 
After strict blood bio-safety tests, virus inactivation and antiviral activity tests, they have successfully developed convalescent plasma for clinical treatment and have used it to treat critically ill patients.

Taiwan says China 'stalling' over repatriation flights

Taiwan on Friday accused China of dragging its feet over the evacuation of citizens stranded in the midst of the deadly coronavirus outbreak, the latest spat between the two neighbours.
 
Multiple countries have successfully arranged evacuation flights for nationals stuck in Hubei province where the epidemic is at its most intense and deadly.
 
But nearly 1,000 Taiwanese have been waiting for the best part of two weeks for a flight out.
 
On Wednesday, Chinese state media quoted local officials accusing Taiwan's government of "repeatedly delaying" their return.

Passenger quarantined on coronavirus suspicion on Thursday tests negative: SpiceJet

A male passenger of a Bangkok-Delhi SpiceJet flight, who was quarantined on arrival here on Thursday on the suspicion of being infected by the novel coronavirus, tested negative for it on Friday, the airline said in a statement.
 
"The passenger travelling on SpiceJet flight SG-88 to Delhi from Bangkok on February 13, 2020, who had been suspected to have been infected with coronavirus, has tested negative for the infection. The test results came on Friday," a spokesperson of the airline said.
 
On Thursday, SpiceJet had stated that the man was seated on seat no. 31F and he was the only passenger in that row.

China eases refinancing rules to help listed firms fight coronavirus

China's securities regulator loosened its refinancing rules on Friday to help listed companies fight the coronavirus epidemic and resume production.
 
The China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) said the new rules would make it easier for listed firms to raise additional funding.
 
CSRC also encouraged listed companies to introduce strategic shareholders.

No 'Plan B' for Olympics; questions over Chinese presence

Tokyo Olympic organizers and the International Olympic Committee said Friday there is no "Plan B" for the 2020 Games, which open in just over five months and have been jolted by the outbreak of a virus in neighboring China.
 
The coronavirus has infected almost 64,000 people globally with almost 1,400 deaths in China, but only one in Japan where fear is rising with so much attention focused on the outbreak.
 
"Certainly the advice we're received externally from the WHO (World Health Organization) is that there's no case for any contingency plans or cancelling the games or moving the games," John Coates, the head of an IOC inspection team, said to wrap up a two-day visit that was dominated by the virus issue.

BASF diverts products from Chinese customers due to coronavirus disruption

German chemical giant BASF diverted some products to Europe from its Chinese clients following a coronavirus outbreak that has disrupted logistics and delayed factories from resuming operations.
 
Shanghai BASF Polyurethane Co, a joint venture of BASF and China's Sinopec Assets Management Corp and Shanghai Huayi Group Co, provisionally exported 3,150 tonnes of toluene diisocyanate (TDI), a raw material widely used in automobile and construction, to Europe, said China's customs on Friday.

Hong Kong unveils cash handouts as virus deepens economic woes

Hong Kong announced a slew of cash subsidies on Friday to help businesses that have been battered by the coronavirus outbreak in a city already reeling from a recession.
 
The US-China trade war and months of seething pro-democracy protests last year had already pushed the business hub's economy into negative territory.
 
The virus has compounded those woes, leading to an even more stark drop in tourist arrivals and empty streets, pushing many smaller businesses towards bankruptcy.

Philippines lifts virus travel ban on Taiwan

The Philippines on Friday lifted a coronavirus travel ban on Taiwan after Taipei threatened retaliation.
 
Taiwan had hit out at countries that "confuse" it with China and included it in travel restrictions for Chinese territories against the virus that has claimed nearly 1,400 lives.
 
Taiwan foreign ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou told reporters earlier Friday the island had drawn up certain "response measures" while 
waiting for a reply to its demand to lift the travel ban.

DGCA extends screening to passengers arriving from Japan, South Korea

Aviation regulator DGCA asked airports and airlines on Friday that in order to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus infection, passengers arriving in flights from Japan and South Korea must be screened once they step out of the aerobridge.
 
Till date, only passengers arriving from four countries -- Thailand, Singapore, China and Hong Kong -- were being screened for possible exposure to the respiratory virus at 21 identified airports in India.
 
In a circular, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) stated, "Universal screening of all the passengers coming in flights directly from Japan, South Korea, Thailand and Singapore besides the flights from China and Hong Kong shall be ensured immediately once they step out of the specific identified aerobridge."

Third Indian crew on board cruise ship off Japanese coast tests positive for coronavirus

A third Indian crew on board a cruise ship off the Japanese coast has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, the Indian Embassy in Japan said on Friday as authorities confirmed that 218 people have been infected with the deadly virus on the quarantined ship.
 
The cruise ship Diamond Princess with 3,711 people on board arrived at the Japanese coast early last week and was quarantined after a passenger who de-boarded last month in Hong Kong was found to be the carrier of the COVID-19 on the ship.
 
A total of 138 Indians, including 132 crew and 6 passengers, were on board the ship.

Tibet's Nyingchi discourages tourists amid virus control

Nyingchi, a popular tourist city in Tibet, has stopped thousands of tourists from visiting the remote region due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus epidemic that has hit China.
 
Tourism is one the main source of revenue for picturesque Himalayan region.
 
The death toll in China's novel coronavirus outbreak has spiked to nearly 1,500 with 121 new fatalities reported mostly from the worst-affected Hubei province while the confirmed cases of infection jumped to nearly 65,000, according to the health officials.
 
Tibet has activated an emergency response and warned that the outbreak of the disease could be much worse due to the plateau's low oxygen concentration and limited medical resources, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

Lufthansa cancels China flights through to late March

German airline giant Lufthansa said Friday it would prolong its suspension of flights to the Chinese mainland until March 28 over the novel coronavirus COVID-19.
 
"The Lufthansa Group has now decided to cancel the flights of Lufthansa, Swiss and Austrian Airlines from/to Beijing and Shanghai until the end of the winter timetable on 28 March" rather than 29 February, the group said in a statement.
 
Lufthansa flights to Nanjing, Shenyang and Qingdao were already cancelled until the same date.

Novel coronavirus situation under control: Health Secretary

The novel coronavirus situation in the country was under control, the Union Health Secretary said on Friday after a meeting to review preparedness for prevention and management of the deadly infection.
 
Union Health Secretary Preeti Sudan chaired a video-conference meeting with health secretaries from states and Union territories and senior officials from Ministries of Shipping, External Affairs, Civil Aviation and Tourism, according to an official statement.
 
She said various precautionary measures have been undertaken in close coordination with the ministries concerned at the central level.
 
"The situation is under control in the country and is being regularly monitored by the Prime Minister's Office, Union Health Minister and Cabinet Secretary.... In addition, a Group of Ministers is also reviewing the status," she said.

Vietnam turns away cruise ship over coronavirus fears: State media

Vietnam has turned away a German-owned cruise ship with more than 1,000 passengers on board over fears of coronavirus infections on board, state media reported on Friday.
 
Authorities in Quang Ninh province, home to the UNESCO world heritage site Ha Long Bay, decided on Tuesday not to allow passengers of the ship AIDAvita to disembark on Thursday, the official Vietnam News Agency (VNA) reported.
 
"The vessel has docked in the Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore, which have all reported coronavirus cases," VNA said.
 
"Not allowing AIDIvita's passengers to disembark is just a temporary solution to prevent the intrusion of diseases," VNA cited a local official as saying.

US firms in Vietnam hit by coronavirus supply chain issues: AmCham survey

US manufacturing firms operating in Vietnam are suffering supply chain issues caused by the coronavirus epidemic, according to a survey of American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) members in Vietnam, the business chamber said on Friday.
 
"More than half of our members in the manufacturing sector are experiencing difficulty sourcing supplies/materials due to disruptions from the coronavirus," AmCham Executive Director Adam Sitkoff said in an emailed statement, citing the AmCham survey.
 
More than one-third of members say current supply chain disruptions are already seriously impacting their company's global operations, the statement said, adding that the biggest challenges are securing alternative materials and goods, along with inventory management.

Schindler sees coronavirus hit of 'several hundreds of millions'

Schindler may see "several hundreds of millions" of Swiss francs stripped from this year's sales as a result of coronavirus-related disruptions, CEO Thomas Oetterli said on Friday after the company reported a fall in 2019 profits.
 
