Coronavirus wrap: Chinese doctor who first warned about virus outbreak dies

Topics Coronavirus

Indian nationals, airlifted from China's Wuhan, are seen inside a quarantine facility set by up ITBP IN New Delhi. Photo: PTI
The death toll from the novel coronavirus in China jumped to 564 on Thursday, its third straight record daily rise, as experts intensified efforts to find a vaccine for a disease that has shut down Chinese cities, forced thousands into quarantine around the world and is also expected to have an impact on the global economy. 

Seventy new deaths were reported in Hubei province, the epicentre of the epidemic, on Wednesday as also 2,987 new confirmed cases. Fatalities were also reported in Tianjin city, the northeastern province of Heilongjiang and Guizhou province in the southwest.

A third person was diagnosed with the deadly coronavirus in Kerala on Monday, compelling the state to declare the novel virus as a 'state calamity'. Many countries have taken stringent steps, including travel restrictions, to limit the spread of the disease.

Meanwhile, China has opened a 1,000-bed makeshift hospital built in record 10 days at Wuhan, the epicentre of the virus outbreak in central China's Hubei Province. Wuhan authorities are converting an additional eight buildings, including gymnasiums, exhibition centres and sports centres, into hospitals.

2:56 AM IST Buyout firm Carlyle Group Inc has delayed the U.S. initial public offering (IPO) of its German specialty chemicals group Atotech, concerned that the coronavirus outbreak would negatively impact the valuation it could achieve with investors, people familiar with the matter said on Friday.   Carlyle's decision highlights the uncertainty that the spread of the virus in China and around the world has brought to financial markets, with the benchmark S&P 500 Index on track for its worst week since August.     Atotech, which makes specialty chemicals and equipment for printed circuit boards and semiconductors, had planned to kick off its IPO process this week by publishing an indicated price range. Read more here

2:04 AM IST Rumours on social media about the spread of coronavirus through birds have beaten down poultry prices, which have declined 10 per cent in the past two days owing to a sudden plunge in its demand in the country.   Broiler chicken per kg is now being sold to consumers at Rs 65 in Pune and Rs 72 in Delhi as against Rs 73 and Rs 80 a kg, respectively, last week. Similarly, egg prices have declined and are trading at Rs 3.75 per piece.     Since the epidemic broke out in a few cities in China and a couple of cases were spotted in India as well, there were rumours that birds were the vector. Normally mammals are possible origin of this virus, which spills over into humans. Coronavirus is feared to have originated from bats in China. Read more here

2:03 AM IST The US-Iran standoff and the recent coronavirus outbreak in China are among factors which, it is thought, could pull down Indian rice exports by about a fifth this year.   Export of rice, especially basmati, to Iran was valued at $1.5 billion (about Rs 10,500 crore) in 2018-19. It accounts for 25-30 per cent of annual Indian rice shipment. Indian rice export had a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of nearly 14 per cent between 2010 and 2019. We account for a fourth of global rice export; it contributes two per cent to the overall Indian export basket.     However, goes a report by US-based trade finance company Drip Capital, rice export this year has fallen across the globe, with a major dip emerging from West Asia, due to geopolitical tensions. The report is based on analysis of proprietary data and on-ground conversation with exporters. Read more here

2:02 AM IST With Chinese markets remaining closed amid the coronavirus outbreak, commodity exports from Gujarat, especially those of cumins, sesame seeds and groundnut oil, could take a 10-15 per cent hit over the next two months or so.   According to traders and exporters, China accounts for 20 per cent to 30 per cent of India’s export of some key commodities. Each of these could fall by 10-15 per cent if the current situation prevails.     Chinese markets typically remain closed in January for Chinese Lunar New Year holidays. This year, however, markets are yet to reopen amid precautionary measures in in view of the outbreak of coronavirus from Wuhan. With the Chinese administration choosing to prolong the market closure in a bid to control the outbreak, the export of various commodities from India has suffered.   "Usually, these holidays last for five days. But this time markets have been closed for almost a fortnight. People are also choosing to stay at home wearing masks. We are in touch with fellow commodity traders in China over video calls, but the situation seems indefinite. Exports could be take a 10-15 per cent hit," says Vijay Joshi, president of the Unjha Commodity Association. Unjha is one of the largest cumin seed hubs in the country. Read more here

11:16 PM IST China's fast-spreading coronavirus is throwing the global container shipping trade out of sync, with lines re-routing cargoes and reducing calls to Chinese ports, setting the scene for months of delivery delays ahead, industry sources said.   The spread of the deadly virus has shut down cities and factories in China and disrupted global air travel.   China's decision to extend its Lunar New Year holiday period until Feb. 10 has compounded logistical complications, despite its ports staying open. China is a vital link to the container sector, transporting everything from fresh food to phones and designer clothes as well as industrial parts.  

9:26 PM IST More than 14,000 passengers have undergone screening at the international airport here in nearly three weeks for the novel coronavirus after returning from China and currently four persons are under observation, said a Maharashtra health department official on Thursday.   He said of the four persons under observation for suspected coronavirus infection, three are at Nagpur-based Government Medical College and Hospital, while the fourth one has been admitted to civic-run Kasturba Hospital in Mumbai.   Swab sample test report of a person admitted at Nagpur came negative on Thursday, while the reports of the other two are expected on Friday, the official said.  

9:25 PM IST Over 2,800 people are under observation in Kerala for the novel coronavirus infection and no new cases have been reported, Kerala Health Minister K K Shailaja said.   India's three positive cases for the virus have been reported from Thrissur, Alappuzuha and Kasaragod districts.   At least 2,826 people are under surveillance in the state as of Thursday, a press release quoting the minister said.  

9:06 PM IST Chinese doctor Li Wenliang, one of the eight whistle-blowers who warned other medics of the coronavirus outbreak but were reprimanded by the police, died of the epidemic on Thursday, official media reported.   Li, a 34-year-old doctor who tried to warn other medics of the epidemic, died of coronavirus on Thursday in Wuhan, the state-run Global Times reported.   He was the first to report about the virus way back in December last year when it first emerged in Wuhan, the provincial capital of China's central Hubei province. Read More  

8:54 PM IST China on Thursday denounced as "rumours and lies" the reports of a much higher death toll and infected cases in the coronavirus outbreak that it said has killed 564 people as the authorities finished work on a second hospital to treat thousands of patients suffering from the disease.   Overall 564 people have died in China due to the virus on Wednesday and 28,018 confirmed cases have been reported from 31 provincial-level regions, the National Health Commission reported on Thursday.   On Wednesday, 73 people died - the highest casualty in a single day - due to the virus and the new confirmed cases of the epidemic went up by 3,694, it added.

8:33 PM IST Apart from the 647 Indians evacuated from the coronavirus-hit Hubei province in China, 10 other Indians who wanted to return were unable to do so as they could not clear the health screening, the Ministry of External Affairs said on Thursday.   Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar also said the already issued e-Visas for travel to India from China and existing normal visas are no longer valid.

7:56 PM IST Human Rights Watch on Thursday accused China of suppressing criticism of its response to the deadly novel coronavirus and said it had made the outbreak worse.   HRW chief Kenneth Roth also criticised the Chinese government's lockdown on various cities in an attempt to contain the virus as a "sledgehammer" approach.   "There have been big problems in China's response to the coronavirus that have worsened the outbreak," Roth told reporters in Geneva, although he also said China deserved credit for sharing the DNA sequence of the virus early on.  

7:55 PM IST Thousands of Chinese tourists stranded in Bali after Indonesia suspended flights over coronavirus fears will be offered charter flights home, China's consulate on the holiday island said Thursday.   A diplomatic notice said Beijing was arranging flights for Friday back to Wuhan -- the epicentre of the deadly outbreak which has killed over 500 people and spread around the world.   Many of the marooned tourists are from the stricken city and surrounding Hubei province, the consulate said, but it added their return would be voluntary.

LIVE UPDATES

Coronavirus outbreak delays Carlyle Group's Atotech IPO, says report

Buyout firm Carlyle Group Inc has delayed the U.S. initial public offering (IPO) of its German specialty chemicals group Atotech, concerned that the coronavirus outbreak would negatively impact the valuation it could achieve with investors, people familiar with the matter said on Friday.
 
Carlyle's decision highlights the uncertainty that the spread of the virus in China and around the world has brought to financial markets, with the benchmark S&P 500 Index on track for its worst week since August.
 
 
Atotech, which makes specialty chemicals and equipment for printed circuit boards and semiconductors, had planned to kick off its IPO process this week by publishing an indicated price range. Read more here

Poultry prices decline amid rumours of coronavirus spreading to birds

Rumours on social media about the spread of coronavirus through birds have beaten down poultry prices, which have declined 10 per cent in the past two days owing to a sudden plunge in its demand in the country.
 
Broiler chicken per kg is now being sold to consumers at Rs 65 in Pune and Rs 72 in Delhi as against Rs 73 and Rs 80 a kg, respectively, last week. Similarly, egg prices have declined and are trading at Rs 3.75 per piece.
 
 
Since the epidemic broke out in a few cities in China and a couple of cases were spotted in India as well, there were rumours that birds were the vector. Normally mammals are possible origin of this virus, which spills over into humans. Coronavirus is feared to have originated from bats in China. Read more here

US-Iran tensions, coronavirus to pull down rice exports by 20%: Report

The US-Iran standoff and the recent coronavirus outbreak in China are among factors which, it is thought, could pull down Indian rice exports by about a fifth this year.
 
Export of rice, especially basmati, to Iran was valued at $1.5 billion (about Rs 10,500 crore) in 2018-19. It accounts for 25-30 per cent of annual Indian rice shipment. Indian rice export had a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of nearly 14 per cent between 2010 and 2019. We account for a fourth of global rice export; it contributes two per cent to the overall Indian export basket.
 
 
However, goes a report by US-based trade finance company Drip Capital, rice export this year has fallen across the globe, with a major dip emerging from West Asia, due to geopolitical tensions. The report is based on analysis of proprietary data and on-ground conversation with exporters. Read more here

Coronavirus outbreak to hit India's cumin, sesame, groundnut oil exports

With Chinese markets remaining closed amid the coronavirus outbreak, commodity exports from Gujarat, especially those of cumins, sesame seeds and groundnut oil, could take a 10-15 per cent hit over the next two months or so.
 
According to traders and exporters, China accounts for 20 per cent to 30 per cent of India’s export of some key commodities. Each of these could fall by 10-15 per cent if the current situation prevails.
 
 
Chinese markets typically remain closed in January for Chinese Lunar New Year holidays. This year, however, markets are yet to reopen amid precautionary measures in in view of the outbreak of coronavirus from Wuhan. With the Chinese administration choosing to prolong the market closure in a bid to control the outbreak, the export of various commodities from India has suffered.
 
"Usually, these holidays last for five days. But this time markets have been closed for almost a fortnight. People are also choosing to stay at home wearing masks. We are in touch with fellow commodity traders in China over video calls, but the situation seems indefinite. Exports could be take a 10-15 per cent hit," says Vijay Joshi, president of the Unjha Commodity Association. Unjha is one of the largest cumin seed hubs in the country. Read more here

China's coronavirus disrupts global container shipping trade

China's fast-spreading coronavirus is throwing the global container shipping trade out of sync, with lines re-routing cargoes and reducing calls to Chinese ports, setting the scene for months of delivery delays ahead, industry sources said.
 
