Coronavirus LIVE: India stays indoors for Janata Curfew on PM Modi's appeal

A view of closed Janpath market after it was temporarily shut down as a precautionary measure for coronavirus pandemic in New Delhi
Coronavirus updates: Millions on Indians put themselves under a 14-hour long voluntary curfew on Sunday to limit the fast-spreading coronavirus epidemic in the country, where 315 people have so far been found to have contracted the disease.

“Let us all be a part of this curfew, which will add tremendous strength to the fight against the COVID-19 menace,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted minutes before the 'Janta Curfew' commenced. “The steps we take now will help in the times to come,’ he said in the tweet.

 
Modi in a televised address to the nation last week urged citizens to stay indoors from 7am to 9pm--a move that he said would be a crucial test for a country to assess its abilities to fight the pandemic.

 
Catch all the live updates here.


10:00 AM IST India launched a 14-hour long curfew on Sunday to limit the fast-spreading coronavirus epidemic in the country, where 315 people have so far been found to have contracted the disease.   Prime Minister Narendra Modi in an address to the nation last week urged citizens to stay indoors from 7am to 9am--a move that he said would be a crucial test for a country to assess its abilities to fight the pandemic. Read the latest updates on COVID-19 here

8:25 AM IST One person, a secondary contact of Chandigarh's first positive case, has tested positive for COVID-19. Total number of positive cases rises to 6 in Chandigarh. Health condition of all the 6 positive cases is stable, says Department of Public Relations, Chandigarh.

8:24 AM IST Rwanda has suspended all "unnecessary movements" outside the home and clamped down on travel across its borders, in one of the toughest measures yet imposed in sub-Saharan Africa to curb the spread of the coronavirus.   "Unnecessary movements and visits outside the home are not permitted," the government announced in a statement late Saturday, excusing trips for healthcare, food, or banking.   All borders are closed except for the passage of goods and cargo and returning Rwandan citizens, read the statement, which also announced the closure of all but the most essential markets and restrictions on travel between cities and districts.

8:24 AM IST   Pakistan's eastern province of Punjab has reported 15 new cases of the novel coronavirus, taking the tally in the state to 152, while the national tally has surged to 645.   The southern province of Sindh remains the worst-hit, having had reported 292 cases, while Balochistan has reported 104, as reported by Dawn. Late on Saturday, the Sindh government had revised the COVID-19 cases figure to 292 from the previously mentioned 396, citing "counting error".   The northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has reported 31 cases, while capital Islamabad has reported 10.   The country on Saturday had suspended all international flights till March 28 as part of the precautionary measure amid the surging tally.

8:23 AM IST   Amazon.com will stop shipping non-essential products to consumers in Italy and France, the company said on Saturday, representing an escalation in the e-commerce giant's response in regions hard hit by the coronavirus outbreak.   An Amazon spokesman said the company made the decision due to a spike in orders and the need to respect anti-coronavirus safety measures in the workplaces.   "We will temporarily stop taking orders on some non-essential products on Amazon.it and Amazon.fr," Amazon.com said in a statement. "This lets fulfillment center associates focus on receiving and shipping the products customers need most at this time."   Amazon considers baby products; health and household items; beauty and personal care; groceries; and industrial, scientific, and pet supplies as essential products.

8:23 AM IST   Amazon.com Inc said on Saturday it is raising overtime pay for associates working in its US warehouses as the world's largest online retailer tries to meet the rapidly growing demand for online shopping from consumers stuck at home during the coronavirus outbreak.   Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos, the world's richest person, also said on Saturday, "My own time and thinking is now wholly focused on COVID-19 and on how Amazon can best play its role," according to a message posted on a company website.   Hourly workers at Amazon's US warehouses will receive double pay after 40 hours for overtime, up from the 1.5-times rate, from March 15 through May 9, the rate increase announcement said.   This is the second time the e-commerce giant announced an increase in pay for its workers in a week. On Monday, Amazon hiked the minimum hourly rate for associates to $17 from $15 and announced plans to hire 100,000 warehouse and delivery workers in the United States as the virus outbreak boosts online orders.

8:22 AM IST   In a high-level meeting held on Saturday, it was decided that Ahmedabad, Surat, Rajkot, and Vadodara will remain under lockdown till March 25, said Gujarat Chief Minister's Office.   However, shops selling daily necessities and essentials things like vegetables, dairy products, and medical items will remain open.   Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on Saturday said that there are total 13 positive cases of coronavirus in the State.   Rupani also appealed to the people to take precautionary measures and follow government guidelines to contain the spread of coronavirus.

8:07 AM IST Himanta Biswa Sarma, Assam Minister: The 4-year-old child who was suspected of COVID-19 and tested in Jorhat Medical College and Regional Medical Research Center, Dibrugarh has been found negative. There is no COVID-19 positive case in Assam so far.

8:03 AM IST The US Food and Drug Administration on Saturday approved a coronavirus diagnostic test that can be conducted entirely at the point-of-care and can deliver results in 45 minutes. The approval of such a diagnostics test developed by California-based Cephid would help in fast identification of infected people and quickly start treating them and their quarantine. The test will begin shipping next week. "The test we're authorising today will be able to provide Americans with results within hours, rather than days like the existing tests, and the company plans to roll it out by March 30, which is an incredibly rapid timeline for such an effort," Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said.

8:01 AM IST Up to 1.5 million vulnerable people in Britain, identified as being most at risk from the coronavirus epidemic, should stay at home for at least 12 weeks, the government said Sunday. Those with underlying health conditions such as bone or blood cancers, cystic fibrosis, or who have had an organ transplant have been advised by health officials to do all they can to shield themselves from the virus, including confining themselves at home for a long period.

8:01 AM IST The city that never sleeps on Sunday woke up to empty roads and deserted public places as the 'Janata curfew' proposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to counter the coronavirus spread began. Modi has proposed the day-long curfew between 7 am and 9 pm as part of social distancing to check the spread of the deadly virus. The usually bustling western and eastern express highways and other arterial roads looked empty as people stayed in their homes to support the curfew. Same was the situation at the suburban train stations which normally see thousands of commuters jostling to get inside the overcrowded trains. State government authorities had on Saturday informed people that only those engaged in essential services would be allowed to travel in local trains, that too after checking their identity papers. Public transport is being curtailed in the city on Sunday. Local trains on the Central line will see 60 per cent services as against the normal 70 per cent on Sundays. The Western Railway has cancelled four services, two from Virar to Dahanu Road, and two from Dahanu Road to Dadar and Churchgate. The Central Railway has cancelled 60 long distance trains across Mumbai division, while the Western Railway has cancelled 40 mail express and 26 passenger trains from Mumbai. It has also cancelled 477 suburban locals on Sunday. The Mumbai Metro and Mumbai Monorail will remain suspended for the day, while BEST buses will run according to their holiday schedule, officials said. Late on Saturday evening, the Divisional Commissioner of Konkan Region declared that the police and State government staff will be present at all stations to ensure that people do not travel unnecessarily and only those engaged in essential services will allowed on local trains.

7:46 AM IST In a few minutes from now, the #JantaCurfew commences. Let us all be a part of this curfew, which will add tremendous strength to the fight against COVID-19 menace. The steps we take now will help in the times to come. Stay indoors and stay healthy. #IndiaFightsCorona pic.twitter.com/11HJsAWzVf — Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 22, 2020

LIVE UPDATES

Delhi to Mumbai: Janata Curfew against coronavirus empties out cities

India launched a 14-hour long curfew on Sunday to limit the fast-spreading coronavirus epidemic in the country, where 315 people have so far been found to have contracted the disease.
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi in an address to the nation last week urged citizens to stay indoors from 7am to 9am--a move that he said would be a crucial test for a country to assess its abilities to fight the pandemic.

Read the latest updates on COVID-19 here

NEWSALERT

One person, a secondary contact of Chandigarh's first positive case, has tested positive for COVID-19. Total number of positive cases rises to 6 in Chandigarh. Health condition of all the 6 positive cases is stable, says Department of Public Relations, Chandigarh.

Rwanda imposes shutdown, suspends 'unnecessary movements': govt

Rwanda has suspended all "unnecessary movements" outside the home and clamped down on travel across its borders, in one of the toughest measures yet imposed in sub-Saharan Africa to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
 
"Unnecessary movements and visits outside the home are not permitted," the government announced in a statement late Saturday, excusing trips for healthcare, food, or banking.
 
All borders are closed except for the passage of goods and cargo and returning Rwandan citizens, read the statement, which also announced the closure of all but the most essential markets and restrictions on travel between cities and districts.

Pak's Punjab reports 15 more cases, national tally at 645

 
Pakistan's eastern province of Punjab has reported 15 new cases of the novel coronavirus, taking the tally in the state to 152, while the national tally has surged to 645.
 
The southern province of Sindh remains the worst-hit, having had reported 292 cases, while Balochistan has reported 104, as reported by Dawn. Late on Saturday, the Sindh government had revised the COVID-19 cases figure to 292 from the previously mentioned 396, citing "counting error".
 
The northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has reported 31 cases, while capital Islamabad has reported 10.
 
The country on Saturday had suspended all international flights till March 28 as part of the precautionary measure amid the surging tally.

Amazon.com to stop shipping non-essentials to consumers in Italy and France

 
Amazon.com will stop shipping non-essential products to consumers in Italy and France, the company said on Saturday, representing an escalation in the e-commerce giant's response in regions hard hit by the coronavirus outbreak.
 
An Amazon spokesman said the company made the decision due to a spike in orders and the need to respect anti-coronavirus safety measures in the workplaces.
 
"We will temporarily stop taking orders on some non-essential products on Amazon.it and Amazon.fr," Amazon.com said in a statement. "This lets fulfillment center associates focus on receiving and shipping the products customers need most at this time."
 
Amazon considers baby products; health and household items; beauty and personal care; groceries; and industrial, scientific, and pet supplies as essential products.

Amazon raises overtime pay for warehouse workers

 
Amazon.com Inc said on Saturday it is raising overtime pay for associates working in its US warehouses as the world's largest online retailer tries to meet the rapidly growing demand for online shopping from consumers stuck at home during the coronavirus outbreak.
 
Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos, the world's richest person, also said on Saturday, "My own time and thinking is now wholly focused on COVID-19 and on how Amazon can best play its role," according to a message posted on a company website.
 
Hourly workers at Amazon's US warehouses will receive double pay after 40 hours for overtime, up from the 1.5-times rate, from March 15 through May 9, the rate increase announcement said.
 
This is the second time the e-commerce giant announced an increase in pay for its workers in a week. On Monday, Amazon hiked the minimum hourly rate for associates to $17 from $15 and announced plans to hire 100,000 warehouse and delivery workers in the United States as the virus outbreak boosts online orders.

Ahmedabad, Surat, Rajkot, Vadodara under lockdown till March 25

 
In a high-level meeting held on Saturday, it was decided that Ahmedabad, Surat, Rajkot, and Vadodara will remain under lockdown till March 25, said Gujarat Chief Minister's Office.
 
However, shops selling daily necessities and essentials things like vegetables, dairy products, and medical items will remain open.
 
Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on Saturday said that there are total 13 positive cases of coronavirus in the State.
 
Rupani also appealed to the people to take precautionary measures and follow government guidelines to contain the spread of coronavirus.

NEWSALERT

Himanta Biswa Sarma, Assam Minister: The 4-year-old child who was suspected of COVID-19 and tested in Jorhat Medical College and Regional Medical Research Center, Dibrugarh has been found negative. There is no COVID-19 positive case in Assam so far.

US FDA approves point-of-care test for coronavirus

The US Food and Drug Administration on Saturday approved a coronavirus diagnostic test that can be conducted entirely at the point-of-care and can deliver results in 45 minutes.

The approval of such a diagnostics test developed by California-based Cephid would help in fast identification of infected people and quickly start treating them and their quarantine. The test will begin shipping next week.

"The test we're authorising today will be able to provide Americans with results within hours, rather than days like the existing tests, and the company plans to roll it out by March 30, which is an incredibly rapid timeline for such an effort," Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said.

Stay home for three months, UK tells 1.5m most at risk

Up to 1.5 million vulnerable people in Britain, identified as being most at risk from the coronavirus epidemic, should stay at home for at least 12 weeks, the government said Sunday.

Those with underlying health conditions such as bone or blood cancers, cystic fibrosis, or who have had an organ transplant have been advised by health officials to do all they can to shield themselves from the virus, including confining themselves at home for a long period.

Mumbaikars stay indoors as 'Janata curfew' commences Covid-19: Mumbaikars stay indoors as 'Janata curfew' commences

The city that never sleeps on Sunday woke up to empty roads and deserted public places as the 'Janata curfew' proposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to counter the coronavirus spread began.

Modi has proposed the day-long curfew between 7 am and 9 pm as part of social distancing to check the spread of the deadly virus.

The usually bustling western and eastern express highways and other arterial roads looked empty as people stayed in their homes to support the curfew.
Same was the situation at the suburban train stations which normally see thousands of commuters jostling to get inside the overcrowded trains.

State government authorities had on Saturday informed people that only those engaged in essential services would be allowed to travel in local trains, that too after checking their identity papers.

Public transport is being curtailed in the city on Sunday. Local trains on the Central line will see 60 per cent services as against the normal 70 per cent on Sundays. The Western Railway has cancelled four services, two from Virar to Dahanu Road, and two from Dahanu Road to Dadar and Churchgate.

The Central Railway has cancelled 60 long distance trains across Mumbai division, while the Western Railway has cancelled 40 mail express and 26 passenger trains from Mumbai.

It has also cancelled 477 suburban locals on Sunday.

The Mumbai Metro and Mumbai Monorail will remain suspended for the day, while BEST buses will run according to their holiday schedule, officials said.
Late on Saturday evening, the Divisional Commissioner of Konkan Region declared that the police and State government staff will be present at all stations to ensure that people do not travel unnecessarily and only those engaged in essential services will allowed on local trains.

US VP Pence, wife to be tested for coronavirus after staffer infected

US Vice President Mike Pence said Saturday that he and his wife would be tested for coronavirus after one of his office staffers contracted the illness. Pence said that there was little reason to believe he had been exposed to the employee, who has not been to the White House since Monday.
 
However, he said, "Given the unique position that I have as vice president and as the leader of the White House coronavirus task force, both I and my wife will be tested for the coronavirus later this afternoon."

Over 195,000 people in U.S. have been tested for coronavirus, received results -official

More than 195,000 people in the United States have been tested for coronavirus and received results, Assistant U.S. Secretary for Health Brett Giroir said on Saturday. Giroir said that tally does not include data from hospital-based laboratories, for which the government will receive data this week. "There are priorities for testing," Giroir said, noting healthcare workers, symptomatic individuals and the elderly.

Nissan temporarily lays off 3,000 workers at Spanish plants

Nissan motor will temporarily lay off about 3,000 workers at 3 plants in Spain that have halted production due to coronavirus outbreak - Nikkei

Moscow shuts pools and fitness clubs in coronavirus battle

Moscow has closed all sports facilities including swimming pools and fitness clubs due to the coronavirus outbreak, the Russian capital's health authorities said on Saturday. Russia has reported 306 cases of the virus, most of them in Moscow, and one death. The country has introduced a raft of economic and social measures to limit its spread.
 
Moscow had already suspended most public events and restricted mass gatherings, as well as banning the entry of foreign nationals and closing some schools. MGIMO, one of Russia's main universities and alma mater of most foreign ministry officials, closed down this week as a preventive measure.

Chile confirms first death due to coronavirus - health minister

Chile's health minister said on Saturday an 83-year woman had died from COVID-19, the country's first death due to coronavirus. Health Minister Jaime Manalich confirmed the death on Twitter. Earlier in the day Manalich said there had been 537 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Chile to date, among the highest tallies in Latin America.

Ireland reports 102 new cases, total at 785

Ireland reports 102 new cases of coronavirus to bring total to 785 - Health Department

Lebanon calls in army to enforce coronavirus lockdown

Lebanon Saturday called in the army and security forces to ensure people stay at home to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus that has killed four people nationwide.
 
In a televised address, Prime Minister Hassan Diab said the number of cases had risen to 230 in the country despite a call almost a week ago for all to remain at home.
Warning of a further spike to epidemic levels if people continued to flout social distancing rules, he said the government was calling in the army and security forces.

U.S. FDA approves first rapid coronavirus test with 45 minutes detection time

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the first rapid coronavirus diagnostic test, with a detection time of about 45 minutes, the test's developer, California-based molecular diagnostics company Cepheid, said on Saturday. Cepheid said in a statement it had received an emergency use authorization from the FDA for the test, which will be used primarily in hospitals and emergency rooms. The company plans to begin shipping it to hospitals next week, it said.
 
Under the current testing regime, samples must be sent to a centralized lab, where results can take days. The diagnostic test for the virus that causes COVID-19 has been designed to operate on any of Cepheid's more than 23,000 automated GeneXpert Systems globally, the company said, without giving details.

Covid-19: Moradabad jail suspends meeting between inmate and family till Mar 31

Moradabad jail authorities have suspended till March 31 inmate-family meeting at the facility and are distributing ayurvedic and allopathic medicines among the prisoners to protect them from the novel coronavirus, an official said. Jail Superintendent Umesh Singh said, "We are facing challenge to protect the all prisoners in the over-crowded jail from coronavirus. So, we have stopped all public meetings till March 31."

Africa lockdowns begin as coronavirus cases above 1,000

Lockdowns have begun in Africa as coronavirus cases rise above 1,000, while Nigeria on Saturday announced it is closing airports to all incoming international flights for one month in the continent's most populous country.
 
Rwanda said all unnecessary movements outside the home are banned for two weeks as of midnight except for essential services such as health care and shopping. The East African nation, which has 17 cases, has told all public and private employees to work from home. Tunisia earlier imposed a lockdown as well.
Meanwhile, two African heads of state appeared to defy their own travel restrictions to attend another president's inauguration.

Major temples in Mathura closed due to coronavirus

Major temples in Mathura have been closed for three to 10 days in view of the coronavirus pandemic, temple authorities said. "On the orders of civil judge, junior division, Mathura, the noted Bankey Behari Temple has been closed till March 31 for public," Munish Sharma, the temple manager, said.
He, however, said that the obeisance to the principal deity would continue as usual within the temple. The 22-kilometer Parikrama of Govardhan has been banned.
The Mukharbind Temple Jatipura has been closed till March 31, SDM Rahul Yadav said.

Italy sets new daily record with near 800 virus deaths

Italy on Saturday reported 793 new coronavirus deaths, a one-day record that saw its toll shoot up to 4,825 -- 38.3 per cent of the world's total.
 
The number of COVID-19 infections rose by 6,557 to 53,578, another record. The total number of fatalities in the northern Lombardy regions around Milan surpassed 3,000. It accounts for nearly two-thirds of Italy's fatalities.
 
Italy has reported 1,420 deaths since Friday, a grim figure that suggests the pandemic is breaking through the government's various containment and social distancing measures.

Govt asks airlines to let 'home quarantine' passengers fly to their home

The central government on Saturday instructed Indian airlines to let the passengers, coming from abroad and instructed to be under home quarantine, take domestic transit flights.
 
As per current instructions, they can fly to their home and then quarantine for 14 days, said A K Gadpayle, principal consultant (DGHS), Control Room Triage, COVID-19 Screening Centre, IGI Airport.

This Covid-19 remedy by Trump defies science

At a long-winded White House briefing on Friday, President Trump enthusiastically and repeatedly promoted the promise of two long-used malaria drugs that are still unproven against the coronavirus, but being tested in clinical trials.
 
“I’m a smart guy,” he said, while acknowledging he couldn’t predict the drugs would work. “I feel good about it. And we’re going to see. You’re going to see soon enough.” Read on...
 
 

31-year-old resident of Nodia tests positive

31-year-old resident of Greater Noida has been tested positive for CoronaVirus. He had returned from Dubai 

GoAir top brass takes 50 per cent pay cut

The top leadership of GoAir is taking a 50 per cent pay cut with immediate effect, the airline's CEO Vinay Dube told its employees in an e-mail on Saturday.
 
As revenues have fallen drastically amid the coronavirus pandemic, the airline has already laid off its expat pilots and announced leave without pay for its employees.

170 visitors from Nepal denied entry into India

West Bengal Tourism Minister Goutam Deb said a total of 170 people were not allowed to enter India from Nepal on Saturday after thermal screening.
 
Though the India-Nepal border in Panitanki area in Darjeeling district is open, visitors to both the countries are being screened in wake of the novel coronavirus outbreak, he said at a press conference here.
 
Deb said visitors to Nepal from India are also being screened.

Tripura urges Centre to seal Bangladesh borders

The Tripura government urged the Centre to seal the India-Bangladesh border to prevent foreigners from entering the country as Dhaka is yet to stop operation of international flights, Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb said on Saturday.
 

Clapping won't help: Rahul Gandhi slams Janata Curfew

Describing the coronavirus crisis in the country as a huge blow to the economy, former Congress President Rahul Gandhi slammed the Modi government over its preparations to combat the pandemic, saying "clapping" would not help as a huge economic package is needed to help the people.

Walmart India to shut stores for 'Janta Curfew'

Walmart India said it will close all its stores and fulfilment centres on Sunday from 7 am to 9 pm to comply with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's call to the nation to observe a 'Janta Curfew' by staying indoors during this time period.
 

Assam reports first Covid-19 case

Four-and-a-half-year-old girl tests positive in Jorhat, samples sent to ICMR for reconfirmation.

Two fresh cases in Andhra, total goes up to five

Two people who returned from Europe to Andhra Pradesh this week tested positive for coronavirus, taking the total number of cases to five, the state Medical and Health Department said on Saturday night.
 
A 24-year-old man who returned to his native Krishna district from Paris via New Delhi and Hyderabad on March 17, tested positive, Special Chief Secretary (Health) K S Jawahar Reddy said in a release.

Kerala CM seeks Centre's help to bring home stranded Indians in Kuala Lumpur

Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan seeks Centre's immediate intervention to bring back around 250 Indian students stranded in Kuala Lumpur because of cancellation of flights to India.

Odisha forms teams to trace 3 persons who came in contact with Covid-19 patient

The Odisha government on Saturday formed nine teams to trace three persons who came in contact with a COVID-19 patient, officials said.
 
The Odisha government's spokesperson for COVID-19, Subroto Bagchi said swab and blood samples of 77 persons have been tested so far, of which two have tested positive, 74 have tested negative and the report of one person is awaited

Coronavirus: L&T pledges to protect livelihood of contract labour

Amid coronavirus outbreak, engineering and construction giant Larsen & Toubro (L&T) on Saturday pledged to protect livelihood of its contract labour.
 
Though the exact number of contract labour is not known, the major has employed them at its 500 projects, as per sources.
 
"We employ a huge amount of contract labour who are totally dependent on us for their daily livelihood. It is important for us to protect them at this point of time from the vagaries of work and to ensure that daily needs are provided at both, the essential worksites and their place of stay," said L&T CEO and Managing Director S N Subrahmanyan.
Deserted Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminal, Mumbai | Photo: Kamlesh Pednekar
Thousand of workers and along with their family at Lokmanya Tilak Terminus in Mumbai on Saturday - KAMLESH PEDNEKAR

FIR against coronavirus patient for spreading the disease

 A 64-year-old woman who tested positive for coronavirus in Himachal Pradesh's Kangra district was on Saturday booked for allegedly flouting norms and spreading the disease, police said.
 
An FIR has been registered against the woman under IPC Section 270 (malignant act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life) at Shahpur police station, police spokesperson Khushal Sharma said.

Jharkhand asks railways to stop trains arriving from other states

The Jharkhand government wrote to the Indian Railways on Saturday, urging it to stop all trains arriving from other states in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
 
In a letter to Railway Board Chairman Vinod Kumar Yadav, Chief Secretary D K Tiwari said that considering the emergent situation, it is being requested that no train from outside Jharkhand be allowed to enter the state till March 31.
 
It is further mentioned that the state has already imposed stringent restrictions on public gatherings and crowding. Necessary co-operation in this regard should be extended from your end, the letter, a copy of which was made available to the press, said.

Why Italy? The factors behind a coronavirus disaster

Why Italy? Loads of people have been wondering why the beautiful Mediterranean country has become the new epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic.
 
Experts list a range of reasons -- from Italy's relatively high age to its strained healthcare system to some old fashioned bad luck -- that add up to a disaster not seen in generations.
 
None of the answers alone explain why the nation of 60 million accounts for over a third of the nearly 11,500 deaths officially reported across the 7.7-billion strong world.
 
But other countries will want to examine each of these factors and address them through various preventive measures in their bids to avoid becoming the next Italy.

Telangana CM calls for 24-hour shutdown from 6am Sunday

Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao on Saturday called for a 24-hour voluntary curfew from 6 am on March 22 to combat the spread of the coronavirus, as two new fresh Covid-19 cases were reported in the state taking the tally to 21.
 
The fresh cases, include a 35-year-old man, a city resident who moved closely with a person who has already tested positive for the virus, according to a media bulletin on Covid-19.
 
Rao, who supported Prime Minister Narendra Modi's call to observe 'Janta curfew' on Sunday from 7 am to 5 pm, urged the people of Telangana to stay at home from 6 AM on Sunday to 6 AM on Monday.

Janata curfew: Extra police force to ensure strict restrictions in Kashmir

Curfew-like restrictions on the movement and assembly of people will be imposed in Kashmir as part of the Prime Minister's appeal to observe a 'Janata curfew' on Sunday to check the spread of coronavirus, police said.
 
Inspector General of Police (IGP), Kashmir, Vijay Kumar said extra police force will be deployed in the valley to ensure that strict restrictions are imposed.
 
He appealed to people to cooperate with the police and other security forces.
 
"It may be janta curfew by name, but the history of Kashmir is such that whatever the situation is, the restrictions cannot be imposed without the police or security forces enforcing them," he told reporters at a press conference.

Bosnia's health authorities report first coronavirus death

A Bosnian man became the first to die of the coronavirus in the Balkan country, the manager of a hospital in the northwestern town of Bihac said on Saturday.
 
Bosnia has declared a nationwide state of emergency over the coronavirus outbreak.
 
The country has so far reported 90 cases.

Nigeria to shut Lagos, Abuja international airports from Monday

Nigeria will close its two main international airports in the cities of Lagos and Abuja from Monday night, its civil aviation regulator said on Saturday, as the number of coronavirus cases in the country almost doubled.
 
The airports, which join three others around the country, will be shuttered for one month, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority said in a statement.
 
The closure comes as Nigeria's number of confirmed coronavirus cases rose on Saturday from 12 to 22, three of them in Abuja, the capital's first positive identifications.

Britain's NHS gets capacity boost from private hospitals to fight coronavirus

Britain's National Health Service (NHS) has struck a deal with the country's independent hospitals that will see more ventilators and thousands of extra beds and healthcare staff made available from next week to fight the coronavirus outbreak.
 
NHS England said on Saturday that nearly 20,000 fully qualified staff will be joining the health service's response to the pandemic, helping manage an expected surge in cases.
 
So far 177 patients have died in the United Kingdom after testing positive for coronavirus, the health ministry said on Friday.
 
The deal includes the provision of 8,000 hospital beds across England, nearly 1,200 more ventilators, more than 10,000 nurses, over 700 doctors and over 8,000 other clinical staff.

PM asks pharma industry to ensure supply of essential items

In order to ensure production of critical drugs and medical equipment within the country amid the coronavirus threat, the Union government has approved schemes worth Rs 14,000 crore, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told leaders of pharma industry on Saturday.
 
He requested the industry leaders to work on manufacture of RNA diagnostic kits for COVID-19 on war footing, an official statement said.
 
In an interaction with them via video conference, Modi said that not only does the industry need to ensure maintenance of supply lines of essential medicines, medical kits and equipment but it should try to come up with new and innovative solutions, according to the statement.

Punjab records 11 Covid-19 cases in single day, total infected stand at 14

In its highest single-day jump, Punjab on Saturday recorded 11 cases of COVID-19, taking the total number of those infected in the state to 14, official said.
 
In the latest development, six cases were reported from Nawanshahr, three from Mohali and one each from Hoshiarpur and Amritsar, they said.
 
As of now, a total of 181 samples have been tested, out of which, the reports of 141 persons were found negative, a medical bulletin said.
The report of 23 persons is awaited, it said.

Noida: All biz, restaurants except groceries, medicos will stay shut to observe Janata curfew

All businesses and offices except hospitals, pharmacies, groceries, and dairies across Noida and Greater Noida have been ordered to stay completely shut on Sunday following Prime Minister Narendra Modi's appeal for a 'Janata curfew', officials said.
 
District Magistrate B N Singh issued the order which stated that all restaurants, including those within residential campuses, cafes, food joints, beauty parlours, salons, industries, commercial firms and offices will remain shut from 7 am to 9 pm.
 
"The order exempts essential services like hospitals, pharmacies, groceries, dairies, etc. Violation of the order will invite legal action against the offender," Singh said.

Bolivia announces total quarantine from Sunday to combat virus

Bolivia's government on Saturday announced a complete quarantine to come into effect from Sunday in a bid to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus.
 
"It's a tough but necessary decision for the good of everyone," said interim President Jeanine Anez, adding that "we must be at home for 24 hours a day." Bolivia has so far registered 19 cases, far fewer than neighbouring countries such as Brazil, with more than 900, and Chile, with more than 500.

Dakshina Kannada-Kerala border sealed

All inter-state border points between Dakshina Kannada district of Karnataka and neighbouring Kasaragod in Kerala have been sealed with immediate effect as part of preventive measures against coronavirus, DK district-in-charge minister Kota Srinivas Poojary said on Saturday.
 
Addressing a review meeting attended by officials and people's representatives at the deputy commissioner's office here, he said all kinds of preventive measures are being taken to check the spread of the virus.
 
Vehicles to Kerala will be allowed through the Talapady check post only in case of emergency in view of more positive cases detected in Kasaragod, he said.

Assocham suggests moratorium on debt repayments for corporates, individuals

With the coronavirus outbreak hitting businesses hard, industry body Assocham on Saturday said it has sought form the government a slew of measures to tide over this difficult economic situation.
 
In a letter to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, it has suggested moratorium for a period of one year on debt repayments both for corporates and individuals.
 
It has also urged the ministry for an urgent infusion of liquidity by the Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) into the Non Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) in a quasi-equity format.

AIIMS to suspend routine walk-in OPD registration from Monday

The New Delhi AIIMS has decided to temporarily suspend routine walk-in OPD registration of patients from March 23 as it redirects its resources to control the Covid-19 outbreak.
 
"It has been decided to temporarily close down routine walk-in OPD's patients' registrations including Specialty Clinics at AIIMS Hospital and all Centres from March 23 till further orders," an AIIMS official said.
 
On Friday, the AIIMS had issued a circular postponing all nonessential elective procedures and surgeries and directed for only emergency life-saving surgeries with effect from March 21.

Crisis-hit Argentines fear for the future over virus

Argentines knew 2020 would be a tough year as the country struggles to pay off its debts, but no one could have imagined that a pandemic would also leave people locked up in their own homes.
 
Buenos Aires and most other cities in Argentina now resemble ghost towns.
 
"Argentina has just had two difficult years and we knew (this year) was going to be very tricky, but this..." said Eduardo Cabrera, 41, who runs three businesses.
'Humanity seems to be in danger': Nitish Kumar urges people to stay indoors
 
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar appealed to the people of the state to observe Janata Curfew on Sunday by staying indoors in order to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
 
Kumar said that social distancing is the best way to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made a fervent appeal to all Indians to observe Janata Curfew on Sunday from 7 am to 9 pm.
 

Europe-returned man tests positive for Covid-19, total 5 cases; over 1,600 under surveillance

One more person has tested positive for the novel coronavirus in Noida with authorities locking down his residential society for 48 hours to carry out sanitation work, as the number of identified COVID-19 cases reached five here, district officials said on Saturday.
 
The person, who returned from Europe three days ago, stays in Sector 74's Supertech Capetown, which has 6,000 flats, they said.
 
The society has been lockdown from 10 am on Saturday till 7 am on Monday for sanitisation, the officials said.

Health ministry organises training for critical care management at 1,000 places

The Union Health Ministry on Saturday carried out a training on critical care management at 1,000 locations in hospitals through video conference, and also said it will conduct a nationwide mock drill on Sunday for emergency response to handle COVID-19 cases.
 
Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Health Lav Agarwal told reporters that the government is likely to issue detailed order on the price cap and other aspects of testing of COVID-19 by private labs and emphasised that people should not go for coronavirus tests "out of fashion" or for "confidence-building".

Covid-19: Ola announces floater coverage of Rs 30,000 for 2 million driver partners

Ride-hailing firm Ola will offer a floater insurance cover of up to Rs 30,000 crore for its around 2 million registered driver partners and their spouses in case they are hit by coronavirus infection.
 
"All eligible Ola driver-partners and their spouses shall be covered by a floater sum of Rs 30,000 under which they can receive a compensation of Rs 1,000 per day for a maximum of 21 days for an individual from the date of a positive diagnosis for COVID- 19," Ola said in a statement.
 

Trade in Mumbai goes into lockdown as Uddhav govt shuts offices, shops

Even before Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked the country to observe a janata curfew this Sunday, Mumbai had already started taking the threat of coronavirus seriously as traffic and passengers on public transport dwindled over the week. Most offices, especially in the organised sector, are asking employees to work from home.
 
Malls are shut except for essential items, street food vendors have gone, and the famous khau gallis in market areas are empty. Even parks and beaches are desolate.
 
With Friday’s decision by the Maharashtra government to close all workplaces till March 31, except shops selling essential commodities and financial markets, will mean that there will be even lesser activity in Maximum City. Read on...

Rajnath appeals to people to make 'Janata curfew' huge success

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday appealed to the people to make 'Janata curfew' a huge success by staying at home on Sunday.
 
Singh said collective action is the need of the hour to contain the spread of Covid-19.
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has urged Indians to stay at home from 7 am to 9 pm on Sunday to practice social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic.
 
In his address to the nation on Thursday, he had termed the Sunday's stay at home activity as 'Janata curfew'.
 

Covid-19: Man with no foreign-travel history tests positive in Bengal

A 57-year-old man with no history of travelling abroad tested positive for novel coronavirus in West Bengal, making it the fourth confirmed case in the state, a health department official said on Saturday.
 
The resident of Dumdum in North 24 Parganas district was admitted to a private hospital on Monday with fever and dry cough. His symptoms intensified since Thursday, according to the official.
 
The man's samples tested positive twice and he is currently at an isolation ICU of the hospital, the official said.

Essential services will remain open during Janta Curfew: Haryana CM

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar has said that establishments providing essential services, such as grocery shops, petrol pumps, medicine shops, will remain open in the state during 'Janta Curfew' on Sunday.
 
He urged the people of his state not to panic or fear and adhere to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's appeal for observing a 'Janta Curfew' on March 22 to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus.

Coronavirus: Passengers wait for hours to undergo screening at Delhi airport

Chaotic scenes were witnessed at Delhi airport on Saturday as passengers from the UK, US and Australia had to wait for hours to get through the screening process made mandatory by the government to check for coronavirus infection.
 
Many passengers took to Twitter to share their ordeal, like how they were made to stand in long queues for hours without food and water.
 

PM asks pharma industry to ensure supply of essential items

In order to ensure production of critical drugs and medical equipment within the country amid the coronavirus threat, the Union government has approved schemes worth Rs 14,000 crore, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told leaders of pharma industry on Saturday.
 
He requested the industry leaders to work on manufacture of RNA diagnostic kits for COVID-19 on war footing, an official statement said.
 
In an interaction with them via video conference, Modi said that not only does the industry need to ensure maintenance of supply lines of essential medicines, medical kits and equipment but it should try to come up with new and innovative solutions, according to the statement.

Finland reports first coronavirus death

Finland on Saturday reported the country's first death from Covid-19, saying the outbreak was "moving to the next, more serious phase" in the country.
 
The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) did not give any details on the patient, other than saying the person was "elderly", living in the Helsinki area and had died on Friday.
 
"Finland's first coronavirus death is extremely unfortunate, but not unexpected," THL said in a statement, referring to the patients advanced age.
 
Finland's president Sauli Niinisto sent a message of condolence to the family and friends of the deceased, saying the incident showed that "the coronavirus epidemic is moving to the next, more serious phase in Finland." Health authorities reported 521 cases on Saturday, but only high-risk patients are being tested so health officials have said the number of infections in the country could be up to 30 times higher.

Covid-19: Prohibitory orders to be imposed on March 23

As part of steps to control the spread of coronavirus, Chief Minister V Narayanasamy on Saturday said prohibitory order under section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code will be clamped in Puducherry region on March 23 and it will be in force till month end.
 
This is to curb gathering of more people as part of preventive measures to contain the COVID-19 spread, he told reporters here.
 
uducherry reported its first coronavirus case on Tuesday with a 68-year-old woman testing positive in Mahe, an enclave of the union territory in Kerala.

Coronavirus: 306 intl travellers quarantined in Mumbai on Sat

As many as 306 international travellers were admitted in quarantine facilities in Mumbai on Saturday in connection with the novel coronavirus outbreak, said the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation.
 
It said 811 people were checked in OPDs while 138 were admitted in isolation wards as a precautionary measure for suspected exposure to the virus.
 
Out of the nine people who tested positive for the coronavirus on Saturday, eight are Mumbai residents, and six have international travel history.

Britain tells shoppers: there is enough food so stop hoarding

Britain on Saturday urged people to act responsibly when they shop for food and stop hoarding so that there was enough for health workers fighting the coronavirus outbreak.
 
"There is more than enough food to go round and our food supply chain is able to expand production to cope with increased demand," Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs George Eustice told reporters. "Be responsible when you shop and think of others."
 
"Buying more than you need means that others may be left without and it is making life more difficult for those front line workers, such as our doctors and nurses and NHS support staff," Eustice said.
 
Manufacturers have produced around 50% more food than they usually do to cope with soaring demand, Eustice said.

Greece gets 500,000 masks from China to combat virus

A plane from China carrying 500,000 masks to help Greece combat the coronavirus outbreak landed at Athens International Airport on Saturday.
 
Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias was among those at the airport to receive the load which was donated by the Chinese public electricity company State Grid and Greek electricity supplier Admie, in which the Chinese firm holds a 25 percent stake.
 
The load consisted mainly of FFP2 masks which will be distributed principally to hospitals, airport officials said.
 
Beijing and Athens have been building important commercial relationships for over a decade, especially after the sale of most of the terminals in the port of Piraeus (near Athens) to the Chinese shipping giant Cosco.

Government launches chatbot on WhatsApp to create awareness about coronavirus, curb misinformation

With fears around coronavirus fuelling rumours and misinformation on social media, the government has launched a chatbot on messaging platform WhatsApp to address user queries around the pandemic, and offer verified information and official advisories to the public.
 
'MyGov Corona Helpdesk' can be accessed by sending a Whatsapp message to +91 9013151515, and is equipped to address various FAQs pertaining to coronavirus such as its symptoms, precautionary measures that need to be undertaken, helpline numbers, affected cases in the region, government advisories (including travel), among others.
 
Sources said the chatbot has been developed and implemented by Jio Haptik Technologies, a conversational AI platform and a subsidiary of Reliance Industries.

Surat diamond hub in Guj shut between March 24-31

The world's largest diamond cutting and polishing hub, Surat in Gujarat, will shut down for a week from Tuesday due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, the Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council and Surat Diamond Association said in a joint statement on Saturday.
 
Diamond cutting and polishing units in other parts of the state like Bhavnagar and Botad will also remain closed, Gujarat regional chairman of GJEPC Dinesh Navadiya said.
 
"The industry has already witnessed $846 million fall in exports in February 2020 compared to the same month last year, and the crisis is deepeningfurther and could get worse than what was witnessed during the 2008 financial recession," he said.

'Near total' lockdown in 5 Odisha districts, 8 other towns

A day before the nationwide 'Janata curfew', the Odisha government announced on Saturday a "near total" shutdown in five districts and eight other prominent towns for a week to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
 
It will come into effect from Sunday morning, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said in a video message.
 
The districts that will observe near-total lockdown are Khurda, Ganjam, Cuttack, Kendrapara and Angul, while the towns include Puri, Sambalpur, Jharsuguda, Balasore, Rourkela, Bhadrak, Jajpur Road and Jajpur, Patnaik said.
 
These districts and towns were identified as over 3,000 residents have returned to these places from abroad in the past few days.

Delhi Metro services to be mostly closed on Monday

The Delhi Metro services will mostly be closed, except for few a hours, on Monday as part of precautionary measures to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic, officials said on Sunday.
 
Services from 8-10 am will be available at a normal frequency as on regular days. During this period, everyone can travel and no identification will be required at the time of entry, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) authorities said.
 
Services from 6 am till 8 am will be available at a frequency of 20 minutes, only for people involved in essential services like hospitals, police, fire department, among others. They will be allowed to enter metro stations on the producing their identification cards to the security personnel, according to the official said.
 
"Services from 10 am to 4 pm will not be available," the official said. "However, all the trains, which started at 10 am from originating stations of all lines, will continue to run till they reach their destination stations," the DMRC official said.
 
Services from 4-8 pm will again be available, but will cease after 8 pm onwards. 

Goa govt announces several lockdown measures

The Goa government on Saturday announced the shutting of roadside eateries, sealing of state borders for vehicles and stoppage of tourist activities and other steps to combat the novel coronavirus outbreak.
 
The lockdown measures were taken after Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawat held a series of meetings, including one with leaders of all political parties here.
 
"Even though there has not been a single positive case of coronavirus in Goa, considering the critical phase the country is facing, it is necessary to be more vigilant and take all measures required to prevent community transmission of the virus," Sawant said addressing a press conference.

Africa's cases above 1,000; presidents defy own travel bans

Africa's cases of the coronavirus rose above 1,000 on Saturday while two heads of state appeared to defy their own travel restrictions to attend another president's inauguration.
 
Angola announced its first cases, meaning at least 40 of Africa's 54 countries are now affected. Congo reported its first death; Burkina Faso reported two new ones.
 
Ivory Coast was the latest to announce it was closing its borders. And Ethiopia's electoral authorities discussed the virus' effect on a major national election later this year.

Rajini backs PM's 'Janta curfew', urges people to cooperate

Tamil Superstar Rajinikanth on Saturday backed Prime Minister Narendra Modi's call for 'Janta Curfew' and said everyone should stay indoors.
 
The 69-year-old actor said the virus was at its second stage in India and appealed to people to stay indoors so that it can be prevented entering the third stage.
 
"We can prevent the virus entering third stage if people stay indoors and for that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced Janta Curfew on March 22," Rajinikanth said in a video message.
 
The Italian government had announced a similar curfew but people did not heed it and because of that lot of lives were lost to the pandemic and that kind of situation should not occur in India, the veteran actor said.

EU approves France plan for 3 bn euro virus aid package

The European Commission on Saturday approved a proposal by France to guarantee up to 300 billion euros ($323 billion) in state aid to ease the economic burden of the coronavirus.
 
The EU body approved three measures by France "to help its economy manage the impact of the Coronavirus outbreak," said Margrethe Vestager, executive vice president in charge of competition policy at the EU Commission.
 
"These are expected to mobilise 300 billion euros of liquidity support for companies affected by this unprecedented situation... We are working around the clock with member states to enable them to take swift, effective and targeted action," she added.

IRCTC tweaks order, food facilities to allow takeaways

The IRCTC has revised its order on onboard services and will now allow takeaway food from its plazas, refreshment rooms, Jan Aahars and cell kitchens which it had shut down due to the coronavirus outbreak.
 
The revised order was issued on Saturday and will be applicable from March 22.
 
In the latest order, the railway subsidiary said that while takeaways will be allowed from its food outlets, no one will be allowed to sit there and have meals. On Friday, the IRCTC (Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation) had ordered the closure of all onboard catering services in mail or express trains from March 22 until further notice in view of the coronavirus outbreak.
 

Mauritius reports first coronavirus death as cases rise

Mauritius has recorded its first death from coronavirus, the health minister said Saturday, just the third in sub-Saharan Africa, as the archipelago nation imposed a lockdown to contain the outbreak.
 
"There have been 14 confirmed cases so far, one of which died on Thursday evening," Health Minister Kailesh Jagutpal said, without providing details about the deceased patient.
 
Mauritius, some 1,800 kilometres (1,100 miles) off the eastern coast of Africa, went into lockdown Friday, with the country's citizens told to stay indoors for 14 days.
 
There were just three confirmed cases in Mauritius on Thursday when Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth appealed to the country's 1.3 million citizens to obey the order.

Switzerland says coronavirus infections rise to 6,100

Switzerland on Saturday reported 6,100 coronavirus infections, some 25% more than a day earlier, and 56 deaths, the Swiss health ministry said, as hospitals in the canton of Ticino that borders hard-hit Italy were under intense pressure.
 
"The situation in Ticino is very tense," said Daniel Koch, head of the Federal Office of Health's communicable diseases division. The latest tally nationwide is up more than 1,200 cases in a day, while the deaths were up 13 from Friday.
 

No need for panic buying of milk, other dairy products, says Amul MD

GCMMF, which markets its dairy products under Amul brand, on Saturday said there will be no shortage of milk and other dairy products and asked people to refrain from panic buying amid coronavirus scare.
 
Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF) MD R S Sodhi said there have been reports of panic buying of milk and other dairy products because of coronavirus.
 
He assured people that there will be no shortage of dairy products.
 

Assam asks schools to continue teaching via WhatsApp during shutdown

The Assam government on Saturday directed the schools to provide students with course materials and give them homework through WhatsApp to prevent learning gaps and subsequent dropouts during the closure of educational institutes due to the coronavirus outbreak, officials said.
 
The Education Department asked the schools to create WhatsApp groups with guardians of the students for this purpose, an official said.
 
The department also asked teachers to make short videos on topics in the syllabi and upload them in the WhatsApp groups, he said.
 

Ireland-Bangladesh cricket series postponed due to coronavirus

Ireland's seven-match series against Bangladesh became on Saturday the latest casualty to be inflicted on the cricket calendar by the coronavirus pandemic.
 
The three one-day internationals in Belfast and four Twenty20 matches in England, scheduled to take place in May, have been postponed in line with British and Irish government advice against the staging of sporting events with mass gatherings and travel restrictions.
 
"We have a responsibility to protect the wellbeing of players, coaches, fans and the wider community, and will not hesitate to take a safety-first approach to our operations over coming months," said Warren Deutrom, Chief Executive of Cricket Ireland.

Partial lockdown in Nepal amid virus fears

Nepal has imposed a partial lockdown with the government suspending international flights, long-distance transport services and closure of education institutes to tackle the coronavirus outbreak which has claimed more than 11,000 lives globally so far.
 
The Nepal Communist Party-led government has also halted non-essential services by both private and public sectors starting from March 23 to April 3.
 
In a live telecast address to the nation on Friday, Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli said long-journey transport services will be suspended indefinitely from March 23.
 
International flight operations at Tribhuvan International Airport have been shut from March 22 till March 31. All schools and colleges have been closed and examinations postponed.

Coronavirus: Disinfection drive launched in Delhi's Azadpur Mandi

A disinfection drive was launched in Azadpur Mandi, the biggest fruit and vegetable wholesale market of Delhi, on Saturday in view of the coronavirus pandemic.
 
Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (Azadpur) chairman Adil Ahmad Khan said four teams have been constituted to disinfect the market spreading 83 acres and the drive will continue for the next few days.
 
Khan said hand sanitizers are being distributed among labourers and besides, awareness campaign is being run at the market.
 
The disinfection drive will also be carried out in other wholesale fruit and vegetable markets in Okhla, Ghazipur and Keshavpur.

Vietnam bars entry to all foreigners from Sunday

Vietnam will bar entry for all foreigners from Sunday, except for special cases, as the Southeast Asian country seeks to contain the spread of coronavirus, the government said.
 
Those entering the country on "diplomatic and special purposes" will be subject to quarantine and approval from the ministries of police, health and foreign affairs, the government said in a statement on Saturday.
 
Vietnam also said it would suspend all inbound international flights.

Bengaluru police chief caution people against venturing out

Ahead of the 'Janta curfew' announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 22, the city police on Saturday cautioned people that action will be taken under certain sections of law if they venture out unnecessarily.
 
Requesting citizens to stay at home by observing the 'curfew' to fight the spread of COVID-19, Bengaluru Police chief Bhaskar Rao cautioned people against venturing out unnecessarily.
 
Stating that security and control room at the Commissioners office will be open, while others will be on streets to implement 'Janta Curfew', he said everyone should stay at home.

12 more test positive in Kerala, total cases touch 49

Twelve more fresh cases of coronavirus were reported from Kerala on Saturday, taking the tally to 49, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said.
 
While six more people tested positive from Kasaragod, three each new cases were from Kannur and Ernakulam districts, Vijayan told reporters after a COVID-19 review meeting here.
 
All those who were diagnosed with the virus today had returned from Dubai recently, Vijayan said.

Assembly of over 10 banned, no standing travel in buses

Thane Municipal Commissioner Vijay Singhal on Saturday banned assembly of more than ten persons in the city in view of the coronavirus outbreak.
 
Action will be taken if more than ten people are found to have gathered on roads or in other public places, he said.
 
Speaking to reporters here, Singhal also said that no standing passengers would be allowed on civic-run TMT buses, and only one passenger would be allowed per seat.
 
The administration will run buses at 40 per cent of the capacity.

8 Covid-19 patients recovered in UP: Official

The Uttar Pradesh government said on Saturday that eight out of the 25 novel coronavirus patients in the state who were undergoing treatment have completely recovered.
 
"So far, 25 corona-positive cases have come to light in the state," Amit Mohan Prasad, principal secretary, health, said. "They are undergoing treatment at various hospitals. Of this, 8 patients have completely recovered." In a statement, Prasad asserted that the state government had made all arrangements to contain the spread the spread of the deadly COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019).
 
"Mass awareness programmes are going on, in which people are being told about how to sanitise themselves, and also adhere to social distancing, Prasad said. "There is no need to fear or feel afraid of this disease, only alertness has to be maintained." Testing centres have been increased from three to six. In the next two days, the number of testing centres will be increased to eight, the official said.
 

HRD ministry tells educational institutions to allow students still in hostels to stay put

The HRD ministry on Saturday advised all educational institutions to let students who are still in hostels to stay put and take necessary precautions in view of coronavirus outbreak.
 
"Students who are still in hostels, particularly foreign students, should be allowed to continue in their hostels and advised to take all necessary safe precaution," HRD Secretary Amit Khare said in a letter to the institutions. 
 

Nearly one billion people confined to homes globally to curb virus

Close to one billion people worldwide were confined to their homes on Saturday as the global coronavirus death toll shot past 11,000 and US states rolled out lockdown measures already imposed across swathes of Europe.
 
The pandemic has completely upended lives across the planet, restricting movement, shutting schools and forcing millions to work from home.
 
While President Donald Trump insisted the United States was "winning" the war against the virus, individual states dramatically ramped up restrictions, with New York and Illinois joining California in ordering residents to stay home.
 
The virus death toll surged past 11,000 worldwide, with 4,000 alone in worst-hit Italy where the daily number of fatalities has shot up relentlessly over the past week.

Vice president urges people to follow 'janata curfew' on Sunday

Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Saturday made a "fervent" appeal to the people of the country to confine themselves to homes on Sunday during 'janata curfew' to effectively contain the spread of coronavirus.
 
Referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's call for observing 'janata curfew' this Sunday, he said since the virus spreads through physical contact, social distancing is an effective measure to contain its spread by avoiding contact during the incubation period of the virus.
 
Naidu said in effect it means 'caring for yourself and others' through social distancing which is being principally advocated by the medical experts and WHO.

Georgia declares state of emergency over coronavirus

Georgia on Saturday declared a nationwide state of emergency over the novel coronavirus pandemic, allowing the government to regulate prices for food and medicines if needed.
 
"The situation is grave and is expected to worsen," President Salome Zurabishvili said in a televised address to the nation, saying the state of emergency is effective immediately and will last for one month.
 
She praised her cabinet for successfully containing the pandemic but added that the time had come to prepare for a "second wave that will be acute." The Black Sea nation of some 3.7 million people has so far reported 48 cases of COVID-19, while some 2,000 people are under quarantine.

Georgia declares state of emergency over coronavirus

Georgia on Saturday declared a nationwide state of emergency over the novel coronavirus pandemic, allowing the government to regulate prices for food and medicines if needed.
 
"The situation is grave and is expected to worsen," President Salome Zurabishvili said in a televised address to the nation, saying the state of emergency is effective immediately and will last for one month.
 
She praised her cabinet for successfully containing the pandemic but added that the time had come to prepare for a "second wave that will be acute." The Black Sea nation of some 3.7 million people has so far reported 48 cases of COVID-19, while some 2,000 people are under quarantine.

J-K govt employees with foreign travel history to go for mandatory quarantine

The Jammu and Kashmir administration on Saturday asked its employees with foreign travel history to go for quarantine before resuming their duties.
 
A circular issued by the General Administration Department (GAD) advised people to avoid contact with persons having a foreign travel history.

Amid shrinking demand, Punjab industry seeks relief

With the industry facing heat because of massive drop in demand for industrial products due to coronavirus scare, industry representatives in the state on Saturday sought relief in the shape of deferment of payment of the goods and services tax, cut in bank interest rate and 
immediate release of tax refund to stay afloat in the time of crisis.
 
Hit hard because of tepid demand, the industry also sought from the Punjab government to defer the payment of electricity bills, property tax and other statutory dues for at least two months.
 
Punjab's almost all industrial verticals be it bicycle, garment, auto parts, hand tools, etc have been hit because of sharp drop in demand for products, industry said.

Mumbai fuel pumps to remain open on Sunday and lockdown days: Retailers body

Fuel outlets in the megapolis and the suburbs will remain open but with skeletal staff on Sunday and will operate only from 7 am to 7 pm from Monday till March 31 as the city is under lockdown.
 
The curtailed operations on Sunday is in response to the voluntary curfew call to public by the prime minister, the city's dealers body said.
 
"The timing will be revised at the end of this month," the Mumbai Petrol Dealers Association said on Saturday.

Bihar shuts down bus services, restaurants, banquet halls till March 31

The Bihar government on Saturday ordered shutting down of bus services, restaurants and banquet halls across the state till March 31 to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus, officials said.
 
However, home delivery and take home services of restaurants will remain functional, a health department order said.
 
The state government, invoking the Bihar Epidemic Diseases, COVID-19 Regulations, 2020, said the restrictions have come into force with immediate effect.
 
"The decision was taken for prevention and control of the outbreak of epidemic disease namely COVID-19 in the state," Health Department Principal Secretary Sanjay Kumar said in the order.

Working with govt, key stakeholders to ensure continued supply of medicines: IPA

The Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance (IPA) on Saturday said it along with its member companies is working with the government, various pharma industry associations in India and other key stakeholders in the pharmaceutical supply chain to ensure that patients in India and the world continue to have access to medicines.
 
The member companies are closely monitoring orders and inventories of medicines, it said. "With an adequate stock of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs), finished product formulations and channel availability, we would be able to sustain the supply of medicines for the coming months, the IPA said in a statement.
 
The pharma industry body also said that it is not aware of any medicines shortage, to date.

EU approves 300 bn euro French state aid to fight coronavirus

The European Commission said on Saturday it had approved three French state aid schemes to support the French economy amid the coronavirus epidemic that would mobilise 300 billion euros of liquidity support for affected companies.
 
Two of the schemes enable the French public investment bank Bpifrance to provide state guarantees on commercial loans and credit lines for firms with up to 5,000 employees.
 
The third scheme provides state guarantees to banks on portfolios of new loans for all types of companies. This is direct aid to the companies that will enable banks to quickly provide liquidity to any company that needs it.

Singapore reports 47 more coronavirus cases after first deaths

Singapore on Saturday reported 47 new cases of coronavirus, which were mainly imported, taking the city-state's tally to 432 infections.
 
Of the new cases, 39 were imported and had a travel history to countries including Australia, Europe, North America and Southeast Asian nations, the health ministry said in a statement. A majority were returning residents and long-term pass holders.
 
Saturday's number of new cases is the same as the count reported on March 18, the city-state's biggest daily jump.

Portugal's death toll from coronavirus doubles to 12

The death toll from the coronavirus pandemic in Portugal doubled overnight to 12, the country's national health authority DGS said on Saturday.
 
The number of confirmed cases rose to 1,280 from 1,059 the previous day, it said, adding that 35 people were in intensive care. Portugal declared a state of emergency to stem the spread of the virus on Wednesday.
 

Number of coronavirus patients jump to 13 in Punjab

The number of coronavirus patients in Punjab surged to 13 on Saturday, official said.
 
A media bulletin issued by the Punjab government said the number of COVID-19 positive patients went up to 13 in the state.
 
As of now, testing of 181 samples has been conducted and out of which, reports of 141 persons came negative, it said.
 
The reports of 23 persons with suspected coronavirus are awaited, the bulletin said.

Union home secy asks state chief secretaries to ensure proper observance of 'Janta Curfew'

Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla on Saturday asked chief secretaries of all states to ensure that the 'Janta Curfew' called by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday is observed properly in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
 
The home secretary also told the top bureaucrats of all states to see that local bodies, fire services, police and civil defence blow sirens or ring bells on Sunday evening to express gratitude towards those involved in tackling the disease.
 

Norway urges Olympics to be postponed until coronavirus crisis over

The Norwegian Olympic Committee (NOC) said Saturday they had asked the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to postpone the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo until the new coronavirus pandemic was under control.
 
In a letter sent to the IOC on Friday, the Norwegian sports body said it was "concerned about the COVID-19 pandemic and the public health situation both nationally and internationally." "Our clear recommendation is that the Olympic Games in Tokyo shall not take place before the COVID-19 situation is under firm control on a global scale," the letter continued. 
 

PM's call for 'Janta' curfew need of hour: Home Minister Amit Shah

Describing Prime Minister Narendra Modi's call for a 'Janta' curfew on Sunday as the need of the hour, Union Home Minister Amit Shah has asked everyone in the country to support it and encourage others to join the movement to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
 
In a series of tweets, Shah also asked all citizens to express gratitude to those who are working round the clock to keep the country safe and healthy amid the pandemic.

Coronavirus impact: Amid shrinking demand, Punjab industry seeks relief

With the industry facing heat because of massive drop in demand for industrial products due to coronavirus scare, industry representatives in the state on Saturday sought relief in the shape of deferment of payment of the goods and services tax, cut in bank interest rate and immediate release of tax refund to stay afloat in the time of crisis.
 
Hit hard because of tepid demand, the industry also sought from the Punjab government to defer the payment of electricity bills, property tax and other statutory dues for at least two months.
 
Punjab's almost all industrial verticals be it bicycle, garment, auto parts, hand tools, etc have been hit because of sharp drop in demand for products, industry said.

Coronavirus cases rise to 283 in India: Health Ministry

Novel coronavirus cases in India rose to 283 on Saturday after 60 fresh cases were reported in various parts of the country, the Union Health Ministry said.
 
The total includes 39 foreign nationals, including 17 from Italy, three from the Philippines, two from the UK, one each from Canada, Indonesia and Singapore.
 
It also includes four deaths reported from Delhi, Karnataka, Punjab and Maharashtra.
 
"The total number of active COVID-19 cases across India stands at 256 so far," the ministry said, adding that 23 others have been cured/discharged/migrated while four have died.Maharashtra has reported the highest number of COVID-19 cases at 63, including three foreigners, followed by Kerala at 40, including seven foreign nationals.

City fuel pumps to remain open on Sunday and lockdown days: Retailers body

Fuel outlets in the megapolis and the suburbs will remain open but with skeletal staff on Sunday and will operate only from 7 am to 7 pm from Monday till March 31 as the city is under lockdown.
 
The curtailed operations on Sunday is in response to the voluntary curfew call to public by the prime minister, the city's dealers body said.
 
"The timing will be revised at the end of this month," the Mumbai Petrol Dealers Association said on Saturday.
 
Curtailed time is an attempt to reduce risk of exposure to the pump attendants and yet keep the essential service open to the public albeit in limited hours, the statement said.
 
"No employees will lose their salaries for reduced working hours," the statement added.
The 213-odd fuel pumps normally operate 20 hrs a day.

Working with govt, key stakeholders to ensure continued supply of medicines: IPA

The Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance (IPA) on Saturday said it along with its member companies is working with the government, various pharma industry associations in India and other key stakeholders in the pharmaceutical supply chain to ensure that patients in India and the world continue to have access to medicines.
 
The member companies are closely monitoring orders and inventories of medicines, it said. "With an adequate stock of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs), finished product formulations and channel availability, we would be able to sustain the supply of medicines for the coming months, the IPA said in a statement.

Covid-19: Bihar shuts down bus services, restaurants, banquet halls till Mar 31

The Bihar government on Saturday ordered shutting down of bus services, restaurants and banquet halls across the state till March 31 to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus, officials said.
 
However, home delivery and take home services of restaurants will remain functional, a health department order said.
 
The state government, invoking the Bihar Epidemic Diseases, Covid-19 Regulations, 2020, said the restrictions have come into force with immediate effect.
 
"The decision was taken for prevention and control of the outbreak of epidemic disease namely COVID-19 in the state," Health Department Principal Secretary Sanjay Kumar said in the order.

Covid-19 causing financial stress to poor, ration per person increased: Kejriwal

The Delhi government on Saturday said the novel coronavirus was causing terrible financial stress to the poor and announced that those receiving ration from fair-price shops would get 50 per cent extra for next month.
 
During his first-ever digital-only press conference, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal doubled the pension for widows, differently-abled and elderly for this month.
 
Urging people to stay indoors, Kejriwal said the government had not imposed a lockdown in Delhi for now, but would have to do it if the need arises in the wake of coronavirus pandemic.
 

Health ministry undertakes training for critical care management at 1000 places

The Union health ministry on Saturday carried out training for critical care management at 1,000 places through video conference, and said it will conduct nationwide mock drill on Sunday for emergency response to handle coronavirus cases cases.
 
Health ministry joint secretary Lav Agarwal told reporters that guidelines for coronavirus tests have been revised, directing that asymptomatic direct, high-risk contacts of confirmed cases should be tested once between day 5 and day 14 of coming in contact with an infected person.
 
The government is likely to issue guidelines for private labs for the test later on Saturday, he said, adding that people should not go for coronavirus tests "out of fashion" or as a confidence-building exercise. Protocols are in place and that will be followed, he said.

TN reports three more fresh COVID-19 cases, total rises to six

Three foreign nationals under observation have tested positive for coronavirus on Friday, taking the total number of cases to six in Tamil Nadu, State Health Minister C Vijaya Baskar said.
 
While two are from Thailand, the other is from New Zealand, the minister said.
"Three positive cases confirmed, 2 Thai nationals and one from New Zealand. Patients are undergoing treatment in isolation," he tweeted.
 
The Health minister said all the six positive cases reported were "imported cases from different regions with travel history and not community transmitted." "New cases were already quarantined and in our radar," he said.

We have reduced dope tests to roughly 25 percent of earlier numbers due to COVID-19: NADA DG

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit India's dope testing programme big time with the national watchdog, facing various logistical problems, reducing the sample collection of athletes to just 25 percent of earlier numbers.
 
National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) Director General Navin Agarwal, however, said that his organisation will be able to conduct enough number of tests on athletes who have qualified for the Olympics.

World champion Hamilton self-isolating as precaution

Six-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton says he is self-isolating but will not get tested for coronavirus as others need attention more than him.
 
The 35-year-old Briton said he decided to self-isolate because he had been at the same function in London that actor Idris Elba and Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau's wife Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau attended earlier this month.
 
Elba and Gregoire-Trudeau subsequently both tested positive for COVID-19.
 
"I want to let you know that I am doing well," Hamilton said in a statement.
 

Migrant workers being sent back without proper screening: Mamata slams railways

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee alleged on Saturday that the railways was not ensuring proper screening of the passengers entering the state through long-distance trains.
 
She claimed that migrant workers from the state, particularly those in Maharashtra, were being packed off in trains and sent back without conducting medical checkups on them.

Latest updates on Covid-19 crisis

The Chhattisgarh government has ordered all its offices, except those providing essential and emergency services, to remain shut till March 31 in view of the coronavirus outbreak, officials say.
 