China accounts for more than half of the world's new lift installations and for Schindler the Asia-Pacific region makes up 27% of sales. In China, Schindler has supplied Beijing and Chengdu metro lines and Shanghai's 66-floor, 28-elevator Sinar Mas Plaza.
 
Schindler has expanded production and offices in China and Oetterli said the company now faced challenges protecting employees' health while ensuring business continuity with customers as the coronavirus spreads.

Coronavirus has dented Goa's tourism prospects: Official

The panic surrounding the coronavirus outbreak has affected Goa's tourism prospects, state Tourism Director Menino D'Souza said on Friday, with the rider, however, that he was currently unable to quantify the negative impact of the outbreak on tourism footfalls in the state.
 
"That (footfalls impacted), I cannot say offhand, but it has affected, there is no doubt about it," D'Souza told reporters on the sidelines of a tourism event in state capital.
 
The official also said that the Goa government was in the process of flying down Chinese travel and tour operators to the coastal state, with the objective of tapping China's outbound tourism market, but the viral outbreak has put paid to those plans for now.
 

No case of coronavirus in Kashmir, but spike in H1N1 nos

Kashmir has not yet seen any case of coronavirus but a spurt in swine flu (H1N1) numbers continues to pose a threat in the region.
 
Officials said as many as 18 cases of swine flu have been admitted to SKIMS, Srinagar.
 
"1,250 people were tested for H1N1 influenza at SKIIMS since September 2019. 18 have been admitted for treatment", Dr Farooq Jan, Medical Superintendent of SKIMS, said.

WHO warns against phishing after coronavirus scare

In the wake of novel coronavirus outbreak in China and scare created worldwide thereafter, the World Health Organisation has asked people to be alert to phishing by criminals pretending to be from the world health body.
 
The WHO website has created a new section called 'Coronavirus scam alert' against criminals disguising themselves as WHO (officials) to steal money or sensitive information from gullible persons.
 
"The WHO is aware of suspicious email messages attempting to take advantage of the 2019 novel coronavirus emergency. This fraudulent action is called phishing. If you are contacted by a person or organization that appears to be from WHO, verify their authenticity before responding," the WHO said.

London COVID-19 patient attended conference with 250 people

Efforts were on to contact the 250 delegates from across the UK who attended a conference in London where they might have come into contact with the UK capital city's first coronavirus patient, a media report said on Friday.
 
The patient, a Chinese national, was at the UK Bus Summit at the QEII centre on February 6, the Metro newspaper said in the report.
 
The patient went to Lewisham Hospital in an Uber three days later after coming down with flu.
 
Everyone who attended the UK Bus Summit have been emailed warning them that they may have come into contact with the Chinese national at the event.

China's Xi says to fix problems exposed during coronavirus outbreak: State TV

Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Friday the ruling Communist Party must fix various problems, loopholes and weaknesses exposed during the current outbreak of the coronavirus, state television reported on Friday.
 
"To ensure people's life safety and health is a major task of our party's governance," Xi was quoted as saying at a meeting of a committee on deepening reforms. He also said Beijing would move to improve medical insurance and treatment systems for major diseases.

Japan lets some passengers leave ship for quarantine on land

Japan on Friday began allowing elderly passengers who test negative for the new coronavirus to leave a quarantined cruise ship and finish their isolation in government-designated lodging.
 
Japan's government has given passengers aged 80 or older in poor health or confined to windowless inner cabins on the Diamond Princess the chance to move from the ship to accommodation on land.
 
But only those who test negative for the virus that has so far infected more than 200 people on board the ship have the option to move.

Global coal supply faces more downside risk from coronavirus: Goldman Sachs

Goldman Sachs says Compared with other commodities,global coal supply faces more downside risk from coronavirus outbreak as China accounts for 45% of global thermal coal production.

IOC face 'big communications job' as virus jitters hit Tokyo Olympics

Olympic chiefs admitted Friday they face a "very big communications job" to soothe concerns over the coronavirus epidemic in the run-up to this summer's Tokyo Games.
 
The head of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) coordination commission insisted there was no danger of Tokyo 2020 being cancelled or moved, despite fears over the fast-spreading virus which has killed nearly 1,400 and infected around 64,000 -- most of them in China.
 
But he said the IOC will send out information packs to reassure athletes that it's safe to come into contact with competitors from China.

WHO says no case for cancelling, moving Tokyo Games: IOC coordinator

The World Health Organization has told the International Olympic Committee there is no case for cancelling or relocating the Tokyo 2020 Olympics over the coronavirus outbreak, the head of the IOC's Coordination Commission said on Friday.
 
The 17-day event is due to start on July 24. Japan said separately on Friday it would step up testing and containment after reporting its first coronavirus death and confirming new cases, including a doctor and a taxi driver.
 
John Coates said advice the IOC had received "externally" from the WHO was that "there is no case for any contingency plans of cancelling the Games or moving the Games." The spreading outbreak, whose epicentre is the Chinese city of Wuhan, has prompted the cancellation of some international sporting events, as well as 2020 Games qualifying competitions for boxing and badminton that were due to take place in China.

First passengers exit quarantined Japan ship

The first passengers began leaving a quarantined cruise ship off Japan's coast on Friday to finish their isolation in government-designated lodging after testing negative for the new coronavirus.
 
Japan's government has given passengers aged 80 or older in poor health or confined to windowless inner cabins on the Diamond Princess the chance to move from the ship to accommodation on land.
 
But only those who test negative for the virus that has so far infected more than 200 people on board the ship have the option to move.

China rejects US charge of lack of transparency in sharing coronavirus info

China on Friday rejected US allegations that it is not transparent enough in sharing the details about the coronavirus outbreak, saying it was working with the international community in an "open and highly responsible manner" to contain the global crisis.
 
China's comments came after Larry Kudlow, the director of President Donald Trump's Economic Council, said that the US is little disappointed over not being invited in the medical operations and the lack of transparency coming from the Chinese over coronavirus outbreak.
 
Stressing that unanswered questions were mounting and there was no sign of the promised cooperation, Kudlow said: "We're more than willing to work with the WHO on this(coronavirus) and they won't let us".

Hong Kong pledges $605 mn as city fights to contain spread of virus

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam pledged HK$4.7 billion ($605 million) on Friday to the city's Hospital Authority as it grapples to contain the spread of coronavirus.
 
Lam, the former British colony's most unpopular leader since it returned to Chinese control in 1997, also announced measures to try to alleviate the burden on businesses and residents already hit by months of anti-government protests.

China titanium producer Pangang shuts unit as coronavirus cases found

One of China's top titanium producers has halted production at its unit in Chongqing after members of staff were found to be infected with the new coronavirus, a local government official said on Friday.
 
Pangang Group Vanadium Titanium and Resources, which produces around 220,000 tonnes per year of titanium dioxide - used as white pigment in paints, paper, plastics and textiles - subsequently put the facility in Chongqing's Banan district under lockdown, the Banan official said.
 
The municipality of Chongqing in China's southwest borders the virus epicentre of Hubei province, where the outbreak has so far killed more than 1,300 people.

China's auto sales may fall 10% in H1 due to coronavirus: Industry association

China's auto market, the world's largest, is likely to see sales slide more than 10% in the first half of the year due to the coronavirus epidemic, the country's top auto industry body told Reuters on Friday.
 
"We predict auto sales will drop by more than 10% in the first half of this year, and around 5% for the whole year if the epidemic is effectively contained before April," Fu Bingfeng, executive vice chairman of the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM), told Reuters in a written interview.
 
Its forecast is grimmer than an initial prediction made last month for a 2% dip in sales this year.

Thailand to help virus-hit tourism with tax cuts and loans

Thailand will introduce a package of measures next month to help its tourism industry, reeling from the outbreak of 2019-nCov coronavirus, Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak said on Friday.
 
The package will include steps to help businesses to prevent layoffs and to promote domestic travel, Somkid told reporters.
 
The government expects the number of foreign visitors to fall by 5 million this year to about 35 million owing to the outbreak. Spending by foreign tourists accounted for no less than 11% of Thailand's GDP last year.
 
"The government is very worried about job cuts," Somkid said. "We will help ease the situation and will do it quickly".