The spread of the deadly virus has shut down cities and factories in China and disrupted global air travel.
 
China's decision to extend its Lunar New Year holiday period until Feb. 10 has compounded logistical complications, despite its ports staying open. China is a vital link to the container sector, transporting everything from fresh food to phones and designer clothes as well as industrial parts.
 

Coronavirus: 14,373 screened in Mumbai; 4 under observation

More than 14,000 passengers have undergone screening at the international airport here in nearly three weeks for the novel coronavirus after returning from China and currently four persons are under observation, said a Maharashtra health department official on Thursday.
 
He said of the four persons under observation for suspected coronavirus infection, three are at Nagpur-based Government Medical College and Hospital, while the fourth one has been admitted to civic-run Kasturba Hospital in Mumbai.
 
Swab sample test report of a person admitted at Nagpur came negative on Thursday, while the reports of the other two are expected on Friday, the official said.
 

Over 2,800 under observation in Kerala for Coronavirus

Over 2,800 people are under observation in Kerala for the novel coronavirus infection and no new cases have been reported, Kerala Health Minister K K Shailaja said.
 
India's three positive cases for the virus have been reported from Thrissur, Alappuzuha and Kasaragod districts.
 
At least 2,826 people are under surveillance in the state as of Thursday, a press release quoting the minister said.
 

Chinese doctor who first warned about coronavirus outbreak dies

Chinese doctor Li Wenliang, one of the eight whistle-blowers who warned other medics of the coronavirus outbreak but were reprimanded by the police, died of the epidemic on Thursday, official media reported.
 
Li, a 34-year-old doctor who tried to warn other medics of the epidemic, died of coronavirus on Thursday in Wuhan, the state-run Global Times reported.
 
He was the first to report about the virus way back in December last year when it first emerged in Wuhan, the provincial capital of China's central Hubei province. Read More
 

China denounces reports of higher fatalities as coronavirus death toll rises to 564

China on Thursday denounced as "rumours and lies" the reports of a much higher death toll and infected cases in the coronavirus outbreak that it said has killed 564 people as the authorities finished work on a second hospital to treat thousands of patients suffering from the disease.
 
Overall 564 people have died in China due to the virus on Wednesday and 28,018 confirmed cases have been reported from 31 provincial-level regions, the National Health Commission reported on Thursday.
 
On Wednesday, 73 people died - the highest casualty in a single day - due to the virus and the new confirmed cases of the epidemic went up by 3,694, it added.

10 Indians who sought evacuation from Hubei province failed health screening: MEA

Apart from the 647 Indians evacuated from the coronavirus-hit Hubei province in China, 10 other Indians who wanted to return were unable to do so as they could not clear the health screening, the Ministry of External Affairs said on Thursday.
 
Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar also said the already issued e-Visas for travel to India from China and existing normal visas are no longer valid.

'Big problems' in China response to virus: HRW

Human Rights Watch on Thursday accused China of suppressing criticism of its response to the deadly novel coronavirus and said it had made the outbreak worse.
 
HRW chief Kenneth Roth also criticised the Chinese government's lockdown on various cities in an attempt to contain the virus as a "sledgehammer" approach.
 
"There have been big problems in China's response to the coronavirus that have worsened the outbreak," Roth told reporters in Geneva, although he also said China deserved credit for sharing the DNA sequence of the virus early on.
 

Chinese tourists stranded in Bali over virus fears offered flights home

Thousands of Chinese tourists stranded in Bali after Indonesia suspended flights over coronavirus fears will be offered charter flights home, China's consulate on the holiday island said Thursday.
 
A diplomatic notice said Beijing was arranging flights for Friday back to Wuhan -- the epicentre of the deadly outbreak which has killed over 500 people and spread around the world.
 
Many of the marooned tourists are from the stricken city and surrounding Hubei province, the consulate said, but it added their return would be voluntary.

China expected to maintain trade commitments despite virus outbreak: Mnuchin

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Thursday he expected China to maintain its commitment to boost purchases of American goods and service by at least $200 billion over the next two years, despite the coronavirus outbreak that has killed hundreds and jolted the Chinese economy.
 
China made the commitment to buy the US goods as part of a Phase 1 trade deal with the United States, though a Chinese media report said Beijing was considering invoking the accord's disaster-related clause that allows for implementation delays.
 

FCA CEO: China disruptions could threaten production at a European plant within 2-4 weeks

Disruptions to auto parts production caused by the deadly virus outbreak in China could threaten production at one of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles's European plants within two to four weeks, Chief Executive Mike Manley told Reuters.
 
FCA so far has not reported production shutdowns at plants outside China related to the virus outbreak.
 

'We can look into it, resources permitting': MEA on evacuating Pak students

India can consider evacuating Pakistani students from the coronavirus-hit Hubei province "if such a situation arises" and resources are available, the Ministry of External Affairs said on Thursday, while making it clear that Pakistan had made no request for it till now.
 
Hundreds of stranded Pakistani students in the coronavirus-hit Wuhan city have made desperate pleas to the Imran Khan government to evacuate them from China's worst-affected Hubei province, urging his administration to take a leaf out of India's book.
 

Kremlin starts temperature checks at Putin events over virus fears

The Kremlin said Thursday it has begun checking the body temperature of officials and reporters attending events involving President Vladimir Putin due to coronavirus fears.
 
"This is a precautionary measure," presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told state news agency RIA Novosti after journalists underwent checks at the Kremlin on Thursday afternoon.
 

All 645 evacuated from Wuhan test negative for coronavirus

All 645 people evacuated from China's Wuhan city, who were kept in isolation at Army Base and ITBP camps, tested negative for coronavirus, the Union Health Ministry said on Thursday.
 
It said that as of February 6, 1,38,750 passengers from 1,265 flights had been screened for novel coronavirus illness but no new case was detected. Read more...

China opens new hospitals for virus patients

China on Thursday finished building a second new hospital to isolate and treat patients of a virus that has killed more than 560 people and continues to spread, disrupting travel and people's lives and fueling economic fears.
 
A first group of patients was expected to start testing a new antiviral drug, as China also moved people with milder symptoms into makeshift hospitals at sports centers, exhibition halls and other public spaces.
 
The health care system in the central city of Wuhan, where the outbreak was first detected in December, has been overwhelmed with the thousands of ill patients.
 

Coronavirus: Central team reviews preparedness in Odisha; 26 under home surveillance

A central team on Thursday reviewed Odisha's preparedness to deal with novel coronavirus, as two persons have been quarantined in a hospital and 26 others under home surveillance in the state with suspected nCov cases, officials said here.
 
The state government has sent blood and swab samples of seven suspected coronavirus patients to the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune, for examination and five of them have tested negative, Director of Medical Education and Training (DMET) Prof CBK Mohanty said.
 

19 foreign nationals in China contracting novel coronavirus: Foreign Ministry

China on Thursday said that 19 foreign nationals living in the country have been confirmed of contracting the novel coronavirus as of Thursday, but did not disclose their nationalities.
 
The death toll in China's novel coronavirus outbreak went up to 563 as 73 people died on Wednesday, the highest one-day fatalities so far, while total confirmed cases rose sharply to 28,018, Chinese health officials said on Thursday.
 
India and several other countries have evacuated hundreds of their nationals from Hubei province and its provincial capital Wuhan, which is a major international education centre. India has airlifted 647 Indians and seven Maldivian nationals.
 

Two Chinese nationals admitted to hospital; no nCoV symptoms

Two Chinese nationals have been admitted to the isolation ward of the state-run Gandhi hospital here as a precautionary measure after they approached it to be tested for presence of novel coronavirus, health officials said on Thursday.
 
Their samples have been sent for testing though they did not show any symptoms of the virus, they said.

UK over-reacted to coronavirus outbreak, says Chinese ambassador

Britain's advice to its nationals to leave China because of the coronavirus oubreak in Hubei province was an over-reaction, the Chinese ambassador to London said on Thursday.
 
Asked during a news conference if the Chinese authorities had been consulted about the advice, Liu Xiaoming said: "We did tell them over-reaction is not helpful. We asked them to take the advice of the WHO to make a reasonable response. Do not over-react."
 

Chinese city accused of stealing virus masks from hard-hit neighbour

A Chinese city with only eight confirmed cases of a new coronavirus has been accused of intercepting a shipment of surgical masks bound for a municipality with 400 cases, prompting outrage on social media.
 
Hospitals, towns and cities across China are scrambling for supplies of equipment, in particular protective masks, as the number of cases of the coronavirus, which emerged in the central city of Wuhan in December, approaches 30,000. Nearly 600 people have died.

640 Indians evacuated from coronavirus-hit China in complex operation: MEA

The government has evacuated 640 Indians from coronavirus-hit China and the complex operation was done with Beijing's assistance, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said on Thursday.
 
MEA Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said apart from those evacuated, 10 other Indians have indicated that they want to come back from China, but were unable to clear the health screening process.
 
"We are in regular contact with them and exploring all possibilities for their return," Kumar said.
 

Air France-KLM extends China flight suspensions to March 15: Airline

Air France-KLM said Thursday that it would extend until March 15 the suspension of its flights to China, where authorities are struggling to contain a coronavirus outbreak.
 
The French-Dutch carrier had already suspended all flights to and from China until February 9 and last week began flying employees out of the country.
 
If conditions allow, it will gradually resume flights to Shanghai and Beijing starting March 16 before returning to normal schedules from March 29, including to Wuhan, the city at the epicentre of the virus outbreak, Air France-KLM said in a statement.
 

Coronavirus forces delay of trade fairs, conferences

Over two dozen large trade fairs and industry conferences in China and overseas have been postponed due to travel curbs and concerns about the spread of a coronavirus, potentially disrupting billions of dollars worth of deals.
 

China's biggest liquefied gas importer suspends some contracts as virus spreads

China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC), the country's biggest importer of liquefied natural gas (LNG), has suspended contracts with at least three suppliers amid the rapid spread of the coronavirus, two sources said on Thursday.
 
They said CNOOC, which operates nearly half the terminals in China that receive LNG, had declared force majeure, which allows companies to suspend their obligation to fulfil contracts after unexpected events such as strikes and natural disasters.
 

Global tourism takes major hit as virus halts Chinese travel

This should have been a good year for global tourism, with trade tensions gradually easing, certain economies growing and banner events like the Summer Olympics taking place in Tokyo.
 
But the viral outbreak in China has thrown the travel industry into chaos, threatening billions in losses and keeping millions of would-be travellers at home.

False virus cure claims infect the internet

Gargle salt water, use herbal eyedrops, steam-clean a face mask -- false claims about how to combat a deadly coranavirus epidemic emerging out of China are flooding the internet.
 
Social media giants have promoted their strategies to combat misinformation related to the epidemic, which has claimed more than 560 lives in China and spread to 24 countries.
 
Twitter, which reported 15 million coronavirus-related tweets in January, said it had suspended auto-suggest search results that would likely produce untrustworthy content.
 

Coronavirus could cost Australian universities 'billions'

The coronavirus outbreak could deliver a painful multi-billion-dollar hit to Australian universities, as high-paying Chinese students are forced to defer their studies, economists warned Thursday.
 
Top universities stand to lose around US$2 billion (Aus$3 billion) in fees alone, according to preliminary estimates from analysts at Standard & Poor's.
 