The Odisha government announces a "near total" shutdown in five districts and eight prominent towns for a week to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
 

Lockdowns multiply globally as virus strains health systems

Streets, squares and highways were deserted in large parts of the world Saturday as curfews and lockdowns multiplied in the face of a rapidly advancing virus that is severely straining many health systems.
 
Three American states with a combined population of 70 million are moving to restrict residents to their homes to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus. California started Friday and New York and Illinois were to follow this weekend. Connecticut and Oregon were preparing to do the same.
 
Once-bustling outdoor plazas fell quiet in Bavaria after it became the first German state to tell people to stay home, except to go to work, buy food, visit the doctor or exercise. Police reported fewer people breaching the curfew than in previous nights.
 
Colombia became the latest South American country to announce a lockdown, and Sri Lanka closed all expressways for a weekend curfew.

Vietnam calls up medical students, retired doctors in coronavirus fight

Vietnam's health ministry called on Saturday on all healthcare workers, including medical students and retired doctors and nurses, to join hands in the country's fight against coronavirus.
 
Vietnam, with 92 reported cases but no deaths yet, has already suspended international flights and imposed restrictions on foreign visitors.
 
"The fight against COVID-19 has entered a new phase that is full of difficulties and challenges, requiring more efforts and determination to contain," the ministry said in a statement on its website.

Hong Kong says rise in imported coronavirus cases could trigger community outbreak

Hong Kong said on Saturday a surge in imported cases of coronavirus would likely lead to a community outbreak and pile pressure on the city's already stretched healthcare system.
 
The government also said it would postpone university entrance exams until April 24.
 
The Chinese-ruled territory, with 273 confirmed cases of coronavirus and four deaths, is trying to contain a surge in cases as people return from overseas infected with the disease.

Govt offices in Chhattisgarh to remain shut till Mar 31

In a major decision aimed at curbing the spread of coronavirus, the Chhattisgarh government on Saturday ordered to keep all its offices, except those providing essential and emergency services, shut till March 31, officials said.
 
Operations of buses in all urban areas have also been suspended till March 29, they said.
 
So far, one confirmed case of coronavirus has been detected in the state, where schools, colleges, universities, anganwadis, public libraries, swimming pools, cinema halls, multiplexes, water parks, malls, coaching centres, clubs, beauty parlour, spa and gyms, have been shut.

Liquor sales banned in Nashik

The sale of liquor was banned from Saturday till further orders in Nashik after the Epidemic Diseases Act and Disaster Management Act were invoked to combat the novel coronavirus outbreak, an official said on Saturday.
 
The order to close bars, including those located in five star hotels and resorts, and liquor shops from 6pm on Saturday till further notice was issued by Collector Suraj Mandhare, he said.

Pondy LG Bedi asks people to support 'Janata Curfew'

Puducherry Lt Governor Kiran Bedi on Saturday said it was time to unite to fight the coronavirus and appealed to people to support Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 'Janata Curfew' call.
 
In a televised address, the former IPS officer stressed the need for generating awareness among the people particularly to observe physical distancing or social distancing.

Coronavirus: Prison inmates in Bengal clash with guards after denied meeting with families

Inmates clashed with guards at the Dumdum Correctional Home here on Saturday, pelting stones and setting jail property on fire over the state government's decision not to allow them to meet their families till March 31 due to coronavirus, officials said.
 
In the morning, some inmates insisted that they be released on parole but when the authorities refused to accept their demand, they launched a violent agitation, a top prison official said.
 
The stir soon turned into a clash between the inmates and the prison guards, he said.
 
RAF personnel and policemen managed to bring the situation under control after some time, the official said.

No lockdown for now, but will have to do it if needed: Arvind Kejriwal

The Delhi government on Saturday said it had not imposed a lockdown for now, but would have to do if the need arises in wake of the coronavirus pandemic..
 
During his first-ever digital-only press conference, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said restrictions due to COVID-19 were causing terrible financial stress to the poor.
 
He announced that those receiving ration from fair-price shops would get 50 per cent extra for next month, and also doubled the pension for widows, differently-abled and elderly for this month.
 
The government has also reduced the size of social, religious and political gatherings to not more than five persons. It has not imposed a lockdown in Delhi for now, but will have to do it if need arises, Kejriwal said.
 
Kejriwal said only 50 per cent buses would ply on roads in Delhi during the 'Janata curfew' on Sunday.

PM Modi thanks Maldives Bhutan, Nepal for contributing to COVID-19 emergency fund

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday thanked the Maldives for contributing to the COVID-19 emergency fund to tackle the spread of the deadly virus in the SAARC countries.
 
On Friday, he had thanked Bhutan and Nepal for their contributions to the fund.
 
Addressing the SAARC leaders and representatives on March 15 via video, Modi had proposed the emergency fund with an initial offer of 
$10 million from India for the purpose.

'Near total' lockdown in 5 Odisha districts, 8 other towns

A day before the nationwide 'Janata curfew', the Odisha government announced on Saturday a "near total" shutdown in five districts and eight other prominent towns for a week to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
 
It will come into effect from Sunday morning, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said in a video message.
 
The districts that will observe near-total lockdown are Khurda, Ganjam, Cuttack, Kendrapara and Angul, while the towns include Puri, Sambalpur, Jharsuguda, Balasore, Rourkela, Bhadrak, Jajpur Road and Jajpur, Patnaik said.
 

Iran's coronavirus death toll climbs to 1,556

Iran said Saturday that 123 more people had died from coronavirus, raising the official death toll to 1,556 in the Islamic republic, one of the world's worst affected countries.
 
Health ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said 966 more cases had been confirmed over the past 24 hours and 20,610 people were now known to have been infected in Iran.
 
A total of 7,635 people have recovered from the disease, he told a televised news conference.
 
The Islamic republic is among the three countries hardest hit by the virus with an official death toll behind only Italy and China.

Big financial package need of hour: Rahul Gandhi

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi called for immediate steps to revive the country's economy on Saturday and said there was a need for a big financial package.
 
He pointed out that the coronavirus outbreak was a serious attack on our fragile economy and took potshots at Prime Minister Narendra Modi's call for beating of "thalis" in the honour of those working to contain the spread of the virus.
 
Gandhi said clapping would not help the daily wage workers and small and medium entrepreneurs.
 

Pak suspends PIA operations, curtails train services as coronavirus cases cross 500

Pakistan on Saturday suspended the operations of it national flag-carrier PIA and curtailed train services as the coronavirus cases surged to 510 in the country after more pilgrims who returned from Iran tested positive for the deadly virus, which has turned into a major global crisis.
 
The measures came a day after Prime Minister Imran Khan ruled out total lockdown but asked people to reduce unnecessary travel and go for self-quarantine for at least another 45 days to help tackle the coronavirus crisis which has killed over 11,000 people and infected 250,000 worldwide.

Coronavirus: All restaurants, pubs, bars to remain shut in West Bengal till March 31

The West Bengal government on Saturday ordered all restaurants, bars, pubs, nightclubs, amusement parks, museums and zoos to remain shut till March 31 as a precautionary measure in wake of the coronavirus pandemic, a senior official said.
 
The order, which aims to prevent all non-essential social gatherings, comes into effect on Sunday morning, he said.
 
The directive also applies to massage parlours and hookah bars, the official said, adding that strict action would be taken in case of any violation.

Prohibitory orders imposed in HP's Kangra to contain spread of coronavirus

A day after Himachal Pradesh reported its first two COVID-19 cases from Kangra, authorities imposed prohibitory orders under section 144 of the CrPC in the district on Saturday to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
 
Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code bans assembly of four or more people in one place.
 
Kangra Deputy Commissioner cum District Magistrate Rakesh Prajapati said section 144 has been imposed to ensure people maintain a social distance of at least one metre or 3.5 feet from each other to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Afghanistan, Maldives pledge $1.2 million to SAARC Covid-19 Emergency Fund

Afghanistan and Maldives on Saturday pledged to contribute $1.2 million to the SAARC Corona Emergency Fund proposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with an initial offer of $10 million from India to help combat the fast-spreading Covid-19 pandemic in the region.
 
Spokesperson for the President of Afghanistan Sediq Sediqqi said the Afghan government believed in joint collaboration and strengthening partnership to fight the rapidly-spreading coronavirus pandemic.

Man Utd, Man City unite to help Manchester foodbanks

Manchester United and Manchester City have joined forces to donate a combined 100,000 pounds ($117,000) to help local foodbanks affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
Collections are normally made at home games for both Manchester giants by fans' groups supporting foodbanks, but football in England is suspended until at least April 30 due to restrictions on mass gatherings due to coronavirus.
 
"We are proud of the role our supporters play in helping local food banks and recognise the increased strain likely to be placed on these charities by the impact of coronavirus," the clubs said in a joint statement.

All restaurants, pubs, bars to remain shut across Bengal till Mar 31

The West Bengal government on Saturday ordered all restaurants, bars, pubs, nightclubs, amusement parks, museums and zoos to remain shut till March 31 as a precautionary measure in wake of the coronavirus pandemic, a senior official said.
 
The order, which aims to prevent all non-essential social gatherings, comes into effect on Sunday morning, he said.
 
The directive also applies to massage parlours and hookah bars, the official said, adding that strict action would be taken in case of any violation.

Coronavirus risks taking heavy toll on migrants in Europe

Syrian refugee Mahmoud Ajlouni was due to pick up his new German residency permit last week but found the door firmly shut at the processing office in Berlin.
 
"I had an appointment," he said, adding he has "no idea" when he'll be able to replace the flimsy sheet of paper that is his only official identification.
 
For Ajlouni, the uncertainty could last weeks if not months as Germany has suspended refugee intake programmes or asylum seeker hearings amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Dubai returnee detrained at Kalyan near Mumbai

A 30-year-old Uttar Pradesh resident was detrained at Kalyan railway station by patrolling security personnel on Saturday as a a precautionary measure against the novel coronavirus outbreak as he had travelled to Dubai, an official said.
 
He had returned to Mumbai on March 17 and would have needed home quarantine as part of protocol set in place for those coming back from a select group of countries.
 
The incident took place around 11.30 am on platform no 5-6 where long distance trains halt, an official said.

Uber suspends taxi booking option in Saudi Arabia

Uber Technologies has suspended the option to book regular taxi services through its app in Saudi Arabia until further notice, a company statement said on Friday.
 
Saudi Arabia is in virtual lockdown and has suspended regular, accredited taxi services as a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. It has reported 344 cases of the virus.

Iran's coronavirus deaths rise to 1,566, health ministry says

Iran's death toll from the coronavirus outbreak rose on Saturday by more than 100 to 1,556, and the total number of people infected now exceeds 20,000, a health ministry official said.
 
On Friday, Iran's death toll stood at 1,433 and the total number of confirmed infections was 19,644.
 

Vietnam to suspend all inbound flights to contain coronavirus: Govt statement

Vietnam will suspend all inbound international flights to contain the spread of coronavirus in the country, the government said in a statement on Saturday.
 
"(Vietnam) will suspend all the flights carrying foreign passengers to minimize the number of people coming to the country," Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said in the statement, without giving a time frame.
 
Vietnam's coronavirus cases rose to 92 as of Saturday, with no death, according to the Ministry of Health.

Coronavirus stay-at-home directives multiply in major US states

New Jersey's governor was expected on Saturday to follow four other states - California, New York, Illinois and Connecticut - demanding that millions of Americans close up shop and stay home to slow the spread of coronavirus infections.
 
The sweeping state-by-state public health restrictions, unprecedented in breadth and scope, added to the distance being experienced among ordinary Americans even as the pandemic seemed to close in on the highest levels of power in the nation's capital.
 
An aide to U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, leading the White House task force formed to combat the outbreak, tested positive for the virus, but neither President Donald Trump nor Pence have had close contact with the individual, Pence's press secretary, Katie Miller, said in a statement on Friday.
 

Janta Curfew: Mumbai metro services to be suspended

The Mumbai metro services will be suspended on Sunday, in view of the 'Janta Curfew', officials said.
 
Mumbai Metro One, a part of the Anil Ambani-led Reliance Infrastructure operates on 11.4 km Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar corridor with a daily ridership of nearly 4 lakh passengers.
 
The announcement comes a day after Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) announced suspension of monorail services on March 22.

Angola confirms first two cases of Covid-19: Health minister

Angola's health ministry on Saturday confirmed its first two cases of coronavirus.
 
"Today we received results confirming two cases of patients infected with COVID-19," health minister Silvia Lutucuta said at a briefing on national broadcaster TPA.

Ireland considers plan to pay up to 75% of workers wages: Report

Ireland's government is considering plans to pay up to 75% of the wages of thousands of staff temporarily laid off as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the Irish Times reported.
 
Irish ministers are working on plans similar to those introduced by the British government on Friday that will see businesses paid up to 80% of a worker's salary, up to 2,500 pounds ($2,915), if the employer keeps them on the payroll, the newspaper reported on Saturday.
 
The Irish government already has a COVID-19 scheme that allows employers to claim a refund of 203 euros a week for employees temporarily laid off because of the pandemic, and on Friday said it would allow employers to top that up.

UP announces Rs 1,000 financial aid to 3.5 million labourers, free ration to 16.5 million workers

The Uttar Pradesh government on Saturday announced that around 35 lakh labourers in the state will get Rs 1,000 each as financial aid while free ration for one month will be provided to 1.65 crore construction workers amid the coronavirus outbreak.
 
Chief Minister Adityanath has directed officials for immediate release of payment to MNREGS workers in the state and to make foodgrains available to the poor in cities and villages, a statement issued by the UP government said.
 
"In view of the precautions being taken throughout the country to prevent the coronavirus outbreak, the state government is alert and cautious. With immediate effect, the state government will provide Rs 1,000 per person for maintenance to 3.5 million labourers. This payment will be sent directly to their accounts through direct bank transfers," said the statement issued on Saturday.

Hong Kong postpones university entrance exams, schools to remain closed

Hong Kong said on Saturday it would postpone university entrance exams until April 24 as the city tries to contain a surge in coronavirus cases as people return from overseas infected with the disease.
 
The government said it would make civil servants work from home and urged employers to be flexible with work from home arrangements. Schools would remain closed until further notice, it added.
 
Hong Kong has 273 confirmed cases of coronavirus, which has killed four people in the city.

Georgian PM asks president to declare one-month emergency

Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia said on Saturday he had asked the country's president to declare an emergency situation due to the coronavirus outbreak.
 
Gakharia said the measure, which is due to be approved by parliament after the president's approval, would be introduced for one month.
Georgia reported 47 cases of coronavirus as of Saturday. One patient recovered.
 

German coronavirus cases rise by 2,705 to 16,662

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany has risen by 2,705 within a day to reach 16,662, the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases said on Saturday.
 
It said a total of 47 people had died after testing positive, an increase of 16 from a tally of 31 published on Friday.
 

No lockdown in Delhi for now, but will have to do it if need arises: CM Arvind Kejriwal

Food to be provided for homeless in Delhi's night shelters, says CM Arvind Kejriwal. "Extremely concerned about daily wagers, labourers amid coronavirus crisis; don't want anyone to sleep on an empty stomach, the Delhi CM said.

Singapore reports first two coronavirus deaths

Singapore on Saturday reported its first two fatalities due to coronavirus in the country.
 
A 75-year-old Singaporean woman with a history of chronic heart disease and hypertension passed away at 7:52 am, The Straits Times reported.
 
Known as Case 90, she was linked to the cluster at The Life Church and Missions Singapore.
 
The second patient is a 64-year-old Indonesian national who was admitted in a critical condition to intensive care at National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) on March 13.

Prakash Javadekar reviews measures to contain coronavirus in Pune

Union Minister Prakash Javadekar on Saturday reviewed the measures taken by the Pune district administration to control the spread of coronavirus in the city.
 
The minister, who hails from Pune, held a video conference with Divisional Commissioner Deepak Mhaiskar, District Collector Naval Kishor Ram and other officials.
 
"The entire world is fighting the menace of coronavirus. Under the Prime Minister's leadership, we are also involved in this fight with all awareness. The PM is reviewing the measures and all the chief ministers are also reviewing measures," he said.

Farooq Abdullah releases Rs 1 cr from his MPLAD funds to check spread of coronavirus in J&K

NC president and Member of Parliament Farooq Abdullah released an amount of Rs one crore from his MPLAD funds on Saturday to combat the spread of coronavirus in Jammu and Kashmir.
 
"The party president and Srinagar MP released an amount of Rs one crore from his MPLAD funds today to combat the COVID-19 threat in Jammu and Kashmir," a National Conference (NC) spokesperson said.
 

Delhi govt press conferences to be conducted digitally, says Kejriwal

As a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of coronavirus, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday announced that all press conferences of the Delhi government will be conducted digitally.
 
"All Delhi government press conferences will be conducted digitally now. It's very important that all journalists, who are at the forefront of our battle against Corona, also protect themselves as they are in a high exposure environment," Kejriwal tweeted.
 
Kejriwal on Friday shared Delhi's preparedness to tackle coronavirus with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance commits to help fight Covid-19

The national pharma lobby Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance (IPA) on Saturday said it will take every step to ensure that all coronavirus patients get timely access to medicines.
 
Towards this, the alliance and its members are working with the governments and other public agencies, pharma industry associations and all other key stakeholders, it said in a statement.
 
"We are closely monitoring orders and inventories. With an adequate stock of active pharma ingredients, finished product formulations and channel availability, we'd be able to sustain the supply of medicines for the coming months. We are not aware of any medicines shortage, to date," the alliance said.
 

DoT asks states to permit movement of telecom infra staff; says robust operation of networks critical

The telecom department on Saturday wrote to chief secretaries of all states, urging them to allow movement of field staff of telecom companies and infrastructure providers, and give other permissions to ensure uninterrupted operation of critical communications networks amid coronavirus outbreak.
 
In a letter to the chief secretaries of all states and union territories on ensuring "operational continuity of telecom services in view of threat of Covid-19 outbreak", the Telecom Department said that in case of restrictions being contemplated for containment of coronavirus, all critical telecom infrastructure should be permitted to remain operational.
 

Coronavirus: Class 12 West Bengal board exams postponed till

The ongoing class 12 state board examinations in West Bengal have been postponed till April 15 as a precautionary measure in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the higher education department announced on Saturday.
 
In view of the prevailing situation, the West Bengal Council of Higher Secondary Education has been asked to postpone the examinations which are yet to be held, till April 15, education minister Partha Chatterjee told a press meet.
 
As per the directive, the examinations scheduled to be held on March 23, March 25 and March 27 will now be held after April 15.

3 more test positive for coronavirus in Ladakh, total cases now 13

Three more people have tested positive for coronavirus in Ladakh, taking the total in the Union territory to 13, a senior government official said on Saturday.
 
Two cases are from Leh and one from Kargil, Commissioner Secretary (Health) Rigzin Samphel told reporters here. He said reports for 35 samples were received from Delhi, of which32 were negative.
 
"Nine reports were from Kargil, with one positive and eight negative, while 26 were of Leh district, with two positive and 24 negative," Samphel said.
 
Meanwhile, three patients, who were quarantined as they had tested positive, are showing signs of recovery as latest tests have come out negative for the infection. Fresh tests are being conducted for verification as per protocol, he said.

Covid-19 patient in Aurangabad recovers, tests negative

The woman, who tested positive for coronavirus in Maharashtra's Aurangabad district, has now tested negative for the infection following treatment, an official said.
 
The woman, with travel history to Russia and Kazakhstan, had tested positive for the virus on March 13, district health officer Dr Sundar Kulkarni told PTI.
 
Her latest swab reports after treatment have come out negative, he said.
 
"Our line of treatment has worked. We used retroviral therapy, which is a combination of three to four drugs. She will remain under observation till the end of this month and then discharged," the official said.

Farooq Abdullah releases Rs 1 Cr from his MPLAD funds to check spread of coronavirus in J&K

NC president and Member of Parliament Farooq Abdullah released an amount of Rs one crore from his MPLAD funds on Saturday to combat the spread of coronavirus in Jammu and Kashmir.
 
"The party president and Srinagar MP released an amount of Rs one crore from his MPLAD funds today to combat the COVID-19 threat in Jammu and Kashmir," a National Conference (NC) spokesperson said.
 
He added that of the said amount, Rs 50 lakh have been earmarked for SKIMS, Srinagar while Rs 25 lakh each for Budgam and Ganderbal districts in central Kashmir.
 
The Srinagar parliamentary constituency, which is represented by Abdullah in the Lok Sabha, is spread over the three districts of Srinagar, Budgam and Ganderbal.

Autos, taxis to remain off-road in Delhi during 'Janata Curfew'

Autos and taxis will be off roads in the national capital on Sunday as several unions have extended support to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's call for a 'Janta Curfew' in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
 
Several unions including the Delhi Autorickshaw Sangh, Delhi Pradesh Taxi Union, Delhi Auto Taxi Transport Congress Union and Delhi Taxi Tourist Transport Association, have decided to join the curfew from 7am to 10pm on Sunday.
 
The prime minister acknowledging this initiative said that the fight against corona epidemic will receive a boost due to it.
 
"This initiative will give new strength to the fight of the countrymen against corona epidemic," he tweeted in Hindi.
 
General Secretary of Delhi Autorickshaw Sangh Rajendra Soni said all unions affiliated to the Bhartiya Majdoor Sangh will join the curfew.

Govt caps maximum retail price of 200ml hand sanitizer at Rs 100 till June

The government has capped maximum retail price of hand sanitizer at Rs 100 per 200ml bottle till June 30 this year amid sharp rise in the prices of this product amid the coronavirus oubreak.
 
Similarly, price of a 2 ply (surgical) mask has been capped at Rs 8 and that of 3 ply (surgical) mask at Rs 10 till June 30, Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said in a statement.
 
"The price cap has been imposed taking into account the sharp increase in prices of raw materials used in making of face masks and hand santizer," Paswan said.
 
Earlier this month, the government had declared sanitizers and masks essential commodities" to prevent hoarding and price manipulation of such goods.
 
On March 19, the government had placed price limits on alcohols used in making hand sanitizer.

Coranavirus cases in Pak surge to 510

The number of cornavirus cases in Pakistan on Saturday surged to 510 as more pilgrims who returned from Iran tested positive for the deadly virus even as the death toll remained three in the country.
 
Pakistan confirmed the third casualty from the virus in Karachi on Friday, two days after two men both pilgrims returning from Iran and Saudi Arabia died of the coronavirus in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
 
The 70-year-old who died in Karachi was a cancer survivor. He had other medical problems like hypertension and diabetes but did not have any travel or contact history, officials said.
 
The nationwide tally of COVID-19 patients has rose to 510 with 267 cases in Sindh; 92 in Balochistan; 96 in Punjab; 23 in K-P; 21 in Gilgit-Baltistan; 10 in Islamabad; and one in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

UK goes into shutdown as pubs, cinemas close doors in Covid-19 fight

The UK began going into complete shutdown on Saturday after the government called on bars, pubs, cinemas, theatres and all other social venues to close their doors indefinitely to the public in response to the rapidly-spreading novel coronavirus pandemic.
 
The decision, that would be reviewed on a month-by-month basis, came a day after England registered its biggest jump in death toll of 39 to hit 177.
 
 
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said all the venues usually used to bring people together must now close their doors to keep people physically apart.
 
Johnson said that after talks with all parts of the UK's devolved governments, the collective decision was for cafes, pubs, bars, restaurants, nightclubs, theatres, cinemas, gyms and leisure centres to stop trading, though an option for a takeaway version for the food industry remains available.
 
These are places where people come together, and indeed the whole purpose of these businesses is to bring people together. But the sad things is that today for now, at least physically, we need to keep people apart, he said.
 
Chief constables in every police force across the UK will begin engaging civil contingencies designed to respond to events such as rioting and terrorism to enforce the shutdown.
 
Scotland Yard warned staff that every available officer would be working 12-hour shifts and that they would be expected to use licensing laws to enforce the closure of venues that refused to comply with the guidelines.

Delhi govt to hold all press conferences online

The Delhi government will conduct all its press conferences online to protect journalists from the coronavirus pandemic which has claimed one life and infected 20 others in the national capital.
 
"All Delhi Govt. press conferences will be conducted digitally now. It's very important that all journalists, who are on the forefront of our battle against Corona, also protect themselves as they are in a high exposure environment," Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted.
 
Kejriwal will brief the media on the threat at 4 pm Saturday.

Maharashtra: Exam for last SSC paper postponed

The Maharashtra government on Saturday announced that the last paper of the SSC (Class X) exam, which was scheduled to be held on Monday, has been postponed in view of the coronavirus outbreak.
 
School Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad made this announcement. She said the new date would be announced later. So far, 63 persons have tested positive for coronavirus in the state.

Amusement parks remain open in Kolkata despite advisories

Amid the growing coronavirus scare some amusement parks in the city continue to remain open despite government advisories against public gathering.
 
Amusement parks such as Nicco Park, water theme park Aquatica, Millennium Park on the banks of river Hooghly, Eco Park in Rajarhat are still open though schools, educational institutions have been closed and advisories issued to avoid gatherings.
 
Though these places are open even now, the coronavirus scare has brought down the footfall considerably.
 
Till now there has been no decision on keeping Eco Park closed for visitors, the CMD of West Bengal Housing Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd, Debashis Sen, said.
Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP): The second and final sampling will be done on 14th day of the quarantine period and if that also results as negative, then all these 215 persons will be released from the facility. 
Indo-Tibetan Border Police: 215 evacuees from Milan (Italy) at ITBP Chhawla Quarantine Facility, Delhi have tested negative for Coronavirus after 7 days stay at the facility. Group includes 151 males & 64 females. Most of these evacuees are students studying in Italy.


Nearly 300 Indians stranded in Malaysia, seek help

Nearly 300 Indians, comprising Punjabis, have been struck at the Kuala Lumpur airport after India banned the entry of flights from Malaysia in a bid to contain novel coronavirus outbreak. Through a video that was shared by AAP MP Bhagwant Mann, struck traveller Amarjeet Singh appealed to Indian authorities to come and rescue them.

"We have been left to die as we have been stranded at the airport without any precautions to prevent from COVID-19," he said.

Mann told the media that a majority of the passengers were in transit and he would seek the Minister of External Affair's intervention so that they can be brought back to India on priority. In the video, traveller Amarjeet Singh also said all the countries, except India, rescued their stranded travellers.

"We are running out of money. No official from the Indian Embassy in Malaysia established contact with us," he said.

Pointing towards a woman and two others for collecting money to arrange food for them, he said the government is not reacting to their pleas of early rescue.

Six new coronavirus positive cases in Gujarat, count now 13

With six new coronavirus positive cases being reported in Gujarat on Saturday, the number of infected persons in the state has gone up to 13, Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel said.
 
These patients are being treated in hospitals at Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat and Rajkot, Patel told reporters in Vadodara.
 
"Thirteen positive cases of coronavirus have been reported in Gujarat so far. Of them, twelve have history of travel abroad," he said.
 
A man from Gandhinagar, who had recently visited a foreign country, tested positive for coronavirus, and is being treated at an isolation ward in a hospital in Ahmedabad, he said.
 
A 52-year-old man with travel history to Sri Lanka had tested positive in Vadodara earlier in the day.
Chief Public Relations Officer (CPRO), Central Railway: Central Railway will run approximately 60 per cent suburban services on 22 March. The Sunday mega block schedule on the Main and HB line has been cancelled for 22nd March. There will be no mega block tomorrow.

Indian embassies worldwide issue advisories for distressed nationals

The Indian embassy in France has issued an advisory for its nationals who wish to travel back home before India's week-long ban, imposed to contain the spread of the deadly novel coronavirus, on international commercial flights comes into force on March 22.
 
The Indian embassies in several other countries also issued advisories and started emergency helplines for the distressed Indians, assuring them all possible help.
 
The embassies among others included from Canada, Greece, Finland and Estonia, Israel, Japan, Vietnam, Bulgaria and North Macedonia, Russia, Cuba, Brazil and Switzerland.
 
The Indian embassy in France in a tweet on Friday provided details of the Qatar Airways flight that will operate from Paris before the Indian travel deadline sets in.

Financial service providers step up measures to fight coronavirus, urge digital usage

To combat the spread of Covid-19 outbreak, financial services providers have initiated proactive measures to ensure that critical services remain uninterrupted and have asked customers to prioritise the usage of digital mediums.
 
SBI Card in a communication to customers has said it is ensuring that services remain uninterrupted.
 
"With the situation escalating with every passing day, SBI Card has taken proactive measures to ensure uninterrupted services. Safety protocols across all our offices and touchpoints have been enhanced to fight this notified disaster," it said in an email to its customers on Saturday.
 
Country's largest life insurer, state-owned LIC, has asked all its customers to register on its customer portal to avail online services like premium payments.
 

Potato prices jump at least 20 pc amid panic buying

Retail and wholesale potato prices in parts of West Bengal have seen a jump of at least 20 per cent amid panic buying, fearing a shutdown in wake of the coronavirus outbreak, according to market sources.
 
The jyoti variety of the staple which was selling for Rs 15-17 per kg a week back has touched Rs 20-22 a kg in some retail markets, traders said, 
adding that in certain online marketplaces it was selling at Rs 25 a kg.
 
Wholesale prices of potato have jumped to Rs 13 per kg from Rs 10-11 a kg a week back in wake of high demand from other states, they said.
 

MP's 2 jyotirlinga temples to be shut till Mar 31

The authorities of two famous jyotirlinga temples in Madhya Pradesh Omkareshwar and Mahalakeshwar - have banned the entry of devotees till March 31 in view of the coronavirus outbreak.
 
Mahakaleshwar temple of Ujjain and Omkareshwar in Khandwa district are two jyotirlinga shrines in the state that attract thousands of devotees every day.
 
There are 12 jyotirlinga temples of Lord Shiva in the country.
 
Ujjain district collector Shashank Mishra said the entry of the devotees has been banned in all the temples of the city, including Mahakaleshwar, till March 31 due to coronavirus threat.
 

Central Asia tightens restrictions as coronavirus spreads

Authorities in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan have announced fresh restrictions aimed at preventing the spread of coronavirus as the number of cases in Central Asia snowballed.
 
In Kazakhstan, where 53 cases have been confirmed, authorities said on Saturday they were closing all parks in Almaty, the country's biggest city, which was this week put on lockdown along with capital city Nur-Sultan.
 
Over the last two days, police and National Guard servicemen have also locked down several residential buildings in Almaty where infected people lived.

Masks, sanitisers can be sold at fair price shops: Delhi food minister

Delhi Food and Civil Supplies Minister Imran Hussain on Saturday said face masks, gloves, soaps and hand sanitisers, which have been declared essential commodities, can be sold at fair price shops across the national capital.
 
The minister chaired a high-level meeting at the Delhi Secretariat to review arrangements for effectively tackling the coronavirus threat.
 
Hussain directed officials to regularly visit general stores, chemist shops, pharmacies, drug manufacturers, etc to ensure that good quality masks and sanitisers are available and that these commodities are not being sold at higher prices.

Covid-19: Navi Mumbai heads for partial lockdown

Commercial establishments, corporate firms and manufacturing units in neighbouring Navi Mumbai will remain closed till further orders to promote social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic, an official said.
 
Data centres, IT service providers will operate with only 10 per cent staff, while banks, insurance companies and internet service providers will function with essential staff only, he said.
 
The order, issued by the Navi Mumbai municipal commissioner, will cause the city to shut down partially.

Six coronavirus positive cases reported in Gujarat on Saturday, number of patients rises to 13: Minister

 
 

Delhi couple deboarded from Rajdhani after home quarantine seal found on husband's hand

A couple was deboarded from a Delhi-bound Rajdhani train on Saturday after co-passengers observed a home quarantine seal on the husband's hand, the Railways said Saturday.
 
Officials said the Delhi-based couple boarded the Bangalore City-New Delhi Rajdhani at Secunderabad Saturday morning.
 
When the train reached Kazipet in Telangana at 9:45 am a co-passenger noticed the quarantine mark — authorities are putting on suspected coronavirus cases — on the husband's hand when he was wash his hands. Other co-passengers then informed the TTE on board the train, the national transporter said.
 
The train was briefly detained and the couple was taken to a hospital. The coach was completely sanitised in Kazipet and was locked, officials said.

Indian tennis players work on future ventures during COVID-19 forced break

Swinging the racquet will not earn them money all their life, so a few Indian tennis players, forced out of Pro Tour due to the health crisis triggered by COVID-19, are utilising their time to work on career beyond tennis.
 