SpiceJet to suspend Delhi-Hong Kong flights from Feb 16

With the novel coronavirus outbreak killing nearly 1,500 people in China, SpiceJet on Friday announced that it would be suspending Delhi-Hong Kong flights from February 16 to 29.
 
IndiGo and Air India have already suspended all their flights between India and China.
 
"SpiceJet has decided to temporarily suspend its daily Delhi-Hong Kong passenger flight from February 16th to 29th, 2020," the budget carrier's spokesperson stated. 

Universities say Chinese students could quit Australia

Top Australian universities warned Friday Chinese students may walk away from courses Down Under after Canberra extended a coronavirus travel ban, in a major blow to the multi-billion-dollar sector.
 
Nearly 70,000 Chinese visa holders are due to start their semesters soon at eight top-ranked universities, but have been stuck since the bans started on February 1, said Vicki Thomson, chief executive of Group of Eight, which represents the universities.
 
"We can't give our students any certainty as to when they can actually come here. So there is a risk of students choosing not to come here," Thomson said.

China says 6 health workers died from virus, 1,716 infected

Six health workers have died from the new coronavirus in China and more than 1,700 have been infected, health officials said Friday, underscoring the risks doctors and nurses have taken due to shortages of protective gear.
 
The figure comes a week after public anger erupted over the death of a whistleblowing doctor who had been reprimanded and silenced by police after raising the alarm about the virus in December.
 
Zeng Yixin, vice minister at the National Health Commission, said at a news conference that 1,716 health workers have been infected in the country as of Tuesday.

US says it's ready to help North Korea combat virus

The United States has expressed deep concern about North Korea's vulnerability to the outbreak of a new virus and says it's ready to support efforts by US and international aid organizations to contain the spread of the illness in the impoverished nation.
 
The State Department statement comes as North Korea scrambles to strengthen quarantine and preventive measures following an explosion of infections in China that killed hundreds and sickened tens of thousands.
 
North Korea has yet to report a case of the new virus, but state media reports have hinted that an uncertain number of people have been quarantined after showing symptoms. Experts say an epidemic in North Korea could be dire because of its chronic lack of medical supplies and poor health care infrastructure.

All 3 patients with Coronavirus have recovered in Kerala

Coronavirus: China lowers toll to 1,380 due to double-counting

China’s Hubei province reported 4,823 additional coronavirus cases, confirming that the nearly 15,000 reported a day earlier was a one-off situation due to a new method for counting infections.
 
The latest figure is still roughly double what the province was reporting daily before the new method was used, and sets a new benchmark to measure the outbreak. The death toll in China was at 1,380, lowered by more than 100 to account for some double-counting, while total cases topped 63,000.
 
U.S. officials escalated criticism of China’s response to the coronavirus outbreak. Cities in Hubei need to ramp up their efforts to control the disease, according to Chinese officials.

Japan's policymakers brace for fourth-quarter GDP slump, growing coronavirus risks

Japanese policymakers on Friday braced for a sharp contraction in October-December growth and warned of the hit to output and consumption from the coronavirus outbreak, signalling alarm over a darkening outlook for the world's third-largest economy.
 
Bank of Japan Executive Director Eiji Maeda said gross domestic product (GDP) may have suffered a "big contraction" in the final quarter of last year due to sluggish overseas demand and damage to consumption from last year's sales tax hike.
 
"Japan's economy is expected to continue expanding moderately as a trend," thanks to robust capital expenditure and government spending, Maeda told parliament.
 
"But we need to be vigilant against various risks such as the impact the coronavirus outbreak could have on output and spending by inbound tourists," he said.
 
Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura also told reporters the virus outbreak, as well as unusually warm weather that hurts sales of winter clothing, were "fresh factors weighing on the economy."

Chinese economy clobbered by coronavirus but set to recover soon: Poll

The coronavirus-hit Chinese economy will grow at its slowest rate since the financial crisis in the current quarter, according to a Reuters poll of economists who said the downturn will be short-lived if the outbreak is contained.
 
A Feb. 7-13 Reuters poll of 40 economists based in mainland China, Hong Kong, Singapore, as well as Europe and the United States, predicted China's annual economic growth in the first quarter of 2020 to slump to 4.5% from 6.0% in the previous quarter.
 
That drop was expected to drag down the full-year growth rate in 2020 to 5.5% from 6.1% in 2019, its weakest since at least 1990 when comparable records began.
 
However, economists were optimistic the economy would bounce back as soon as the second quarter, with growth then forecast to recover to a median 5.7%, according to the poll.
 
That figure was pushed higher by several optimistic forecasts from economists based in mainland China. The range was 2.9%-6.5%.

China coronavirus deaths slow, cruise ship disembarks in Cambodia

The daily death toll in the Chinese province at the centre of the coronavirus outbreak halved on Friday, officials said, while passengers on a cruise ship blocked from five countries due to virus fears finally disembarked in Cambodia.
 
News of the first death from the virus in Japan rattled Asian markets, already on edge after hopes that the epidemic was stabilising appeared to be dashed by a sharp rise in the number of cases reported by China on Thursday.

China coronavirus deaths slow, cruise ship disembarks in Cambodia

The daily death toll in the Chinese province at the centre of the coronavirus outbreak halved on Friday, officials said, while passengers on a cruise ship blocked from five countries due to virus fears finally disembarked in Cambodia.
 
News of the first death from the virus in Japan rattled Asian markets, already on edge after hopes that the epidemic was stabilising appeared to be dashed by a sharp rise in the number of cases reported by China on Thursday.
 
In its latest update, Hubei province's health commission on Friday said it had recorded 116 deaths and 4,823 new cases of the flu-like virus that emerged in the provincial capital, Wuhan, in December.

Indian firms step up dollar-raising as China goes slow

With Bharti Airtel’s subsidiary Network i2i raising $250 million from overseas markets, Indian companies would be raising a record $7.15 billion in less than two months, since the start of the calendar year, as global liquidity chases emerging market yields to compensate for the Chinese supply of bonds in times of a coronavirus scare.
 
Adani Transmission recently raised $310 million in the US private placement market by placing 30-year paper.
 
In January and February last year, Indian companies had raised $2.35 billion. In fiscal year 2019-20 so far, they have raised $19.24 billion as against $5.65 billion in the whole of 2018-19. Read more here

Over 50,000 Indians, PIOs stuck in China as govt denies entry

With the government denying them entry via any air, land or seaport, as many as 55,000 non-resident Indians and people of Indian origin are stuck in several parts of China where the coronavirus outbreak has claimed nearly 1,400 lives, multiple sources said.
 
India had recently evacuated over 640 of its citizens from Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak. Yet, around 80-100 Indians are stranded in the city and nearby areas.
 
The Indian Embassy in Beijing estimates more than 50,000 Indian citizens to have been working in mainland China as of early 2019.

Indians who returned from China under watch

The government on Thursday clarified that 15,991 people who have recently returned from China, Singapore, Thailand, South Korea and Japan, are currently under 'community surveillance'.

An Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) is currently keeping in touch with these people, settled in 34 States and Union Territories, a high-level group of ministers that involves the ministers of Health, Civil Aviation, External Affairs, among others, said.
 
Two passengers, who arrived at Kolkata international airport from Bangkok, too, have been placed in isolation for suspected novel coronavirus, officials said. IndiGo's eight crew members, who were part of its Kolkata-Guangzhou flight operations, too, are in quarantine in Kolkata for the last few days. A flyer has been quarantined in Delhi.

Coronavirus impact: Oil use to suffer first quarterly drop in a decade, says IEA

Global oil demand will suffer its first quarterly drop in a decade as COVID-19 virus lashes the economy in China and its impact ripples throughout the world, the IEA said. "Global oil demand has been hit hard by the novel coronavirus and the widespread shutdown of China's economy," it said.
 

Coronavirus outbreak: Exporters of jewellery seek 6-mth extension

Faced with around $2 billion of payment receivables stuck with jewellery importers in China due to the coronavirus outbreak, the Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) has sought a six-month extension in credit from lenders.
 
Currently, the latter grant credit for six months (180 days in trade parlance) on export consignments from India. The trade says this is insufficient at this juncture.
 