Under open-ended travel restrictions imposed by the government in a bid to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, non-Australian citizens or permanent residents who have been in China since February 1 are not allowed into Australia.

China lodges diplomatic protests over suspension of flights by international airlines

China said on Thursday that it has lodged diplomatic protests with countries whose airlines have cancelled flights to Chinese cities alleging that they are spreading panic in the wake of deadly coronavirus.
 
The death toll in China's novel coronavirus outbreak went up to 563 as 73 people died on Wednesday, the highest single day fatalities so far, while total confirmed cases rose sharply to 28,018, Chinese health officials said on Thursday.
 

Extended coronavirus outbreak could lower oil demand, prices: Moody's

Global oil demand and prices will fall due to extended coronavirus outbreak, Moody's Investors Services said on Thursday.
 
"The ongoing coronavirus outbreak has reduced economic activity in China, the world's largest oil importer," it said in a note. "Estimates of the short-term reduction in global oil demand have already proved deep enough to weaken crude prices in recent days" Moody's said while a short-term demand shock in China will significantly increase oil price volatility, prices would likely rebound once the spread of coronavirus infection is contained.

Coronavirus: Armed forces on alert along China, Nepal borders

The Indian armed forces are maintaining a tight vigil along the borders with China and Nepal in view of the coronavirus outbreak in China, Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS) Director General Anup Banerji said on Thursday.
 
The government has sanctioned 10 research laboratories to screen and test samples of various pathogens, including the coronavirus, Lt Gen Banerji said.
 

Contingency plan needed to deal with impact of coronavirus: RBI Guv Das

Raising concerns over the spread of deadly coronavirus, RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das on Thursday suggested that a contingency plan should be prepared to deal with the impact of the virus on the economy.
 
Meanwhile, the RBI in a statement said the outbreak of coronavirus in China and its spread across geographies will impact tourist arrivals and global trade, and has triggered sell off in equity as well as crude oil markets.
 
 

Coronovirus scare hits Kerala's tourism sector, triggers wave

One of the most sought after tourist destinations in Asia, "the God's Own Country" Kerala has been hit by coronavirus scare just when it was on the recovery path after the Nipah outbreak and back-to-back flood havoc in the past three years.
 
Kerala's serene beaches, tranquil stretches of backwaters, lush hill stations and exotic wildlife offer an enchanting experience to travellers worldwide and the tourism industry is a major contributor to the state's economy.

India suspends visas issued to Chinese passport holders before Feb 5

As the death toll crossed over 500 in the coronavirus outbreak, immigration officials have suspended all visas issued before February 5 to all Chinese passport holders from any part of the world, apart from Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.
 
"All visas issued to Chinese passport holders coming from anywhere in the world, including regular (sticker) and e-visa issued before February 5, have been suspended with immediate effect," the officials said.
 
"The above restriction on travel is not applicable to the Chinese passport holders of Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan," they added.

Nepal-China meetings, projects delayed

Crucial meetings between the governments of Nepal and China, along with a number of Beijing-led infrastructure projects, have been delayed amid the fast-spreading novel coronavirus outbreak, a media report said on Thursday.

So far, four meetings with China have been postponed due to the outbreak, The Kathmandu Post report quoted Sushil Lamsal, Deputy Chief of Mission at the Nepali Embassy in Beijing, as saying.

Coronavirus: 15 students returned home from China via Thailand, says report

Days after the Ministry of External Affairs evacuated over 600 people from China following the novel Coronavirus outbreak, the Haryana Health Department has identified 15 such people who had failed to notify the government after reaching India taking alternate routes. Read More

10 more tested positive on Japanese cruise liner

Ten more people on a cruise liner in the Japanese port of Yokohama, south of Tokyo, tested positive for the coronavirus, NHK television reported citing the Japanese health ministry, bringing the total number of cases on board to 20. About 3,700 people are facing at least two weeks quarantined on the ship after an 80-year-old Hong Kong man who travelled on it late last month tested positive.
 

Toll in mainland China rises to 563

The death toll from a new coronavirus in mainland China jumped by 73 to 563 on Thursday, its third consecutive record daily rise, as experts intensified efforts to find a vaccine for a disease that has shut down Chinese cities and forced thousands more into quarantine around the world.

Coronavirus paralyses short-term oil, gas sales into China

Short-term sales of crude oil and liquefied natural gas into China almost ground to a halt this week as a coronavirus outbreak slowed economic activity and hurt demand and buyers pondered legal action to avoid having to honour purchase agreements, trade sources said.
 
Typically, trade would have revived after the Lunar New Year holiday at the end of January, but China has extended the break into February to try to contain the fast-spreading virus, which has claimed nearly 500 lives.

Don't believe misleading messages about cure for coronavirus, says Maharashtra health minister

Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope on Wednesday appealed people not to believe messages circulating on social media about `cure' for the coronavirus infection.
 
These messages have no scientific basis, he said.
 
A message about a concoction of garlic cloves, curry leaves and cow urine, said to be prescribed by doctors and the "health department" for treating the virus infection, is circulating on social media.

"The health department has not issued any such messages. People should not believe such misleading messages and rumors," the minister said.

Auto Expo: Coronavirus may take toll on Chinese auto firms' India plans

As China struggles to contain the Wuhan-centred coronavirus outbreak, the resulting shutdown of factories and logistics hubs in the country is slowly constricting business of Chinese auto majors, which have recently entered India.
 
The consequent pressure on supply chain, in which most Chinese companies depend on the Indian market, is likely to lead to delayed deliveries for some and postpone launches for others.

'Severe' hospital bed shortage at China virus epicentre: Officials

Authorities in China warned Wednesday they faced a severe shortage of hospital beds and equipment needed to treat a growing number of patients stricken by the new coronavirus, as cities far from the epicentre tightened their defences.
 
Central Hubei province reported 3,156 new infections, its biggest single-day jump in the outbreak that has spiralled into a global health emergency with cases reported in over 20 countries.
 
 
 

Oil and gas giant Shell restricts travel to Hubei Province on virus

Royal Dutch Shell has banned business travel to and from China's Hubei province due to the coronavirus, the company said in a statement.
 
Shell has restricted non-essential business travel to mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.
 
 
 
 

Central team visits Gujarat, 246 under watch in Gujarat

As many as 246 people, who have returned to Gujarat recently from coronavirus-hit China, are under observation at their homes, but no positive case of the infection has been found in the state so far, a senior health department official said on Wednesday.
 
They are among 900-odd people who have returned to Gujarat from China after the outbreak of the new strain of the coronavirus which has taken nearly 500 lives till now in the neighbouring country.
 

Three foreign nationals among 2528 under observation in Kerala

The Kerala government on Wednesday said three foreign nationals were among the 2,528 people under observation in the state for the novel coronavirus infection and no new cases have been reported.
 
At least 93 people with minor symptoms of the virus have been lodged in isolation wards of various hospitals, state Health Minister K K Shailaja told reporters here.
 
India's three positive cases for the virus has been from the state's three districts of Thrissur, Alappuzha and Kasaragod.
 
All the three are students of China's Wuhan university, the epicentre of the virus.

Equatorial Guinea offers China $2 million for virus fight

The tiny central African state of Equatorial Guinea said Wednesday it would give $2 million (1.8 million euros) to China to help it tackle coronavirus.
 
The government, which has developed close ties with Beijing, said the donation was a mark of "support and solidarity." The new coronavirus has claimed nearly 500 lives, infected more than 24,000 people in mainland China and spread to more than 20 countries since it appeared in late December.

Pharmacies profiteering from coronavirus will be shut: Vladimir Putin

Russian leader Vladimir Putin on Wednesday ordered the closure of pharmacies accused of hiking prices of face masks, as demand soars over fears that the deadly coronavirus could spread.
 
Speaking at a government meeting, Putin said profiteering from the brisk sales of masks was wrong and pharmacies that engage in price gouging should be punished.

Coronavirus drives Alrosa to shift diamond sales from Hong Kong

Russia's Alrosa, the world's largest diamond mining company, will hold its March auctions in Moscow and Israel after Hong Kong postponed two jewellery shows because of the coronavirus outbreak, the company said on Wednesday.
 
Demand for diamonds in China, the world's second largest market after the United States, had already weakened last year because of trade tensions and democracy protests in Hong Kong.
 
Consumption is expected to fall further as China's actions to halt the coronavirus slow the economy and stores are temporarily closed.
 

Gates Foundation announces $100 mn for coronavirus response

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation pledged Wednesday to commit up to $100 million for the global response to the novel coronavirus epidemic that has claimed nearly 500 lives.
 
The funding will be used to strengthen detection, isolation and treatment efforts, the foundation said, including protecting at-risk populations and developing vaccines and diagnostics.

WHO issues appeal for $675 mn to fight novel coronavirus

The World Health Organization on Wednesday called for $675 million (613 million euros) in donations for a plan to fight the novel coronavirus, mainly through investment in countries considered particularly "at risk".
 
"Today we're launching a strategic preparedness and response plan.... We're requesting $675 million to fund the plan for the next three months," WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a news conference in Geneva.

Clarity on supplies from China to emerge by next week, says Tata Motors

Tata Motors on Wednesday said clarity about supply constraints of components from China will only emerge by the next week, when workers in the coronavirus hit country are expected to rejoin the work.
 
The company, which imports certain components for both Nexon EV and other traditional models from China, said if the workers don't join work next week then it could lead to supply issues for not only for Tata Motors but for the entire global automobile industry.
 

Avoid frozen meat; shaking hands while greeting in public: Delhi govt advisory on coronavirus

The Delhi government on Wednesday issued a health advisory on the novel coronavirus (nCov) and prescribed do's and dont's for the public to ward off any infection, including avoiding frozen meat, officials said.
 
A round-the-clock control room has also been set up at the Directorate General of Health Services' headquarters to address queries related to the virus.
 
In its health advisory, the Delhi government has asked people to exercise caution, like cleaning hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub; covering nose and mouth while coughing; sneezing using tissue; avoiding close contact with anyone with cold or flu like symptoms; avoiding frozen meat, besides isolation of symptomatic patients for at least 14 days.

Huawei India indefinitely suspends travel to, from China

Chinese telecom gear maker Huawei India on Wednesday said it has suspended travel to and from China to combat the deadly novel coronavirus infection.
 
The company has also quarantined Chinese employees along with their family members in India with recent travel history to China.
 
"The recent outbreak of respiratory illness caused by novel coronavirus (nCoV) first detected in Wuhan, China, has concerned Huawei. In accordance with instructions from authorities, Huawei has initiated contingency plans to help contribute to the health and safety of our staff and the communities in which we operate," Huawei India said in a statement.

LG, ZTE withdraw from Mobile World Congress, others may follow

With the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus showing no signs of slowing down, Chinese tech major ZTE and South Korean giant LG Electronics have decided to withdraw their participation from the upcoming Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2020 event in Barcelona later this month.
 
While LG has become the first major South Korean company to give MWC 2020 a miss, others may soon follow suit, considering the threat that the virus poses, according to industry watchers.
 
"LG Electronics is closely monitoring the situation related to the novel coronavirus outbreak, which was recently declared a global emergency by the World Health Organisation as the virus continues to spread outside China," the company said in a statement.