Almost all of them are restricted to doing fitness drills at home with courts and gyms out of bound due to the restrictions imposed in the wake of Coronavirus pandemic which has wrecked the sporting calender worldwide.

UP CM asks people to stay at home during Janata Curfew

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Saturday appealed to the people of the state to stay indoors during Sunday's 'Janata Curfew'.
 
"A call for Janta Curfew was given. Please stay in your homes. Metro trains, roadways buses and city buses will not operate," he said.
 
Adityanath announced that over 20 lakh labourers in the state will get Rs 1,000 as financial aid. He issued instructions that foodgrains be made available to the poor and the labourers in cities and villages.

Indian Oil initiates rare protocol to keep fuel supplies running

As cities shutdown to contain the spread of coronavirus, Indian Oil Corp (IOC) has initiated a rare protocol to safeguard its workforce while at the same time ensuring that plants operate uninterruptedly so as to keep the nation's fuel supplies running.
 
"We are in a business where we need to ensure not just consumers get uninterrupted supplies of petrol, diesel and cooking gas (LPG), but also airlines get jet fuel on demand and supply lines for nation's defence forces are unhindered," IOC Chairman Sanjiv Singh said.
 
The company has implemented work from home at non-critical locations and implemented staggered work hours and working on alternate days at others with all precautions.

Imports of medical supplies plummet as demand in US soars

The critical shortage of medical supplies across the US, including testing swabs, protective masks, surgical gowns and hand sanitizer, can be tied to a sudden drop in imports, mostly from China, The Associated Press has found.
 
Trade data shows the decline in shipments started in mid-February after the spiraling coronavirus outbreak in China led the country to shutter factories and disrupted ports. Some emergency rooms, hospitals and clinics in the U.S. have now run out of key medical supplies, while others are rationing personal protective equipment like gloves and masks.

Goa govt imposes section 144 to ban gathering

The Goa government on Saturday imposed section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) across the state to prohibit large gatherings in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
 
Speaking to reporters here, state Health Minister Vishwajit Rane said section 144 was imposed in the morning.
 
The state government has also issued an order banning inter-state transport, except for the supply of essential commodities, from Saturday night onwards, he said.

Andy Cohen tests positive for coronavirus

Celebrity television host Andy Cohen has tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
 
The host of "Watch What Happens Live" (WWHL) talk show shared the news on Instagram.
 
"After a few days of self-quarantine, and not feeling great, I have tested positive for Coronavirus. As much as I felt like I could push through whatever I was feeling to do #WWHL from home, we're putting a pin in that for now so I can focus on getting better.

Inmates cannot meet families till Mar 31, orders Ghaziabad Jail administration

As a pracautionary measure to help prevent the spread of coronavirus, the Ghaziabad Jail Administration has put a ban over the meetings of inmates with their family members from March 21 till March 31.
 
According to the Health Ministry, 23 people have been tested positive for coronavirus in Uttar Pradesh including a foreign national. While, 9 people have been discharged from the hospitals till date. The total number of positive COVID-19 cases in India is 258 (including 39 foreigners).

CBSE launches toll-free helpline for students, parents on coronavirus safeguards

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has launched a toll-free helpline on coronavirus safeguards for students, officials said on Saturday. The facility is available on helpline number 1800 11 8004 from 8 am to 8 pm, initially up to March 31, they said.
 
"The dedicated coronavirus safeguard tele-counselling service will be provided by trained counsellors who will deal with students and parents for preventive interventions, reducing transmission and counsel on first-aid to stop corona spread. They will also assist students to engage in useful and productive activities while at home," CBSE Secretary Anurag Tripathi said.

Strict restrictions in Kashmir, markets shut

Strict restrictions on movement and assembly of people continued for the third consecutive day on Saturday in Kashmir to contain the spread of the new coronavirus that has infected one person in the valley, officials said.
 
They said adequate security forces have been deployed and barricades have been put up at several places in Srinagar. Only government and essential services employees with valid identity cards, mediapersons, and people with health emergency were allowed to move on streets, they added.
 
Police asked people to stay indoors and maintain social distancing through public address systems.
 
Most markets across the valley were shut, public transport was off roads and train services were suspended. Educational institutes and public places such as gymnasiums, parks, clubs and restaurants have been shut down.

SBI opens emergency credit line for borrowers

Amid businesses getting affected due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, the country's largest lender State Bank of India has opened an emergency credit line to meet any liquidity mismatch for its borrowers. The additional liquidity facility Covid-19 Emergency Credit Line (CECL), will provide funds up to Rs 200 crore and will be available till June 30, 2020, SBI said in a circular issued on Friday.
 
The loan will be offered at an interest rate of 7.25 per cent with a tenure of 12 months. With a view to provide some degree of relief to the borrowers whose operations are impacted by Covid-19, it is decided to make available additional liquidity credit facilities to the eligible borrowers by way of ad-hoc facilities -- CECL to tide over the current crisis situation, the bank said in a circular to all branches.
 
The bank said the credit line is open for all standard accounts which have not been classified as SMA 1 or 2 as on March 16, 2020 are eligible to avail this credit line. Special Mention Accounts (SMA) was introduced to identify those accounts that has the potential to become an NPA/stressed asset.

New advisory from health ministry

The medical infrastructure in the country needs to be prepared for any possible influx of patients on account of COVID 19. In this context, the following interventions are proposed up to 31st March 2020. They will be reviewed as per the evolving situation. Read full avisory here

New health ministry advisory: Pneumonia patients to be tested for Covid-19

The minister said that no suspected COVID-19 patient should be turned away from any hospital and the admission of any such patient should be notified to NCDC or IDSP immediately. "Similarly, all pneumonia patients must also be notified to NCDC or IDSP so that they can be tested for COVID-19. Hospitals to ensure social distancing in their premises. All ongoing examinations may be rescheduled after 31.03.2020," read the advisory.

West Bengal Update

Nilimesh Das, Chairman, Howrah Municipal Corporation: A woman who recently returned from Scotland has tested positive for Coronavirus.


Gujarat update

One more person tests positive for coronavirus in Gujarat; total rises to eight: Officials

Karnataka update

Fresh case of coronavirus infection reported in Karnataka; total number rises to 16 in state

ICMR says 271 positive cases in India


Air India to send aircraft to bring back Indians stranded in Rome

National carrier Air India will send a 787 Dreamliner aircraft to Rome on Saturday afternoon to evacuate Indians stranded there amid the coronavirus crisis.
 
The Centre issued a statement on Thursday that no international flights would be allowed to land in India from March 22 onward for a period of one week.
 
An Air India official said the flight to Rome would take off from the Delhi airport around 2:30 pm.
 
The flight will evacuate all Indians stranded in Rome and return to Delhi on Sunday morning, the official added.
UP government to give Rs 1,000 to labours and small vendors as DBT in their accounts
Naval K Ram, Dist Magistrate,Pune, Maharashtra: 2 more people have been tested positive for Covid-19 in Pune, taking the total tally of positive cases in Pune to 23. One positive case has travel history to Ireland and the other does not have any recent travel history.
 

Maharashtra: Four held for hoarding hand sanitisers worth lakhs

Four persons were arrested for allegedly hoarding hand sanitisers worth over Rs 6 lakh in Maharashtra's Jalna city, police said on Saturday.
 
Acting on a tip-off, officials of Jalna police's crime branch and the Food and Drug Administration raided a shop on Old Mondha road, an official said.
 
The shop owners couldn't produce bills for sanitisers that were kept in the shop's storage unit, inspector Rajendrasingh Gaur said.
 
The police arrested four persons and registered a case against them under section 420 (cheating) and other relevant provisions of the Indian Penal Code, he said.

3 more positive cases in Punjab; total six patients in state now

Three more people in Punjab have tested positive for the new coronavirus, taking the total in the state to six, an official said on Saturday.
 
"Three more people have tested positive in Mohali," Deputy Commissioner Girish Dayalan said. Among the fresh cases is the sister of a 69-year-old Mohali woman who tested positive on Friday, he said.
 
Another person who tested positive had come in contact with a Chandigarh-based 23-year-old coronavirus patient, Dayalan said.
 
The other person is a 42-year-old resident who had recently returned from the United Kingdom and was admitted to a government hospital in Sector-16 in Chandigarh, the official said.
 
The first coronavirus positive patient in Punjab had a travel history to Italy and the second person, who died on Wednesday in Nawanshahr, had returned from Germany via Italy.

Covid-19: Over 800 under home quarantine in Aurangabad

Over 800 persons have been kept under home quarantine in Maharashtra's Aurangabad district, amid the coronavirus outbreak, a senior official said on Saturday.
 
A major chunk of these are students of a local college, where one of the lecturers tested positive for Covid-19 last week, she said.
 
"Although only one positive case of coronavirus was recorded in Aurangabad, the number of people quarantined has exceeded 800," Aurangabad Municipal Corporation Health Officer Dr Neeta Padalkar.
 
As many as 849 people have been put on 14-day mandatory quarantine till March 19 and of these, 58 are Indians with travel history abroad and 17 are foreign nationals, she added.
 
Maharashtra has recorded at least 52 cases of coronavirus infection so far.

Coronavirus: 6 new cases reported in Rajasthan

Six fresh cases of the new coronavirus have surfaced in Rajasthan, taking the total in the state to 23 so far, officials said on Saturday.
 
Reports of 42 suspected cases are awaited, they said.
 
Among the six, five are staff members of a private hospital, where a doctor tested positive for COVID-19, Additional Chief Secretary (Health) Rohit Kumar Singh said.
 
He said that another positive case is from Jaipur, thus taking the total number of positive cases to 23 in the state. Out of the 23, three patients, including an Italian tourist couple, have recovered.
 
However, a 69-year-old Italian man, who had recovered from the disease, later died of heart attack at a private hospital on Thursday night. He was a heart and lungs patient, doctors said.
 
The district administration of Bhilwara has sealed the borders of the city and implemented prohibitory orders under CrPc section 144 to prevent the spread of the virus.

Bengal reports third positive case of novel coronavirus

A woman with a recent travel history to Scotland has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, making it the third confirmed case in West Bengal, a state health department official said on Saturday.
 
The woman, in her early 20s, returned from Scotland on March 16 and was subsequently admitted to the Beliaghata ID Hospital in the city with symptoms of COVID-19, the official said.
 
The woman is a resident of Habra in North 24 Parganas district. The official, however, could not confirm whether she was on home quarantine as per the protocol after returning from abroad. Before this, two persons with travel history to abroad have been reported positive for the virus in West Bengal.

US Defense Secretary praises India's SAARC COVID-19 initiative

US Defence Secretary Mark Esper on Friday held a telephonic conversation with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and praised India's COVID-19 initiative for SAARC countries, the Pentagon said.
 
The two leaders discussed the COVID-19 pandemic and underscored their commitment to close communication during this period in order to maintain momentum on initiatives that reinforce their comprehensive global partnership, the Pentagon said in a readout of the call.
 
"During the call, the two leaders also discussed bilateral defense priorities, including the ongoing regional cooperation and initiatives to enhance military-to-military engagement and defense trade," it said.

Gorakhnath temple in UP closed for public amid coronavirus pandemic

The Gorakhnath temple here has been closed for the general public in view of the coronavirus outbreak in the country.
 
The decision in this regard was taken by the temple's management committee. However, routine prayers by the priests would continue.
 
The total number of COVID-19 cases in India has now climbed up to 223, including 32 foreigners, the Union Health Ministry said on Friday.

COID-19: J-K govt employees to attend offices on alternate weeks

The Jammu and Kashmir government has passed an order for its employees to attend offices on alternate weeks in the wake of coronavirus outbreak.
 
"In wake of the coronavirus outbreak, it is hereby ordered that the government employees shall attend their offices on alternate weeks except those who are associated with the coronavirus control efforts and essential services," the order by the Government of Jammu and Kashmir read.

Coronavirus: Odisha's BMC announces odd-even formula for public transportation

In view of the coronavirus outbreak, Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) has announced odd-even formula for public transportation. However, there is no bar for plying of private vehicles on any day.
 
According to the order issued by BMC in this regard on Friday, the public transport vehicles like bus/tax/auto-rickshaws having odd registration numbers shall ply on the odd-numbered days and having even registration will ply on even-numbered days.
 
"Whereas Govt of Odisha vide order No 08/GA & PG dated 20-03-2020 at clause No 02 has made restriction order for public transport including taxis and auto-rickshaws on hire inside the city limits of the urban local bodies will be regulated to allow them on alternate days; Now therefore in view of ease of implementation following standard operating procedures (SOP) shall be adopted...," the order read.

ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) guidelines on #COVID19 testing


Union Public Service Commission defers remaining Civil Services interview to April 3

COVID-19 : Indian Embassy issues advisory, asks Indians to contact USCIS for visa extension

Indian Embassy here on Friday (local time) issued a travel advisory asking Indian nationals to contact US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for extension of visa in the US amid travel restrictions imposed in the backdrop of coronavirus pandemic.
 
The advisory comes after the Indian government announced that no international commercial passenger aircraft will be allowed into India from midnight of March 22 to March 29.
 
"In view of these travel restrictions, all Indian nationals are advised to stay safe and isolated within the residential premises and follow the advisories updated on CDC web site and other state and federal advisories relevant to COVID19," read the statement by the embassy.
 
"For extension of visa in the US during this restriction period, please refer to USCIS website to extend your stay," it added.
 
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Friday announced that no international passenger commercial aircraft shall take off from any foreign airport to land in India from March 22 to March 29. India has so far reported 236 coronavirus cases and four fatalities.

UP Health Minister, 3 MLAs self-isolate after going to party attended by Kanika Kapoor

Uttar Pradesh Health Minister Jai Pratap Singh on Friday self-isolated himself, after he was present in the party attended by singer Kanika Kapoor who has tested positive for coronavirus.
 
Uttar Pradesh MLAs -- Pankaj Singh, Dhirendra Singh and Tejpal Nagar -- have also self-isolated themselves till the COVID-19 test reports of Jai Pratap Singh arrives.
 
Meanwhile, the Lucknow police have booked Kanika Kapoor on charges of negligence for attending various social events in the city last week despite being infected with coronavirus and having been instructed by the authorities to isolate herself at her home.
 
Kapoor has been booked under Sections 188, 269, and 270 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) at Sarojini Nagar police station in the city. The FIR was lodged based on a complaint filed by the chief medical officer (CMO) of Lucknow.
 
According to police, Kapoor had arrived in Lucknow on March 11 and was found COVID-19 positive at the airport. She had travelled to London a few days back.
 
She was asked by the authorities to quarantine herself for the required period as per the rules. However, she ignored the instructions and went on with her social engagements. Kapoor had stayed at the city's Taj Mahal hotel.

ECB suspends professional cricket till May 28

In a bid to contain the spread of coronavirus, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has suspended professional cricket till May 28.
 
"The ECB Board has today agreed that no professional cricket will be played in England and Wales until at least May 28 due to the COVID-19 pandemic," the ECB said in a statement.
 
The board also approved the recommendation to delay the start of the season following discussions with the First-Class Counties, the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) and the Professional Cricketers' Association (PCA).
 
The ECB has begun modelling a range of options to start the season in June, July or August - with an immediate focus on options for cricket in June, including the three-Test series against West Indies, the Vitality Blast and England Women's schedule against India.
 
"Close liaison with the government will continue, with discussions on the potential of starting the season behind closed doors and giving sports fans the opportunity to live broadcast action," read the ECB statement.

China reports 41 imported cases, 7 deaths due to coronavirus

China has registered 41 imported cases of COVID-19 and no cases of internal transmission in the last past 24 hours, the National Health Commission said on Saturday.
 
As many as seven people have died of the infection so far.
 
The imported cases have been recorded in Beijing (14), the province of Guangdong (7), Shanghai (9), Fujian (4), Shaanxi (2), Zhejiang (2), Shandong (2) and Sichuan (1). The whole number of imported COVID-19 cases in China has reached 269.
 
"The National Health Commission received information about 81,008 confirmed cases of pneumonia caused by a new type of coronavirus from 31 provinces (regions and municipalities), including 6,013 currently ill people. 1,963 people are in critical condition, 3,255 have died, 71,740 people have been discharged from hospitals," the commission said in a statement.
 
No new cases of the coronavirus have been registered in the province of Hubei, where the city of Wuhan - the epicentre of the pandemic - is located.

Another case emerges in Punjab

One Mohali resident with travel history to the UK has tested positive for Coronavirus; Total number of positive cases in the state rises to 3

Carmakers shut North America production in face of coronavirus crisis

Automakers are halting production at plants in North America as corporations grapple with growing signs of coronavirus damage. The move has raised concerns that extended periods of downtime could significantly hit companies' profits.

Wall Street ends at worst weekly decline since 2008; Dow, S&P decline 4%

Wall Street wrapped up its worst week since October 2008, with the Dow and S&P 500 sliding more than 4% on Friday as tough restrictions by New York and California to try to contain the spread of the coronavirus fueled worries about damage to the economy. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo early on Friday ordered all non-essential workers to stay home, following on the heels of California's unprecedented statewide "stay at home" order issued late Thursday. The moves by two of the most populous U.S. states affects some 40 million people. Also, federal authorities this week moved to close the borders with Canada and Mexico, with more than 12,000 cases having been confirmed in the United States as of Friday. Read More Here
 
 

Zimbabwe announces 1st coronavirus case

Zimbabwe has confirmed its first case of the coronavirus as the pandemic reaches a health system that has nearly collapsed amid an economic crisis. The southern African nation's health minister, Obadiah Moyo, said the infected man lives in Victoria Falls, one of the most visited tourist destinations in Africa. Moyo said the 38-year-old had travelled to Britain on March 7, returning home via neighbouring South Africa on March 15. He put himself in self-quarantine upon arrival and later called his doctor after realising “he was not feeling too well," the minister said.

IMF sees severe impact from pandemic on global economy, but crisis temporary

The impact of the global coronavirus pandemic will be "quite severe," but a long expansionary period and high employment rates mean the global economy should weather the current shock, a top International Monetary Fund official said on Friday. Martin Muehleisen, who heads the IMF's strategy policy and review department, said in an IMF podcast that the main goal for governments should be to limit the spread of the virus in a way that provides confidence that the economic shock will be temporary.

Google cancels annual developer conference on coronavirus fears

Alphabet Inc's Google on Friday canceled its annual developer conference, two weeks after calling off the in-person portion of the event due to the coronavirus outbreak. In contrast, Apple Inc has moved its upcoming developers conference to online-only format. The alarming global spread of the coronavirus has wreaked havoc on businesses and forced organizers to postpone or cancel some major industry events.

Dow falls again to end Wall Street's worst week since 2008

Wall Street stocks finished a volatile session much lower Friday, spending part of the day in positive territory before plunging to bring the market's worst week since 2008 to a grim conclusion. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended down 4.6 per cent at 19,174.04, below the level when President Donald Trump was inaugurated, as the spreading coronavirus hammers the economy.

US blames China, Russia and Iran for 'disinformation campaign' on coronavirus

The United States on Friday blamed Russia, China and Iran for the alleged "disinformation campaign" against it on the coronavirus and urged its citizens to be aware about this on social media. "I wanted to talk about the disinformation the people are seeing both on Twitter and around the world. Some of it coming from government, some of it coming from other individuals," US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters at a White House news conference. He identified three countries for this "disinformation campaign".

In Pics | Hoarding has emerged as a major challenge

Ration shops across the country are flooded since the announcement of janata curfew. PTI

Hoarding of ration by the general public has emerged as a major problem in the coronavirus pandemic. PTI

People wearing protective masks shop at Kendriya Bhandar in the wake of coronavirus pandemic. PTI

Italy virus toll hits one-day record as Wuhan reports 'hope'

Worldwide fatalities from the pandemic swept past 10,000, with the number of infected people topping 250,000, according to an AFP tally. Italy, already the worst-affected country in the world, added another 627 fatalities, taking its reported total past 4,000 despite government efforts to stem the pandemic's spread. The nation of 60 million now accounts for 36.6 percent of the world's coronavirus deaths.
 

Janta curfew: Muzaffarnagar jail to ban visitors on Sunday

The Muzaffarnagar district jail authorities will not let visitors meet inmates on Sunday when 'Janta curfew' will be in force to prevent the spread of coronavirus, officials said on Friday. Jail superintendent A K Saxena told PTI that masks have been provided to more than 600 inmates including the elderly and those with illnesses to protect them for getting infected. He said a total of 2,250 inmates including 59 women are lodged at the district jail.

Netflix establishes $100 million virus relief fund

Netflix said Friday it is establishing a $100 million relief fund for workers in the worldwide creative community affected by the corona-virus caused halt of most film and television production. “This community has supported Netflix through the good times, and we want to help them through these hard times, especially while governments are still figuring out what economic support they will provide,” Ted Sarandos, Netflix's chief creative officer, said in a statement.

Pakistan reports third coronavirus death as confirmed cases jump to 481

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday asked people to self-quarantine for at least another 45 days as the country reported its third coronavirus death and the total number of confirmed cases rose to 481. The third death was reported in Pakistan's biggest city Karachi, the capital of the Southern Sindh province which has reported the highest number of coronavirus cases in the country.

France reports 78 more deaths in 24 hours, total toll 450

France on Friday reported 78 more deaths from the coronavirus over the last 24 hours, bringing the total death toll from the outbreak in the country to 450 people. Top French health official Jerome Salomon told reporters that 12,612 people were now confirmed by tests in France to have been infected with the coronavirus, while warning this was a "minimal figure" compared with the real number of those infected. He said 5,226 people had been hospitalised with the virus, with 1,300 of them in intensive care.

Coronavirus death toll in UK rises by 33 to 177

A total of 177 patients have died in the United Kingdom after testing positive for coronavirus, the health ministry said on Friday, up from 144 on Thursday.
 
As of Friday morning, 3,983 people had tested positive for the virus across the country, out of 66,976 who had been tested.
Thermal screening of passengers being conducted in the wake of deadly coronavirus, at a bus stand, in Kozhikode | Photo: PTI
A pedestrian wearing a mask, reads the notice put up on the entrance of a medical outlet during coronavirus pandemic, in Kolkata | Photo: PTI
Municipal workers spray disinfectants around the building premises of Chennai Municipal Corporation as a precautionary measure to contain coronavirus pandemic in  Chennai | Photo: PTI

We are in golden hour of battle with virus epidemic: Uddhav

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Friday said the state was currently in the "golden hour" of its battle against the coronavirus as it can stop the epidemic's progresss to stage 3.
 
Thackeray held video-conference with divisional commissioners, district collectors and police officials on Friday evening about the measures to stop the spread of the virus.
 
"We are in golden hour (at a point where the disease can still be cured). The need of the hour is to break the chain of virus infection so that its spread is stopped," the Chief Minister said.

UK PM Johnson tells cafes, pubs and restaurants to close tonight

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told cafes, pubs and restaurants across the country to close on Friday night and to stay shut indefinitely to help slow the spread of the coronavirus outbreak. "We are telling cafes, bars and restaurants to close tonight as soon as they reasonably can and not to open tomorrow," Johnson told reporters in Downing Street. "Though to be clear, they can continue to provide takeout services.
 
"Some people may of course be tempted to go out tonight, and I say to those people, 'please don't,'" Johnson said. He said the government had to enforce the closure of cafes, pubs, restaurants as well as gyms and leisure centres to slow the spread of the virus. "We're also telling nightclubs, theatres, cinemas, gyms and leisure centres to close on the same timescale," Johnson said. "The sad thing is today, for now, at least physically, we need to keep people apart."

Passengers from Australia, UK, US to be screened at 30 airports

Amid rising coronavirus cases in India, the government on Friday decided to screen all passengers coming from the US, Australia and UK at 30 designated airports and also assess their risk profile for either quarantine or isolation.
 
The Union Health Ministry has shot off a letter in this regard to all chief secretaries, airport health organisations and officers concerned saying universal screening is being expanded "in view of local transmission of the disease, increase in number of cases and deaths being reported in Australia, UK and USA".
Bollywood singer Kanika Kapoor who tested positive for coronavirus booked for negligence: Lucknow police chief
UK PM Boris Johnson says," We have a real threat to our country, to our ability of our health service to manage it. Unless we get it right, thousands of lives will be lost." He further adds, "We will take exceptional measures to stop disease." 
Workers spray disinfectants on a road in the wake of coronavirus pandemic at Nagercoil town of Kanyakumari district | Photo: PTI

Coronavirus: Ola, Uber suspend shared rides temporarily

Ride-hailing platforms Ola and Uber have suspended shared rides temporarily in an effort to curb spread of coronavirus that has killed over 10,000 persons so far globally.
 
"In our efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19, we are temporarily suspending the ''Ola Share'' category until further notice," Ola said in a statement on Friday.
 
"We are determined to help reduce the spread of coronavirus in the cities we serve. With that in mind, we are suspending the Uber Pool service across India," an Uber spokesperson said.

No need to rush Tokyo Olympic decision says US

United States Olympic chiefs said Friday more time was needed to determine the fate of this year's Tokyo Olympics amid mounting calls to postpone the Games because of the coronavirus pandemic.
 
In a conference call with reporters, United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) chairwoman Susanne Lyons said there was no need for the
International Olympic Committee to make an immediate decision on Tokyo.

"I think we would concur with the IOC to say that we need more expert advice and information than we have today to make a decision," Lyons said.

Coronavirus: Nashik family which fled home quarantine held

A family of four which fled home quarantine in Nashik in Maharashtra have been apprehended and placed in isolation, Collector Suraj Mandhare said on Friday.
 
The family, living in Pathardi Phata area here, had returned from Australia on March 11 and had gone to Igatpuri in the district on March 17, an official said.
 
"The Igatpuri taluka health officer Dr Mohammed Turabali Deshmukh had ordered them to get quarantined at home.

However, they came to Nashik city on March 18. They again went to Khambale in Igatpuri on March 19.

Coronavirus: Army issues fresh work from home advisory for officers, JCOs

Amid the novel coronavirus outbreak, the army issued a fresh advisory on Friday, saying 35 per cent officers and 50 per cent junior commissioned officers (JCOs) in its headquarters here will take turns in working from home for a week from March 23.
 
The second group of officers and JCOs will proceed on home quarantine on March 30.
 
Army Chief Gen M M Naravane also reviewed the force's preparation to contain COVID-19 with senior functionaries at the Army Headquarters. Instructions have been given to adhere to enhanced measures issued to all stakeholders.

Total number of coronavirus cases in national capital climbs to 20: Delhi Health Department

The total number of coronavirus cases in the national capital on Thursday rose to 20, according to the Delhi Health Department.  These cases include six people from outside the city, two from Kolkata and one each from Punjab and Rajasthan.
 
The total number of coronavirus cases in the national capital has thus risen to 20, it said.
 
By Thursday night, the number of cases of the deadly virus in the city stood at 14.
 
Out of the total 20 cases, four have been discharged and one had died earlier.  Prime Minister Narendra Modi reviewed the current situation and preparedness for Covid19 with chief ministers of various states, through a video conference, the Delhi health Department said in a statement.
Total number of coronavirus cases in national capital climbs to 20: Delhi Health Department
A total of 15,404 samples from 14,514 individuals have been tested for SARS-CoV2 as on 20th March 2020 6 PM IST. A total of 236 individuals have been confirmed positive among suspected cases and contacts of known positive cases, shows a report by the ICMR. 

Covid19: AIIMS doctors' forum concerned over 'lackadaisical' approach of Centre, Delhi govt

A forum of faculty members, resident doctors, scientists and undergraduate students of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) has expressed concern over the "lackadaisical" approach of the Central and Delhi governments to the COVID-19 outbreak in the national capital.
 
The Progressive Medicos and Scientists Forum (PMSF) has said that while other coronavirus-affected nations like Spain, France and China have taken steps to provide sanitizers, masks and health care to its citizens, India was "still in a quandary over how to expand the testing facilities". 

"Unlike Spain, which nationalised all private hospitals to effectively fight against coronavirus, the Indian government has still not been able to finalize arrangements with private labs for testing of the virus," a statement issued by the forum said.

Taj hotel shut till further orders

The Taj hotel where Bollywood singer Kanika Kapoor attended had a high-profile party has been shut till further orders.
 
Though no reason has been cited for the closure, sources said it has been done after Kanika Kapoor was tested positive for coronavirus.

"The Taj hotel is being closed till further orders," District magistrate Abhishek Prakash said in an order issued on Friday evening.

Four test positive for coronavirus in MP's Jabalpur city Jabalpur

Madhya Pradesh on Friday recorded its first cases of coronavirus with four persons testing positive in the state's Jabalpur city.
 
Three members of a family who had returned from Dubai and another person who returned from Germany were found to have contracted the infection, Jabalpur District Collector Bharat Yadav told PTI.
 
All four had returned to India two days ago, and after the state administration learnt about their overseas travel, officials contacted them and collected their samples, Yadav said.

Janta curfew: No passenger train to begin journey from midnight to 10 pm on Sunday

No passenger train will originate from any railway station in the country from midnight to 10 pm on Sunday in view of the "Janta curfew" announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, according to a railway order issued on Friday.
 
It stated that mail and express trains will also stop services from 4 am to 10 pm on Sunday while all suburban train services will be reduced to a bare minimum as well.
 
"All passenger trains originating between midnight of March 21/March 22 to 22:00 hours of March 22 (approximately 2,400 services) shall not be run. However, the passenger train services already on run at 0700 hours on the day will be allowed to run to the destinations. Divisions should keep a watch and trains which are empty could be short terminated, if required," the railway order said.

Economic package to be announced as soon as possible, says FM Sitharaman

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday said an economic package for the coronavirus-hit sectors will be announced "as soon as possible".
 
The minister, however, did not give any timeline by when the package will be unveiled.
 
Sitharaman was speaking to reporters after meeting ministers and officials of civil aviation, animal husbandry, tourism and MSME ministries to take stock of the situation following the Covid-19 outbreak.
 
"I had a meeting with tourism, MSME, civil aviation, animal husbandry sectors. These ministries presented assessment of their sector after consultation with their stakeholders. We had a detailed discussion in the presence of the Finance Secretary and Economic Affairs Secretary. We are compiling their suggestions," she said after the four-hour meeting in New Delhi.
 
The ministry will hold an internal meeting on Saturday to firm up the action plan to deal with the crisis, she added.
 

Coronavirus: Centre relaxes leave rules for staff over 50 years

Central government employees above the age of 50 years can go on a leave without producing a medical certificate to avoid unnecessary burden on the healthcare system amid ongoing coronavirus scare, a Personnel Ministry order said on Friday.
 
As part of its effort to relax leave norms for the employees, the ministry also asked central government departments to sanction leave to officials who wish to self-quarantine as a preventive measure.

Italy mulls further crackdown with no virus peak in sight

Italy's government on Friday said it is considering even further restrictions on its already locked-down population as the country reels under the continued spread of the coronavirus.
 
The country now has the most coronavirus fatalities in the world, after it surpassed China on Thursday with a rise of 427 deaths to an overall toll of 3,405.
 
"In the next 24 to 48 hours, new restrictions are possible," Italy's minister of regional affairs Francesco Boccia said Friday, citing the possibility of banning open-air activities.

Himachal reports first two coronavirus cases

Himachal Pradesh on Friday confirmed its first two cases of coronavirus from Kangra district.
 
A 32-year-old man and a 64-year-old woman from different areas in Shahpur have been found suffering from coronavirus, officials said.
 
The man had come from Dubai and the woman from Singapore a few days ago, they added.
 
Their samples were sent to Tanda's Dr Rajendra Prasad Government Medical College for testing, they said.
 
Both patients have been kept in isolation wards at the Tanda hospital and their samples have further been sent to the National Institute of Virology in Pune for testing. 

Giriraj meets finance minister to discuss package for livestock industry

Union Minister Giriraj Singh on Friday held discussions with Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman about a relief package, including restructuring of loans, for livestock industry in the wake of the coronavirus spread in the country and the potential losses it can have on the industry.
 
"Livestock industry has been hit badly because of the coronavirus outbreak. We discussed various kinds of measures, including loan restructuring, that can help people engaged in this sector," Singh, who is Minister of Animal Husbandry, Fisheries and Dairying, told reporters here after the meeting.
 
Indian poultry industry is alone worth Rs 1.5 trillion. More than 10 lakh small farmers are directly engaged in the poultry industry, while crores of people are indirectly dependent on this sector, he said.