“The Chinese new year (a peak consumption season) was a whitewash in terms of jewellery sales in China as people remained indoors amid fear of virus spread. Shops and factories remained closed for weeks, resulting in receivables getting stuck for two months. We, therefore, have written to leading banks and the ministries concerned to grant another six months for receivables. The overall impact of coronavirus on India’s gems and jewellery would depend on how long factories and shops are shut in China,” said Colin Shah, vice-chairman of GJEPC, on the sidelines of the India International Jewellery Show here on Thursday.

Coronavirus outbreak: In China's Hubei, death toll rises by 242 in a day

The Chinese province at the centre of the coronavirus outbreak reported a record rise in deaths and thousands more infections using a broader definition on Thursday, while Japan became the third place outside mainland China to suffer a fatality.
 
The epidemic has given China’s ruling Communist Party one of its sternest challenges in years, constrained the world’s second largest economy and triggered a purge of provincial bureaucrats.
 
 
With China’s streets, restaurants and flower markets bare, a miserable Valentine’s Day was expected on Friday.

Australia extends ban on visitors from China

Australia on Thursday announced a ban on travellers from China would extend for at least a week beyond Saturday's planned deadline, as the death toll from the coronavirus soared.
 
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the government would maintain "entry restriction on foreign nationals who have recently been in mainland China" for further week "to protect Australians from the risk of coronavirus".
 
A decision to extend the ban further will be taken week-to-week, he said.

Coronavirus scare forces shutdown of global brands like Hilton in China

The novel Coronavirus epidemic is threatening a meltdown in the Chinese economy for sure with global brands bolting for the door as hotel brand, Hilton announced that it is shutting down 150 hotels in China, 60 per cent of its total capacity in the country.
 
Hilton has had to close 150 hotels in China because of the Coronavirus, CEO Christopher Nassetta announced during the company's fourth quarter earnings call. These constitute 33,000 rooms and are 60 per cent of its total capacity in China.
 
Assuming that the outbreak lasts three to six months, with an additional three to six month recovery period, Hilton expects a $25 million to $50 million hit on full-year adjusted EBIDTA.

S&P Global gives China rating warning over virus spending splurge

S&P Global warned China on Thursday that its credit rating or its outlook could be downgraded if the government tried to offset the economic impact of the coronavirus with a spending splurge.
 
S&P currently rates China at A+ with a stable outlook. "The more important threat to China's sovereign credit standing may emerge if the government becomes eager to prop up growth with heavy stimulus measures," it said in a new report.
 
"Such a development...could lead to a negative rating action."
 
The firm has estimated that the coronavirus outbreak will lower Chinese real GDP growth in 2020 to 5.0%, from a previous forecast of 5.7%.

Huawei to suffer as coronavirus hammers China phone sales: Counterpoint

Huawei Technologies Co Ltd will be among the worst hit from a collapse in Chinese smartphone sales in the first quarter due to the coronavirus outbreak, industry researchers Counterpoint said on Thursday, slashing estimates for the world's biggest market.
 
Hong Kong-based Counterpoint, whose forecasts are widely used in Asia's booming chip and mobile phone industry, said in an outline of its latest report it had cut its estimate for offline smartphone sales in China during the outbreak by 50% and for first quarter sales overall by 20%.
 
From forecasting outright growth of the global market, it said those cuts were likely to mean sales worldwide would now be flat year-on-year in 2020.

Coronavirus unlikely to have big impact on oil prices: US energy secretary

The coronavirus epidemic in China has had a marginal impact on energy markets and is unlikely to dramatically push up oil prices even if Chinese demand falls by 500,000 barrels per day, US Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette said on Thursday.
 
Brouillette cautioned, however, that there had been some "slowing" of Chinese energy purchases. He said there could be a greater impact if the new virus continued to expand at a rapid pace, affecting flights in and out of the country and hitting China's economy.
 
"But at this point it's marginal," he said during a visit to Portugal. "If the Chinese market is off by half a million barrels, that is 0.5% of total market, we are not going to see that impact on pricing very dramatically." Oil demand is set to fall by 435,000 bpd this quarter, in its first decrease since the financial crisis in 2009 due to the coronavirus outbreak in China, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Thursday.

38 persons test negative for coronavirus, discharged from Delhi's RML Hospital

The Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital in New Delhi on Thursday discharged 38 suspected patients of coronavirus after they tested negative for the infection.
 
A spokesperson of the central government-run Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital said, "There were a total of 40 patients who were suspected of the novel coronavirus. However, till now 38 people have tested negative and were discharged. The results of the other two people are awaited."
 
The 40 people admitted in the hospital had either come from China or via South Korea, Bangkok, Thailand, Singapore etc.

CDC confirms 15th case of coronavirus in the United States

US officials reported the 15th case of coronavirus in the United States on Thursday, saying the patient was among those who had been evacuated from Wuhan, China, and placed under federal quarantine at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas.
 
It was the third evacuee and first at Lackland to test positive, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said a statement while noting that there will likely be additional cases among people recently returned from China.
 
The US government has flown about 800 people from Hubei province, with 195 people from the first flight having been released on Tuesday. Many are government employees and their families who are under 14-day quarantine at US military bases.

Virus outbreak blamed for forecast fall in oil demand

The International Energy Agency expects demand for oil to fall in the first quarter as a result of the virus outbreak that emanated in China. Any fall would represent the first quarterly decline in a decade.
 
The Paris-based agency said Thursday in its oil market report for February that demand in the first quarter was expected to fall by 435,000 barrels per day compared with the same period a year ago. The agency also cut its 2020 demand growth forecast by 365,000 barrels per day to 885,000.
 
The agency said that the consequences of the outbreak for oil demand “will be significant.”

Coronavirus not spreading "dramatically" outside China except on cruise ship: WHO

Cases of coronavirus infections are not rising dramatically outside China apart from on a cruise liner now quarantined off a Japanese port, the World Health Organization's emergency measures director said on Thursday.
 
"Outside cases on the Diamond Princess cruise ship we are not seeing dramatic increases in cases outside China," Mike Ryan, executive director of WHO's health emergencies programme, told a Geneva news briefing. A further 44 cases were reported on the Diamond Princess on Thursday, raising the total to 219, though authorities said some elderly people would finally to be allowed to disembark on Friday.

IMF sees resilient Chinese economy in mid- to long-term despite coronavirus

There is too much uncertainty about the fast-moving coronavirus to forecast its impact on the Chinese and global economy, but the IMF on Thursday said it hopes to have more insights when G20 countries meet in Saudi Arabia later this month.
 
International Monetary Fund spokesman Gerry Rice said the Fund welcomed China's efforts to contain the spread of the virus and mitigate its economic impact, and stood ready to help Beijing as needed.
 
"Over the medium to long term we remain confident that China’s economy is resilient," Rice told a regular news briefing.

No major change in 'trajectory' of coronavirus outbreak: WHO

The UN health agency on Thursday said a sharp rise in reported COVID-19 cases in China, due to a change in counting methods, did not represent a big shift in the epidemic.
 
"This does not represent a significant change in the trajectory of the outbreak," Michael Ryan, head of the WHO's health emergencies programme, said at a press conference.

Wuhan flights: 'What are the chances of getting infected', AI crew asked, before conquering fear

"What are the chances of us getting infected?", "What will happen to our families?". These were among the queries that greeted Air India's Captain Amitabh Singh as he put together a 19-member crew to bring back hundreds of Indians stranded in coronavirus-hit Wuhan.
 
Singh, who is the national carrier's Director of Operations, flew as an executive commander in the double-decker Boeing 747 aircraft that operated two rescue flights to Wuhan on January 31 and February 1.
 
A total of 647 Indians, as well 7 Maldivians, were evacuated from the Chinese city at the epicentre of the coronavirus epidemic.
 
An "eerie feeling" crept into him when the first flight was landing, Singh recalled, as all the roads and buildings were well lit but it looked like a "dead city" as no human beings were around.

Two coronavirus cases tested negative in Kerala

Mobile World Congress called off

The world's biggest telecom assembly Mobile World Congress 2020 has been cancelled as telecom companies one after the other pulled out of the annual conference 
 
The MWC is held every year in Barcelona and top Indian industry leaders, as well as top government officials and ministers, have been attending the event.
 