UP health department keeping close tabs on 704 returnees from coronavirus affected countries

Uttar Pradesh health authorities are monitoring over 700 people who have returned to the state from coronavirus affected countries.
 
Till date, 704 travellers from affected countries have been identified and tracked by the health department's district surveillance units, a senior health official told PTI.
 
However, there is no confirmed case of coronavirus in the state.

India should be cautious about importing agri, food, marine items from China: Trade experts

India should be cautious at ports about imports of agri, food and marine products from China amid outbreak of deadly coronavirus in the neighbouring country, trade experts say.
 
The experts said port authorities should follow properly all the protocols related with sanitary (related to animals) standards.
 
"As this deadly coronavirus is spreading at a fast pace, India should be cautious while importing agri, food and marine products rom China," Professor at Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT) Rakesh Mohan Joshi said.

WHO chief says 80% of China virus cases are in Hubei province

World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Wednesday that 80% of China's coronavirus cases are in the central Hubei province, and that not all provinces have been affected.
 
He said there were 24,363 confirmed cases in China and 490 deaths. The last 24-hour period of monitoring saw the most cases in a single day, he said.
 
Some 99% of all the cases worldwide are in China, he said.

104 people kept at ITBP facility in Delhi test negative

A total of 104 people kept at an ITBP facility here have tested negative for the novel coronavirus, while results for over 300 inmates are awaited, a force spokesperson said on Wednesday.
 
As many as 406 people have been quarantined at the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) facility in Delhi's Chhawla area since last week after they were brought in two batches from Wuhan in China onboard separate Air India flights.

Fresh coronavirus advisory: Govt invalidates existing visas for foreigners travelling from China

In view of the deadly novel coronavirus outbreak in China, the government on Wednesday issued an updated travel advisory saying the existing visas (including e-visa already issued) are no longer valid for any foreign national travelling from China.
 
In the travel advisory, the Health Ministry again asked people to refrain from travelling to China in view of the coronavirus outbreak in its Hubei province and said travellers on return from the neighbouring country could be quarantined.
 
The coronavirus outbreak had claimed 491 lives in China till Tuesday, while the total number of those affected by the deadly virus stood at 24,324, according to Chinese health officials.
 

Coronavirus: Mother-daughter duo admitted to Amritsar hospital

A mother-daughter duo suspected of suffering from coronavirus was admitted to the isolation ward of a government hospital here on Wednesday.
 
They had arrived Amritsar from New Zealand via China, officials said.
 
They had complained of severe pain in their throat after which they were taken to the hospital and their samples were sent to the National Institute of Virology in Pune for testing, they said.
 

China claims drop in number of new suspected coronavirus cases even as toll soars to 491

China on Wednesday claimed a drop in the number of new suspected cases of coronavirus in the last two days, raising hopes that its strong measures may help to contain the outbreak, even as the death toll rose to nearly 500.
 
As the death toll rose, Hong Kong announced on Wednesday a mandatory two-week quarantine for all travellers from mainland China to stop more cases of the deadly new coronavirus.
 
The death toll in China's coronavirus outbreak rose to 491 on Tuesday while the total number of confirmed cases mounted to 24,324, Chinese health officials announced on Wednesday.

Hong Kong announces quarantines for mainland China arrivals

Hong Kong announced Wednesday a mandatory two-week quarantine for all travellers from mainland China, in a bid to stop more cases of the deadly new coronavirus.
 
The quarantine order, which will come into force on Saturday, will apply to Hong Kong residents and foreigners, chief executive Carrie Lam told reporters.
 
Lam gave few other details about how the quarantine would be implemented, such as where and how arrivals would be isolated, but said it was designed to stop them coming.

Singapore's virus tally hits 28 with six-month-old baby infected

Singapore's health ministry confirmed four more coronavirus cases on Wednesday, including a six-month-old baby, taking its tally to 28.
 
Both parents of the infant, a Singapore citizen, have also been infected, the ministry said.

Preacautionary measures stepped up at port, airport

With three novel coronavirus cases reported from neighbouring Kerala, authorities have stepped up preacautionary measures including screening passengers at the harbour and international airport here.
 
The New Mangalore Port has implemented the Centre's Standard Operating Procedure by screening crew of cargo ships and passengers of cruise vessels for the virus.
 
Port sources said screening was being carried out at the harbour in the last few days.

China working hard to ensure safety of Indians in country, says ambassador

China on Monday hoped that India will not put trade restrictions and limit movement of people to the country in the wake of the coronavirus epidemic in its Hubei province.
 
In an interview to PTI, Chinese Ambassador Sun Weidong said China's foreign ministry and local governments are working hard to ensure the safety of Indians and people working in Indian diplomatic missions in China.
 
Admitting that there could be a short-term impact of the epidemic on China's economy, he said the country's internal resilience is growing and it has ample resources and policy tools to cope with economic volatility.

DGCI approves 'restricted use' of anti-HIV drugs on nCoV patients

The Drug Controller General of India has approved the "restricted use" of a combination of drugs used widely for controlling HIV infection in public health emergency for treating those affected by novel coronavirus (nCoV), official sources said on Wednesday.
 
According to government sources, apex health research body Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) had sought an emergency approval from the DCGI for the "restricted use" of the combination of two medications -- lopinavir and ritonavir -- for treatment of this respiratory ailment.

'Fragile' Africa prepares for high risk of coronavirus spread

An isolation ward stands ready at a hospital in Khartoum, Sudan. Laboratories in Senegal and Madagascar have the testing equipment they need. Passengers arriving at airports in Gambia, Cameroon and Guinea are being screened for fever and other viral symptoms.
 
Africa's Centres for Disease Control and Prevention says it has activated its emergency operation centre in the face of what global health officials say is a high risk the coronavirus disease epidemic that began in China will spread to its borders.
 
On a poor continent where healthcare capacity is limited, early detection of any outbreak will be crucial.

About 350 US evacuees from virus-hit Chinese city land at California air base: Reports

About 350 Americans who left Wuhan, China, aboard two planes arrived at a US military base in California on Wednesday, in Washington's latest effort to fly its citizens away from the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak.
 
The US travelers on two State Department-chartered flights will be quarantined for 14 days after landing, the U.S. Defense Department said in a statement.
 

Over 5,900 passengers screened at Jaipur International Airport for coronavirus

Over 5,900 passengers from 41 flights have been screened for the novel coronavirus at the Jaipur International Airport and till now, no positive case has been found in Rajasthan, officials said on Wednesday.
 
Blood samples of 44 suspects have been taken for examination till date, of which 26 have been found negative and report of remaining 18 suspects is yet to come, Additional Chief Secretary Rohit Kumar Singh said.

Delhi govt issues health advisory on coronavirus, sets up 24x7 control room

The Delhi government on Wednesday issued a health advisory on the novel coronavirus (nCov) and prescribed do's and dont's for the public to ward off any infection, officials said.
 
A round-the-clock control room has also been set up at the Directorate General of Health Services' headquarters to address queries related to the virus.
 
India has so far reported three positive cases of nCoV from Kerala, after its outbreak in China's Wuhan city.

5 persons kept under observation in Haryana test negative for coronavirus

Five people kept under observation for suspected symptoms of coronavirus in Haryana have tested negative for the infection, state health department officials said on Wednesday.
 
The test reports of another two are awaited, they said. 
 
These five are among 133 people from Haryana who had recently travelled to China and are under observation even though they have been found to be asymptomatic, the officials said.

Virus situation in China's Wuhan still severe, says city official

The coronavirus situation in the Chinese city of Wuhan is still severe and the city faces many challenges, Wuhan's vice party chief Hu Lishan said on Wednesday.
 
Wuhan, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak, has quarantined people in hotels, schools and private hospitals.
 
There are 132 such centres with 12,571 beds available as of Tuesday, Hu told a news conference.

Adidas closes 'considerable' number of stores in China due to coronavirus

German sportswear company Adidas on Wednesday said it was temporarily shutting a "considerable" number of its stores in China due to the coronavirus outbreak which has killed nearly 500 people and infected thousands.
 
The company said the fast-spreading virus was having a negative impact on its business but added that it could not yet assess to what extent.
Adidas has around 12,000 outlets in China, including franchise stores.
 

Thousands of Chinese tourists stranded in Bali after flights suspended

Thousands of Chinese tourists risk being stranded in Bali after the Indonesian government suspended flights to and from mainland China over fears of the deadly coronavirus outbreak.
 
With flights to be suspended at midnight Wednesday, at least 5,000 Chinese tourists are currently on the holiday island, according to Gou Haodong, the Chinese Consul General in Denpasar.

Wuhan for long a popular destination for medical aspirants from Kerala

Wuhan may have become a household name after the outbreak of the deadly novel coronavirus but the historic Chinese city has been a much sought after education hub for Kerala medical aspirants for long with affordable and quality courses being the prime attraction.
 
While there is no official data on the number of Kerala students studying in the Asian nation, unoffcial estimates put it around 500.
 
An official said only after the virus scare the government learnt about a sizable number of students studying in Chinese universities.
 

Coronavirus is 'new layer of uncertainty' for economy: ECB's Lagarde

The spread of the novel coronavirus in China and beyond presents "a new layer of uncertainty" for the European economy, European Central Bank chief Christine Lagarde said Wednesday.
 
"While the threat of a trade war between the United States and China appears to have receded, the coronavirus adds a new layer of uncertainty," Lagarde said at a speech in Paris, putting the disease on the same level as "global risks" such as trade tensions and geopolitical flashpoints.

Baby tests positive for China virus just 30 hours after birth

A baby in China's epidemic-hit Wuhan city has been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus just 30 hours after being born, Chinese state media reported Wednesday.
 
The infant is the youngest person recorded as being infected by the virus, which has killed nearly 500 people since emerging late last year.

'Chest X-ray scan features that may help diagnose coronavirus revealed'

In a first, researchers have described the chest X-ray scan features that may aid in the early detection and diagnosis of the novel Chinese coronavirus which has so far killed nearly 500 people in China.
 
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the virus that has been temporarily named, the "novel coronavirus" (2019-nCoV) causes respiratory illness resembling viral pneumonia, resulting in fever, cough, and shortness of breath.

Three businessmen contract coronavirus after Singapore business conference: Asian officials

At least three Asian businessmen who attended an international conference at a Singapore hotel have contracted the coronavirus, Malaysian and South Korean authorities said on Wednesday.
 
The cases indicate the virus is now spreading through human-to-human contact outside China.

China virus puts cruise ships in quarantine, hits carmakers, airlines and Airbus

Thousands of passengers and crew on two cruise ships in Asian waters were placed in quarantine for China's coronavirus on Wednesday as airlines, car manufacturers and other global companies counted the cost of the fast-spreading outbreak.
 
China said another 65 people had died as of Tuesday, the highest daily total yet, taking the overall toll on the mainland to 490, most in and around the locked-down central city of Wuhan, where the virus emerged late last year.

Toddler among two hospitalised in MP for suspected coronavirus

Two persons, including a two- year-old boy, were admitted to a hospital here on Wednesday for possible exposure to novel coronavirus, an official said.
 
According to the official, both of them had recently returned to India from different cities in China, where the deadly infection has so far claimed the lives of 490 people.

Prices of chips, display panels to shoot up

The spread of coronavirus in China is likely to push up prices of semiconductors and display panels, analysts said on Wednesday, amid possible supply chain disruptions of key industrial materials.
 