IRCTC orders closure of all on-board catering services in mail, express trains from Mar 22

The IRCTC has ordered the closure of all onboard catering services in mail or express trains from March 22 until further notice in view of the coronavirus outbreak, according to an order from the railway subsidiary on Friday.
 
The Indian Railway Catering and Toursim Corporation (IRCTC) has also decided to close all food plazas, refreshment rooms, Jan Aahars and cell kitchens until further notice.
 
"Food plazas, refreshment rooms, Jan Aahars and cell kitchens should be closed until further advice.
 
"The static units supplying meals to prepaid trains which are in operation may continue to operate. The onboard catering services in mail express trains and TSV trains should be closed until further advice," the order stated.
 
It also said that if there is a demand of onboard services then only propriety article depot (PAD) items, tea and coffee may be allowed to be sold in trains.

Covid19 impact: Air India says there is 'insurmountable' dip in revenues, issues wide-ranging cost cutting measures

Air India says it has cut allowances of all employees, except cabin crew, by 10 per cent for 3 months starting March. Air India says it will renegotiate contracts with lessors and hotels to reduce rates. 

Lucknow: Taj hotel shut till further orders

The Taj hotel where Bollywood singer Kanika Kapoor attended had a high-profile party has been shut till further orders. Though no reason has been cited for the closure, sources said it has been done after Kanika Kapoor was tested positive for coronavirus. "The Taj hotel is being closed till further orders," District magistrate Abhishek Prakash said in an order issued on Friday evening. The decision has been taken as a precautionary measure, the sources said. 

Coronavirus-infected employee recovered fully, discharged from hospital: Paytm

A Paytm employee, who was among the first 30 coronavirus cases in India, has recovered and was discharged from hospital after his last two results came negative, the digital payment company said on Friday.
 
"Coronavirus affected employee from Paytm Gurgaon office has been discharged from hospital today evening and is on his way back home. He is completely fit and has had his last two results as negative. He has been prescribed self isolation for next 14 days and is required to stay at home," Paytm said in a tweet.
Items like branded aerated drinks, chips, tea and coffee may be allowed to be sold in trains if there is demand of onboard services: IRCTC

Markets in Delhi to remain shut for 3 days from Saturday: CAIT

Markets in Delhi will remain closed for three days beginning Saturday in view of the coronavirus outbreak, traders' body CAIT said on Friday.
 
However, pharmaceuticals, dairy and general consumables have been exempted from the shutdown for the convenience of citizens for meeting their daily requirements, the traders' body said.
 
"The markets in Delhi will remain closed on March 21, 22 and 23. Trade leaders will review the situation on the evening of March 23 and decide actions for the future," Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal said.
 
In his address to the nation on Thursday, Modi made a fervent appeal to all Indians to stay indoors as much as possible to avoid getting infected by coronavirus, saying the world has never seen a danger as grave as this.

Covid19 : India reports 50 fresh cases of coronavirus, total climbs to 223

India reported 50 fresh cases of Covid19 , highest in a day, taking the tally to 223 on Friday, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi discussed with chief ministers ways and preparedness of the states to check and prevent the spread of coronavirus, which has claimed more than 10,000 lives globally.
 
A spike in numbers prompted the states and UTs to reinforce its efforts to contain the spread. While the Maharashtra Chief Minister said all workplaces in major cities, including in country's commercial hub Mumbai and Pune, will remain closed till March 31, the Delhi Chief Minister announced shutting down of all malls in the national capital, but exempted grocery stores and pharmacies in them.
 
As coronavirus continued its upward trajectory across the country, authorities faced double-barrel challenge -- strengthening its check and prevention mechanism, and addressing public panic, leading to hoarding of essential items.

India reports 50 fresh cases of coronavirus, total climbs to 223

India reported 50 fresh cases of Covid19, highest in a day, taking the tally to 223 on Friday, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi discussed with chief ministers ways and preparedness of the states to check and prevent the spread of coronavirus, which has claimed more than 10,000 lives globally.
 
A spike in numbers prompted the states and UTs to reinforce its efforts to contain the spread.

While the Maharashtra Chief Minister said all workplaces in major cities, including in country's commercial hub Mumbai and Pune, will remain closed till March 31, the Delhi Chief Minister announced shutting down of all malls in the national capital, but exempted grocery stores and pharmacies in them.

FM Nirmala Sitharaman takes stock of situation, holds meeting with four ministries

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday met ministers and officials of civil aviation, animal husbandry, tourism and MSME ministries to take stock of the situation following the coronavirus outbreak.
 
The finance ministry is compiling various demands of these sectors which are severely impacted by Covid-19, Sitharaman told reporters.The ministry will hold an internal meeting on Saturday to firm up the action plan to deal with the crisis, she added.
 
On Thursday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his address to the nation had said the government is setting up a 'Covid-19 Economic Response Task Force' to decide on relief package for sectors hit by the coronavirus outbreak.

12 fresh Covid19 cases in Kerala, total goes up to 37

Twelve fresh cases of coronavirus were reported in Kerala on Friday, taking the total number of Covid19 cases to 37, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said.
 
While five cases were confirmed in Ernakulam, six were reported in Kasaragod and one case in Palakkad district, Vijayan told reporters after a Covid19 review meeting here.
 
"Totally, 44,390 people are under observation, of which 44,165 are in home quarantine and 225 in isolation wards in hosiptals," he said.
 
Vijayan said all government offices in Kasaragod district would be closed for a week from tomorrow, while all places of worship and clubs will be shut.
Shops would remain open only from 11am to 5pm.

Coronavirus: SRK, Madhuri Dixit urge people to support Janata Curfew on Sunday

It is essential to behave responsibly and one must heed the Prime Minister Narendra Modi's call for the 'Janata curfew' to minimise social interaction and help control the spread of the coronavirus, Bollywood celebrities said on Friday.
 
Modi on Thursday had urged citizens to implement 'Janata curfew', a curfew by the people and for the people, on Sunday from 7 am to 9 pm to avoid mass gatherings.
 
Shah Rukh Khan said the whole idea behind the 'Janata curfew' was to slow down the spread of the virus.

FM Nirmala Sitharaman on coronavirus impact

  • Assessed impact of coronavirus on tourism, aviation, animal husbandry, MSMEs with respective ministries: FM Nirmala Sitharaman. 
  • The finance ministry is compiling demands by sectors impacted by coronavirus, says FM Sitharaman
  • Finance ministry to hold internal meeting on issues raised by affected sectors on Saturday, says Sitharaman.

Coronavirus: HRD advises states to provide mid-day meals or food security allowance

The Ministry of Human Resource Development advised states on Friday to provide mid-day meals or food security allowance to students till schools are closed due to the novel coronavirus outbreak.
 
"As the country is passing through difficult times of corona outbreak, the states and union territories are advised to provide hot-cooked mid-day meals or food security allowance to students whichever is feasible till schools are closed," the HRD Ministry said in a letter to states.

Bury the hatchet and work against Covid19, says Pondy's ex-CM

Former Chief Minister and Opposition leader in the territorial Assembly N Rangasamy (AINRC) on Friday asked Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi and Chief Minister V Narayanasamy to bury the hatchet and launch joint steps to contain the spread of Covid19.
 
He said the Lieutenant Governor and the Chief Minister have been at loggerheads on various routine administrative issues here, virtually bringing the government to a standstill.
 
In a statement here, Rangasamy said a number of states have embarked upon measures in keeping with the advisories of the Central government to take on the spread of the ailment.
 
So, he said, the territorial government should also initiate steps and protect the people against the scourge.
 
Urging the government to supply masks, sanitisers and hand-washing liquid free of cost to the people through the public distribution system, Rangasamy said hospitals should be stocked with adequate medicines and equipment to meet any exigency.

Pakistan reports third coronavirus death as confirmed cases jump to 464

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday asked people to self-quarantine for at least another 45 days as the country reported its third coronavirus death and the total number of confirmed cases rose to 464.
 
The third death was reported from Sindh Province where the number of confirmed cases rose to 238, according to provincial spokesman Murtaza Wahab.
 
Already two patients died in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa where the number of positive cases has increased to 23, provincial health minister Taimur Jhagra said.

Assam governor urges people to support PM's call for 'janta curfew'

Assam Governor Jagdish Mukhi on Friday urged people to support and adhere to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's call for 'janata curfew' on March 22.
 
Stressing that resolve and restraint was the need of the hour to fight the coronavirus outbreak, the governor, in a statement, also requested them to avoid social gatherings.
 
In this challenging scenario, scientific fraternities across the world have said that social distancing is the best and most effective way to keep the infection at bay, he said.
 
"In consonance with the request of the prime minister, we should stay home and follow social distancing rules," the governor stated.
People wearing protective masks shop at Kendriya Bhandar in the wake of coronavirus pandemic in New Delhi | Photo: PTI
A Jammu Municipal Corporation health worker fumigates an area as a precautionary measure against the spread of coronavirus at Ranbireshwar temple, in Jammu | Photo: PTI

Germany's biggest state Bavaria first to order lockdown: Official

Germany's largest state Bavaria on Friday became the first region in the country to order a lockdown to prevent coronavirus infections.
 
"From midnight tonight for a provisional period of two weeks, there will be fundamental restrictions on going out," state premier Markus Soeder said.
 
"We are not locking Bavarians in but we are winding down public life almost completely," Soeder said at a press conference, adding that restaurants would be closed and citizens would no longer be allowed to meet in groups outside.

Four more test positive for coronavirus in Chandigarh

Four more people tested positive for coronavirus in Chandigarh on Friday, taking the total number of cases in the state to five.
 
Among the four cases were the mother, brother and the cook of a 23-year-old woman who had earlier tested positive for coronavirus in Chandigarh, an official statement said.
 
Besides, a 26-year-old woman who recently returned from the UK has also tested positive for the deadly disease.

India important asset for global community in fight against coronavirus: Saudi Arabia

India is an important asset for the international and regional fight against coronavirus and in minimising its impact on the health of global community, Saudi Arabia, the chair of the G20 grouping, said on Friday.
 
In an interview to PTI, Saudi Arabia's envoy to India Saud bin Mohammed Al Sati also assured that the Gulf nation is taking care of the safety of expatriates in the kingdom on priority.
 
His remarks come days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a telephonic conversation with the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, and emphasised the need for coordinated efforts to address the global challenge arising out of the coronavirus outbreak.

One fresh case of Covid19 in Telangana; Total rises to 17

A fresh case of coronavirus was reported in Telagana on Friday, taking the total number of those who tested positive for the infection in the state to 17.
 
An 18-year-old woman, a resident of the city who returned from London, become the latest to test positive, a media bulletin issued by the state government said.
 
The woman was referred from a private hospital and presently admitted to the state-run TB and Chest Hospital in the city. "The patient is stable," it said.
 
The state has witnessed a spurt in the number of COVID-19 cases since Wednesday when eight, including seven Indonesians, testing positive for the virus. Another Indonesian had tested positive a day earlier. They had stayed in Karimnagar for two days last week.

Govt mulls late repayment of loans for MSMEs to tide over coronavirus impact

The government is mulling measures like allowing late repayment of loans by the micro, small and medium enterprises to support the sector amid the coronavirus outbreak, sources said on Friday.
 
"We have discussed various things including fiscal support... some kind of deferment to ease the whole thing. The issues related to GST were also discussed," said an official after meeting Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman here.
"I have requested PM to come up with plan for unorganised sector, suffering due to COVID-19 pandemic," Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee. She further added, "I have told PM to stop all international flights to Bengal," Mamata Banerjee after video-conference with Modi and other chief ministers. 

Here's how Bollywood and cricketing world reacted to 'janata curfew'

Inspired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's call for a self-imposed 'Janata Curfew', the film fraternity and sporting world joined the PM in urging all the Indians to remain at home on Sunday (March 22) in their fight against raging coronavirus (Covid-19).
 
Several top stars of the industry, including Amitabh Bachchan, Akshay Kumar, Ajay Devgn, Madhuri Dixit and Ranveer Singh have come together for a special video to spread awareness about the novel coronavirus. 
 
The one minute fifty second long video, an initiative by Rohit Shetty Picturez in collaboration with Maharashtra government, features actors appealing to citizen to tread with caution and safety amid the pandemic. Read more...
 
 

Tamil Nadu Governor seeks mass support to PM's 'janata curfew' call

Tamil Nadu Govenor Banwarilal Purohit on Friday appealed to the people of the state to support Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "janata curfew" call as part of the country's fight against coronavirus.
 
He appealed to the youth of the state, organisations like NCC and the civil society to spread awareness on the Prime Minister's call.
 
"The Governor (has) appealed to the people of Tamil Nadu to support the Janata Curfew on March 22 from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. to prevent and stop this global pandemic," a Raj Bhavan release said.

LG Anil Baijal urges people to follow 'Janta Curfew'

Lt Governor Anil Baijal on Friday urged people of Delhi to follow the "Janta Curfew" on March 22 in view of the raging coronavirus epidemic that has claimed one life and infected 16 others in the national capital.
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on Thursday urged people to remain inside their houses under a self-imposed curfew from 7 am to 9 pm.
 
"I appeal to all of you to follow the 'Janta Curfew' on March 22 as announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Do not step out of your houses from 7 am to 9 pm. Protect yourself and keep others safe as well," he said in a tweet in Hindi.

CII writes to PM seeking fiscal stimulus, tax cuts to combat coronavirus impact on economy

Industry body CII on Friday pressed for a fiscal stimulus of Rs 2 trillion besides a slew of tax cuts and reduction in interest rates to combat the impact of coronavirus on the industry as well as the economy.
 
Business is going to see a huge amount of disruption, CII Director General Chandrajit Banerjee said, adding sectors like real estate, aviation, tourism, and aggregators are witnessing maximum stress due to coronavirus-induced slowdown and supply chain issues.
 
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, CII said the government may consider a fiscal stimulus of Rs 2 trillion, which is 1 per cent of the GDP, to be given to the needy citizens through Aadhaar-based Direct Benefit Transfer. An amount of Rs 5,000 for each individual, especially the rural and urban poor and Rs 10,000 for the most vulnerable section - the elderly.
 
"Our plea for more fiscal space is really directed to lessen that economic fear of individuals, give money into the hands of people by direct benefit transfer in a mechanism which will really help people get money, to those who are less privileged in the society," Banerjee told PTI.

Anupam Kher returns from the US, opts for self-isolation

Veteran actor Anupam Kher, who returned from the US on Friday, said as a precautionary measure he will be self-isolating himself, amid coronavirus scare.
 
The actor said he tested negative for coronavirus upon his arrival in the country.
 
“I have just landed. I was tested at the airport and I was given a clean chit. But on my own I will be staying at home. I've to go on self-isolation. We must,” Kher told PTI.
 
The actor was filming for TV series “New Amsterdam” in New York City for the past several weeks before the show halted production due to Covid19.

Don't visit our offices to collect driving licence, vehicle documents: Delhi Traffic Police

Amid the coronavirus outbreak, the Delhi Police on Friday asked the public to not visit the offices of traffic authorities to collect their driving licence or vehicle documents seized by personnel while issuing challans.
 
In an advisory, the Delhi Traffic police said people may visit traffic circles or offices only in case they have urgent and unavoidable reasons to get their documents back.
 
"They may continue to drive keeping a copy of the challan with them to be presented or shown to the enforcement officer on demand," said Taj Hassan, Special Commissioner of Police (Traffic).

Two more test positive for Covid-19 in Guj, count rises to 7

Two more persons tested positive for coronavirus infection in Gujarat on Friday evening, taking the number of such cases in the state to seven, officials said.
 
Gujarat recorded its first coronavirus cases on Thursday.
 
Health authorities on Friday morning announced detection of three more cases.
 
In the evening, two more cases were added, one each in Ahmedabad and Vadodara, taking the total to seven.

Delhi govt discontinues non-essential services, staff to work from home

The Delhi government on Friday decided to discontinue its non-essential services till March 31 and allowed workers of such departments to work from home.
 
The Delhi Assembly has also asked in-charges to prepare duty rosters for their staff to come to work on a rotation basis till March end.
 
The decision to discontinue non-essential services was taken during a meeting between Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and all the heads of government departments.
 
"It has been decided to discontinue non-essential services of the Delhi government till March 31. All employees of non-essential services have been allowed to work from home," a statement said.

Armed forces have 4 quarantine facilities on standby: Nodal officer for Covid19 cases

The Indian armed forces have kept quarantine facilities on standby in four cities - Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Vizag and Gorakhpur - to accommodate around 1,000 people if required, said Brigadier Anupam Sharma, the nodal officer for coordinating efforts of the Defence ministry on Covid19 cases.
 
He also said that apart from the around 1,000 beds, additional facilities can be prepared quickly.
 
Currently, there are 58 people at the Indian Air Force's Hindon facility, 44 at the Indian Navy's facility, 484 people at the Army's Jaisalmer facility and 82 people at its Manesar facility, who are in quarantine.

Coronavirus: EPFO advises beneficiaries to not to visit its offices

The Employees' Provident Fund Organization (EPFO) on Friday asked pensioners and employers to avoid visiting its offices and avail online services like raising claims for PF, view balance, and make payments etc from their homes.
 
The step has been taken to curb the spread of deadly coronavirus, the EPFO said in a statement.
 
To contain the spread of coronavirus, the EPFO advises members, pensioners and employers to avoid visiting EPFO offices and avail various online services offered by it from their homes, it said.
 
Most of the services of the EPFO are available online, it mentioned.
 
An employee can generate his/her own Universal Account Number (UAN), activate his/her UAN and seed it with Aadhaar, PAN, Bank Account and mobile number (KYC seeding), the EPFO said.

Economy normalizing in China after coronavirus peaked; stark risks remain: IMF

China's economy is beginning to show some signs of normalization following the full-blown shock caused by the coronavirus, but stark risks remain, International Monetary Fund officials said in a blog on the economic impact of the pandemic.
 
Most larger Chinese firms have reopened and many local employees have returned to work, but infections could rise again as national and international travel resumes, the IMF officials said.Outbreaks in other countries and financial market gyrations could make consumers and firms wary of Chinese goods just as the economy is getting back to work, they said.

Govt seeks suggestions from public to check coronavirus spread

The government has invited suggestions and ideas from public to help fight against highly contagious coronavirus that has killed over 10,000 people globally.

The MyGov portal of the government has started discussion on ways to check the spread of the virus.

"In order to involve the community in the fight against the Virus, we would want you to share your ideas and suggestions to help fight #Coronavirus," the discussion details posted on MyGov stated.

According to the government, the most important factor in preventing the spread of the virus locally is to empower citizens with the right information and taking precautions as per the advisories being issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

It has sought suggestions around innovative and best practices regarding hygiene, hand washing, social distancing and preventing spread of rumours and being prepared rather than panicking.

Covid19 taskforce: Giriraj discusses package for livestock industry with FM Sitharaman

Union Minister Giriraj Singh on Friday held discussions with Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman about a relief package, including restructuring of loans, for livestock industry in the first meeting of the Economic Response Taskforce, formed to combat the economic effects of Covid19 (coronavirus).
 
"Livestock industry has been hit badly because of the coronavirus outbreak. We discussed various kinds of measures, including loan restructuring, that can help people engaged in this sector," Singh, who is Minister of Animal Husbandry, Fisheries and Dairying, told reporters here after the meeting.
 
Indian poultry industry is alone worth Rs 1.5 trillion. More than 10 lakh small farmers are directly engaged in the poultry industry, while crores of people are indirectly dependent on this sector, he said.

Coronavirus outbreak impacts jewellery demand: WGC

Even as gold prices remained weak, the coronavirus outbreak has severely impacted the market sentiment in the country keeping consumers away from retail stores leading to a fall in demand, according to the World Gold Council (WGC).
 
"Following the COVID-19 outbreak, we face unprecedented levels of anxiety globally, which has affected all asset classes including gold. It appears that volatility in gold price is driven by massive liquidations across all assets and likely magnified by leveraged positions and rule-based trading," WGC Managing Director (India) Somasundaram P R told.
 
Gold's liquidity has enabled people to raise their cash to cover losses in other asset classes, he added.
 
 

Global coronavirus death toll tops 10,000: AFP tally

The number of people who have died as a result of the coronavirus pandemic now exceeds 10,000. According to an AFP tally based on official data at 1030 GMT Friday.

In total, 10,080 deaths have been reported, most of them in Europe (4,932) and Asia (3,431). Italy is the worst affected country with 3,405 fatalities, followed by China with 3,248, the initial epicentre of the outbreak, and Iran with 1,433.

Derek O'Brien goes into self-quarantine: Sources

TMC MP Derek O'Brien self-quarantined himself after BJP MP Dushyant Singh, who sat beside him in Parliament, revealed that he he attended a party by singer Kanika Kapoor, who has tested positive for Covid19.
 
Singh and his mother, former Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje, have gone into self-quarantine after attending Kapoor's party in Lucknow, Raje tweeted on Friday.
 
Kapoor has become the first Bollywood celebrity to test positive for coronavirus in the country and says she's under complete quarantine and medical care.
10,000 people have now died worldwide from coronavirus pandemic: AFP tally

PM discusses ways to check spread of coronavirus with chief ministers

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday deliberated ways to check the spread of coronavirus with chief ministers of various states.
 
Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan and top health ministry officials were also present in the meeting held via video link. The meeting, which started at 4pm, was still on.
 
Sources in the government said besides discussing ways to check the spread of the virus, issues such as capacity building of the states and extending training to local health officials could also come for discussion.
 
Punjab Chief Minister Amrinder Singh, Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath were among those who attended the video conference.
 
The prime minister has been pitching for involvement of people and local authorities to check the spread of the virus.
A priest performs rituals at an almost deserted ghat of River Ganga in the wake of coronavirus pandemic, in Varanasi | Photo: PTI

Indians Embassy in Beijing issues travel advisory for Indians travelling to China

The Indian Embassy in Beijing on Friday issued a travel advisory for Indians travelling to China, highlighting strict screening and quarantine measures for the incoming travellers amid an increase in the number of imported coronavirus cases in the country.
 
The Indian Embassy's advisory came as China's health authorities said on Friday that it received reports of 39 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases on the Chinese mainland on Thursday, all of which were imported.
 
China reported zero cases of new domestic coronavirus cases on Wednesday and Thursday including at the virus epicentre Wuhan following which foreigners' arrivals into Beijing and other cities have gone up.

24-hr lockdown in Shillong on Saturday

Shillong will go into lockdown on Saturday, with markets, offices, commercial establishments and public transport shut for 24 hours, as a preventive measure to check the spread of Covid-19, officials said.
 
The order, however, will not be applicable to security forces and medical teams on duty, she said.
 
"All public transport will stay off the roads and operations will remain suspended at markets and commercial establishments. Assembly of five or more people in public areas has also been prohibited," East Khasi Hills District Magistrate M W Nongbri said.

Iran's leaders strike upbeat tone as coronavirus death toll climb

Iran's leaders on Friday announced 149 more fatalities from the new coronavirus, bringing its death toll to 1,433 amid nearly 20,000 confirmed cases.
 
Iran is battling the worst outbreak in the Middle East, and has been widely criticised for its slow response.
 
The country's leaders struck an upbeat tone earlier Friday, issuing messages in honor of the Persian new year in which they vowed to overcome the pandemic.
 
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has final say on all state matters, called the new year “the year of leaps in production” in Iran's economy, which has been under heavy US sanctions since President Donald Trump withdrew from the 2015 nuclear accord.
 
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani marked the new year, known as Nowruz, by promising a better economy. “We will put the Coronavirus behind us soon with unity, with hard work and with cooperation,” he said.
The Italian man in Jaipur not counted among those dead in India due to coronavirus: Health Ministry

BJP MP Dushyant Singh goes into self quarantine after attending singer Kanika Kapoor's party

BJP MP and son of former Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, Dushyant Singh, has gone into self quarantine after attending singer Kanika Kapoor's party, sources said on Friday. Kapoor has become the first Bollywood celebrity to test positive for coronavirus in the country and says she's under complete quarantine and medical care. There were reports that the singer landed in Lucknow from the United Kingdom and was admitted in a city hospital after she showed signs of flu.
 
In a statement released on instagram, the 41-year-old 'Baby Doll' singer said she developed signs of flu in the last four days. Dushyant was present at the party. Thereafter, he also went to the Parliament. "This Govt is putting us all at risk. The PM says self isolate yourself but the Parliament is on. I was sitting next to Dushyant the other day for 2.5 hours. There are two more MPs who are in self isolation. The session should be deferred," said TMC MP Derek O'Brien in a tweet, reacting to the news.

Speed of coronavirus transmission needs to be stopped, practice social distancing: Health ministry

We need to practice social distamcing. All the states have been empowered to use the Epidemic Act 2 to take whatever steps necessary to contain the spread of Covid-19. The private sector has been informed to make work from home a necessary practice. Coaching centre's need to be temporarily shut, said Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary of Health Minsitry during a press briefing.
206 positive coronavirus cases so far in India; over 6,700 contacts being monitored; 4 deaths, all above 64 years of age: Health Ministry

Covid19: Final exams for Classes 1 to 8 cancelled in Maharashtra

The Maharashtra Government on Friday cancelled the final examinations of Classes 1 to 8, while those of Classes 9 and 11 will be held after April 15, in light of the coronavirus outbreak in the state.
 
School Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad said the decision will be applicable to students of the state's Secondary School Certificate (SSC) board only.
 
The examinations of Classes 9 and 11 will be conducted after April 15, she said.
Do not spread unverified and wrong information on social media and through WhatsApp groups, said the Joint Secretary of Health Ministry during a media address. 
There is no shortage of essential items and do not visit hospitals until absolutely necessary. Medical personnel and medical staff should not be over-burdened. Till now, 206 cases have been tested positive and over 6,000 persons are being monitored closely, the Joint Secretary of the Health Ministry said. 

160 countries affected

Novel coronavirus highly infectious; 160 countries including developed nations affected: Health Ministry

Janta Curfew

PM has called for Janta curfew; one day's cooperation will help break the chain of transmission: Health Ministry
Spread and peak of transmission can be prevented by practicing social distancing, says Joint Secretary of Health Ministry. People should not panic. Avoid public gathering. Most vulnerable sections of the society that include the elderly and children should stay at home and take required preventive measures, he further added. 

Preventive approach

Social distancing primary to fight COVID-19; use toll free 1075 for any query; we are working on preventive approach: Health Ministry
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi meets 38 MPs who are doctors, urges them to spread awareness on novel coronavirus pandemic

Iran deaths

Iran reports 149 new coronavirus deaths, raising total to 1,433
We have to prevent spread of transmission of this disease. People can clarify their doubts by visiting the Health Ministry website and call the official helpline number, says Joint Secretary of Health Ministry

BJP MP in self quarantine

BJP MP Dushyant Singh goes into self quarantine after attending Bollywood singer Kanika Kapoor's party: PTI
Do not believe on rumours, please resort to Health Ministry website and call centres for authentic information. Do not panic. We must promote social distancing as a practice, says Joint Secretary Health Ministry during a media address. 
Novel coronavirus spreads fast and 160 countries over the world are dealing with the spread of this virus: Joint Secretary Health Ministry

Bollywood singer Kanika Kapoor tests positive for coronavirus

Bollywood singer Kanika Kapoor on Friday announced that she has tested positive for the coronavirus.
 
The actor took to Instagram on Friday to share her health condition.
 
"For the past 4 days I have had signs of flu, I got myself tested and it came positive for Covid-19. My family and I are in complete quarantine now and following medical advice on how to move forward," said Kapoor in the post.

Masses suspended in churches, Archbishop of Bombay tells HC

Public masses across 123 Catholic churches in Mumbai have been suspended till April 4 in view of the coronavirus outbreak, the Bombay High Court was informed on Friday.
 
The Archbishop of Bombay on Friday filed an affidavit to this effect.
 
A lawyer had written to the high court, claiming that despite warnings and requests by the authorities that public gatherings should be avoided for containing the epidemic, people were attending masses in the city's churches.
 
A division bench of Acting Chief Justice B P Dharmadhikari and Justice N R Borkar had taken cognizance of the letter and asked the government to respond.

Coronavirus: Street and hubs deserted as people go for social distancing

Amid a global coronavirus scare, PM Narendra Modi has advised people to avoid stepping out of homes to the extent possible and take necessary precautions to contain Covid-19. Check out a few photos here 

Capacity to manufacture 15 million masks a day, production on: Govt

India has a capacity to manufacture 15 million masks a day and the production has already started to ensure there is no crisis-like situation amid coronavirus outbreak, the government said in Rajya Sabha on Friday.
 
Besides, there is no dearth of gloves or medicines and adequate quantity of sanitisers to meet the demand is available, Chemical and Fertiliser and Shipping Minister Mansukh Lal Mandaviya told the Upper House during the Question Hour.

Offer immediate liquidity to services sector; take fiscal & monetary steps to fight Covid-19: Crisil

Calling for urgent liquidity support to the worst-hit services sector, Crisil has opined that only a mix of monetary and fiscal boosters can help the economy tide over the deepening impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
 
Immediate short to mid-term liquidity support to airlines, hotels, malls, multiplexes, restaurants and retailers is needed as they are in the high-risk category with the steepest revenue loss, says a report by Crisil economists and analysts.
 
Their call is despite an admission that the government “has little policy firepower to give a meaningful push to growth and the pandemic is making it more difficult” and therefore a “mix of monetary and fiscal policy measures necessary to cushion demand fall.” In the best-case scenario, supply-chain normalisation is possible only by end May provided the rate of new Covid-19 cases continues to fall in China, they say while warning that if that does not happen, then other sectors like steel, gems & jewellery, construction & engineering, and textiles would be hit.

Allow employees to work from home: Delhi govt to private sector employers

The Delhi government issued an advisory for the private sector to allow their employees to work from home till March 31 in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, an official said on Friday.
 
In the advisory, the government also asked people, particulary senior citizens, pregnant women and those affected with hypertension and diabetes, to remain at home.
 
"All private sector offices (including, multi-national companies, IT firms, industries and corporate offices) situated in NCT of Delhi are advised to allow their officers/employees to work from home till March 31, 2020," the advisory stated.
 
Meanwhile, the Delhi government has ordered closure of all malls in the national capital with immediate effect, but exempted grocery and pharmacy stores in them.
 
Officials said all non-essential public dealing activities were stopped till March 31 while only essential public dealing activities will continue.
 
All non-essential staff are being directed to work from home while all permanent and contractual employees will be paid for this period.

No Delhi Metro services on Sunday

DMRC says Delhi metro services will be closed on Sunday in view of Janata curfew

Banks and stock market will remain open in Maharashtra

Shops and offices to remain shut in Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur till March 31. However, banks and stock market will remain open.
Karnataka Minister B Sriramulu: Till now, 15 people have tested positive. Two COVID19 patients who are recovering will be soon discharged from the hospital.

$10 toilet paper? Coronavirus gouging complaints surge in US

One store advertised hand sanitizer at $60 a bottle. Another was accused of hawking it at USD 1 a squirt. Chain stores offered $26 thermometers and face masks at the "everyday low price" of $39.95 a pair, while a convenience store touted toilet paper at USD 10 a roll next to a sign reading: "This is not a joke."
 
Across a country where lines are long, some shelves are empty and patience is thin, authorities are receiving a surge of reports about merchants trying to cash in on the coronavirus crisis with outrageous prices, phony cures and other scams.

Covid-19: Railway employee suspended for hiding son's Europe travel history

South Western Railway suspended an employee on Thursday, for allegedly hiding her son's travel history who returned from Spain. The employee's son has now been kept under isolation.
 
Earlier it was reported that the man had a travel history of Italy- among the worst affected countries by Coronavirus.
 
He was working in Germany and had taken a flight from Spain to return to India.
 
In an order issued by General Manager of South Western Railway, the employee was further asked to leave the headquarter without obtaining permission from the competent authority.
 
The suspended Railway Officer is posted in Bengaluru.
Delhi High Court asks Centre to file a reply on a plea challenging the ban on passenger travel from the UK and other countries, due to coronavirus outbreak.

Coronavirus India update: Two more persons tested positive for Covid-19 in Ladakh

Two more persons tested positive for Covid-19 in Ladakh. Number of #coronavirus cases rises to 10 in the Union Territory. Entry of all non-local labourers banned.