Bharti Airtel head Sunil Mittal, telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, and Telecom Secretary Anshu Prakash were expected to attend the global event this year.
 
 
 

PM Modi issues letter of appreciation to team members of Wuhan evacuation operations

New virus has infected more than 60,000 people globally

A viral outbreak that began in China has infected more than 60,000 people globally.
 
The World Health Organisation has named the illness COVID-19, referring to its origin late last year and the coronavirus that causes it.

Manufacturers fear coronavirus outbreak may hit India's drug industry

The prolonged shutdown in China due to novel coronavirus outbreak may affect import of active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) from the neighbouring country, fuelling fears that the drug manufacturing industry in India could be severely hit.
 
The Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP) last week constituted a high-level panel to assess its impact of the outbreak of the deadly virus in China on the supply of APIs in India.
 
APIs are bulk drugs or raw materials used for manufacturing medicines. India produces drugs, including antibiotics, using APIs around 80 per cent of which are imported from China, mainly from Hubei province which is the epicentre of the outbreak. India also exports medicines.

Experts fear China reluctant to accept WHO ground mission

China is dragging its heels in accepting help on the ground from international health specialists, diplomats and experts said on Thursday, noting four days after a World Health Organization (WHO) advance team arrived in Beijing no details have been released on how and when the full mission will deploy.
 
China has recorded 48,206 cases of a new coronavirus, now known as SARS-CoV-2, which emerged in a seafood market in the central city of Wuhan in December. The virus has spread to 24 countries infecting more than 440 people, the WHO says.
 
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general, won a pledge from Chinese President Xi Jinping during his trip there two weeks ago that an international team would be able to help investigate the virus' origin and spread.

Etihad looking at alternate routes in other markets

Etihad Airways is looking at deploying aircraft earlier used to fly to China to other markets after the outbreak of novel coronavirus there, a senior company official said here on Thursday.
 
Talking to reporters here on the 15th anniversary of Etihad's foray into the Indian market, Danny Barranger, Senior Vice President, Global Sales, Etihad Airways said: The epidemic has so far not severely impacted the airline financially as it has a wide network globally. But it is a fluid situation and changing day by day and week by week. As far as China is concerned, we have suspended some operations. We are still operating to Beijing, but at the same time we are looking... whether we can operate those assets elsewhere in the short-term."

On its India operations, Barranger said that India is its largest market outside of UAE, its home market.

PM's letter of appreciation to AI crew, Health officials involved in Wuhan evacuation

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has written a letter of appreciation to the Air India crew and health ministry officials involved in the evacuation of citizens of India and Maldives from the Chinese city of Wuhan following the outbreak of novel coronavirus, the Prime Minister's Office said on Thursday.
 
The letter would be handed over to the evacuation team, including Air India crew and Health Ministry officials, by the Minister of State for Civil Aviation, the PMO statement said.
 
Air India had conducted an emergency evacuation operations from Wuhan, the epicentre of the novel coronavirus outbreak in China.

Health authorities urge people to regularly clean surfaces of commonly used items

Health authorities here have urged the people to regularly clean surfaces of commonly used items, including phones.
 
During a news conference on Wednesday, the Ministry of Health's director of medical services Kenneth Mak advised people to ensure that they clean the surfaces of their phones, stressing that the virus is spread by droplets and contamination of surfaces, according to Channel NewsAsia.
 
He added that there is currently no established evidence that the deadly virus which has claimed at least 1300 deaths and infected more than 60,000 others so far spreads in the air.

Evacuation of Indians from Wuhan was challenging: AI's Captain Amitabh Singh

Air India's Director of Operations, Captain Amitabh Singh, who led the team that evacuated Indians from China's Wuhan city in the wake of COVID-19 outbreak there, has said that it was a "challenging operation".
 
Speaking to ANI on Thursday, Singh said, "Air India is the second line of defense whether it is a conflict, natural disaster or a disease like this. It has always served the country. It was a challenging operation. We have a team and every department knows its role."
 
"I was the executive commander of the flight. It was the first time we got involved in going to the so-called epicentre of the epidemic. There was no other airplane there. All roads and buildings were empty. It was as if we came to another planet," he said.

Vietnam quarantines rural community of 10,000 over coronavirus fears: Officials

Vietnam has quarantined a community of 10,000 people near the capital, Hanoi, for 20 days over fears that the coronavirus could spread there, two local officials told Reuters on Thursday.
 
The rural commune of Son Loi, in the northern Vietnamese province of Vinh Phuc, 44 km (27 miles) from Hanoi, is home to 11 of the 16 coronavirus cases in the Southeast Asian country, including a three-month-old baby.

China's Xi pledges to minimise impact of virus

China will definitely be able to minimise the impact of the coronavirus outbreak and will maintain the development momentum of its economy, President Xi Jinping said on Thursday, state media reported.
 
China will strive to achieve this year's development targets, Xi added, in a telephone call with Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, the report said.
 
The Chinese government has taken strict measures to curb the virus and treatment methods continue to see breakthroughs, Xi added.

Indian, Pakistani students in Wuhan panic as Chinese officials set up hospitals in campuses

Indian and Pakistani students in China's Hubei province, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak, have made desperate pleas to their governments to evacuate them after Chinese officials decided to convert their university gymnasiums and dormitories into makeshift hospitals amid a big surge in infection cases.
 
The death toll from the epidemic surged to 1,367 with 254 deaths on Wednesday, highest in a day, raising concerns that the virus is nowhere near slowing down.

Air tickets of seven Chinese paragliders cancelled

Seven Chinese nationals, who were scheduled to take part in a paragliding championship in Mizoram, could not make it to the event, in view of the curbs imposed by aviation regulator DGCA to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus.
 
C Lalhminghlua, the president of Mizoram Aero-Sports Association (MASA) -- which has organised the tournament-- told PTI that the Chinese nationals were among the 58 paraglisers registered for the championship.

Cruise passengers shunned over coronavirus to head home after Cambodia reprieve

Passengers on a cruise ship that spent two weeks at sea after being turned away by five countries over fears that someone aboard might have the coronavirus cheered and clapped as the vessel finally arrived at a port in Cambodia on Thursday.
 
The MS Westerdam, carrying 1,455 passengers and 802 crew, docked in Sihanoukville in the evening after anchoring offshore early in the morning to allow Cambodian officials to board the vessel and collect samples from passengers with any signs of ill health or flu-like symptoms.

Virus cut China's international air traffic by 70%: IEA

The early stages of the coronavirus outbreak crisis led to a 70% fall in international air traffic in China while domestic air travel fell by 50%, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said.
 
It cut its first-quarter Chinese jet fuel demand forecast by 14% or 125,000 barrels per day (bpd) and its second-quarter forecast by 15%, or 140,000 bpd.
 
It lowered its overall Asian jet fuel demand forecast by 5% for the first quarter and by 8% for the second versus its previous forecast last month.

IndiGo crew members in quarantine in Kolkata as precautionary measure

IndiGo's eight crew members, who were part of its Kolkata-Guangzhou flight operations, have been in quarantine in Kolkata for the last few days as a precautionary measure against coronavirus, sources said on Thursday.
 
The low-cost carrier suspended its flights on the Delhi-Chengdu route and the Bengaluru-Hong Kong route from February 1 due to the virus outbreak. It suspended flight operations on the Kolkata-Guangzhou route from February 6.
 
China has reported 1,367 deaths till Thursday due to the coronavirus outbreak amid concerns that the crisis is nowhere near slowing down contrary to official projections.

Hunt on for 'patient zero' who spread coronavirus globally from Singapore

Experts say finding this so-called "patient zero" is critical for tracing all those potentially exposed to infection and containing the outbreak, but as time passes, the harder it becomes. Read more

France warns of dent to world economy from virus outbreak

France's government calculates that the deadly virus outbreak in China will shave at least 1 percentage point off the growth this year of the world's second largest economy, hurting global economic growth too.
 
The French economy minister, Bruno Le Maire, told broadcaster BFM-TV that the impact on global growth will be greater this time than during the SARS epidemic in 2003, because China's economy is a far larger component of the world economy than it was then.
 
"Our estimation is that the impact on Chinese growth will be of the order of 1 (percentage) point for the year. That's to say, an important number," the minister said Thursday.