China, where the outbreak originated, is home to manufacturing facilities of many of South Korea's major tech firms, including Samsung Electronics Co. and SK hynix Inc.

Chinese lab claims patent for US drug to treat coronavirus patients

A research institute in China's virus-hit Wuhan city has applied for a patent on the use of a drug made in the US after it was found to be effective in treating patients infected with the coronavirus, raising questions whether the lab's move violated the intellectual property rights.
 
As the coronavirus strain officially named as 2019 n-CoV wreaked havoc in China and abroad, there is a race to develop a viable medicine to treat an increasing number of cases as well as a vaccine to prevent its spread.

Kerala tackling nCoV with experience drawn from fighting Nipah

Faced with the challenges posed by the novel Coronavirus (nCoV), the Kerala government is banking on its experience gleaned from fighting the deadly Nipah outbreak in 2018 and 2019 to effectively tackle the current situation.
 
Activating its officials, doctors and field staff to face the challenge much before the state's first Coronavirus case was reported from Thrissur last week, the state health department has put all persons who have returned from nCoV-hit China under its surveillance since January 15.

WHO: 'No known effective' treatments for new coronavirus

The World Health Organization played down media reports on Wednesday of "breakthrough" drugs being discovered to treat people infected with the new coronavirus which is causing an epidemic in China and has spread to at least 20 other countries.
 
A Chinese TV report said that a research team at Zhejiang University had found an effective drug for the virus, while Britain's Sky News said researchers had made a "significant breakthrough" in developing a vaccine.

People without symptoms can be infected too

A person infected with the Novel Coronavirus 2019-nCoV, may not necessarily show any symptoms at all, according to the latest medical reports in China.
 
China's health authorities claim that several people have been diagnosed as carriers and transmitters of the Coronavirus even as they showed no symptoms. The symptoms of the Coronavirus, which has killed over 425 people and infected over 21,000 people in China so far, are common cold and breathing issues.
 
Li Xingwang, chief infectious diseases expert at Beijing Ditan Hospital told the Chinese media that "most of the dormant carriers were related to and had caught the virus from patients with symptoms."

About 350 US evacuees from China en route to California: Pentagon

About 350 Americans evacuated from China's virus-hit Wuhan province are expected to arrive at two US military bases in California on Wednesday, the Pentagon said in a statement.
 
The US travelers on two US Department of State-chartered flights will land at Travis Air Force Base, before one of the planes continues to Miramar Marine Corps Air Station.

Russia says coronavirus vaccine will take 8-10 months to develop

Russia said on Wednesday it will take between eight and 10 months to develop a vaccine against coronavirus, the Interfax news agency cited health minister Mikhail Murashko as saying.
 
"Today the process of developing a vaccine is not a short period of time. A vaccine is being developed for at least eight to 10 months, this is just the initial stage without clinical trials," said Murashko.
 

India sets up coronavirus screening centers along Myanmar, Bangladesh borders

To combat the threat of novel coronavirus threat, Indian authorities have set up screening and testing centres along the borders with Myanmar and Bangladesh, officials said on Wednesday.
 
The Airport Authority of India (AAI), with the state governments, has also set up similar screening and testing counters at most of the airports of northeast India.
 
An official of Mizoram Health and Family Welfare Department said in Aizawl that a medical team comprising doctors and health staff since Tuesday are conducting medical check-up at Zokhawthar (an India-Myanmar border checkpost in Champhai district) for the travellers across the borders based on their health status and travel history.
 

Over 5000 under surveillance for coronavirus: Centre

The Union Ministry of Health and Family welfare, on Wednesday, said that 5123 people were under home surveillance as a precautionary measure for coronavirus. Besides, the ministry also informed that at least 741 tests for nCoV have been done so far.
 
"A total of 741 tests done for #nCoV2020. Of these 738 have tested NEGATIVE, and 3 found positive. 342 are under process. Also, 5123 people are under home surveillance," the Health Ministry tweeted.

Coronavirus paralyses short-term oil, gas sales into China

Short-term sales of crude oil and liquefied natural gas into China almost ground to a halt this week as the coronavirus slows economic activity and cuts demand and buyers ponder legal action to avoid having to honour purchase agreements, trade sources said.
 
Typically, trade would have revived after the Lunar New Year holiday at the end of January, but China has extended the break into February to try to contain the fast-spreading coronavirus, which has claimed nearly 500 lives.
 

China's Xi says virus controls at crucial stage: State media

China's efforts to control a coronavirus outbreak are at a crucial stage and authorities must prevent the epidemic from spreading, Xinhua news agency quoted President Xi Jinping as saying on Wednesday.
 
The government must report coronavirus outbreak information accurately in a timely manner, and will crack down on coronavirus related rumour-mongering, Xi said.
 

Airbus halts output at Tianjin assembly plant due to coronavirus

Airbus has closed its final assembly plant in Tianjin, China, as a result of the coronavirus emergency, the planemaker said on Wednesday, adding it was monitoring for any signs of impact on deliveries.
 
The plant assembles about 4 A320-family aircraft a month, about 7% of Airbus narrowbody production. "The Tianjin Final Assembly Line facility is currently closed," Airbus said in a statement.
 

Mothers may pass coronavirus to unborn children, say Chinese doctors: TV report

Pregnant women infected with the new coronavirus may be able to pass it to their unborn child, doctors at the Wuhan Children Hospital said on Wednesday, according to state broadcaster CCTV.
 
The doctors said it was possible after an infected coronavirus patient gave birth to a baby on Feb. 2. The newborn was given a test 30 hours later and confirmed to have the virus, the said.

Tokyo Olympic boss 'extremely worried' about deadly virus

The chief executive officer of the Tokyo Olympics admitted Wednesday that organisers are "extremely worried" about the possible effect of the deadly new coronavirus on this summer's Games.
 
Toshiro Muto said he hoped the outbreak in China would be quickly contained to restore confidence in the run-up to the Olympics.
 
"We are extremely worried in the sense that the spread of the infectious virus could pour cold water on momentum for the Games," he said before a meeting with the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).

Virus outbreak delays India's cotton exports to China: Officials

Shipments of around 250,000 bales of Indian cotton to China have been delayed by nearly two weeks as a virus outbreak and factory closures dampens demand from the world's biggest consumer of the fibre, industry officials said.
 
The delay in shipments could pressure local prices and force the state-run Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) to increase purchases from farmers to ensure domestic prices stay above government mandated levels.
 
 

Britain charters final Wuhan evacuation flight

Britain will charter what it said was a "second and final" flight this weekend to evacuate nationals from China's Hubei province, the epicentre of the deadly novel coronavirus outbreak.
 
The civilian aircraft will leave Hubei's capital Wuhan on Sunday bound for the Royal Air Force base at Brize Norton in southern England.
Medics and Foreign Office officials will be on board to provide support if necessary.

All arrivals to Hong Kong from mainland China to face 'compulsory quarantine': Leader

Anyone arriving in Hong Kong from mainland China from Saturday will face a mandatory two-week quarantine, the city's leader announced Wednesday, a measure aimed at reducing the spread of a deadly coronavirus.
 
Chief Executive Carrie Lam gave no details on how the measure would be implemented but said updates would be released in the coming days.

Cathay Pacific asks 27,000 staff to take unpaid leave over Coronavirus

Hong Kong's flagship carrier Cathay Pacific is asking its 27,000 employees to take up to three weeks of unpaid leave, CEO Augustus Tang said Wednesday, as the airline faces a crisis in the wake of the new coronavirus outbreak.
 
"I am hoping all of you will participate, from our frontline employees to our senior leaders, and share in our current challenges," Tang said in a video message posted online.
 
The request lays bare desperate times at Cathay, which was hammered last year by months of political chaos and protests in Hong Kong and has now been hurt further by the fallout from the virus outbreak. Read on...

Surat diamond hub stares at Rs 8000 cr loss as Coronavirus scares Hong Kong

 The Surat diamond industry is likely to face a loss of around Rs 8,000 crore in next two months as Hong Kong, which is a major export destination, has declared a state of emergency due to the coronavirus outbreak in China, say experts.
 
Hong Kong is a major business hub for the Surat diamond industry, but schools and colleges have been closed there till the first week of March and even the businesses are seeing a dip in view of the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.
 
 
According to Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) regional chairman Dinesh Navadiya, polished diamonds worth around Rs 50,000 crore are exported from Surat to Hong Kong every year.
 
"That's around 37 per cent of the total exports from here. Now, due to coronavirus scare, Hong Kong has declared a month-long vacation. Gujarati traders having offices there are coming back to India," he said. READ ON...

Coronavirus spread has come with a package: Xenophobia and racism

As the deadly coronavirus has spread worldwide, it has carried with it xenophobia -- and Asian communities around the world are finding themselves subject to suspicion and fear.
 
When a patient on Australia's Gold Coast refused to shake the hand of her surgeon Rhea Liang, citing the virus that has killed hundreds, the medic's first response was shock.
 
But after tweeting about the incident and receiving a flood of responses, the respected doctor learned her experience was all too common.
 
There has been a spike in reports of anti-Chinese rhetoric directed at people of Asian origin, regardless of whether they have ever visited the centre of the epidemic or been in contact with the virus.
 
Chinese tourists have reportedly been spat at in the Italian city of Venice, a family in Turin was accused of carrying the disease, and mothers in Milan have used social media to call for children to be kept away from Chinese classmates. Read on...

Unknowns of the new virus make global quarantines a struggle

Health authorities are scrambling to halt the spread of a new virus that has killed hundreds in China. But with important details about the illness and how it spreads still unknown, officials and medical personnel are struggling.
 
Governments have rushed to get their citizens out of China while also restricting visitors from the country, which is orchestrating history's largest anti-viral campaign by blocking 50 million people from leaving Wuhan, the center of the outbreak, and nearby areas.
 
A growing number of Chinese cities are discouraging people from even leaving their apartments. Villages have blocked entry points with piles of dirt and rubble, while businesses and offices remain closed indefinitely.
 
As Beijing's authoritarian leadership faces questions over having kept its citizens in the dark for weeks before infections started to explode, other countries are trying to set up effective quarantines to stop a possible pandemic.

Two more planes evacuate Americans from virus-hit Wuhan

The United States evacuated more than 300 more people on two new flights out of Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the fast-spreading new coronavirus, the State Department has said.
 
The two flights left Wuhan on Tuesday US time after the passengers were screened, a State Department official said on Tuesday.
 
The official said that the United States has now brought home more than 500 passengers on three fights. A first flight, with 195 Americans on board, left Wuhan last week and landed in California.
 
The United States is preparing one or two additional planes to evacuate Americans on Thursday, after which it does not intend further flights, the official said.

China coronavirus toll soars to 490, total confirmed cases over 24,000

The death toll in China's coronavirus outbreak rose to 490 on Tuesday while the total number of confirmed cases mounted to 24324, Chinese health officials announced on Wednesday.
 
By the end of Tuesday, a total of 490 people had died after being infected and 24,324 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus infection had been reported in 31 provincial-level regions, China's National Health Commission reported.
 
It said 65 deaths were reported on Tuesday, all from Hubei province and its capital Wuhan.
 
Also 3,887 new confirmed cases of novel coronavirus infection were reported on Tuesday, it said.
 