Coronavirus to have less impact on India's defence procurement, says Rajnath Singh

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on the impact of the current situation on the global economy: There would certainly be an impact of the global economy on all nations. But I feel there would be hardly any impact on India's defence procurement. 

No plans to cancel Ram Navami celebrations: VHP

There are no plans to cancel any programmes related to Ram Navami in Ayodhya, except for the processions and Ramkot Parikrama that is taken out on the eve of the Ram Navami.
 
The Ramkot Parikrama is also a procession of sorts that culminates in a meeting.
 
Talking to IANS, VHP spokesman Sharad Sharma said that all programmes related to Ran Navami will take place as usual.
Some of the essential services that will be excluded from the shut down are providing drinking water, banking services, telephone and internet services, railway and transportation services, food, vegetables and groceries, Hospitals, medical centres and medical stores and electricity.

Malaysia to deploy army to enforce virus restrictions

Malaysia will deploy the army to support police in enforcing tough restrictions to halt the spread of the coronavirus because many people are flouting isolation rules, a minister said Friday.
 
People have been told to stay at home and all schools and most businesses have closed, while Malaysians are barred from travelling overseas and foreigners from entering the country.

Global COVID-19 toll reaches 10,030: John Hopkins

The overall global death toll due to the coronavirus pandemic has increased to 10,030 on Friday, while the total number of confirmed cases stood at 244,523, according to latest updates by The Johns Hopkins University in the US.
 
Italy, the worst-hit country outside China, reported the maximum number of deaths due to the deadly disease at 3,405, which was followed by the Asian giant, where the virus first emerged last December, with 3,248 victims, the updates showed.

ICMR begins sentinel surveillance to detect community transmission

Citing the evolving nature of Covid-19 transmission, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on Thursday said that surveillance is being expanded to areas where the cases have been reported.

"In view of the evolving nature of Covid-19 transmission, the surveillance is being expanded to include more areas, especially areas where Covid-19 cases have been reported," the apex health research body said.

It said it is closely monitoring the presence of community transmissions in the country. "Since February 15, ICMR has initiated sentinel surveillance to detect community transmission of Covid-19."

Cannes Film Festival postponed till July over coronavirus concerns

The Cannes Film Festival has been postponed to contain the spread of the coronavirus. The event, which was scheduled for May 12 through 23, might be shifted to June or July, the organisers said.
 
"Several options are considered in order to preserve its running, the main one being a simple postponement," the organisers' statement said.
 
"As soon as the development of the French and international health situation will allow us to assess the real possibility, we will make our decision known, in accordance with our ongoing consultation with the French Government and Cannes City Hall as well as with the Festival's Board Members, Film industry professionals and all the partners of the event," they added.

Air Canada to lay off over 5,100 employees to mitigate coronavirus impact

Air Canada will temporarily lay off more than 5,100 employees as it attempts to check the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the union representing the Canadian airline's flight attendants said on Friday.
 
The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) said it was "deeply saddened" to learn that airline would temporarily lay off about 3,600 of its members at Air Canada mainline and all 1,549 of its members at Air Canada Rouge. READ ON...

Cathay Pacific slashes almost all passenger flights over the coronavirus pandemic

Cathay Pacific is canceling almost all passenger flights for two months as the novel coronavirus outbreak continues to decimate global demand for travel.
 
Hong Kong's flagship carrier announced Friday that it would reduce passenger flight capacity by 96% in April and May, saying it would start operating on a "bare skeleton" basis. Cathay Dragon, the company's regional airline, will also cut back by the same proportion, reports CNN.

Sports events that are still happening despite Covid-19 pandemic

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought the world on its knees with many social, religious gatherings and sports events being postponed or getting cancelled. In fact, a cloud also hangs over the world's largest sporting event, Summer Olympic Games, which might also get postponed. The Olympics are scheduled to take place in Tokyo this year from July 24 to August 9. However, the International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach has reiterated that it is too early to think about cancelling or delaying 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Click here to know which sporting events are still happening despite Covid-19 pandemic.

Amid coronavirus outbreak, Trump to hold G7 summit via video conference

US President Donald Trump has scrapped this year's in-person G7 summit set to be held in the US in June due to the coronavirus crisis and will instead hold the high-profile event through video-conference, the White House has said.
 
The decision comes as countries around the world seal their borders and ban travel to stop the fast-spreading COVID-19 pandemic that has claimed over 9,000 lives so far. READ ON...

Covid-19: MCA eases attendance rules for board meetings till June 30

Taking precautionary steps in the light of the Corona pandemic, the government has relaxed the requirement of holding board meetings with physical presence of directors for activities including approval of financial statements and the board’s report.
 
The Corporate Affairs Ministry has issued a notification to allow companies to hold such board meetings through video conferencing till June 30. READ ON...

COVID-19 testing kits to be developed using RNA imaging

Amid the novel coronavirus pandemic crisis, Canadian researchers will use a pioneering imaging technology -- called Mango, for its bright colour -- to develop coronavirus testing kits, says a new study.
 
According to the findings, published in the journal Nature Communications, researchers at Simon Fraser University in Canada, developed Mango to sensitively detect RNA molecules, helping to improve viral screening for viruses such as the coronavirus while enabling basic discoveries into the functioning of cells.

ICMA confirms 206 cases of coronavirus in India



Delhi Govt advises all private sector offices incl multinational companies, IT firms, industries, corporate offices situated in NCT of Delhi to allow their employees to work from home till March 31

Delhi Govt advises all private sector offices incl multinational companies, IT firms, industries, corporate offices situated in NCT of Delhi to allow their employees to work from home till March 31. It also advises the public to remain at home particularly senior citizens andchildren.

206 confirmed positive among suspected cases, contacts of known positive cases: ICMR

Indian Council of Medical Research: A total of 206 individuals have been confirmed positive among suspected cases and contacts of known positive cases. A total of 14,376 samples from 13,486 individuals have tested for COVID19 as on March 20.

3 people have tested positive for Coronavirus - one each from Pimpri-Chinchwad, Pune and Mumbai

Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope: 3 people have tested positive for #Coronavirus - one each from Pimpri-Chinchwad, Pune & Mumbai. The total number of cases in the state now rises to 52. 
 

Coronavirus pandemic has already put global economy into recession: Poll

The global economy is already in a recession as the hit to economic activity from the coronavirus pandemic has become more widespread, according to economists polled by Reuters amid a raft of central bank stimulus actions this week.
 
The spread of the disease caused by the virus, Covid-19, has sent financial markets into a tailspin despite some of the biggest emergency stimulus measures since the global financial crisis announced by dozens of central banks across Europe, the America, Asia and Australia.

Covid-19: Apple limits online iPhone purchases to two handsets per person

Apple Inc is limiting customer purchases of iPhones over its online stores in many countries including the United States and China to a maximum of two handsets per person, checks on its website on Friday revealed.
 
The purchase caps come just after the hardware maker closed all of its brick-and-mortar stores outside China, as the coronavirus spreads globally and forces lockdowns and limitations on public movement to contain it.
 
Checks on Apple's website reveal that in numerous countries, a drop-down menu prevents customers from buying more than two of the same model iPhone, across all models. The last time it did so was in 2007, when the iPhone was first introduced, to stop people from reselling them. READ ON...

Kolkata resident tests positive for COVID-19, 2nd case in Bengal

A Kolkata resident with a recent travel history to the United Kingdom has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, making it the second confirmed case in West Bengal, an official said on Friday.
 
The man returned from the UK on March 13 and was admitted to the Beliaghata ID Hospital in the city on March 19 with symptoms of COVID-19, the state government official said. READ ON...

Woman suspected to be suffering from coronavirus flees hospital, booked

In a first such case in Punjab, a 26-year-old woman suspected to be suffering from coronavirus was booked for fleeing from the hospital here, police said on Friday.
 
The woman, a resident of Mohali, had returned from the US and was taken to a government hospital in Chandigarh for a check up. READ ON...

Odisha reports 2nd coronavirus case

Odisha has reported the second confirmed case of novel coronavirus after a man who returned from a COVID-19-affected country tested positive, the state health department said.
 
"Today 14 samples were tested at RMRC (Regional Medical Research Centre) Bhubaneswar out of which one is positive for #COVID2019," the Health and Family Welfare Department tweeted on Thursday night. "This is the second positive case in Odisha."

Coronavirus in Dehradun: Forest Research Institute put under lockdown

The Forest Research Institute here has been put under complete lockdown in the wake of three coronavirus positive cases reported from there.
 
The order to put the institute under complete lockdown was issued by Director General Health, Amita Upreti, late on Thursday night. READ ON...

Coronavirus India update: Mohali woman tests positive; total cases in Punjab 3

A 69-year-old woman, who recently returned from the United Kingdom, has tested positive for coronavirus, taking the total number of cases in Punjab to three, an official said on Friday.
 
"The woman, a resident of Phase 3 A in Mohali, has tested (positive) for coronavirus," Mohali Deputy Commissioner Girish Dayalan told PTI. READ ON...

Coronavirus impact: Fitch cuts India growth forecast to 5.1% for FY21

Fitch Ratings on Friday cut India's growth forecast to 5.1 per cent for FY 2020-21, saying the coronavirus outbreak is likely to hit business investment and exports.
 
Fitch had in December 2019 projected India's growth at 5.6 per cent for 2020-21 and 6.5 per cent in the following year.
 
In its Global Economic Outlook 2020, Fitch said the number of people affected by coronavirus will keep rising in the coming weeks but that the outbreak will remain contained. However, there are downside risks to this scenario. READ ON...

Coronavirus update: Italy overtakes China with most virus deaths, California goes on lockdown

Italy has surpassed China as the country with the most deaths from coronavirus as California, home to more than 39 million people, was placed under lockdown in the most drastic containment measure yet by a US state.
 
President Donald Trump said meanwhile that the United States is fast-tracking antimalarial drugs for use as a treatment and lashed out at China for not informing the world earlier about the original outbreak. Read on...

Senators sold stock before steep market losses from virus

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr, R-NC, sold as much as $1.7 million in stocks just before the market dropped in February amid fears about the coronavirus epidemic.
 
Senate records show that Burr and his wife sold between roughly $600,000 and $1.7 million in more than 30 separate transactions in late January and mid-February, just before the market began to fall and as government health officials began to issue stark warnings about the effects of the virus. Several of the stocks were in companies that own hotels. READ ON...

Covid-19: Netflix to cut European traffic by 25% to avoid internet gridlock

Netflix said on Thursday that it would reduce its bit rates across all its streams in Europe, in effect, cutting traffic on its European networks by 25 per cent to preserve the smooth functioning of the internet during the coronavirus crisis. READ ON...

Sitharaman to meet the ministers for Animal Husbandry, Dairy & Fisheries, Civil Aviation, MSMEs, and Tourism, at North Block today

'Super Spreader' NBA players test positive for coronavirus

Two members of the Los Angeles Lakers have tested positive for the new coronavirus on Thursday as the Philadelphia 76ers also confirmed that three of their players had contracted the disease.
 
The Lakers said they tested their players because on March 10 they played the Brooklyn Nets, who had four players previously test positive for the virus. The Lakers said team doctors are closely monitoring the two players.
 
"We learned today that two Lakers players have tested positive," said Lakers spokesperson Alison Bogli in a news release. READ ON...

Coronavirus outbreak: 60 students stranded in Singapore arrive in Mumbai

Some 60 Indian students stranded at the Singapore International Airport in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak arrived here on Thursday night, much to the relief of their family members.
 
The students, most of them from Maharashtra, arrived at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport in a Singapore Airlines flight.
 
Some 40 of these students are from Maharashtra, while the rest are from other states, said a relative of one of the pupils. READ ON...

Coronavirus in India: State-wise total number of confirmed cases

Maharashtra: 48
Kerala: 31
Haryana: 47
Uttar Pradesh: 28
Delhi: 21
Karnataka: 16
Rajasthan: 10
Ladakh: 10
Telangana: 17
Jammu and Kashmir: 4
Andhra Pradesh: 2
Punjab: 3
Tamil Nadu: 4
Gujarat: 2
 

Coronavirus wrap: India bars international flights, PM seeks janata curfew

Prime Minister Narendra Modi appealed to citizens to stay home and avoid panic buying, even as the country outlined plans to halt all international flights and rushed to stem the spread of coronavirus cases in the country. Here is more on the coronavirus. READ ON...

Coronavirus India update: Third positive case from Andhra Pradesh

Third positive case of Covid-19 detected in Andhra Pradesh. A man, who returned from Saudi Arabia on March 12, found positive in Visakhapatnam.

ADB, World Bank to give Pak $588mn for fight against COVID-19

The Asian Develo­pment Bank (ADB) and the World Bank have committed to providing $588 million to Pakistan for its emergency response to fight the coronavirus in the country and cater to the socio-economic impact of the pandemic.
 
This was announced by the Planning Commission after a meeting with country representatives of the two lending agencies on Pakistan's preparedness and response to fight COVID-19, Dawn news said in a report on Thursday.

California governor orders entire state to stay at home amid covid-19 fears

All residents of California were ordered to stay at home Thursday in a bid to battle the coronavirus pandemic in the most populous state in the US.
 
"There is a mutuality, there is a recognition of our interdependence, that requires of this moment that we direct a statewide order for people to stay at home," Governor Gavin Newsom said.
 
No end date was set for the measure because the pandemic is a "dynamic situation," said Newsom.
 
California is home to more than 39 million people, and has been among the worst hit by the pandemic. Read more

Covid-29 global update:Haiti reports first two coronavirus cases

President Jovenel Moise has announced Haiti's first two cases of novel coronavirus as his government adopted extraordinary measures to contain its spread.
 
"We have found the two first cases of coronavirus in our national territory," Moise said during an address televised on state media on Thursday. READ ON...

Coronavirus outbreak deals blow to NASA's return-to-moon plan by 2024

The coronavirus outbreak dealt a blow to NASA’s plans to return Americans to the moon by 2024, as the space agency chief on Thursday ordered the temporary closure of two rocket production facilities after an employee tested positive for the respiratory illness.
 
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a statement he was shutting down the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans and the Stennis Space Center in nearby Hancock County, Mississippi, due to a rise in coronavirus cases in the region.

China reports no new domestic coronavirus cases for second day

No new domestic coronavirus cases were confirmed in China for the second consecutive day even as three more fatalities have been reported, taking the death toll in the country to 3,248, the Chinese health authority said on Friday.
 
No new domestically transmitted cases of the novel coronavirus disease were reported on the Chinese mainland on Thursday, the National Health Commission (NHC) said. READ ON...
Amita Upreti, Director General of Uttarakhand Health Department: Indira Gandhi National Forest Academy has been put under lock-down after two India Forest Service (IFS) trainees were found #COVID19 positive.

NPA norms may be eased, tax deferment likely in coronavirus healing touch

As the Indian economy reels from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the Narendra Modi government is drawing up a relief package for industry. The relaxation of asset-classification norms by banks, thus allowing companies to delay the repayment of loans, and tax holidays for the worst-hit sectors like aviation and hospitality are expected to be part of the package, Business Standard has learnt. Read More...

Coronavirus impact may render 38 mn jobless in Indian tourism industry

In a letter to the PM, the industry body has urged the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to intervene to minimise the damage. Apart from business loss for the Rs 5-trillion industry, FAITH said the crisis may leave 38 million people (or 70 per cent of all employed directly and indirectly) jobless. Read More...

Mall operators' revenues may take 30% hit amid coronavirus spread: Experts

With malls shut in key cities such as Mumbai, Bengaluru and Delhi, mall operators could lose 20-30 per cent of their annual revenues, analysts warn.
 
"With the COVID-19 issue likely to linger till at least Q1FY21, mall operators stand to lose 20-25 per cent of their annual revenue assuming that a rent-free period is given to retailers," said Adhidev Chattopadhyay, research analyst at ICICI Securities, said in a recent report. Chattopadhyay said mall operators and retailers may share the losses, given malls have become a relationship-based business with the same retailer having presence across malls. Read More...

Start-ups come up with tech-driven solutions to track coronavirus patients

Bengaluru-based Healthtech start-up Mfine has rolled out a Coronavirus assessment feature which enables virtual medical consultation to assess patients who have flu-like symptoms. During the consultation, the tool collects basic information from users by guiding them through questions to know about their health, the timeline of symptoms, age, medical history, and travel details. It then makes a doctor consult with the patient over audio and video, and based on the case sheet, the doctor advises if the patient needs to take further assessment at a hospital. “So far 3,000 people have used it in the past 10 days and around 4 per cent people were told to Mfine. The whole process takes around 15 minutes and costs Rs 100. Read More...

Oil soars 20% intra-day; gold remains lusterless amid coronavirus fear

Oil prices rose as much as 20 per cent intra-day on Thursday, recouping some losses from a sell-off that drove prices to near 20-year lows, even as base metals and gold contiued to remain under pressure because of economic uncertainty in view of the coronavirus pandemic.
 
Metal prices declined between 3 per cent and 6 per cent on the Multi Commodity Exchange (MCX), toeing global move as selling pressure. Gold and silver, too, dropped in the domestic market, as well as globally. Read More...

Kerala govt announces Rs 20,000 crore package amid coronavirus spread

The Kerala government has announced a Rs 20,000-crore financial package for the state to tide over the present crisis being faced by the southern state in the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. This includes Rs 14,000 crore to clear all arrears pending in various sectors and a Rs 500-crore health package.
 
On Thursday, the state has reported one more positive case, taking the total confirmed COVID-19 cases to 28, of which 25 patients are under treatment, said state Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. Read More...

Coronavirus spread: Banks' exposure to travel, hospitality sectors at risk

Lenders’ exposure to the travel and hospitality sectors is at risk because of the economic disruption from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The 65 listed companies in the sector had combined outstanding loans worth around Rs 30,500 crore at the end of September 2019, up 37.2 per cent year-on-year (YoY) compared to the corresponding period a year ago.
 
The companies had total loan outstanding of around Rs 22,200 crore at the end of September 2018. Read More...

Over $1-million aid disbursed to Saarc nations amid coronavirus spread: MEA

Over $1 million has already been disbursed out of the $10 million fund set up by India to enable Saarc (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) countries tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said at a special briefing. Read More...

Participation of citizens important for fight against coronavirus: Pradhan

Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Thursday said participation of citizens is very important for fight against novel coronavirus. He said this while reacting to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's address to the nation in the wake coronavirus outbreak.

Coronavirus: 7 admitted to isolation ward of Kolkata hospital

Seven people, some of whom had recently arrived from abroad, were on Thursday admitted to the isolation ward of Beliaghata ID hospital here with coronavirus-like symptoms, a senior official of the health department said.
 
Two of them had travelled to Italy and reportedly came in touch with a coronavirus patient, the official said, adding that the third person is Liberian national.
The swabs of all seven people have been collected but till late Thursday night, the state health department did not upload the day's bulletin about their medical test results.

Rio reports first coronavirus deaths as Brazil closes land borders

Brazil's tourist hotspot Rio de Janeiro reported its first two coronavirus deaths on Thursday, bringing the country's toll to six, as Latin America's largest nation closed more borders to visitors and the foreign minister waded into a diplomatic spat with China. The state government said the two deaths were a 63-year-old diabetic woman in the hilly interior of Rio de Janeiro state and a 69-year-old man, also diabetic, in the city of Niteroi.
 
President Jair Bolsonaro, who has faced criticism for his lax handling of an outbreak he initially called a "fantasy," issued a decree restricting entry of foreign visitors at land borders with Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, Suriname, Guyana and French Guiana. On Wednesday, Brazil began turning away Venezuelans at the border.

Number of coronavirus deaths in UK rises to 144, up 40% in a day

The number of people in the United Kingdom who have died after contracting the coronavirus rose to 144, up 40% in a day, the health ministry said on Thursday.
The number of positive cases increased by 643, or 25%, to 3,269.

CVS announces first drive-thru coronavirus testing site in Massachusetts

CVS Health Corp said on Thursday it is opening a COVID-19 testing site for a limited population in the parking lot of a CVS Pharmacy in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts.
Drive-thru coronavirus testing sites are popping up across the country, with the goal to ramp up testing and reduce pressure on emergency rooms and keep patients in cars to avoid spreading the infection.
 
CVS and other U.S. retailers such as Walmart Inc, Target Corp and Walgreens Boots Alliance pledged at a White House news conference last Friday to provide space for the drive-thru sites in their parking lots.

Pakistan's coronavirus cases rise to 453

Pakistan's coronavirus cases sharply rose to 453 on Thursday, as the military said measures are being taken to make the armed forces' medical facilities available for an "extreme emergency" situation. Pakistan on Wednesday reported its first two casualties due to the coronavirus that has spread to more than 160 countries, killing over 9,000 people.
 
On Thursday, maximum new cases were recorded in Balochistan where the number of infected people rose to 81 from 23. Punjab was the next where the number rose from 33 to 78, the Dawn reported. But the worst-hit Sindh province was still on the top with 245 confirmed cases, while Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa had 23, Islamabad 2 and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan 24, the paper said.

BMC, police to use GPS to track home quarantine travellers

The Brihanmumbai Municipal corporation, along with the help of Mumbai police, is going to track the movement of the travellers who have been advised home quarantine using mobile GPS. After facing several cases of violation of 14-day- long home quarantine, city authorities, in a joint meeting on Thursday, decided to track the movement of home quarantine people.
 
We have collected mobile numbers of all the people, who have been advised home quarantine after screening them at the airport, said a senior BMC official, adding they are going to share their numbers with the police for tracking their locations using mobile GPS.

Pharma chiefs expect coronavirus vaccine in 12-18 months

The pharmaceutical industry expects it will take 12 to 18 months to roll out a coronavirus vaccine, executives said Thursday, as they jointly pledged to make it available worldwide based on need.
 
Bureaucracy could be slashed to speed up the process -- but the time needed for safety testing could not be compromised, industry chiefs and the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations told a virtual press conference hosted in Geneva. "We're confident technology will arrest this disease," said IFPMA president David Ricks, the chairman of Eli Lilly and Company.

Italy overtakes China's coronavirus death toll

Italy on Thursday overtook China's coronavirus death total and braced for an extended lockdown that could see the economy suffer its biggest shock since World War II. The Mediterranean country's toll reached 3,405 after it recorded 427 new deaths on Wednesday. China has officially reported 3,245 deaths since registering the first case at the end of last year.
 
The number of new COVID-19 cases is yet to plateau despite the Italian government's best efforts. Army trucks delivered new coffins Thursday to a cemetery in the northern Italian city of Bergamo that suddenly finds itself at the global heart of the unfolding disaster. Burials were taking place 30 minutes apart to avoid contagion through crowds.

Coronavirus: Dow Jones, S&P 500 climb 2% as Fed, other policymakers take further steps

The S&P 500 was up more than 2% in afternoon trading on Thursday after policymakers around the world took further emergency actions to try to help financial markets and stave off a deep and lasting coronavirus-driven recession.
 
The Federal Reserve opened swap lines with central banks in nine new countries to ensure the world's dollar-dependent financial system continued to function. It was the latest in a host of steps taken by the U.S. central bank over the last two weeks, including cutting borrowing costs to near zero and providing billions more for cheap credit. Read More...

US coronavirus cases now over 10,000, more than 150 dead

The United States has 10,755 cases of people infected with the novel coronavirus while 154 people have died from the pathogen, a tracker maintained by Johns Hopkins University showed on Thursday.
 
This makes the US sixth on the overall list behind China, Italy, Iran, Spain and Germany, and ahead of France and South Korea. Globally, there have been 229,390 cases confirmed and 9,325 deaths, the tracker said. US health authorities have indicated they expect the number of cases to increase steeply in the coming days because of increased levels of testing after initial delays.

Welcome, support PM's appeal on coronavirus: RSS

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) on Thursday said it welcomes and supports the appeal made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the nation to fight the challenge posed by the novel coronavirus.
 
RSS general secretary Bhaiyyaji Joshi tweeted that RSS "welcomes and supports" the appeal made by Modi to the nation. Joshi asked the all the Swayamsevaks (RSS volunteers) along with family tocontribute towards creating awareness for the 'Janta curfew' on March 22 and laud efforts taken by the central and state governments.

Cannes film festival cancelled amid coronavirus

The Cannes film festival will not take place as planned in May because of the coronavirus, its board said Thursday, with its directors looking at postponing it until late June.
 
The world's biggest film festival was due to take place between May 12 and 23. But its board said in light of the pandemic they were now looking at rescheduling it to "the end of June-beginning of July". Several other film festivals, including Tribeca, SXSW and Edinburgh have already been cancelled or put back.

Indian airlines start grounding aircraft; govt considers relief package

Indian airlines are cutting shifts, laying off people and announcing steep pay cuts as the global aviation industry flies through the worst turbulence it ever faced.
 
Almost all airlines have drastically cut operations, grounded aircraft as net bookings fall into negative — meaning there are more cancellations than fresh bookings on domestic routes. As the impact of the crisis unfolds, the civil aviation ministry huddled into a 7-hour marathon meeting with chief financial officers of airlines and airports to finalise a relief package. read more

Railway passenger traffic catches the coronavirus flu, declines 28%

Coronavirus (COVID-19) may well turn out to be a spoiler for Indian Railways in the current financial year. So far, the number of reserved passengers and the earnings from it has dropped 28 per cent and 24 per cent, respectively, compared to March 2019.
 
The national transporter has cancelled 155 pairs of trains this week as a step to curb the spread of COVID-19. In the past seven days, the drop in passenger numbers reached as high as 55 per cent and earnings by 47 per cent, respectively, shows the data from Indian Railways. Read more

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Singapore Airlines flight carrying 60 stranded Indian students studying in Philippines reaches Mumbai airport from Singapore.

Coronavirus impact may render 38 mn jobless in Indian tourism industry

With stringent travel restrictions in place and widespread fears keeping people indoors, India’s travel and tourism industry is staring at large-scale job losses. Highlighting the impact of the unfolding crisis, industry body Federation of Associations in Indian Tourism & Hospitality (FAITH) has approached Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi.
 
In a letter to the PM, the industry body has urged the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to intervene to minimise the damage. Apart from business loss for the Rs 5-trillion industry, FAITH said the crisis may leave 38 million people (or 70 per cent of all employed directly and indirectly) jobless. read more

E-tailers helping states for continuing services during coronavirus

Top e-commerce companies in the country such as Flipkart, Amazon, and Grofers are holding informal discussions with various state governments to provide services such as delivering essential commodities to people during lockdowns, people familiar with the matter told Business Standard. read more

Sebi gives India Inc more time for Q4 filings amid coronavirus outbreak

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) on Thursday relaxed the deadlines for regulatory filings, such as disclosure of financial results and shareholding pattern.
 
“Developments arising due to the spread of the virus warrant the need for temporary relaxations in compliance requirements for listed entities,” Sebi said.
 
The deadlines to file the March quarter and full-year results have been extended by 45 days and 30 days, respectively, to June 2020. The last date to file shareholding pattern will be May 15 instead of April 21. Other areas where relaxations have been given are filing of corporate governance reports, secretarial compliance reports, and statements of investor complaints. Read more

Coronavirus: All places of worship shut in Odisha

Considering the next 12 days as crucial for curbing the spread of coronavirus, the Odisha government on Thursday imposed restrictions on the entry of devotees to all places of worship in the state including Shree Jagannath temple.
 
No devotee or tourist will be allowed to access any temple, mosque, church or gurdwara from Friday to April 1 in order to ensure social distancing, which is most important to keep the deadly virus at bay, a senior official said.
 
 
The District Administration of Puri has issued directions restricting access of general public to Shree Jagannath Temple from Friday till April 1, state government's chief spokesperson on COVID-19, Subroto Bagchi told reporters here.

Trump: World 'paying big price' because China slow on virus information

US President Donald Trump charged Thursday that the world is "paying a big price" for China's lack of transparency on the outbreak of the new coronavirus there several months ago.
 
"It would have been much better if we had known about this a number of months earlier," Trump told reporters at a White House briefing on the pandemic.
 
 
"It could have been contained to that one area of China where it started. And certainly the world is paying a big price for what they did.

Number of COVID-19 cases in Mumbai region goes up to 18

With two new positive cases, the number of coronavirus (COVID-19) infection in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) jumped to 18 on Thursday, said a Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) official.
 
Dasksha Shah, deputy director of BMC's health services, said a 22-year-old woman from T-ward in Mumbai tested positive for COVID-19, along with a 47-year-old woman from Ulhasnagar in adjoining Thane district.

US coronavirus cases now over 10,000, more than 150 dead: tracker

The United States has 10,755 cases of people infected with the novel coronavirus while 154 people have died from the pathogen, a tracker maintained by Johns Hopkins University showed on Thursday.
 
This makes the US sixth on the overall list behind China, Italy, Iran, Spain and Germany, and ahead of France and South Korea. Globally, there have been 229,390 cases confirmed and 9,325 deaths, the tracker said.

Pharma chiefs expect coronavirus vaccine in 12-18 months

The pharmaceutical industry expects it will take 12 to 18 months to roll out a coronavirus vaccine, executives said Thursday, as they jointly pledged to make it available worldwide based on need.
 
Bureaucracy could be slashed to speed up the process -- but the time needed for safety testing could not be compromised, industry chiefs and the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations told a virtual press conference hosted in Geneva.
 
 

Woman with coronavirus gives birth to healthy baby in Greece

A woman who tested positive for coronavirus gave birth to a healthy baby at an Athens hospital, Greek media reported on Thursday.
 
The 24-year-old woman and her partner had both tested positive before the delivery on Wednesday, but the first test on the baby came back negative for COVID-19.
 
"The virus is not transmitted by the placenta," the director of maternity at Attikon Hospital told Greek national broadcaster ERT.

Coronavirus cases reported in Europe pass 100,000: AFP

The number of cases of the new coronavirus reported in Europe has surpassed 100,000, according to an AFP tally at 1700 GMT on Thursday.
 
Europe has at least 100,470 recorded infections, including 4,752 deaths, overtaking Asia with 94,253 cases and 3,417 deaths.
 
 
This number of diagnosed cases reflects only a fraction of the actual number of infections as many countries test only those with the most severe symptoms.

Italy overtakes China's coronavirus death toll

Italy on Thursday overtook China's coronavirus death total and braced for an extended lockdown that could see the economy suffer its biggest shock since World War II.
 
The Mediterranean country's toll reached 3,405 after it recorded 427 new deaths on Wednesday.
 
China has officially reported 3,245 deaths since registering the first case at the end of last year.
 
The number of new COVID-19 cases is yet to plateau despite the Italian government's best efforts.

Metro issues advisory; random thermal scanning of passengers for at all stations

In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak in Delhi, metro authorities on Thursday night issued an advisory asking commuters to use the rapid transit network only when it is "essential and unavoidable".
 
In a statement, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) also said, "Random thermal scanning of passengers will be carried out at all metro stations."
 
"Incase anyone has fever or is observed to have any symptom of coronavirus infection, he or she will be referred for medical tests and quarantine to the authorities," it said.

In view of this pandemic, the metro travellers are advised that they should use metro network for essential travel only and should travel by the metro only when it is "essential and unavoidable".

Coronavirus impact: Banks seeks RBI's nod to offer relief to borrowers

As corporate cash flows feel the impact because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Indian lenders are seeking Reserve Bank of India’s nod to offer relief to borrowers, and not classify the affected sectors as bad loans in the March quarter.
 
State Bank of India Chairman Rajnish Kumar said banks were assessing sectors such as aviation, tourism, small transport operators that will be negatively impacted because of COVID-19. “There will some effect on the economy,” said he. Read more

Janata curfew, economic task force: Modi scales up coronavirus fight

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday announced the setting up of a COVID-19 economic response task force to assess the economic impact of the pandemic, and for taking suitable subsequent steps.
 
The PM also appealed to people to practise social distancing, avoid public spaces and, as a test case, observe a ‘janata curfew’, a self-imposed curfew “of, for and by the people” on Sunday. read more

Coronavirus spread: Retailers, multiplexes, mall owners spar over rentals

 
Differences have begun to crop up between retailers/multiplex operators and mall owners over deferring rental payouts in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. While retailers are talking to mall owners on a one-on-one basis to invoke the force majeure clause in their contracts, multiplex operators are seeking legal advice on the same, sources have told Business Standard.
 