Final sample collection of inmates at ITBP facility begins

A final sample collection of 404 inmates at an ITBP coronavirus quarantine facility here is being carried out in order to determine if they can be discharged over the next few days, a senior official said on Thursday.
 
The facility has been hosting these people from early this month after they were evacuated from China in the aftermath of the coronavirus outbreak in that country.
 
"Final sample collection of all 404 people housed at our quarantine facility is being done by a team of doctors. While 200 samples have been taken today, the rest will be collected on Friday," ITBP spokesperson Vivek Kumar Pandey said.

'Improvement in condition of 2 Indians infected with coronavirus on board cruise ship off Japanese coast'

The condition of two Indian crew infected with coronavirus on board a cruise ship off the Japanese coast is stable and improving, the Indian embassy in Japan said on Thursday as authorities confirmed that 218 passengers have been infected with the deadly disease.
 
The Indian nationals are currently in a medical facility under quarantine as per the Japanese health protocol, an Indian embassy official said.
 
"We have established contact with the doctor treating them and have been told that their condition was stable and improving. They will be put to another round of tests in next few days and further treatment will be carried out based on the results," he said.

Coronavirus patient discharged from Kerala hospital, in home quarantine

A Keralite student from Wuhan university, who tested postive for the novel coronavirus thereby becoming the country's second such case, was on Thursday discharged from the isolation ward of the Alappuzha Medical college hospital, health department sources said.
 
The youth was discharged after his two consecutive samples sent for testing at the National Instiute of Virology, Pune, turned out negative, the sources told PTI.
 
"On the basis of the two consecutive negative results, the patient has been discharged. He will be in home quarantine for the remining 14 days."

Japan confirms first death of person with new coronavirus

A woman in her 80s has become the first person with the new coronavirus to die in Japan, the country's health minister said Thursday, cautioning it was not clear if the virus caused her death.
 
"The relationship between the new coronavirus and the death of the person is still unclear," Katsunobu Kato said at a late-night briefing.
"This is the first death of a person who tested positive."

How scientists quantify pandemic potential of an outbreak like coronavirus?

Scientists use R0 – the reproduction number – to describe the intensity of an infectious disease outbreak. R0 estimates have been an important part of characterizing pandemics or large publicized outbreaks, including the 2003 SARS pandemic, the 2009 H1N1 Influenza pandemic and the 2014 Ebola epidemic in West Africa.  Read more
 

Two passengers put in isolation for suspected coronavirus at Kolkata airport

Two passengers, who arrived at Kolkata international airport from Bangkok, have been placed in isolation for suspected novel coronavirus, officials said on Thursday.
 
While one passenger was quarantined on Tuesday, the other was put in isolation on Wednesday, government officials said in New Delhi.
 
Both passengers were sent to Beliaghata ID Hospital, a Kolkata airport official said.

Virus to knock oil demand growth by 300,000 bpd: Trafigura

Global commodity trader Trafigura Group expects the coronavirus outbreak in China to cut 2020 global oil demand growth by 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) to around 1 million bpd, CEO Jeremy Weir told Fox News.
 
Weir said he expected a big pick-up in demand in the second half of the year.
 
He also expects stimulus in China in the second half of the year to buoy industrial demand there.

New party boss of China's Hubei pledges to contain coronavirus: State media

The new Communist Party chief of China's Hubei province pledged to contain the outbreak in the region that has been the hardest hit by the coronavirus, the province's official newspaper reported on Thursday.
 
Ying Yong, former mayor of Shanghai who was appointed to the post earlier in on Thursday, said the situation there remained very severe, according to a report published by the Hubei Daily.

US cruise ship blocked over virus fears to dock in Cambodia

A US cruise ship blocked from several Asian ports over concerns that a passenger could have been infected with the new coronavirus arrived off Cambodia Thursday, as frustrated holidaymakers expressed hope that their ordeal may soon be over.
 
The Westerdam was supposed to be taking its 1,455 passengers on a dream 14-day cruise around east Asia, beginning in Hong Kong on February 1 and disembarking on Saturday in Yokohama, Japan.
 
But the ship was turned away from Japan, Guam, the Philippines, Taiwan and Thailand over fears of the novel coronavirus epidemic that has killed more than 1,300 people in China.

Rise in new coronavirus cases in China reflects 'broader definition' of infection: WHO

A jump in the number of new cases of coronavirus in China reflects a "broader definition" of a case of infection, World Health Organization (WHO) officials said on Thursday.
 
"It is our current understanding that the new case definition widens the net, and includes not only lab-confirmed cases but also clinically diagnosed cases based on symptoms and exposure," WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said.
 
He said the Geneva-based United Nations health agency was seeking "further clarity" from China about recent updates to its case definition and reporting protocol for the coronavirus disease outbreak.

EU ministers hold emergency talks on COVID-19 virus

European Union health ministers were holding an emergency meeting Thursday on how to prevent the COVID-19 virus from further spreading across Europe.
Ministers from the bloc's 27 member states gather in Brussels amid the outbreak, which has infected around 60,000 people worldwide. Mike Ryan, the executive director of the World Health Organization's emergencies program, will also join the debate via video link.
 
More people have now died from COVID-19 than during the SARS outbreak, but no death has been reported in Europe so far.
 
 

Coronavirus won't hit seafood exports to China, says MPEDA

Indias seafood exports to China are not likely tohave any adverse impact of coronavirus, the deadly virus, that has mostly hit Wuhan province of the East Asian country, the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) said here on Thursday.
 
"Seafood exports to China have increased substantially in the current financial year as compared to the same period last year. In April-December 2019, the total exports stood at 2,42,218 tonnes valued at $1,032 million as against 1,65,950 tonnes valued at $589 million in the same period last year, said MPEDA chairman K S Srinivas.
 
MPEDA functions under the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry as an autonomous nodal agency for holistic development of seafood industry.

3 persons who tested positive for coronavirus in Kerala now stable: Govt

Three persons who tested positive for novel coronavirus in Kerala are now stable, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said on Thursday.
 
The 645 Indians evacuated from the coronavirus-hit Wuhan city have all tested negative for the virus and discharge guidelines are being issued, he said.
 
People at 21 airports are being being screened for coronavirus, he told a press conference.
 
 

Red Cross seeks sanctions exemptions as N Korea steps up anti-virus campaign

The Red Cross called for an urgent exemption from sanctions on North Korea on Thursday to help prevent an outbreak of the coronavirus, following an epidemic in neighbouring China.
 
"We know that there is urgent need of personal protective gear and testing kits, items which will be vital to prepare for a possible outbreak," Xavier Castellanos, Asia Pacific director for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies (IFRC) said in a statement.
 
An exemption allowing for a bank transfer to the IFRC country office in North Korea "is essential as a life-saving intervention," he added.

Japan cruise ship virus cases jump to 218 as elderly offered escape

Japan said Thursday it would allow some elderly passengers off a quarantined cruise ship and into government-designated lodging, as the number of new coronavirus cases on the vessel jumped to 218.
 
Thousands of passengers and crew on the Diamond Princess -- the single largest cluster of infected people outside China -- face several days more of quarantine, with many taking to social media to voice their concerns.
 
Those working on the ship have been reluctant to speak to reporters for fear of losing their jobs, but two crew members broke their silence in a video broadcast by Indian media Thursday.

Indian national infected with coronavirus in UAE is stable

A 36-year-old Indian national, who was diagnosed with the deadly coronavirus in the UAE, is in a stable condition, according to a media report.
 
On February 10, the Indian national was diagnosed with the coronavirus, bringing the total number of confirmed infection cases to eight in the UAE.
 
"The Indian expat is a 36-year-old male," an embassy official was quoted as saying by the Gulf News. "He is a resident of the UAE," the official said but did not mention if the man had any travel history to China.

China's coronavirus epicentre boosts medical waste treatment as new cases spike

The Chinese province at the centre of the coronavirus outbreak has almost doubled its medical waste handling capacity after media images of bags of garbage piling up uncovered in hospital yards raised public concerns over secondary infections.
 
Adding to the pressure on authorities Hubei province, in central China, on Thursday reported a spike in new cases.
 