Also on Tuesday, 431 patients became seriously ill, while 262 were discharged from hospital after recovery.

Chinese executives to skip Auto Expo 2020

Industry body Siam on Tuesday said all Chinese companies participating in India’s flagship automobile show Auto Expo have confirmed that their exhibit area would be manned by Indian employees in the wake of the novel coronavirus outbreak.

India may soon run short of antibiotics, diabetes drugs

India may face a shortage of antibiotics, vitamins, and even diabetes medicines if no alternative source of raw material for these drugs is found soon. Indian pharmaceutical companies are heavily dependent on China to source fermentation-based active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and intermediates to manufacture these medicines, but the coronavirus outbreak there has disrupted the supply.

US working with pharmaceutical firm on new type of coronavirus treatment

The United States is working with a pharmaceutical company to develop a treatment for the 2019 Novel Coronavirus, using a class of drug that has boosted survival rates among Ebola patients, officials said Tuesday.
 
The partnership between the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Regeneron will develop monoclonal antibodies to fight the infection, a different line of treatment to the antiretrovirals and flu drugs that have also emerged as possible defenses against the disease.

World has 'window of opportunity' to halt virus spread: WHO chief

The dramatic measures taken by China to rein in the deadly new coronavirus outbreak have prevented significant spread abroad, providing a "window of opportunity" to halt transmission, the World Health Organization said Tuesday.
 
But the UN health agency's chief also called for greater solidarity, accusing some governments of wealthy countries of being "well behind" in sharing data on virus cases.
 
"While 99 percent of cases are in China, in the rest of the world we only have 176 cases," Tedros said in a technical briefing to the WHO's Executive Board in Geneva.
 

Europe could consider US-style coronavirus travel ban: ministers

European governments could consider a US-style ban on foreign visitors who have recently been to China, in a bid to impede the spread of the deadly coronavirus outbreak, the health ministers of France and Germany said on Tuesday.
 
"Indeed, there is the question of possible travel restrictions or at least increased examination (of travellers) at the border," Germany's Jens Spahn said at a meeting in Paris with his French counterpart Agnes Buzyn.

No new Coronavirus cases reported from Kerala, over 2,400 under watch

The Kerala Government on Tuesday said no fresh positive cases of novel coronavirus infection was reported from the state, even as 2,421 are under watch at houses and hospitals.
 
At least 100 people with minor symptoms of the virus are at isolation wards of various hospitals, state Health Minister K K Shailaja told reporters here India's three positive cases for the virus has been from the state's three districts-- Thrissur, Alappuzha and Kasaragod.
 

India's Auto Expo, travel sector impacted

The deadly coronavirus has cast a shadow on India's flagship motor show Auto Expo, while other sectors including travel and electronics manufacturing are keeping a close watch to avoid any possible impact of it on their businesses.
 

Coronavirus: Appliance makers may discuss impact on industry

Appliance and consumer electronic makers, which source components for their products mainly from China, may discuss possible impact of coronavirus outbreak on the industry.
 
Several makers have also issued travel advisories to their respective sourcing teams, which travel for component sourcing to avoid China due to coronavirus, which has now spread to two dozen countries.

Estimates of global GDP hit from coronavirus disruption

Travel and trade restrictions introduced to control the spread of the coronavirus from China are now expected to deliver a short, sharp blow to both Chinese and global economic activity for the first quarter of this year.
 
While it remains unclear how far the virus will spread and when it will peak, economists are already trying to estimate the impact on gross domestic product in the world's second-largest economy and beyond.

Karnataka places border districts under coronavirus surveillance

The Karnataka government has placed border districts of Dakshina Kannada, Kodagu, Chamarajnagar and Mysuru under novel coronovirus surveillance following three positive cases in neighbouring Kerala.
 
The Department of Health and Family Welfare Services, State Surveillance Unit, said in a bulletin on Tuesday that till date 81 travellers from the coronavirus-affected countries have been identified and 58 of them are under home isolation.
 

Kerala MPs demand govt statement on coronavirus in Lok Sabha

A group of Lok Sabha members from Kerala raised the issue of cases of coronavirus in the southern state in the House on Tuesday and demanded a comprehensive statement from the government on the issue.
 
T N Prathapan of the Congress raised the issue during the Zero Hour, demanding financial support from the Centre for Kerala and immediate dispatch of a disaster management team to take stock of the situation.

22 persons kept under observation in Punjab test negative for coronavirus

Twenty-two persons who were under observation in Punjab for coronavirus-like symptoms have tested negative, state Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu said on Tuesday.
 
Of a total of 85 cases, 84 were found to be asymptomatic and 77 of these have been kept under observation, he said.

Iraq says monitoring impact of China's virus on oil demand

Iraq, OPEC's second-biggest oil producer, is closely monitoring the impact of China's new coronavirus on global oil demand, particularly in Asia, Iraq Oil Ministry spokesman Asim Jihad told Reuters on Tuesday.
 
Iraq supports any agreement that would stabilise the oil market and will work with OPEC and its allies, a group known as OPEC+, to bring back balance between oil supply and demand, Jihad said.

HIV drugs touted as weapon in war on coronavirus

As doctors scramble to contain the fast-spreading coronavirus, a potent brew of anti-retroviral and flu drugs has emerged as a possible defence against the disease that has killed hundreds.
 
But the science is inconclusive on whether they are actually effective, and experts say a specific treatment could take years to develop.
Here is what we know -- and don't know -- about the drugs deployed against the SARS-like virus.
 

Two-thirds of coronavirus victims are men: Chinese health official

Two-thirds of the victims of the virulent coronavirus were men and 80 per cent of the dead were over 60 years old, a Chinese health official said on Tuesday.
 
The death toll in the coronavirus outbreak rose to 426 on Monday while the total number of cases increased to 20,522, according to Chinese health officials.

Coronavirus: China calls for international cooperation

China on Tuesday called for international cooperation to combat the public health crisis from the novel coronavirus.
 
Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Hua Chunying made the remarks at a press briefing online when asked to comment on the 146th session of the World Health Organization (WHO) Executive Board that kicked off Monday, when WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus once again called on all countries to implement decisions that are evidence-based and consistent, Xinhua reported.
 
 
 

11,093 screened in Maharashtra; minister says no need to panic

The Maharashtra government has taken adequate precautions to strictly monitor air passengers arriving here from the coronavirus-hit China and no confirmed case of the deadly infection has been reported from the state till now, Health Minister Rajesh Tope said on Tuesday.
 
There was no need to panic in the wake of the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in the neighbouring country and proper precautions are being taken to deal with any situation, he said.

Chinese participants unable to travel to participate in components show of Auto Expo: ACMA

Auto component makers body ACMA on Tuesday said Chinese participants at the components show of Auto Expo are unable to travel to attend due to the outbreak of coronavirus in the country.
 
Around 30 companies from the Chinese group have confirmed that their stand at Auto Expo 2020 - Components Show at Pragati Maidan, would be managed by their Indian counterparts in their absence, the Automotive Component Manufacturers Association of India (ACMA) said.

Novel coronavirus turns spotlight on Wuhan, Kerala connect

The spotlight is now turned on the connect between Wuhan and Kerala as India's all three positive novel coronavirus cases so far are students of a university in the historic Chinese city, the epicentre of the epidemic.
 
Wuhan has been a popular destination for Keralites and others as an educational hub with quality and affordable medical courses attracting overseas scholars.

Travel bookings take a hit due to coronavirus outbreak

Restrictions on travel between China and India due to the outbreak of deadly coronavirus in China has impacted the bookings and the industry is cautiously watching the situation, travel and hospitality services providers said on Tuesday.
 
India on Sunday announced temporary suspension of e-visa facility for Chinese travellers and foreigners residing in the neighbouring country and issued a fresh advisory saying anyone with travel history to China since January 15 can be quarantined.
 

Ludhiana bicycle makers cancel China visit due to coronavirus scare

In the wake of the coronavirus scare, Ludhiana-based businessmen have cancelled their visits to China and Taiwan where they were to scheduled to participate in international bicycle shows.
 
"After the rising cases of fatal coronavirus, the upcoming five tours to China and Taiwan have been cancelled," said Gurmeet Singh Kular, president of Federation of Industrial and Commercial Organisation (FICO). The FICO mostly comprises representatives of the bicycle industry.

WHO working on recommendations for resuming flights to China

The World Health Organization (WHO) is having a teleconference this week with travel and tourism industry representatives to work on recommendations on protecting their crews so they can resume flights to China, a senior WHO official said on Tuesday.
 
Sylvie Briand, WHO director of global hazard preparedness, also said that people infected with the coronavirus should wear masks, but that for other people without signs of the disease, "the masks will not necessarily protect them 100%". Frequent hand-washing and other hygiene measures were required, she said.
 

Coronavirus: Aerobridges to be used to screen passengers at 7 international airports

Aerobridges will be used at at dedicated gates of seven international airports (Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Cochin, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Chennai) to screen passengers from China, Singapore, Thailand and Hong Kong for novel coronavirus (nCoV) to ensure effective prevention, the Union health ministry said on Tuesday.
 
The decision was taken at a meeting held by Health Secretary Preeti Sudan to review the preparedness of states with the ministries or departments concerned on nCoV through video-conference.
 

IndiGo suspends flights from Kolkata to Guangzhou, China Eastern to wait and watch

With the number of passengers travelling to China from the city dwindling following the outbreak of coronavirus in that country and the WHO guideline to contain the spread of the deadly disease, a low cost carrier is all set to suspend its flights between Kolkata and Guangzhou, officials said on Tuesday.
 
Another airline based in China which operates flights between Kolkata and Kunming has adopted a wait and watch policy.

World currently 'not in a pandemic' of China virus: WHO

The World Health Organisation said Tuesday that the outbreak of the deadly novel coronavirus, which has spread from China to two dozen countries, does not yet constitute a "pandemic".
 
"Currently we are not in a pandemic," Sylvie Briand, head of WHO's Global Infectious Hazard Preparedness division, told reporters in Geneva. 

Hong Kong to ease reporting rules for companies' results due to virus

Hong Kong's markets regulator and stock exchange will relax rules on how companies must publish their annual results in response to challenges caused by the newly identified coronavirus, they said in a joint statement on Tuesday.
 
Travel bans and other restrictions imposed across China in a bid to limit the spread of the virus have left auditors and companies' own finance teams scrambling to finalise reports ahead of exchange deadlines.
 

China's virus outbreak weighs on global business

Global business is catching a chill from China's virus outbreak, with even the gaming industry taking a hit.
 
Mink breeders in Denmark called off a fur auction because Chinese buyers can't attend due to travel curbs imposed to contain the disease.

Awaiting govt advisory on whether Chinese shipments are fully safe: ICEA

Phone makers are waiting for government to clarify if there could be even a slim chance of coronavirus contamination through product shipments from China, industry body ICEA said on Tuesday. It said that though there is no outright evidence of such transmission, an advisory will conclusively settle the matters for industry players.
 
Meanwhile, stocks of mobile components and parts accumulated ahead of Chinese New Year holidays have ensured that mobile phone production in India has continued with minimal impact so far despite the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus, but future supplies would depend on whether or not the shuttered factories in China reopen next week, ICEA said.