The issue acquires significance given the lockdown mode in which key Indian cities find themselves in following an increase in coronavirus cases. Retailers and multiplex operators want mall owners to either forgo rent for the period of the shutdown or lower rent in the event the mall is open but footfalls are low. Read more

Mall operators' revenues may take 30% hit amid coronavirus spread: Experts

With malls shut in key cities such as Mumbai, Bengaluru and Delhi, mall operators could lose 20-30 per cent of their annual revenues, analysts warn.
 
"With the COVID-19 issue likely to linger till at least Q1FY21, mall operators stand to lose 20-25 per cent of their annual revenue assuming that a rent-free period is given to retailers," said Adhidev Chattopadhyay, research analyst at ICICI Securities, said in a recent report. read more
 

'Stay put' where you are: MEA to Indians abroad

Amid restrictions on the entry of passengers from various countries, the Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday urged Indians stranded in various parts of the world to "stay put" and said Indian missions are trying their best to provide them support.
 
Dammu Ravi, additional secretary MEA in charge of coordinating the efforts to counter COVID-19, said it is not advisable for people to move from one region to another region in the wake of coronavirus outbreak.
 

Delhi Metro Advisory on COVID-19

US fast-tracking anti-malarial drug to treat coronavirus: Trump

The US is fast-tracking the anti-malarial drug chloroquine for use as a treatment against the new coronavirus, President Donald Trump said on Thursday.
 
"We're going to be able to make that drug available almost immediately, and that's where the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has been so great," Trump told reporters.
 
"They've gone through the approval process -- it's been approved. They took it down from many, many months to immediate. So we're going to be able to make that drug available by prescription."

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Coronavirus could kill millions if allowed to spread like wildfire: UN chief

No Covid case in MP so far; Bhopal buses to Maha suspended

No positive case of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) has been reported so far in Madhya Pradesh, where bus services from the capital city to Rajasthan and Maharashtra will be suspended from March 21 to prevent spread of the deadly disease, officials said on Thursday.
 
So far, swab samples of 43 persons were sent for coronavirus testing, said a health department officer.
 
Of these, reports of 29 persons came out negative, while test details of the remaining 14 are awaited, additional director, health department, Dr Veena Sinha said.

SoftBank seeks $10 billion for Vision Fund in coronavirus fight

SoftBank Group Corp is looking to raise an additional $10 billion to help its first Vision Fund support portfolio companies hit by the coronavirus pandemic, Bloomberg reported on Thursday, citing people with knowledge of the matter.
 
The Japanese technology conglomerate has reached out to outside investors for $5 billion in funds, which will be matched by another $5 billion injection by the SoftBank, the report said.

Love in the time of coronavirus? Around the world, dating finds a way

The night after Spain's government ordered a nationwide lockdown to stem the spread of coronavirus, 30-year-old Marcos got up the nerve to ask the woman he'd been messaging on Tinder for three days to visit him at home.
 
To his surprise, she accepted. Arriving in a taxi, wearing gloves and refusing to take the elevator, she hooked up with Marcos in his apartment before insisting he call her a cab before dawn to go home.
 
"First time ever a girl accepts to come to my apartment for the first date," said the salesman, who Reuters agreed to identify by his first name. "I guess it will be my last pickup before this all ends."
 
As governments invoke emergency powers to combat the coronavirus pandemic, and social distancing measures preclude meeting people in bars, cafes or restaurants, love - or at least lust - is still finding a way via dating apps.
 
While some users like Marcos are meeting in person, many are romancing online because of the public health risks, often using in-app video chats.

Rich world pumps aid to fight coronavirus, epicentre Europe reels

The world's wealthiest nations poured unprecedented aid into the traumatized global economy on Thursday as coronavirus cases ballooned in the current epicentre Europe even as they waned at the pandemic's point of origin, China.
 
With almost 228,000 infections and more than 9,200 deaths so far, the epidemic has stunned the world and drawn comparisons with painful periods such as World War Two, the 2008 financial crisis and the 1918 Spanish flu.
 
"This is like an Egyptian plague," said Argentinian hotelier Patricia Duran, who has seen bookings dry up for her two establishments near the famous Iguazu Falls.
 
"The hotels are empty - tourist activity has died."
 
Tourism and airlines have been particularly battered, as the world's citizens hunker down to minimize contact and curb the spread of the flu-like COVID-19. But few sectors have been spared by a crisis threatening lengthy global recession.
 
Markets have suffered routs unseen since the 2008 debacle, with investors rushing to the U.S. dollar as a safe haven, but European and U.S. stocks made a tentative recovery on Thursday and oil prices rebounded though the reprieve may be brief.

U.N. chief says global recession due to coronavirus 'a near certainty'

 
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned on Thursday that a global recession "is a near certainty" and current national responses to the coronavirus pandemic "will not address the global scale and complexity of the crisis."
 
"This is a moment that demands coordinated, decisive, and innovative policy action from the world's leading economies," Guterres told reporters via a video conference. "We are in an unprecedented situation and the normal rules no longer apply."
 
"A global recession - perhaps of record dimensions - is a near certainty," he said.
 
The world's wealthiest nations poured unprecedented aid into the traumatized global economy on Thursday as coronavirus cases ballooned in Europe, the current epicenter, even as they waned at the pandemic's point of origin, China.
 
So far there have been almost 219,000 infections and more than 8,900 deaths.

Pakistan's coronavirus cases rise to 448

Pakistan's coronavirus cases sharply rose to 448 on Thursday, as the military said that measures are being taken to make the armed forces' medical facilities available for an "extreme emergency" situation.
 
Pakistan on Wednesday reported its first two casualties due to the coronavirus that has spread to more than 160 countries, killing over 9,000 people.
 
 
On Thursday, maximum new cases were recorded in Balochistan where the number of infected people rose to 76 from 23. Punjab was the next where the number rose from 33 to 78, Dawn reported.

Two more persons test positive for coronavirus in Uttarakhand

 
Two persons tested positive for coronavirus in Uttarakhand on Thursday taking the total cases in the state to three.
 
Uttarakhand Additional Health Secretary, Yugal Kishore Pant said: "Two trainees at the Indira Gandhi National Forest Academy have tested positive for coronavirus. Both the trainees were part of a team that went to Spain and had recently returned to the state."
 
 
Meanwhile, Vikram Singh Yadav, Joint Secretary to Governor, Uttarakhand said, "All government officials working in Governor Secretariat will now work from home from March 20 to 25 in the wake of coronavirus outbreak."

AP reports second COVID-19 case; Orders closure of malls

As a second positive case of coronavirus was reported in the state on Thursday, the Andhra Pradesh government issued a Stay at Home notice to all those who returned from overseas and decided to keep all major temples, including Lord Venkateswara's abode atop Tirumala, closed for devotees to contain the spread of the virus.
 
Places of worship belonging to all other religions will also be kept out of bounds for devotees while the state government ordered cinema theatres and malls to stay shut till March 31 from Friday.

Shashi Tharoor welcomes PM's 'Janta Curfew' call amid coronavirus outbreak

Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Thursday welcomed Prime Minister Narendra Modi's call for "Janta Curfew" and said there is a need for more reinforcement of social distancing.
 
"I welcome Prime Minister Narendra Modi's call to solidarity at this challenging time. Will support "Janta Curfew" while conscious that Sunday is the easiest day to try it. Need more reinforcement of social distancing (incl suspending Parliament) and specific economic relief measures," Tharoor tweeted.

Chidambaram supports PM Modi's steps against coronavirus

Former union minister and Congress leader P Chidambaram on Thursday expressed support to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his call to wage a war against coronavirus.
 
"I am duty-bound to support the PM. In effect, the PM has asked the people to wage the war against COVID-19 with moral armaments. We shall do so on Sunday and in the following days," Chidambaram tweeted.

PM Modi likely to hold video conference with CMs to discuss coronavirus

 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to hold a video conference with chief ministers of various states on ways to deal with the novel coronavirus outbreak.
 
Sources in the government said the video conference could take place on Friday evening.
 
 
The prime minister has been pitching for involvement of people and local authorities to check the spread of the virus.

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Tamil Nadu govt orders closure of important places of worship for darshan including famous Madurai-based Meenakshi shrine, curtails interstate services by buses, trains

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Meghalaya govt makes health check-ups at major entry points to state mandatory

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4 more persons test positive for #coronavirus in UP, total number of #COVID19 cases in state now 19: Officials

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Gujarat govt suspends all recruitment exams scheduled to be held till March 31

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Total number of coronavirus cases in national capital rises to 14: Delhi health department

Millions could die if coronavirus allowed to spread: UN chief

Millions of people could die from the new coronavirus, particularly in poor countries, if it is allowed to spread unchecked, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned on Thursday, appealing for a coordinated global response to contain it. "If we let the virus spread like wildfire -- especially in the most vulnerable regions of the world -- it would kill millions of people," he was quoted by AFP as saying. "Global solidarity is not only a moral imperative, it is in everyone's interests." 
 

Coronavirus layoffs push US weekly jobless claims to 2-1/2-year high

The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits surged by the most since 2012 to a 2-1/2-year high last week, as companies in the services sectors laid off workers because of the coronavirus pandemic. The coronavirus has crippled the transportation, leisure and hospitality industries, as well as the manufacturing sector in the country, reported Reuters.

Coronavirus pandemic to leave behind a global recession: Anand Mahindra

The coronavirus pandemic will leave behind a global recession with small businesses, self-employed and daily wagers taking the worst hit, Mahindra Group Chairman Anand Mahindra said on Thursday.
 
"The virus will eventually be conquered, but it will have left behind a global recession. The costs of that are incalculably high at this time. The most fearsome toll will be on small businesses, the self-employed & those whose lives depend on meagre daily wages," Mahindra said in a tweet.
 
 
Apart from the toll on lives, the legacy of Covid-19 may well be deaths due to stress, loss of livelihoods, a rise in homelessness and in extreme situations, civil unrest, he added.

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Tamil Nadu: Madurai's Meenakshi Amman Temple to be closed till 31st March due to #coronavirus.

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2 more Indian Forest Service probationers who had recently returned from study tour in Spain test positive for #coronavirus, taking total number of confirmed cases in Uttarakhand to 3: Officials

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Gujarat reports first #coronavirus cases: One person each from Rajkot and Surat test positive for #COVID19

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Government advises companies to implement 'Work from Home' policy for their staff, amid coronavirus pandemic

Govt bans export of ventilators, surgical/disposable masks

The government on Thursday banned export of all ventilators, surgical/disposable masks and textile raw material used for making masks with immediate effect in wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
 
"The export of all ventilators, surgical/disposable masks only, and textile raw material for masks and coveralls only...has been prohibited, with immediate effect," the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) said in a notification.
 
 
However, it said items including gloves, ophthalmic instruments and appliances, surgical blades, gas masks with chemical absorbent for filtration against poisonous vapour and smoke, and biopsy punch can be freely exported.

Sample of suspected COVID-19 patient who killed self at hospital were not collected: Health Ministry

 
 
The samples of the suspected coronavirus patient who allegedly committed suicide by jumping off the seventh floor of the Safdarjung Hospital here, were not collected for testing, a senior health ministry official said on Thursday.
 
The facts in the case are not yet known and an inquiry into the matter has been initiated by the hospital administration, the official said adding that samples of a deceased are not tested.
 
 
The health ministry said the man, who was living in Sydney, arrived at the Delhi airport on Wednesday. At the airport, he reported headache as 'chief complaint' in his self-reporting form.

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Entry of tourist buses in Himachal Pradesh banned to check spread of COVID19: CM Jai Ram Thakur

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Govt bans export of all ventilators, surgical/disposable masks, textile raw material for masks with immediate effect: Notification

One more positive case in Kerala, Left govt announces Rs 20,000 cr financial package

One more person tested positive for coronavirus on Thursday, taking the total number of cases to 25, as the Left government announced a Rs 20,000 crore financial package to tide over the present crisis being faced by the southern state in the wake of the virus outbreak.
 
The multi-crore special package includes Rs 500 crore health package, Rs 2,000 crore loans and free ration.
 
 
The man who tested positive had returned from Dubai and hailed from the northern Kasaragod district, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told reporters after a COVID-19 review meeting.

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Madhya Pradesh govt announces closure of all national parks, sanctuaries and tiger reserves

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Delhi's Jhandewalan temple to remain closed from March 21 till further orders, in view of Coronavirus.

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Haryana Health Department: Four positive cases of #coronavirus have been reported from the state (all from Gurugram) so far.

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Delhi govt to conduct its free #coronavirus disinfection drive for public service vehicles 'entire day' from tomorrow in view of large number of people requesting it

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Congress and its workers will stand with government in its endeavour to fight coronavirus: AICC leader Ajay Maken

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Next batch of Indians stranded in #coronavirus-hit Italy expected to be evacuated over weekend: Ministry of External Affairs

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West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee claims her govt is not getting necessary assistance from Centre for combating #COVID19 in state

PM Modi's coronavirus plan: Janata curfew, economic task force

"We are a developing nation and for a country like us, this corona crisis is not an ordinary thing," Modi said Thursday evening in an address to the nation, noting the pandemic had hit India's economy. Read more

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Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh says strict action will be taken against people spreading false information about #coronavirus and those trying to escape from isolation wards, quarantine centres

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35-year-old man from Kodagu, who had returned from Dubai, tests positive for #coronavirus, number of #COVID19 cases in Karnataka reaches 15: State health department

Here's what PM Modi said in his address on coronavirus


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I appeal to all party workers to help in implementing suggestions made by PM Narendra Modi in fighting coronavirus: BJP chief J P Nadda

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I want to assure PM that party workers will play positive role and stand with people in fight against coronavirus: BJP chief J P Nadda

Govt scales up coronavirus fight, asks private firms to work from home

India on Thursday banned international flights and asked states to ensure private companies work from home, issuing stringent news guideline to stem the coronavirus that has infected more than 170 people till date.
 
No international commercial passenger flights will be allowed to land in India from March 22 for a week. Read more

Covid-19 hit US economy already in recession: BofA; pegs job loss at 3.5 mn

Coronavirus (Covid-19)-hit US economy has already sunk into recession, warned economists at BofA Securities in a recent report, though they expect this phase to be short-lived and see a bounce back in the third quarter (July–September) of 2020 (Q3-2020). In the interim, however, the research firm expects massive job losses and urges the US Federal Reserve not to restrict the quantum of stimulus measures. Read more

India to offer unemployment benefits to workers affected by coronavirus

The Union government is planning to give unemployment benefits to a section of organised workers who have lost their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic.
 
This will be along the lines of measures taken by some countries such as the United States to combat the impact of the pandemic, also known as COVID-19, on the working population. Read more

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Over 160 students returning from Bangladesh amid #coronavirus fear allegedly refused to undergo isolation, created ruckus at Srinagar airport, before being brought under control and sent to quarantine facility: Police

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Uttarakhand Additional Health Secretary, Yugal Kishore Pant: Two trainees at the Indira Gandhi National Forest Academy have tested positive for #Coronavirus. Both the trainees were part of a team that went to Spain and had recently returned.

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Barpeta district administration in Assam imposes Section 144 of CrPC banning assembly of more than 5 people

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Sikkim suspends all non-essential work in govt offices to avoid movement of people.

Key points from PM's address on coronavirus:

1. Urge all senior citizens between the age of 65-70 to stay at home, says PM
 
2. To deal with coronavirus, no definite solution has been found, nor has any vaccine produced: PM
 
3. Social distancing is important and effective. Please stay at home--work from home to the extent possible, please refrain from non-essential gathering and get out of house only when it is extremely necessary: PM Modi
 
4. Appeal for a janta curfew on Sunday, March 22. Urge people to stay at home from 7 am to 9 pm to curb the coronavirus.
 
5. Social distancing extremely important and effective in reducing impact of coronavirus, PM said.
 
6. I ask local administration to clap and ring bells at 5 pm on March 22 as a form of gratitude to the workers who are fighting the coronavirus: PM Modi.
 
7. On Mar 22 at 5 pm, we should thank people like doctors, medical personnel, cleaning staff, for their service: PM Modi
 
8. I request people to avoid going to hospitals for routine check-up to ease pressure on medical staff: PM Narendra Modi
 
9. Keeping in mind economic challenges arising out of coronavirus, govt has decided to form COVID-19 Economic Response Task Force: PM
 
10. PM asks people to avoid panic buying, says they should not hoard essential items like food and medicine

Newsalert: One more tests positive for #COVID19 in Kerala

One more tests positive for #COVID19 in Kerala, number of coronavirus cases in state rises to 25

Newsalert: Another coronavirus case in Maha

One more person tests positive for coronavirus in Maharashtra; number rises to 49 including a patient who died earlier this week

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PM Modi assures there will be no shortage of food, medicines, milk and other supplies, appeals against panic buying

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On Mar 22 at 5PM, we should thank people like doctors, medical personnel, cleaning staff, for their service: PM

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I request people to avoid going to hospitals for routine check-up to ease pressure on medical staff: PM Narendra Modi

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PM Modi announces 'Covid-19' taskforce headed by the finance minister to tackle economic impact of the disease

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Essential services exempt from self-imposed public curfew: PM Narendra Modi

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PM Modi appeals for janata curfew (self-imposed public curfew) from Sunday, March 22, from 7am to 9pm. People must not step out from homes during that period, he says.

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People older than 60-65 should stay indoors: PM Modi

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I request all people in country to get out of house only when it is extremely necessary, try and do all work from home: PM Modi

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Social distancing is important and effective. Please stay at home--work from home to the extent possible: PM Modi

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People need to resolve that they will follow advice of central and state governments: PM Narendra Modi

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Resolve and patience key in combating coronavirus: PM Narendra Modi

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I appeal for sankalp (resolve) and sayanam (restraint) from citizens: PM Modi

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To deal with coronavirus, no definite solution has been found, nor has any vaccine produced: PM

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We are a developing nation--a problem like the coronavirus isn't an ordinary problem for us. It's wrong to assume that it won't affect us: PM Modi

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A view has emerged in last few days that all is well, this mindset is not correct: PM on coronavirus outbreak

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I want a few weeks from all citizens. I need some of your time. I pray to you: Prime Minister Narendra Modi in televised address to nation
 

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All Indians have done their best to fight coronavirus--they have taken all precautions: Prime Minister Modi

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Even World War I and II did not affect as many countries as coronavirus has done: PM Narendra Modi in address to nation

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Coronavirus has put entire humanity in crisis, says Prime Minister Narendra Modi in televised address to the nation

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PM Modi begins his address on coronavirus

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Two positive cases of coronavirus found in Gujarat; first infections reported from state: Health department

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Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh announces carrying out health check-up of around 60,000 prisoners in state

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PM Modi to begin his address on coronavirus shortly. Stay tuned

No intl commercial flight can disembark passengers on Indian soil after 1.30 am on March 23: DGCA

No international commercial flight will be allowed to disembark its passengers, foreigners or Indians, on Indian soil after 1.30 am on March 23, aviation regulator DGCA said on Thursday amid the coronavirus outbreak.
 
The regulator's circular came after the Centre issued a statement that no international flight would be allowed to land in India from March 22 onward for a period of one week.
 
 
"No scheduled international commercial passenger aircraft shall take off from any foreign airport for any airport in India after 5.30 am on March 22. These instructions shall remain in force till 5.30 am of March 29," the regulator noted.
 
 

Thailand says all int'l arrivals need virus-free certificate

Thailand's government is imposing stricter rules on international travel that require people arriving from all countries to have health certificates stating they do not have the coronavirus, along with medical insurance covering the disease.
 
The measures fall short of the total bans on international flights many countries have enacted, but are expected to sharply cut the number of visitors. Thailand has been reluctant to endanger its large tourism industry, which accounts for about 12% of its economy, according to official figures.

Delhi minister reviews availability of masks, sanitizers, medicines

Delhi Food and Civil Supplies Minister Imran Hussain on Thursday reviewed the availability of face masks, sanitizers and medicines across the national capital in the wake of coronavirus outbreak.
 
He also directed the Commissioner, Food and Civil Supplies, to ensure availability of masks, sanitizers in various offices of the department.

Section 144 invoked in urban areas of C'garh

The Chhattisgarh government on Thursday invoked section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure in urban areas to discourage gathering of people after the state recorded its first confirmed case of coronavirus.
 
The government has also ordered closure of malls, markets, fast food joints, beauty parlours and spas in urban areas with immediate effect.
 
A 24-year-old woman, who had recently returned to Raipur from London, has tested positive for the virus.

30 home quarantined in West Bengal's Nadia

Thirty persons who recently returned to West Bengal's Nadia district from Ajmer in Rajasthan and other places were home quarantined on Thursday, officials said.
 
The 30 persons, hailing from various gram panchayat areas in Haringhata block, were placed under home isolation as a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus, BDO Krishna Gopal Dhara said.

Gujarat govt orders closure of major temples

 
To stop the spread of the novel coronavirus in Gujarat, the state government on Thursday decided to close Somnath and Dwarkadheesh temples for devotees from March 20.
 
The two world-famous temples receive thousands of devotees everyday.
 
 
In an official release here, the government said though 'aarti' will be performed at these temples as per schedule, devotees will not be allowed inside their premises from March 20.

One Indian suffering from coronavirus dies in Iran

The government on Thursday said one Indian who tested positive for coronavirus has died in Iran while the other citizens infected with the disease are being provided treatment and taken care of by the Iranian government.
 
"We have evacuated 590 people from Iran where the situation is very severe. The Indians infected with coronavirus in Iran have been segregated and taken care of very well by the government there. We believe they will recover and we will bring them back," a senior MEA official said, adding that 201 Indians were evacuated from Iran on Wednesday.

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Shopping malls across Uttarakhand closed till March 31 in view of #coronavirus outbreak: Officials

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Famous hill shrine of Lord Venkateswara in Tirumala near Tirupati, all other major temples in Andhra Pradesh shut for devotees till March 31.

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Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath appeals to people to adopt social distancing as preventive and precautionary measure against #coronavirus spread

Spike in viewership across OTTs as Indians binge-watch staying indoors

Viewership on OTT platforms has gone up by 20% in the past few days as corporates have offered employees to work from home Read more

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Telangana CM KC Rao: People coming here from abroad will be home quarantined; Grocery shops and several basic amenities stores to remain open, but no large gatherings shall be encouraged

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Jawaharlal Nehru University shall remain closed from today till March 31. All activities in the university, including services in hostels, schools & administration are suspended till the said date. All Students are required to vacate the hostels: JNU Registrar Pramod Kumar

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One person tests positive for #Coronavirus in  Kasargod district. He has travel history to Dubai. Number of cases rise to 28 in the state.

CCI to hold pre-filing consultations via video-conferencing

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) will hold pre-filing consultations with parties through video-conferencing as part of efforts to avoid travel amid the coronavirus pandemic.
 
The fair trade regulator allows pre-filing consultation (PFC) for parties seeking informal guidance on determining filing related requirement, information to be given in the notice to be filed for a proposed combination and green channel.

Virus-linked sales soar at UK online supermarket Ocado

British online-only supermarket Ocado on Thursday reported surging sales as buyers panicked by the coronavirus pandemic seek home deliveries and stockpile.
 
The supermarket, whose robotic warehouses fulfil the online orders before they are delivered by vans, said Thursday that growth in the first three weeks of March had approximately doubled compared to th

Coronavirus: 60,000 Maha prisoners to undergo health check-up

Amid the growing number of coronavirus cases in Maharashtra, Home Minister Anil Deshmukh on Thursday announced carrying out health check-up of some 60,000 prisoners in the state.
 
Maharashtra currently leads in the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) cases among the affected states with nearly 50 infections, including one death.
 
 
Speaking to reporters, Deshmukh said, There are some 60,000 prisoners in Maharashtra and we are going to carry out health check-up of all of them.

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One more person tests positive for coronavirus in Kerala, taking the number of cases to 25: Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan

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Annoyed at delay by health officials in taking samples for #coronavirus test, 47-year-old man slips out of hospital in UP's Mathura district after giving his samples

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West Bengal jail department mulling releasing life convicts on parole in the wake of #coronavirus outbreak

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Punjab CM Amarinder Singh warns of worsening #coronavirus crisis in country, urges Centre to allow private hospitals to conduct tests for #COVID19 to ensure its access to all

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Man suspected to be infected with #coronavirus nabbed from Silchar-bound train, days after he fled quarantine facility in Kerala: Northeast Frontier Railway

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No international commercial plane to be allowed to disembark passengers, foreigners or Indians, on Indian soil after 1.30 AM on Mar 23: DGCA

India reports fourth coronavirus death; bans all intl commercila flight from Mar 22

 
India reported its fourth coronavirus death on Thursday as the total number of cases of COVID-19 rose to 173 while most of the states and UT's imposed restrictions, inching towards partial shutdown and India banning landing of all international commercial passenger flights from March 22 for a week.
 
The Union health ministry said the fourth person to die in Punjab after getting coronavirus was an elderly and had co-morbid conditions like diabetes, cardiac ailments.
 
 
There were more than 20 fresh cases in last 24 hours with Chhattisgarh and Chandigarh reporting their first COVID-19 patients on early Thursday.
 
As the virus continued to spread its tentacles across India, several parts, including Kashmir valley headed towards a virtual lockdown with the administration restricting movement of people in several parts and banning all public transport in Srinagar city.
 
Punjab and the national capital also inched towards virtual shutdown. While the Punjab government announced suspension of public transport services from Friday midnight and restricting public gatherings to less than 20 besides deciding to close down marriage palaces, hotels, restaurants, banquets and dining places, except home delivery services and takeaways in the entire state.

Oil up after three-day plunge but coronavirus curbs gains

Oil prices rose nearly 3% on Thursday after a three-day selloff sparked by the spread of the coronavirus and a market share battle between Saudi Arabia and Russia drove them to their lowest in almost two decades.
 
Benchmark Brent, which has lost half its value in less than two weeks, got some respite as investors across financial markets assessed the impact of massive central bank stimulus measures.
 
Brent crude was up 72 cents, or 3%, to $25.60 a barrel by 1225 GMT, after plunging to $24.52 on Wednesday, its lowest level since 2003.

Global death toll from COVID-19 exceeds 9,000

 
The death toll from coronavirus (COVID-19) infection has crossed 9,000 mark worldwide, with a total of 2,25,254 cases and 85,831 recoveries, as recorded till 11a.m. GMT on Thursday, according to worldometers.info.
 
A total of 9,276 deaths were recorded, with 4,134 in Europe and and 3,416 in Asia, where the outbreak first emerged in China in December.
 
With 712 more deaths reported in the past 24 hours and a total of 90,293 cases, Europe is now the region where COVID-19 is spreading the most rapidly.

AMU postpones all exams scheduled till April 2

 
The Aligarh Muslim University on Thursday postponed all university examinations scheduled till April 2 in view of the coronavirus pandemic.
 
The university has advised students residing in hostels to not panic and take every precaution while travelling to their home.
 
"All examinations scheduled till April 2 have been postponed and fresh dates for these examinations will be announced later," AMU spokesperson Omar Peerzada said.

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Train services between Banihal and Baramulla in Jammu and Kashmir suspended till March 31

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Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot directs shutdown of government, semi-government, autonomous institutions till March 31: Official statement

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One Indian who tested positive for coronavirus has died in Iran: Ministry of External Affairs official

Coronavirus: Health ministry issues SOP for international passenger movement at Delhi airport

 
The Union health ministry has issued a standard operating procedure (SOP) for movement of international passengers, returning from coronavirus-affected countries, at the Delhi airport.
 
In view of reports about a few incidents of ruckus being created by international passengers at the Delhi airport during the last few days, the ministry stated that people returning from the novel coronavirus-affected countries would be first escorted by airline staff to the health counters for initial thermal screening.
 
 
If any passengers shows any symptoms of the COVID-19 disease, he or she would be isolated and moved to a designated hospital, the ministry noted in a press release issued on Wednesday.

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21-year-old student who arrived in Chennai 2 days ago from Ireland tests positive for #coronavirus, number of #COVID19 cases in Tamil Nadu 3 now: State Health Minister C Vijayabaskar

Coronavirus border curbs disrupt EU food supplies - industry

Restrictions imposed by some European Union countries at their borders with other member states in response to the coronavirus outbreak are disrupting food supplies, representatives of the industry and farmers said on Thursday.
 
More than a dozen EU countries have tightened or even shut borders that are usually open and uncontrolled, in response to the spreading epidemic.
 
Because of these measures, "delays and disruption at country borders have been observed for the delivery of certain agricultural and manufactured products, as well as packaging materials," said a statement signed by trade associations representing EU farmers, food traders and the European food and drink industry.

Maha health minister fears spike in Covid-19 numbers in April

Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope cautioned on Thursday that the state could witness a sharp increase in the number of coronavirus cases in April.
 
At present Maharashtra has at least 47 confirmed cases of the Covid-19 disease.
 
 
"Study shows that fewer cases are found initially but the number suddenly goes up after a couple of weeks. I am concerned about the situation in April when we may witness a spike in number of positive cases," Tope said.

S Railway cancels 5 long distance trains, 8 passenger trains

Southern Railway on Thursday announced the cancellation of five long distance and eight passenger trains due to poor turnout of people following the coronavirus outbreak.
 
In view of poor patronage, more trains have been additionally cancelled, a railway press release said.
 
 
The following trains have been cancelled with their pairing service:

Restore 4G net services in J&K to fight coronavirus: Amnesty International

A proposal has been sent to the Finance Ministry suggesting measures for providing relief to micro, small and medium industries to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, Union minister Nitin Gadkari said in Rajya Sabha on Thursday.
 
Replying to a debate on working of the MSME Ministry, Gadkari said the sector is facing a big challenge on account of the coronavirus outbreak.

Raj guv asks people not be scared of corona, take precautions

Rajasthan Governor Kalraj Mishra on Thursday asked people not to be scared of the coronavirus outbreak but take all preventive and precautionary measures.
 
"Do not be afraid of corona. Some caution is needed. Do not go to the crowded places, do not go too close to people," he said in a message to the people of Rajasthan.
 
 
"Those who have a cold and fever, (they must) take medicines and be very careful. Do not shake hands. Wash hands with soap frequently. Use a sanitiser. Put a mask when going out," he said in his message.

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No need to panic, need awareness in community: Union Health Ministry on people stocking up on ration, food items amid coronavirus scare

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COVID-19: SSC postpones key recruitment exams including ongoing Combined Higher Secondary (10+2) Level Examination (Tier-I), 2O19

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Govt initiating measures, taking decisions based on evolving situation; N-95 masks available in sufficient numbers: Union Health Ministry

India bans all international passenger flights from March 22-29

Amid coronavirus pandemic, India on Thursday announced it will not allow any international commercial passenger aircraft to land from March 22 to March 29.
 
The central government said the railways and Civil Aviation Ministry must suspend all concessional travel on trains and flights, except for students, patients and disabled people.
 
 
"Similarly, all children below 10 should be advised to stay at home and not to venture out," it added.
 
The Centre has requested states to enforce work from home for private sector employees, except for those working in emergency and essential services.
 
"State governments shall issue appropriate directions so that all citizens above 65 (other than for medical assistance) except for public representatives or government servants or medical professionals are advised to remain at home," the government statement noted.
 
To reduce huge gatherings, all group B and C category of central government employees will be asked to attend offices on alternate weeks, and there will be "staggered timings" for all employees.

Put on hold property demolition, auctions: HC to civic bodies

The Bombay High Court on Thursday suggested civic bodies in Maharashtra to temporarily refrain from carrying out demolition or auction of properties as courts, which are often moved in these matters for relief, are currently working for limited hours due to the coronavirus outbreak.
 
A division bench of Justices S J Kathawalla and R I Chagla noted that in view of the situation created by the global pandemic novel coronavirus (COVID-19) - courts are taking up only urgent matters between 12 noon and 2 pm.

Eight confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Ladakh

 
There are eight confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Ladakh and the coronavirus reached the Union Territory through pilgrims who returned from Iran, the Home Ministry said on Thursday.
 
A total of 58 people are quarantined in hospitals in Ladakh and 18 people, including positive cases, are in hospitals in isolation.
 
"Presently there are eight confirmed cases, which include one Army jawan in Ladakh. Covid-19 has reached Ladakh through the pilgrims who returned from Iran," a Home Ministry statement said.
 
The administration has taken several steps in this regard.