Provincial health officials said 242 people had died from the flu-like virus on Wednesday, the fastest daily rise in fatalities so far, with another 14,840 new infections after a change in diagnostic methods.

Surge in coronavirus cases, deaths bog down EM assets

Emerging market stocks and currencies came under pressure on Thursday after a jump in coronavirus cases and deaths reported under a new diagnostic method in China hammered investors' hopes that the outbreak might soon peak.
 
The death toll from the outbreak in China had reached 1,367 as of the end of Wednesday, up 254 from the previous day, the country's National Health Commission said.
 
"Those market quants (quantitative analysts) who have been merrily looking at the recent decline in the day-to-day new virus cases woke to a shock this morning," said Michael Every, senior strategist, Asia-Pacific at Rabobank.

COVID-19 causing first drop in oil use in decade: IEA

Global oil demand will suffer its first quarterly drop in a decade as the COVID-19 virus lashes the economy in China and its impact ripples throughout the world, the IEA said Thursday.
 
"Global oil demand has been hit hard by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and the widespread shutdown of China's economy," the International Energy Agency said in its latest monthly report.

Oil demand set for first quarterly drop in a decade on virus

Oil demand is set to fall year on year in the first quarter for the first time since the depths of the financial crisis in 2009 hurt by the coronavirus outbreak in China, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Thursday.
 
"The consequences of Covid-19 for global oil demand will be significant. Demand is now expected to contract by 435,000 barrels per day (bpd) in Q1, the first quarterly decrease in more than a decade," the Paris-based IEA said in a monthly report, using the new scientific name for the virus.
 
"For 2020 as a whole, we have reduced our global growth forecast by 365,000 bpd to 825,000 bpd, the lowest since 2011," the IEA said, adding that it assumed economic activity from the second quarter would return progressively to normal.

Passenger onboard SpiceJet's Bangkok-Delhi flight suspected of coronavirus infection

Passenger onboard SpiceJet's Bangkok-Delhi flight suspected of coronavirus infection, quarantined after landing at Delhi airport: Airline

China coronavirus deaths rise 254 to 1,367

The death toll from the coronavirus outbreak in China reached 1,367 as of the end of Wednesday, up 254 from the previous day, the country's National Health Commission said on Thursday.

In Pic: Coronavirus-hit China works to keep situation in control

An employee works on a production line manufacturing protective suits at a medical supply factory in Xinzhou district of Wuhan. Reuters

An employee works on a production line manufacturing protective suits at a medical supply factory in Xinzhou district of Wuhan. Reuters


Imran directs authorities to take all possible steps for Pak students in Wuhan

Prime Minister Imran Khan has directed authorities to take every possible step to help Pakistani students stuck in China's Wuhan, the epicentre of the deadly coronavirus, after mounting pressure about their fate. The government, however, has said that it would not evacuate its citizens from Wuhan in an attempt to stem the spread of the coronavirus which has killed over 1,000 people and infected nearly 50,000 since its outbreak, The Express Tribune reported.
 
"I have issued instructions to our Foreign Office and Overseas Ministry to do everything possible for our students who are stuck in Wuhan city," Khan tweeted on Wednesday night.

 

Vietnam quarantines commune of 10,000 over coronavirus

Vietnam announced Thursday that a commune of 10,000 people will be placed under quarantine due to fears over the spread of the new coronavirus. "As of February 13, 2020, we will urgently implement the task of isolation and quarantine of the epidemic area in Son Loi commune," said a health ministry statement. "The timeline... is for 20 days".

Stranded by coronavirus blockade, Chinese man fights to get back to work

Tian Bing has spent six straight nights curled up in the back of his white sedan, stranded at an expressway service station in eastern Jiangsu province in China because of a blockade aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus. On Sunday, the 35-year-old completed a near-2,000 km (1,243 mile) drive from his hometown to Taixing, a city of about 1 million people in Jiangsu, to return to work. But policemen guarding the highway exit to the city, where he runs a home appliances repair business, told him turn back. The reason: Tian is not considered a local resident under China's Byzantine hukou system, barring him from entry due to the city's recent decision to keep out outsiders.

China's Hubei province communist party chief relieved of duty

The head of the Communist Party in the Chinese province of Hubei, the epicentre of a coronavirus outbreak that has killed more than a thousand people, has been relieved of duty, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Thursday. Shanghai Mayor Ying Yong has been appointed as the new secretary of the Hubei Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China.

Tokyo shares wobble after China reports sharp rise in virus deaths

Japanese stocks wobbled on Thursday as a sharp jump in the death toll from the coronavirus triggered concerns that the epidemic could get worse before it is brought under control. The benchmark Nikkei average was virtually flat at 23,875.75 by the midday break, while the broader Topix fell 0.2% to 1,714.98.

Hong Kong extends suspension of schools till at least March 16

Hong Kong extended on Wednesday the suspension of schools till at least March 16 in a bid to contain the spread of the coronavirus in the city, where 50 cases of the flu-like infection have been confirmed. Secretary for Education Kevin Yeung said secondary and primary schools would not return from the prolonged break until at least mid-March. 

Coronavirus scare forces cancellation of Mobile World Congress in Spain

Organizers of the world's biggest mobile technology fair are pulling the plug over worries about the viral outbreak from China. GSMA said Wednesday that this year's edition of Mobile World Congress will no longer be held as planned in Barcelona, Spain, on Feb 24-27. Read More Here

Death toll from Coronavirus surges by 242 in a day in Hubei

The number of fatalities and new cases from China's coronavirus outbreak soared on Thursday, with 242 more deaths and nearly 15,000 extra patients in hard-hit Hubei province as authorities changed their threshold for diagnosis. At least 1,355 people have now died nationwide and nearly 60,000 have been infected after Hubei's health commission reported the new numbers. Read More Here

Pope prays for coronavirus victims

Pope Francis prayed Wednesday for victims of China's "cruel" coronavirus, which has killed over 1,100 people and infected many thousands more, particularly among the elderly and vulnerable.
 
"A prayer goes to our Chinese brothers and sisters who are suffering from such a cruel disease," the pontiff said during his weekly general audience at the Vatican. "May they find the road to recovery as soon as possible," the 83-year old said. Read more...

Airlines suspend China flights due to coronavirus outbreak

Airlines are suspending flights to China in the wake of the new coronavirus outbreak.

SOME OF THE AIRLINES THAT HAVE CANCELLED ALL CHINA FLIGHTS
  • American Airlines - extends suspension of China and Hong Kong flights through April 24 from March 27 earlier
  • Air France - Said on Feb.6 it would suspend flights to and from mainland China for much of March
  • Air Seoul - The South Korean budget carrier suspended China flights from Jan. 28 until further notice.
  • Air Tanzania - Tanzania's state-owned carrier, which had planned to begin charter flights to China in February, postponed its maiden flights.
  • Austrian Airlines - until end-February.
  • British Airways - Jan. 29-March 31.
 

Kerala coronavirus positive patient now tests negative

A male patient who arrived from Wuhan and later tested positive for coronavirus will be discharged on Thursday, after two tests have now turned negative, a health official said. The patient, who is quarantined at the Alappuzha Medical College, was the second person who turned up positive in the test. All the three patients -- a female and two males -- who were tested coronavirus positive were studying in Wuhan.
 
"The patient, now at Alappuzha will be discharged tomorrow (Thursday) as two tests of his turned negative. Likewise when the results of the other two come, the same will be followed," said the official who did not wish to be identified.

Exiled Uighurs fear spread of coronavirus in China camps

Members of China's Uighur minority living in exile are sounding the alarm over the risk of the coronavirus spreading in camps inside the country, where NGOs say hundreds of thousands of people have been rounded up by Beijing.
 
So far, official figures released by Chinese state media give no major cause for concern over the COVID-19 outbreak in the northeastern region of Xinjiang that is home to the Uighurs, a Muslim minority who speak a Turkic language. Read more...

Coronavirus has spread to over 20 countries, including India

The virus, now named COVID-19, has spread to over 20 countries, including India

35 with coronavirus-like symptoms tested negative in Punjab

A total of 35 persons with coronavirus-like symptoms in Punjab have tested negative.

Punjab govt cancels leaves of medical staff to keep watch on coronavirus

The Punjab government on Wednesday cancelled leaves of the health department staff engaged in keeping a watch on coronavirus.
 