Indian representatives to man exhibit area of Chinese companies at Auto Expo: SIAM

Industry body SIAM on Tuesday said all Chinese companies participating at India's flagship automobile show Auto Expo have confirmed that their exhibit area would be manned by their Indian employees in the wake of coronavirus outbreak.
 
The biennial automobile show kicks off on Wednesday with media presentations, and will be officially inaugurated on Thursday. The expo will be open to public from February 7-12.

The global spread of the coronavirus: Where is it?

The new coronavirus that emerged in a Chinese market at the end of last year has killed at least 425 people and spread around the world.
 
The latest figures from China show there are more than 20,400 people infected in the country.
 
Outside mainland China, there have been more than 150 infections reported in around two dozen places. There have also been two deaths, in the Philippines and Hong Kong.

Chinese city lockdown approaches Shanghai

More Chinese cities, including one just 175 kilometres (110 miles) from Shanghai, were put under lockdown on Tuesday, as the impact of a deadly new virus spread further from its epicentre.
 
Around 12 million people are affected by the new restrictions, adding to the tens of millions of people already quarantined in and around Wuhan, ground zero for 2019-nCoV.
 
The city of Taizhou, parts of Hangzhou -- including the district that is home to the headquarters of Chinese tech giant Alibaba -- and some of Ningbo will only allow one person per household to go outside every two days to buy necessities, city officials said.

Goldman Sachs estimates modest hit to 2020 global growth from coronavirus

Goldman Sachs says 2020 global growth will take a modest hit from the outbreak of coronavirus, assuming an aggressive response from authorities in China and elsewhere to bring the rate of new infections down sharply by the end of the first quarter.
 
Annual-average global GDP growth in 2020 will be downgraded by 0.1 to 0.2 percentage points, the bank estimated.

Virus outbreak key risk to Asia sovereign credit support: S&P Global

Rating agency S&P Global warned on Tuesday that the coronavirus outbreak had become the key risk for Asia-Pacific sovereign credit support and could hit the ratings of carmakers, banks and other sectors if prolonged.
 
"If the disease is not swiftly brought under control, slower economic growth would exacerbate already weaker fiscal performance in many parts of Asia-Pacific," a report by a group of S&P analysts said.

Singapore announces first local coronavirus transmissions

Singapore on Tuesday announced the first local transmissions of the deadly coronavirus from China.
 
The Ministry of Health said it had found six additional cases, four of them involving human-to-human transmission in Singapore, bringing the total infections to 24 in the city-state.

First suspected case of coronavirus in Pakistan

A suspected case of deadly coronavirus has been detected in Pakistan's Sindh province in an engineering student who has been quarantined by authorities following his return from China.
 
Shahzaib Ali Rahuja, a petroleum engineering student at a Chinese university situated around 1,000 kms from Wuhan, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak, returned to the country from China via Qatar, his brother Irshad Ali said.
 
“He returned to Karachi on Saturday night on our insistence and unable to take a direct flight he came via Qatar on Saturday. They screened him at the airport in China and also in Karachi but he showed no problems. It was after returning home that he developed a fever and cough and took some medicines but when his nose started to bleed we rushed him to the hospital," he said.

Russia sends first plane to evacuate citizens from China's Wuhan

A first Russian military plane took off on Tuesday to evacuate Russian citizens from the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak, the RIA news agency reported citing the Defence Ministry.

Coronavirus: Mass cancellation of hotel bookings in Kerala, says Minister

A day after the Kerala government declared the novel coronavirus as a 'state calamity', Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran on Tuesday said the epidemic outbreak had begun affecting the tourism sector as hotel bookings have suffered mass cancellations.
 
After the Nipah virus and deadly floods, the coronavirus outbreak has also adversely impacted the holiday industry as hotel bookings during the February-March months have been cancelled widely across the state, he said in the state Assembly during the question hour.
 
Three students, including a woman medico, from the state who studied in Wuhan university in China had tested positive for the virus in Thrissur, Alappuzha and Kasaragod districts in the last few days, following which the LDF government declared the epidemic as a 'state calamity' on Monday night.
The negative propaganda during the time of Nipah had cost the tourism industry dearly, the minister noted.
 
"The same thing is happening now as reports of Coronavirus outbreak came up. This time, the impact is more severe... As soon as the reports came, all the hotel bookings for February-March months, which were all filled, have been cancelled," Sureandran said.
 
Urging media to exercise self-restraint during the time of calamities and keep themselves away from fear-mongering, the minister said blowing up issues beyond proportion was largely affecting tourism industry.
 
"There is no doubt that we should be vigilant. But, there is no need to create scare among public," he added.

Chinese cities locked down far from virus epicentre

Two more cities in China's eastern province of Zhejiang have restricted the movement of residents over fears of the spread of the coronavirus, far from the epicentre of the health emergency.
 
The city of Taizhou and three Hangzhou districts -- including the area home to the main office of Chinese tech giant Alibaba -- will only allow one person per household to go outside every two days to buy necessities, city officials said.
 
The areas between them account for more than nine million people.
 
Taizhou - 850 kilometres from the epicentre in Hubei province - will also suspend 95 train services into the city from Tuesday.

Hyundai Motor suspends output as coronavirus disrupts supply chain

Hyundai Motor plans to gradually suspend its South Korean factories starting on Tuesday, as a virus outbreak in China has disrupted supplies of a vehicle component, Yonhap News Agency said.
 
Hyundai's South Korean factories will be fully idled from Feb 7 to Feb 10 or Feb 11, Yonhap added.
 
A Hyundai Motor union official confirmed the factory suspension, but did not give further details.

18 Taj businessmen under lens for coronavirus

Eighteen businessmen from the Taj city who returned from China in January are being monitored by the Uttar Pradesh Health Department.

The 18 men include shoe manufacturers who frequent China. Officials said all family members of the identified businessmen will be monitored for 28 days.

One female student in Etah, one student and a businessman in Firozabad, two students in Mainpuri who returned from China recently were also being constantly monitored.

Nationals of 21 countries coming to Agra will be monitored, according to the principal of SN Medical College, G.K. Aneja.

No coronavirus case reported in Nagaland

No coronavirus case has been reported in Nagaland so far, and the administration has taken up all measures in conformity with the Central guidelines related to the deadly virus, an official said.
 
Out of the 33 persons who had come to Nagaland recently from the coronavirus affected countries, none was found to have symptoms of the virus, health and family welfare department Principal Director Dr Vizolie Z Suokhrie said.
 
However, those coming from China have been quarantined in compliance of the protocol set by the Centre, Suokhrie said in a statement here on Monday.
 
The department has taken up all precautions to monitor such persons and set up measures adhering to the guidelines of the Centre to face any untoward event, he said and urged people not to panic.

Wuhan converts buildings into hospitals

The central Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak in the country, started on Monday night to convert a local gymnasium, an exhibition centre and a cultural complex into makeshift hospitals, a local newspaper reported.
 
The three venues will have more than 3,400 beds in total for patients suffering from mild cases of the infection, the official Changjiang Daily said.

Xi Jinping warns virus may impact China’s social stability

Chinese President Xi Jinping called on all officials to quickly work together to contain a deadly new virus at a rare meeting of top leaders, saying the outcome would directly impact social stability in the country.
 
The effort to contain the virus directly affects people’s health, China’s economic and social stability, and the country’s process of opening up, he told a meeting of the Communist Party’s powerful Politburo Standing Committee on Monday. Leaders also urged officials “to achieve the targets of economic and social development this year” and “promote stable consumer spending.”
 
“The outbreak is a major test of China’s system and capacity for governance, and we must sum up the experience and draw a lesson from it,” the official Xinhua News Agency reported, citing a statement from the meeting.

Far from virus epicentre, China's Wenzhou city scrambles to curb outbreak

Far from the coronavirus epicentre, the eastern Chinese city of Wenzhou, a major commercial hub with a population of about 9 million, is scrambling to contain its own local outbreak.
 
Wenzhou is more than 680 km (425 miles) from Wuhan, where the epidemic was first reported, but its problems underscore the challenges faced by China's big cities as they grapple with the rapidly spreading disease.
 
Wenzhou had 291 confirmed coronavirus cases as of Sunday, up 26 on the day and the most of any city outside Hubei province, where Wuhan city is located.
 
Under restrictions implemented on Saturday, only one person per household is allowed to leave home at a time, and markets, shopping centres and entertainment venues have been closed.

Asia stocks find footing as China markets recoup some losses

Asian stocks bounced on Tuesday with Chinese markets reversing some of their previous plunge amid official efforts to calm virus fears, although sentiment remained fragile with oil near 13-month lows.
 
The total number of coronavirus deaths in China reached 425 as of the end of Monday, from 20,438 cases.
 
China's central bank has flooded the economy with cash while trimming some key lending rates, but analysts suspect more will have to be done to offset the economic fallout from the virus.
 
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 1.0%, led by gains in South Korea and Australia. Japan's Nikkei inched up 0.1%.

Hong Kong death reported, 2nd outside China

A death from the coronavirus was reported in Hong Kong in what would be the second fatality outside mainland China, where the number of cases has topped 20,000.

Japan quarantines 3,500 on cruise ship over new coronavirus

Japan has quarantined a cruise ship carrying 3,500 people and was testing passengers for the new coronavirus on Tuesday after a passenger who departed in Hong Kong tested positive for the virus.
 
Television footage showed images of several quarantine officers entering the Diamond Princess cruise ship at the port of Yokohama on Monday evening to check the health of all 2,500 passengers and 1,000 crew members.
 
The move comes after an 80-year-old passenger who disembarked on January 25 in Hong Kong tested positive for the deadly virus.

A man, who returned from China on Jan 18, was admitted to Karnataka Institute of Medical Science Hospital in Hubl

Karnataka: A man, who returned from China on Jan 18, was admitted to Karnataka Institute of Medical Science Hospital in Hubli yesterday after he complained of fever, cough, weakness, headache. Hospital Director says "He's under observation and is stable. We sent his sample to Pune".

China gas demand seen crumbling as Coronavirus threat spreads

Buyers of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in China are bracing for demand to be shattered by a virus epidemic that has killed 361 people, wiped billions off the value of companies in the world's second largest importer of the fuel and threatens its growth.
 
With demand already weakened in an economy slowed by a trade war with United States, several LNG buyers in China told Reuters they are considering either delaying cargoes or cancelling them by invoking force majeure, though nothing had been decided yet.
 
"I think (declaring force majeure on LNG imports) may be possible, as the epidemic keeps (growing) and having a huge impact on demand," said a source with a Chinese firm who sought anonymity as he was not authorised to speak with media.

OPEC and its allies meet for urgent check of how Asia’s coronavirus may hurt oil demand

OPEC and its allies are gathering for an urgent assessment of how Asia’s coronavirus may hurt oil demand, and what measures they could take in response.
Under increasing pressure after crude prices sunk below $50 a barrel for the first time in more than a year, technical experts from the OPEC+ coalition will meet at the cartel’s Vienna headquarters on Tuesday to evaluate the disease’s impact. Fuel consumption in China -- the world’s biggest oil importer -- appears to have plunged as much as 20% as cities are quarantined and factories halted.
 
The officials’ assessment may help determine whether the 23-nation alliance -- which pumps about half the world’s oil -- convenes an emergency ministerial meeting later this month to consider new production cuts. Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s biggest member, has been pushing for such a gathering, but has faced some reluctance from Russia.

China says US should not overreact on coronavirus outbreak

 
China's foreign ministry reiterated on Tuesday the United States should refrain from overreacting on the coronavirus outbreak and called on Washington to work with Beijing and the international community to deal with the epidemic.
 
Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying, in a statement issued by the ministry, also said Beijing notes the repeated offer from the U.S. to China for assistance in fighting the outbreak. Beijing hopes that Washington will provide the offered aid soon, she said.
 
China earlier on Tuesday said the death toll from the outbreak has risen to 425 and that more than 20,000 people have been infected by the virus to date.

Nepal working to evacuate citizens from coronavirus-hit China

The Nepali government said on Monday it is working to evacuate its citizens from China, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak that has reported 361 deaths.
 
Speaking to reporters, Nepali Health Ministry spokesperson Mahdendra Shrestha said that Nepali citizens living in five different cities of the Chinese province of Hubei "have shown interest to come back" to the Himalayan country and that the procedure for their evacuation would require "three to four days".
 
As many as 180 Nepalis, including 3 children have approached the country's embassy in Beijing, demanding their evacuation from the country, as per a list of names published by the embassy.

Back from China, man kept under watch in Miraj

An air passenger arriving from China has been isolated and kept under observation for the new coronavirus in a civil hospital of Miraj town in Sangli district of Maharashtra, taking the number of such people to six in the state

China opens 1,000-bed hospital, begins trials for new drug as coronavirus death toll jumps to 361

China on Monday opened a 1,000-bed hospital built in record nine days in Wuhan city, the epicentre of the coronavirus, and started clinical trials for a drug to treat the virulent virus as the death toll in the outbreak soared to 361, with 17,238 confirmed cases.

A noted Chinese health expert Zhong Nanshan said that based on the fresh evidence, the novel coronavirus which is spreading rapidly in China and the world may reach its peak in the next 10 to 14 days, contrary to earlier estimates of climaxing sooner.

This means that the cases would drastically increase in the next two weeks before slowing down.

The death toll in China's coronavirus epidemic soared to 361 with 57 deaths on Sunday while the number of confirmed cases climbed to 17,238, Chinese health officials announced on Monday.

Among Sunday's deaths, 56 were reported from Hubei Province, the epicentre of the virus outbreak, and one from southwest China's Chongqing, the commission said.

Coronavirus alert sounded in UP districts along Indo-Nepal border

High alert has been sounded in all the Uttar Pradesh districts situated on the porous Indo-Nepal border.
 
Seven UP districts are adjacent to the nearly 580 km Nepal border viz. Maharajganj, Sidharthanagar, Balrampur, Shravasti, Bahraich, Lakhimpur, and Pilibhit. While, the Sashatra Seema Bal (SSB) manning the international border are now wearing surgical masks as a precautionary step while checking people coming from Nepal, the state health department has deployed its teams in the respective districts.
 

Second case of suspected coronavirus in Odisha, student admitted in Cuttack hospital

In a second case of suspected coronavirus in Odisha, a woman pursuing medical studies in China, has been admitted in a government hospital in Cuttack.

The woman was admitted at SCB Medical college and hospital, Cuttack, on Sunday with fever, a symptom associated with novel coronavirus, officials said.

Along with her husband, she had come to Odisha from Wuhan, the epicenter of the novel coronavirus (nCoV) outbreak in the neighbouring country on January 19 to attend a marriage function.

Maritime Unions oppose NRI tax proposal in Budget 2020

Terming the Budget 2020 proposal to tax NRIs in India as "draconian", maritime unions on Monday said they will call on Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to express their concerns.
 
Countries like Philippines and Ukraine compete with India for global share of seafarers, but they do not levy high income taxes on their seafaring citizens, leading maritime unions said.
 
The Maritime Union of India (MUI) and National Union of Seafarers of India (NUSI) have initiated a strong protest campaign against the proposed change in the Income Tax Act after Budget 2020 proposed to tax Non Resident Indians (NRI) in India, who are not paying tax anywhere in the world, a joint statement from MUI and NUSI said.
 
Also, with the period of stay in India being reduced from 181 to 120 days, people have to spend more time abroad more than 245 days compared to 183 days earlier, will get the NRI status as proposed in Budget 2020, it added.
 
"It is a double whammy as Indian seafarers will have to pay income tax on the income generated from sailing aboard cargo ships across the globe for atleast 245 days in a year.

New screening to begin in US amid coronavirus concerns

As the US steps up its response to the coronavirus outbreak, the Department of Homeland Security is warning airline passengers that their flights may wind up rerouted if officials discover mid-flight that someone onboard has been in China in the last 14 days.
 
And Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said a “handful” of flights will be heading to China to bring Americans back home from Hubei Province, which is at the heart of the outbreak.
 
“The exact timing of those we're still coordinating with the Chinese government,” Pompeo said at a news conference Monday in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. “We anticipate that they will happen in the next handful of days and we'll return those American citizens.” Pompeo said: “We may well end up bringing some citizens back from other countries as well. We're working through the details on that.” And he said the U.S. may try to deliver some medical supplies to the region.
 
"We're working closely and hand-in-hand with the Chinese government to try and resolve what is now this global epidemiological challenge, and so we'll have more details exactly on when those flights will depart and when they return and how they'll return to the United States before too long,” he said.

Third coronavirus case reported from India: another Keralite student tests positive

The third novel coronavirus case has been reported in India, with another Keralite student who returned from Wuhan university on Monday testing positive for the infection.
 
The medical student is in an isolation ward at Kanhangad district hospital in Kasaragod, Health Minister K K Shailaja informed the state assembly.
The condition of the student is "stable", she said.
 
Out of the 104 samples tested till Sunday, three have tested positive.
 
This is the third positive case reported from Kerala.
 
Two earlier positive cases, also of students who came back from Wuhan, the epicentre of the virus, were reported from Thrissur and Alapuzha districts.
 
The minister made the statement in the assembly under Rule 300 in the wake of three positive cases reported from the state.

China says 'urgently needs' medical masks to tackle virus

China on Monday said it "urgently needs" protective medical equipment as the death toll in the country from a highly contagious coronavirus passed that of the 2002 SARS crisis, with more than 17,000 infected.
 
"What China urgently needs at present are medical masks, protective suits, and safety goggles," the foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in a press briefing.

Pakistan resumes flights from coronavirus-hit China

Pakistan on Monday resumed flights from coronavirus-hit China after two planes from the country landed at the airport in Islamabad.
 
Pakistan had suspended flights from China till February 2 after the World Health Organisation declared the outbreak of the novel virus as a global health emergency.
The death toll in the coronavirus epidemic soared to 361 with 57 deaths on Sunday alone while the number of confirmed cases climbed to 17,205.
 
According to the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCCA), two flights of China Southern Airlines – CZ 6007and CZ 5241 - from Urumqi city of China landed at Islamabad International Airport.
 
The flights were allowed a day after Pakistan said it has received special medical kits from China to detect the coronavirus cases.

Shanghai stocks dive 7.72% on virus, biggest drop since 2015

Shanghai stocks closed almost eight per cent lower on Monday, the biggest drop in nearly five years, hit by mounting concern over China's coronavirus crisis, which has killed more people than SARS.
 
The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index shed 7.72 per cent, or 229.92 points, to 2,746.61 and the Shenzhen Composite Index dropped 8.41 per cent, or 147.81 points, to 1,609.00.

Russia may deport foreign citizens infected with coronavirus

Russia may deport foreign citizens found to be infected with coronavirus, the Interfax news agency cited Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin on Monday said as saying.
 
Mishustin also proposed postponing the Russian Investment Forum 2020 in the Black Sea city of Sochi, scheduled for Feb.

Coronavirus outbreak: 3rd positive case reported in kerala

Kerala Health Minister KK Shailaja: Third case of Coronavirus tested positive in Kerala in Kasargod.
 
The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare issued a fresh travel advisory on Monday urging people to refrain from visiting China.
 
"Travel Advisory further revised informing the public to refrain from travel to China and that anyone with travel history in China since January 15, 2020 and from now on could be quarantined," said the statement released by the ministry here.
 
The statement also said, "e-Visa facility for Chinese passport holders has been temporarily suspended."
 
The ministry informed that e-Visa already issued to Chinese nationals was not valid temporarily. "The facility for submitting the application online for the physical visa from China is suspended," the ministry said.
 
It also advised to contact the Indian embassy in Beijing or consulate in Shanghai or Guangzhou in case of people having compelling reasons to visit India.

India issues fresh travel advisory for China

Brazilians in Wuhan ask help leaving ground zero of virus drama

A group of Brazilians stuck in the Chinese city at the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak has sent President Jair Bolsonaro a video pleading for help to return home.
 
Reading from a letter dated January 30 in the sprawling eastern city of Wuhan, they told him they were willing to be quarantined when they get back.
 
 
"As we write this letter, there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus or symptoms of infection," one of the group said in the video aired on Sunday.
 
There is no official figure as to how many Brazilians are in Wuhan. It was estimated to be about 70, although some of those citizens came home before the city was effectively shut off.
 
The government in Brasilia later said it would bring home the Brazilians still in Wuhan.
 
"We will bring back all those Brazilians who are located in that region and express a wish to return to Brazil," a statement released by the Defense and Foreign Ministries said.
 

36 evacuated from China to France show virus symptoms

Thirty six people aboard an evacuation flight from China that landed in France on Sunday showed symptoms of the coronavirus, which has killed more than 360 people, Health Minister Agnes Buzyn said.
 
In all, 254 people arrived in France from the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the deadly virus was first detected, on the second such flight.

New coronavirus hospital to open in Wuhan

A new hospital built for coronavirus patients in the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak, is set to open on Monday, as authorities scramble to contain the fast-spreading epidemic.
 
Built in under 10 days, the Huoshenshan Hospital has a capacity for 1,000 beds, and overseen by 1,400 medical staff from the Chinese armed forces, some with experience fighting infectious diseases such as SARS, reports Efe news.
 
The facility will seek to alleviate the collapse suffered by other hospitals in the area, with a second, Leishenshan Hospital, due to be completed on Wednesday.

Mangaluru, Kodagu, Chamrajnagar and Mysore on high alert

Till date, 29 samples tested negative. The border districts of Mangaluru, Kodagu, Chamrajnagar and Mysore are on high alert, says Karnataka

WHO issues public information on coronavirus

The World Health Organization (WHO) has released information and advice to the public regarding the novel coronavirus outbreak in China, which the world body has declared it as a global health emergency.
 
"Antibiotics do not work against viruses, only bacteria," the WHO said on its official website, noting that as it was a virus, antibiotics were not effective in preventing or treating it.
 
However, if a patient is hospitalized for the virus, the person may receive antibiotics since "bacterial co-infection is possible", the organization added.
 

Coronavirus outbreak: China stocks crash on virus fears after long market break

Chinese stocks crashed with some major shares quickly falling by the maximum daily limit as the country's investors got their first chance in more than a week to react to the spiralling coronavirus outbreak.
 
The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index dived 8.73 per cent, or 259.83 points, to open at 2,716.70.
 
The Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks stocks on China's second exchange, sank 8.99 per cent, or 158.02 points, to 1,598.80.
 
The scale of the plunge was remarkable even by the standards of China's notoriously volatile share markets, indicating deep concern over the viral outbreak's economic impact.

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