"The state government issued the instructions to cancel the holidays/leaves of all the key staff engaged in the reporting and management for COVID-19 (coronavirus disease)," said a government release. The government said the State Surveillance Unit will be monitoring the situation and all the surveillance activities for coronavirus disease in the state. Read more... 

As many as 27,894 undergone screening at Mumbai airport since Jan 18

As many as 27,894 people have undergone screening at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj international airport in Mumbai since January 18, an official release stated.
 

Coronavirus: 40 of 41 samples test negative in Maharashtra

The swab samples of 40 of the total 41 people quarantined in Maharashtra after returning from the Chinese regions affected by novel Coronavirus outbreak have tested negative, the state government said on Wednesday.
 
While 39 of them were discharged from isolation facilities by Tuesday evening, two others remained admitted at Naidu hospital in Pune and at Kasturba hospital in Mumbai, respectively. Pune-based National Institute of Virology (NIV) has stated that samples of 40 people who were admitted to the isolation facilities have tested negative in laboratory tests, while reports of the remaining one person is expected on Thursday. Read more...

Coronavirus death toll soars to over 1,100 in China

The coronavirus outbreak in China has led to rare open calls for freedom of speech in the Communist nation amid growing public discontent over the handling of the epidemic, as the death toll continued to climb which prompted the government on Wednesday to announce fresh restrictions in top cities.
 
So far, the virus outbreak has claimed 1,115 lives with 97 new fatalities reported mostly in the worst-affected Hubei province on Tuesday while the confirmed cases of infection jumped to 44,763, the state-run CGTN TV reported. Read more...

Chinese F1 postponed over coronavirus fears

The Chinese Grand Prix scheduled for April 19 has been postponed because of the "continued spread" of the deadly coronavirus, motorsport's governing body FIA announced Wednesday.
 
FIA said promotors of the Shanghai race had requested a postponement "in view of the continued spread of novel coronavirus", now named COVID-19. Read more...

Two Indian crew on board cruise ship off Japanese coast test positive for coronavirus

Two Indian crew on board a cruise ship off the Japanese coast have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, the Indian Embassy in Japan said on Wednesday as authorities confirmed that 174 people have been infected with the deadly disease.
 
The cruise ship Diamond Princess with 3,711 people on board arrived at the Japanese coast early last week and was quarantined after a passenger who de-boarded last month in Hong Kong was found to be the carrier of the novel virus on the ship. Read more...

Coronavirus: China returnee put under 'home isolation'

One more student returning to Mizoram from China has been put under "home isolation" as a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus in the state, taking the total number of such cases to seven, a health department official said on Wednesday.
 
The student was screened at Lengpui airport upon his arrival to Mizoram on Tuesday and put under "home isolation" like the six other students who had returned from China in January and earlier this month, he said.
 
However, none of the seven students has complained of any illness, the official said. Read more...

China offers online classes amid coronavirus outbreak

Chinese students will be able to attend classes online or study via television as schools postpone the start of the new semester due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, education officials said on Wednesday. The Ministry of Education (MOE) has issued a guideline for universities to organise online classes, with 22 online platforms offering 24,000 courses to students, said Wu Yan with the ministry at a press conference, reported Xinhua news agency.

These courses are of high-quality and were carefully selected over the past several years, Wu said, adding that more platforms will be launched in the future, IANS reported.

Virus quarantine over, Japan evacuees emerge ready for home

The palm-fringed hotel in the Japanese city of Katsuura is usually a destination for sun-worshipping holidaymakers, but for the last two weeks it has also been a coronavirus quarantine site.
 
Dozens of Japanese have taken refuge in the beachside resort to wait out a 14-day "self-quarantine" after being evacuated from the Chinese province where a deadly new coronavirus originated. Read more...

Chinese president promises aid to industries hurt by virus

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday promised tax cuts and other aid to industries hurt by a virus outbreak in a renewed effort to rein in the rising damage to the economy. Xi's announcement comes as companies face increasing losses due to the closure of factories, offices, shops and other businesses in the most sweeping anti-disease measures ever imposed. Read more...

Only coronavirus patient in Tibet discharged from hospital

The only patient infected with the novel coronavirus in Tibet was discharged from hospital on Wednesday after 18 days of treatment. The 34-year-old patient is from Suizhou city in Hubei province, the epicentre of the virus. He travelled from Hubei's capital Wuhan to Lhasa, the provincial capital of Tibet by train from January 22 to 24. Read more...

China welcomes support from BRICS to its efforts to combat coronavirus

China on Wednesday welcomed the support extended by the BRICS countries in its efforts to combat the deadly coronavirus epidemic that has brought the country to a virtual standstill, describing it as an epitome of the support Beijing has received from the international community.
 
The death toll in China's novel coronavirus outbreak has gone up to 1,113 with 97 new fatalities reported mostly in the worst-affected Hubei province while the confirmed cases of infection jumped to 44,653, health officials said on Wednesday. Read more...

Boeing executive says tough to see air cargo growth this year due to virus

The air cargo market is unlikely to grow this year because of the challenges posed in the China market due to the coronavirus, a senior executive at Boeing Co said on Wednesday.
 
The world's biggest manufacturer of freighter aircraft had previously forecast air freight would grow by 1% to 2% this year due in part to the United States and China reaching a phase 1 trade deal, said Randy Tinseth, vice-president of marketing at Boeing Commercial Airplanes, the commercial division of Boeing.
 
"That is going to see pressure as well," he told reporters of the U.S.-China deal at the Singapore Airshow.
 
"If we are not seeing goods travel and airplanes fly that is under pressure. I think it is going to be really tough to see the cargo market grow this year."

IMF says China can top up stimulus if virus outbreak hurts growth

China has room to ramp up stimulus if its economy slows further due to the coronavirus outbreak, but should not lose sight of structural reforms to address rapid credit growth, a senior International Monetary Fund official said on Wednesday.
 
Changyong Rhee, director of the IMF's Asia and Pacific Department, said China's growth rate has been moderating even before the outbreak of the coronavirus because of "desirable" steps by its government to deleverage its economy.
 
Beijing will likely rely more on stimulus measures this year to keep its economy afloat, though the direct boost to growth will be smaller than past fiscal measures that focused on big infrastructure spending, he told a news conference in Tokyo.
 
"We understand that if the coronavirus cases slow the Chinese economy ... they have policy room" to provide more fiscal stimulus, Rhee said. "But we really hope that they can also (continue to) do ... structural reform and credit control," he added.

Sensex, Nifty tick higher as coronavirus fears subside

Stock market rose on Wednesday, tracking gains in Asian markets, on hopes that the worst of the coronavirus in China may have passed.
 
The broader NSE Nifty 50 index rose 0.8% to 12,207.60 by 0402 GMT and the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex was up 0.89% at 41,582.60.
 
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.31% as China's senior medical adviser on Tuesday forecast the epidemic would peak this month, bringing cheer to global investors.
 
In the domestic market, metal stocks and state-owned banks led gains among sectors.
 
"Markets know that the epidemic risk will subside in a quarter or two," said Saurabh Jain, assistant vice president at SMC Global Securities, in New Delhi
"There is also a lot of liquidity in markets."

Singapore’s Budget will include a ‘strong’ package to counter virus, reports Bloomberg

Singapore will roll out a “strong” economic package next week as part of its national budget to mitigate the economic fallout from coronavirus in the trade-reliant city-state.
 
“We know there is economic impact. Already the specific sectors are feeling it – tourism, hospitality – but beyond these specific sectors, we think the broader knock on impact can be quite severe as well,” Lawrence Wong, Minister for National Development who co-chairs the multi-ministry task force set up to coordinate Singapore’s response to the virus, said in a Bloomberg TV interview.

Singapore reports 2 more cases of coronavirus

Two more cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Singapore on Tuesday, bringing the total number of people infected with the deadly virus to 47 in the island nation.
 
It is by far the highest number of cases reported in any country other than China.
 
Among the two cases is a Bangladeshi man who had worked at Selator Aerospace Heights, the same location as another Bangladeshi who was found to have the virus last Saturday, Straits Times reported citing the administration.
 
The other is a 35-year-old Singapore woman. None of them ever visited China.

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