Delhi govt shuts restaurants; gathering over 20 people not allowed

The Delhi government on Thursday shut restaurants in the national capital amid the coronavirus outbreak but said that takeaway and home delivery services will continue.
 
"Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal has asked all government departments, autonomous bodies and PSUs to segregate activities and suspend non-essential services," Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said at a press conference.
 
Non-essential government services will be discontinued from Friday, he added. Social, cultural and political gatherings with more than 20 people are not allowed across the national capital to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus disease, he said.

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Government of #HimachalPradesh: Entry of both domestic and foreign tourists in the state is banned till further orders

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West Bengal Government will provide mid-day meal of the school children at their houses.

Belarus leader warns of virus 'psychosis'

Belarus leader Alexander Lukashenko on Thursday denounced "psychosis" over the coronavirus pandemic, warning the panic could be more destructive than the infection itself.
 
"I call this coronavirus nothing but psychosis and I will stand by this," the Belarusian leader said at a government meeting according to his office.
 
"Together we have lived through many psychoses, and we know what they have led to. I'm certain that this is another psychosis that will benefit some and harm others."
 
"I am absolutely sure that we can suffer more from the panic than the virus itself."

RBI asks most of its staff work from home

As the coronavirus infection spreads faster and deeper into the country, the Reserve Bank has allowed majority of its staff across its centres to work from home while ensuring unhindered business continuity.
 
According to the data released by Union health ministry, the total number of coronavirus cases rose to 166 till date with four deaths and Maharashtra is the worst affected among all the states with 45 reported cases.
 
 
The total strength of the central bank is close 14,000, of which around 4,000 are based in Mumbai.

ICSE board exams postponed in view of coronavirus outbreak

In a last minute-decision, the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) postponed class 10 and 12 examinations, which were to start from Thursday, in view of the coronavirus outbreak.
 
With the class 12 sociology exam scheduled to be held at 2 pm, the announcement was made at 10 am.
 
 
The HRD Ministry had on Wednesday ordered the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS), University Grants Commission (UGC) and the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) to postpone their exams till March 31, saying the safety of students and staff were as important as following the exam calendar.

Global economic slowdown, coronavirus to hit residential real estate demand in FY20

The global economic slowdown coupled with COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic is likely to negatively impact residential real estate demand in the country in current fiscalyear, India Ratings has said.
 
According to the rating agency, residential real estate demand is expected to decline in financial year 2019-20 (FY20) after showing a slight improvement over FY2017-2019.

Mosques to temporarily suspend congregational prayers

In light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, several Muslim organisations and mosques on Thursday have decided that the congregational prayers will be temporarily halted at the mosque premises.
 
The officials of Khoja Shia Ithna Asheri Jama Masjid, Imambada Trust and Khoja Shia Ithna Asheri Jamat, Hazrat Abbas Street at Mumbai, decided to take precautionary measures today in the mosques following the rising cases of the deadly virus.
 
 
According to a press release, the organisations enacted temporary measures for the protection of the community members, including a halt on all congregational prayers, including the Friday prayers.

WB mulling release of life convicts on parole

The West Bengal jail department is mulling releasing life convicts on parole in the wake of the novel coronavirus outbreak.
 
According to Additional Director General (ADG), Prisons, Arun Gupta, the department is pondering over the idea that whether life convicts who are "willing and can be sent", could be released on parole in the backdrop of the coronavirus outbreak.
 
 
"Nothing has been decided so far. We are mulling if this can be done, as there are too many prisoners and there is a space constraint.

Coronavirus outbreak makes a compelling case to declare API as strategic sector: CII

The coronavirus outbreak makes a compelling case for the government to declare active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) as a strategic sector as most inputs are imported, industry body Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) said on Thursday.
 
"Firms, for which capacity utilisation is 40 per cent, may be permitted to produce API which are being imported. Approvals for new investments should be fast-tracked," CII said in a statement.
 
Blanket environment permission should be provided to manufacture any API on submission of self-certification to comply with pollution load requirement, it added.

Airlines need up to $200 bn in emergency aid: IATA

Up to USD 200 billion is needed to rescue the world's airlines during the coronavirus crisis, the global aviation association said Thursday, appealing especially to African and Middle Eastern countries to provide emergency assistance.
 
"Support measures are urgently needed," the International Air Transport Association said in a statement, adding that "on a global basis, IATA estimates that emergency aid of up to $200 billion is required".
 
Airlines worldwide face an unprecedented existential threat as the COVID-19 pandemic, which has killed more than 9,000 people around the world, shuts down global travel.

Coronavirus: Axis Bank urges customers to use net banking, mobile app instead of visiting branches

Private sector lender Axis Bank on Thursday urged its customers to avoid visiting branches in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak and instead, use internet banking, mobile app and chatbot for banking services.
 
In an e-mail sent to its customers, Axis Bank MD & CEO Amitabh Chaudhry said the bank is constantly monitoring the evolving situation around the pandemic and taking "proactive steps" to safeguard all employees and customers visiting offices, branches and ATMs.

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Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal: A total of 10 positive cases of #coronavirus have been reported in Delhi so far. Out of the total number, one died, three people have recovered and rest six are in good condition.

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Indians tested positive for coronavirus in Iran are being taken care of by govt there: MEA official

Rupee plunges 84 paise to 75.10 against dollar amid coronavirus scare

 
 
The rupee continued its downward spiral and plunged 84 paise to a new record low of 75.10 (provisional) against the dollar on Thursday, as investors braced for a coronavirus-led economic recession.
 
Traders said there is a sense of anxiety among investors as they see the global as well as domestic economy plunging into a deep crisis due to the coronavirus pandemic that has killed over 9,000 and sickened lakhs of people around the globe.
 
 
The steep decline in domestic equities and sustained foreign fund outflows further dampened the sentiment, they said.
 
At the inter-bank foreign exchange market, the local currency opened at 74.96. During the day, it saw a high of 74.70 a

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Air India flight to leave for Rome on Saturday and return next day with students, Indians stranded in Italy: Official

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201 Indians evacuated from Iran yesterday: Aviation joint secretary

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Those asked to undergo quarantine should follow rules, else we will take strict action: Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal

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We have succeeded in keeping coronavirus at containment level; it is not at community level: Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal



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Pharma dept, consumer affairs ministry to take action against those charging exorbitant prices for masks, sanitisers: Union Health Ministry

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Vistara to temporarily suspend international operations from 23rd March to 15th April.

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Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal says "non-essential public servies" will be suspended and gathering of more than 20 people will not be allowed from Friday in the national capital.

Coronavirus: All shops in Jammu, Udhampur districts shut till further orders

 
 
In another step to check the spread of coronavirus, authorities in Jammu and Udhampur districts of Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday ordered closure of all shops, except those dealing with essential commodities like medicines and groceries, till further orders.
 
The decision was taken to discourage people from venturing into markets, officials said. "Despite advisories to avoid gatherings, large number of people are still found in the market areas. In order to implement social distancing, all shops except grocery and medical shops shall be closed with immediate effect," District Development Commissioner, Sushma Chauhan said.

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There is no community transmission in this country: Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary, Health Ministry

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All depts/autonomous bodies/PSUs to segregate essential/non-essential activities; all non-essential activities to remain suspended: Delhi LG

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COVID-19: Citizens above 65 years, except public representatives/govt servants/medical professionals, advised to remain home, says Health Min

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COVID-19 reached Ladakh through pilgrims who returned from Iran: Govt

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Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal: 20 or more people will not be allowed to gather at any place for social, cultural, religious, academics, seminars, conferences purposes in the state. Earlier, 50 or more people were not allowed to gather.

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The fourth person to die of the coronavirus in India was elderly and had history of diabetes, hypertension: Health Ministry

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Railways and civil aviation shall suspend all concessional travel except for students, patients and physically challenged people

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All children below 10 should be advised to stay at home and not to venture out.

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States requested to enforce work for home for private sector employees except those working in emergency/essential services.

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Coronavirus: ICSE changes evaluation policy, examiners to mark answer scripts at home

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Rupee plunges 84 paise to 75.10 (provisional) against US dollar amid coronavirus scare

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India bans entry of all international commercial passenger flights from March 22 to March 29: Official statement

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Government bans commercial passenger flights from landing in India from March 22 for one week.

India reports its fourth coronavirus death; Total numbers climb to 173

COVID-19 cases in India climbed to 173 on Thursday after fresh cases were reported, including from Chhattisgarh and Chandigarh, while most of the states and UT's imposed restrictions, inching towards partial shutdown in a bid to contain the spread of coronavirus, which has claimed four lives in the country.
 
There were 18 fresh cases in last 24 hours with Chhattisgarh and Chandigarh reporting their first COVID-19 patients on early Thursday. One more person infected with coronavirus died in Punjab, which decided to impose fresh restrictions.
 
 
As the virus continued to spread its tentacles across India, several parts, including Kashmir valley headed towards a virtual lockdown with the administration restricting movement of people in several parts and banning all public transport in Srinagar city.
 
Punjab also inched towards virtual shutdown with the government announcing suspension of public transport services from Friday midnight and restricting public gatherings to less than 20 besides deciding to close down marriage palaces, hotels, restaurants, banquets and dining places, except home delivery services and takeaways in the entire state.

Luxembourg to close airport in latest virus response

Luxembourg announced Thursday that it plans to close its international airport to passengers before next week, in the latest move to try and slow the spread of the coronavirus around Europe.
 
Many flights have already been halted but there are still some scheduled services to the grand duchy operated by British Airways and KLM.

It may take 9 months for factories to be on track provided virus spread contained quickly: Industry

It may take six to nine months for factories to come back on track if India manages to contain the spread of coronavirus in the next quarter beginning April, India Inc said on Thursday.
 
Industry also said the coronavirus pandemic has made the global economic recovery extremely difficult in the near-to-medium term, and India is also experiencing disruptions in many ways that have the potential to derail the growth story.
 
The World Health Organization (WHO) has already declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. Globally, the virus has already claimed over 8,000 lives globally, including four in India.

COVID-19: Rajasthan BJP chief meets Jaishankar, seeks return of Indian students stuck abroad

 
Rajasthan BJP president Satish Poonia and Deputy Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Rajendra Rathore on Thursday met External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar in Delhi and sought immediate return of Indian students stranded in several countries, including the Philippines, due to the coronavirus outbreak.
 
Jaishankar assured that the government is monitoring the situation. Necessary guidelines have been given to the Indian embassies in this regard, the Rajasthan BJP leaders said in a statement.

Spain virus death toll hits 767, 30 percent jump in 24 hours

 
 
Spain on Thursday announced deaths due to the novel coronavirus had risen about 30 percent over the past 24 hours to 767.
 
A total of 17,147 people have contracted the disease in the country, a roughly 25 percent increase over the previous day, according to the health ministry, with the figure expected to rise further in the coming days as testing for COVID-19 becomes more readily available.

Karnataka's Kodagu imposes prohibitory orders under CrPC 144

 
Karnataka's Kodagu on Thursday imposed prohibitory orders in the district to prevent spread of coronavirus, after the first positive case was reported there.
 
"Ban orders under CrPC 144 Section 3 is being implemented throughout the district in the wake of first positive coronavirus case in the district," Suman D. Pennekar, Kodagu Superintendent of Police told IANS.
 
Pennekar said the ban order has been in force since Thursday afternoon.
 
She said the decision to clamp down the ban has been taken after a discussion with Deputy Commissioner Annies Kanmani Joy.

Up to $200 billion in emergency aid needed for airlines amid pandemic: IATA

 
Up to $200 billion is needed to rescue the world's airlines during the coronavirus crisis, the global aviation association said Thursday, appealing especially to African and Middle Eastern countries to provide emergency assistance.
 
"Support measures are urgently needed," the International Air Transport Association said in a statement, adding that "on a global basis, IATA estimates that emergency aid of up to $200 billion is required".

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Delhi Police not to conduct drunken driving test unless someone is visibly drunk and driving recklessly, say officials

Coronavirus: JSPL makes arrangements at plants, offices to safeguard employees

 
Domestic steelmaker Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL) on Thursday said several arrangements have been made at its plants and offices across India and abroad to protect employees amid the coronavirus outbreak.
 
It has been ensured that each employee is screened for body temperature, and hand sanitisers and masks have been made available at all offices and facilities, the company said in a statement.
 
 
Large gatherings have been prohibited at JSPL centres and non-company officials entering its facilities and offices are thoroughly being scanned, it added.

TN reports one more coronavirus case, number goes up to three

 
A 21-year-old student who arrived here two days ago from Ireland has tested positive for coronavirus, taking the number of cases in Tamil Nadu to three, Health Minister C Vijayabaskar said on Thursday.
 
The minister said the man was stable and being treated at the isolation ward of the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital here.
 
In an update, Vijayabaskar said the student from Dublin in Ireland, who arrived here on March 17, was screened and put under home quarantine.

Don't lay off employees: Industry body tells member companies

 
Industry body CII has asked its member companies not to lay off their employees, its president Vikram Kirloskar said on Thursday amid the coronavirus outbreak causing economic slowdown globally.
 
His remarks come against the backdrop of mounting concerns that companies, including in India, could resort to retrenchment due to sluggish demand and various restrictions in place to curb spreading of the coronavirus infection.

Global death toll from coronavirus tops 9,000: AFP tally

 
The coronavirus pandemic has killed more than 9,000 people across the globe, according to an AFP tally Thursday based on official sources.
 
A total of 9,020 deaths were recorded as of 1100 GMT, with 4,134 in Europe and and 3,416 in Asia, where the outbreak first emerged in China in December. With 712 more deaths reported in the past 24 hours and a total of 90,293 cases, Europe is now the region where COVID-19 is spreading the most rapidly.

Coronavirus: Train services between Banihal and Baramulla in J&K suspended till Mar 31

 
 
Authorities suspended the train service in Kashmir till March 31 as a precautionary measure on Thursday in the wake of the detection of the first coronavirus case in the valley.
 
"In view of the apprehensions of the spread of coronavirus in the valley, as a precautionary measure, the rail services between Banihal and Baramulla have been suspended with an immediate effect," a railway official said.
 
 
He said the suspension will remain in force till March 31.

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India reports fourth novel coronavirus death, patient was from Punjab: Union Health Ministry

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Death toll in India due to coronavirus rises to four

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No entry to devotees at Haji Ali Dargah, Mahim Dargah in Mumbai till further notice.

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Indians who have tested positive for COVID-19 in Iran in proper medical care, recovering: MEA

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Planning to evacuate Indians from Italy over weekend: MEA

India's fuel demand drops 11 pc in March as Covid-19 hits aviation, transport sectors

 
India's fuel demand has dropped by a steep 10-11 per cent in the first two weeks of March as the outbreak of coronavirus (Covid-19) led to the cancellation of flights and reduction in industrial activity.
 
The country had consumed 19.5 million tonnes of petroleum products in March 2019, official data showed. Assuming consumption in two halves of the month was almost the same, as much as 10 million tonnes of fuel was consumed during the first fortnight of March 2019.

Sebi relaxes compliance requirements for cos amid coronavirus outbreak; provides addl time for filing Q4 results

 
Easing compliance requirements amid coronavirus outbreak, regulator Sebi on Thursday gave a 45-day relaxation for companies to file their fourth quarter results as well as an additional one-month time to submit their annual results.
 
Besides, the market watchdog has relaxed the time-gap required between two board meetings of a company.
 
 
Companies have also been provided one-month relaxation till May 15 for filing their quarterly governance reports.

COVID-19: Noida to have 2 new isolation wards

 
Authorities have decided to set up two new isolation wards in Noida as coronavirus cases in Gautam Buddha Nagar touched four on Thursday.
 
"In view of the COVID-19 cases reported from Gautam Buddha Nagar, two new isolation wards will be set up at Asian Institute of Medical Science in Sector 40 and Mitra Hospital in Sector 35 in Noida," said District Magistrate Gautam Buddha Nagar on Thursday.

Guj: Coronavirus suspects in home quarantine to wear wrist band

The Gujarat government said on Thursday that those undergoing 14-day home quarantine for suspected coronavirus infection will have to wear a coloured wrist band.
 
The announcement was made by Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel in the Assembly here.
 
 
Patel, who handles the Health portfolio, said this was necessary to stop such persons from violating home isolation norms and going out which can be harmful for others.

Telangana minister urges Centre to take steps for safe return

 
 
Telangana Municipal Administration Minister K T Rama Rao on Thursday urged the Centre to take steps for the safe return of Indians stranded at airports in Manila, Rome and other places following cancellation of flights due to coronavirus outbreak.
 
In a tweet, he urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to direct the Indian missions to ensure their return home.

Pakistan closes Wagha border with India for two weeks amid coronavirus scare

 
Pakistan announced on Thursday to close down Wagha border with India for two weeks as the number of coronavirus cases in the country rose to 341.
 
The interior ministry through a notification said that it closed the key border point with India "for an initial period of two weeks (14 days) with immediate effect".
 
 
It said the measure was taken to "prevent the spread of COVID-19, in the best interest of both countries."

No findings of local transmission: Union Minister

 
 
Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Ashwini Kumar Choubey on Thursday made it clear that there was no finding of local transmission of the deadly coronavirus outbreak in India so far but didn't rule out the possibility, suggesting to adopt precautions.
 
"There are no findings of local transmission (of coronavirus) in India, but there is a possibility. The disease entered into India from those who came here from outside the country. So, we should be aware and alert," Choubey said inside the Parliament premises.
 
His response came after the Indian Council of Medical Research on Tuesday declared that India has not yet seen community transmission of coronavirus and that the disease continues to be in stage 2 (local transmission).

30 outstation trains cancelled till April 1

 
The Central Railway has cancelled 30 more outstation trains till April 1, citing low occupancy due to the coronavirus outbreak, an official said on Thursday.
 
These trains are cancelled mainly due to low occupancy, as people have been advised to avoid non-essential travel during the pandemic, a Central Railway spokesperson said.
 
 
The decision was taken based on the Railway Board's directive, he added.

Coronavirus impact: ArcelorMittal plans to cut production in Europe

 
Global steel major ArcelorMittal on Thursday announced plans of reducing productions in Europe to ensure wellbeing of employees amid the spread of deadly coronavirus in the continent.
 
The outbreak has impacted several European countries in which ArcelorMittal operates, the company said in a statement.

Ker CM seeks support of civic bodies to check third phase

 
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday sought the support of local body institutions to check the spread of coronavirus in the state, where 24 people including two foreigners, have so far rested positive for the virus and over 25,000 are under surveillance.
 
In a video conference meeting held with local body members and officials across the state, he said an "unusual" situation was prevailing in the state and even a minor lapse would worsen it.

Odisha churches suspend Sunday mass

 
Churches in Odisha have decided to suspend Sunday mass till March 31 as a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus outbreak.
 
The Odia Baptist Church in Cuttack, one of the largest in the state, and the Church of Christ in Bhubaneswar on Wednesday decided to put all activities on hold in view of the coronavirus outbreak.
 
 
The Odia Baptist Church (CNI) in Berhampur and Baptist churches in Khurda and Jatni also took similar decisions.

One arrested for spreading rumours of coronavirus death in J-K

 
One person was arrested for spreading rumours on social media about the death of a person due to coronavirus in Kishtwar district of Jammu and Kashmir, a senior government official said on Thursday.
 
District Development Commissioner (DDC), Kishtwar, Rajinder Singh Tara advised people not to pay heed to false information.

COVID-19: Rlys suspends concessional tickets except for patients, students, Divyangjan from Mar 20

 
 
The Indian Railways decided on Thursday to suspend all concessional tickets except for patients, students and those in the Divyangjan category from the midnight of March 20 till further notice to discourage unnecessary travel in view of the coronavirus outbreak.
 
The national transporter said the move was to prevent the vulnerable category of senior citizens from undertaking unnecessary travels.
 

'Only critical cases should visit JIPMER in view of COVID-19'

 
In the wake of the spread of coronavirus, the Centrally sponsored JIPMER in Puducherry on Thursday asked only patients with critical ailments and requiring tertiary care should visit the hospital.
 
Making this appeal through a circular, JIPMER (Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research) said this was part of the precautionary steps to save patients from the spread of the novel COVID-19.

Iran state TV: Khamenei to pardon 10,000 more prisoners

 
Iran's top leader will pardon 10,000 more prisoners in an apparent effort to combat the coronavirus, state TV reported Thursday.
 
As part of steps to curb the spread of the new virus that has killed more than 1,100 people in Iran, the country has already released 85,000 prisoners on temporary leave.

France warns Amazon over 'unacceptable' pressure on workers

 
 
French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire accused Amazon on Thursday of placing "unacceptable" pressure on employees after unions claimed the retailer will not pay staff who refuse to go in to work fearing coronavirus contagion.
 
"This coercion is unacceptable and we are going to make sure Amazon knows this," Le Maire told France Inter radio.
 
 
About 200 of the 1,700 employees at Amazon's distribution centre near Douai in northern France refused to work on Tuesday, exercising the "right of refusal" in France's labour code if an employee considers there is a risk to health or safety.

16 Indians who tested positive for COVID-19 on ship off Japan returned home after treatment: MEA

 
Sixteen Indian nationals, who were among those who tested positive for coronavirus on board a cruise ship docked off Japan, were discharged after receiving treatment at onshore medical facilities in that country and subsequently returned to India, the government informed the Rajya Sabha on Thursday.
 
In a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha, Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan said a total of 138 Indians, including 132 crew members, were on-board the Diamond Princess Cruise ship.

Coronavirus cases in Germany soar past 10,000

 
Germany has recorded 10,999 cases of the novel coronavirus, official data showed Thursday, with the number of new reported infections rising by 2,801 in a single day.
 
Twenty people have died from the viral infection, data from the disease control agency Robert Koch Institute (RKI) showed. North Rhine-Westphalia remains the worst-hit state, with 3,033 COVID-19 cases, up 661 from a day ago.

Nepal imposes travel ban on Europe, West Asia and Japan

 
Nepal on Thursday banned passengers from Europe, West Asia and Japan to visit the Himalayan nation from Friday in a bid to contain the fast-spreading coronavirus pandemic that has claimed over 8,800 lives globally.
 
The ban will also be applicable to those who wish to travel to Nepal transiting through these regions or country. The travel ban will remain valid till April 15, according to an official.

Hotels in Nainital to remain closed till March 31

 
Hotels in Nainital will remain closed till March 31 as a precautionary measure to contain the spread of coronavirus.
 
The decision for shutting down the hotels was taken by the Nainital Hotel and Restaurant Association in view of the coronavirus threat, NHRA president Dinesh Sah said.
 
 
The hotels will be closed from March 20.

3 Maha labs testing samples from other states too

 
 
Three laboratories in Maharashtra, which are currently burdened with the task of testing samples of suspected novel coronavirus patients, are analysing samples not only from the state, but also from the neighbouring regions.
 
Of these three facilities, the Pune-based National Institute of Virology (NIV) is a global referral laboratory, which gets samples even from SAARC countries for confirmation of various types of infections, including coronavirus, a senior official said on Thursday.

US automakers to shut North American plants due to virus

 
 
US automakers announced they will temporarily shut down North American production as the economic hit from the coronavirus spreads to manufacturing.
 
The "Big Three" car makers -- General Motors, Fiat Chrysler and Ford -- will halt operations throughout North America through the end of the month, the companies announced in conjunction with the United Auto Workers (UAW).
 
 
The move comes only hours after the companies said the plants would be kept open with modified procedures to employ social distancing.

Coronavirus panic: Elderly Sikh man shoved out of UK store

 
As a sign of the mounting chaos over panic buying amid the coronavirus pandemic in the UK, an elderly Sikh man was filmed being shoved out of a supermarket in east London after an altercation with the employees.
 
The unnamed man can be seen in the recording, which was widely shared on social media on Wednesday, being pushed out of the Iceland store in Ilford after an argument with members of the staff.

Fellow passengers of infected Srinagar woman to be tested

 
Authorities on Thursday decided to take samples for testing of all passengers who travelled to Srinagar with the coronavirus-infected woman on March 16.
 
"All passengers who were on board with the victim while travelling to Srinagar will be asked to report for tests.
 
"We are collecting the details. Samples of all of them will be collected and sent for testing," Dr Sameer Mattu, Director, Health Services (Kashmir) said here.
 
Reports said over 100 people were on board the flight in which the woman travelled to Srinagar from Delhi on March 16.

Gujarat may identify corona suspects with coloured wristbands

 
Following COVID-19 scare in the country, the Gujarat government is mulling identifying the coronavirus-infected patients through coloured wristbands before discharging them after the observation period or treatment.
 
"Unlike other states where suspects or patients are being identified through stamping, our government is considering that such suspects, who undergo the 24-hours observation, the 14-day isolation or treatment, be given coloured wrist-bands according to their status after the discharge. This could be done so that when they go out in public, people would know their condition and stay cautioned," said Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel on Thursday in the ongoing budget session of the state assembly.

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AC local train services suspended in Mumbai from Friday amid coronavirus outbreak

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Concessional tickets except for patients, students, Divyangjan category suspended from March 20 midnight in view of COVID-19: Railways

India's not staring at community spread, says ICMR

 
Amid the coronavirus scare in the country, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on Thursday asserted that there is "no proof" whatsoever of its possible spread across communities in India.
 
"Till date, 826 samples of people suffering from severe acute respiratory infections and influenza-like illnesses have been tested at the sites. No sample was found positive," ICMR Director General Dr Balram Bhargava told media here.
 
Dr Lokesh, who is Public Relations Officer at the Centre's apex medical research body, told IANS: "The samples of patients admitted in hospitals are collected randomly by our officials. Here random suggests individuals admitted in hospitals with other diseases, but showing some symptoms of respiratory problems. There is a designated criteria under which the samples are collected. Such samples were collected for over a week and tested negative."

COVID-19: Chinese goods and hardware market in Kolkata suffers huge losses

 
Kolkata's Chandni Market in Chandni Chowk, known as a hub of electronics goods and hardware, has been badly affected due to the coronavirus outbreak.
 
The market, which sells a variety of Chinese goods, is one of the busiest in the city.
 
 
"Amid the coronavirus outbreak, business in the market has dropped by 50 percent as the imports of goods from China have come to stop. Earlier there used to be a huge demand for the goods, but now people are scared to buy Chinese products," said Hyder Ali, a shopkeeper at Chandni Market.

TN's second COVID-19 patient stable; 10 people in touch with

 
A 20-year old man who tested positive for coronavirus days after his arrival here from Delhi is doing well and stable and as many as 10 people who came in contact with him have been quarantined, the government said on Thursday.
 
There is no community spread of the infection in Tamil Nadu and instructions have been given to screen passengers arriving at the domestic airport terminal here as well, the government asserted.

Kashmir headed towards virtual shutdown, all public transport banned in Srinagar

A day after a woman tested positive for coronavirus, Kashmir valley was headed towards a virtual lock down on Thursday as restrictions were imposed on movement of people in several parts and all public transport banned in Srinagar city.
 
The area within 300 metres radius of the house of the 67-year-old COVID-19 patient in Khanyar locality has been sealed off and officials of the Health Department are going house to house to check if any of her neighbours have symptoms of the disease, officials said.

London headed for tougher lockdown as UK's coronavirus hotspot

 
The UK capital is headed for much tougher lockdown measures within days as London remains the country's coronavirus hotspot, with over a third of the UK's 2,626 confirmed cases, at 953.
 
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson insisted on Wednesday that Britain remains a "land of liberty" but did not rule out a further crackdown on London, where the virus has been spreading faster than any other part of the country despite government advice to refrain from all social contact and unnecessary travel and work from home as far as possible.

Punjab to suspend public transport from Friday midnight

 
The Punjab government on Thursday announced suspension of public transport services from Friday midnight, besides restricting public gatherings to less than 20, in the state, inching closer to a shutdown amid the global outbreak of coronavirus.
 
It has also decided to shut marriage palaces, hotels, restaurants, banquets and dining places, except home delivery services and takeaways in the entire state.
 
 
Public transport buses, tempos and auto rickshaws will be suspended from the midnight of Friday, Local Bodies minister Brahm Mohindra here.

China reports zero domestic COVID-19 cases for 1st time

 
Mainland China has reported zero new domestic infections of coronavirus for the first time since the outbreak was first reported in the country last December, the National Health Commission said on Thursday.
 
The Commission said that by 12 a.m. Thursday, no local infections had been recorded throughout the Chinese territory, reports Efe news.
 
Authorities said the 34 cases that were reported in that period were all imported and were travellers from other countries and regions affected by the pandemic.
 
The 34 imported infections were registered in Beijing (21), Canton (nine), Shanghai (two), Heilongjiang (one) and Zhejiang (one).

Puri Jagannath temple closed for visitors amid novel coronavirus scare

 
The Shree Jagannath Temple here will be closed for visitors till March 31 with effect from Friday, in view of the coronavirus scare, a top official of the 12th century shrine said.
 
Servitors, however, will be allowed to perform rituals inside the shrine, its chief administrator Krishan Kumar said.
 
 
"Darshan by devotees inside the temple will remain suspended from tomorrow till March 31. However, the rituals inside the temple will continue. Only the servitors can enter the temple premises to perform the rituals," he explained.

COVID-19: SpiceJet 'forced' to suspend most international flights till April-end

 
SpiceJet has announced that it was "forced" to suspend majority of its international flight operations from Saturday till the end of the next month due to the "unprecedented situation" arising over the novel coronavirus pandemic.
 
Major airlines across the world have been curtailing their flight operations drastically as the aviation industry has been hit hard after many countries, including India, have partially sealed their borders amid the outbreak of the deadly COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019).

One employee from Noida office has tested positive for coronavirus: HCL Tech

 
IT company HCL Technologies on Thursday said one employee from its Noida office has tested positive for coronavirus.
 
The employee is currently in an isolation ward, the company said in a statement, adding that all prescribed protocols of sanitisation and contact tracing have been done.
 
 
"Unfortunately, one employee from our Noida office has been tested positive for the Novel Coronavirus while he was in self-isolation after his return from international travel and hence our office is following all government and heath advisory protocols," HCL Tech said.
All Holy Masses and other services in our parishes are to be suspended till 31st March: Anil Couto, Archbishop of Delhi

SpiceJet to suspend international operations

SpiceJet: We are forced to temporarily suspend majority of our international operations from March 21 till April 30. We will resume the suspended flights as soon as the situation normalises

Centre orders work from home, staggered working hours for its staff

The Centre on Thursday decided to allow 50 per cent of its employees to work from home and the remaining to attend office every day besides implementing different time slots for working hours, in its effort to further check the spread of coronavirus.
 
The Heads of Department (HoDs) may ensure that 50 per cent of Group B and C employees are required to attend office every day and the remaining 50 per cent staff should be instructed to work from home, a Personnel Ministry order said.

Mumbai 'dabbawalas' suspend tiffin services till March 31

 
 
In a bid to prevent the spread of coronavirus, Mumbai's famed dabbawalas have suspended their tiffin courier services from March 20-31, an official spokesperson said here on Thursday.
 
"Adhering to the directives of the state government to avoid spreading the coronavirus, we have decided to suspend our services from tomorrow (March 20) till March 31. We plan to resume operations from April 1," said Mumbai Dabbawalas Association spokesperson Subhas Talekar.
 
There are around 5,000 dabbawalas who ferry over 2,00,000 lunch boxes to and from homes-offices to lakhs of office-goers and students in what has become a globally renowned efficient service.

Naqvi hits out at leaders seeking Parliament shut down

 
 
Union Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on Thursday appealed to defeat coronavirus through 'determination' instead of 'panicking', and suggested that Parliament was being used to do the later.
 
Hitting out at certain opposition leaders, Naqvi said, "Unfortunately, some leaders are asking the Parliament to be shut. We should stand strongly with the country, from Parliament." He added that Parliament cannot be used to spread panic.

Amid corona fear, Congress wants Parliament adjourned

 
 
Amid growing fears over the spread of COVID-19 pandemic, Congress has demanded adjournment of Parliament, saying the government has "no business and the House can pass the Finance Bill any time".
 
Congress leader Anand Sharma said, "The epidemic Act has been enforced, so, what is the need of running the session? The government can pass the Finance Bill any time." "All the MPs should be checked and Parliament should be adjourned immediately at least for 15 days," said Pardeep Bhattacharya, Congress MP from West Bengal.
 
The Congress has been demanding that the House be adjourned, but the Prime Minister and the Parliamentary Affairs Minister have made it clear that the House will run as per schedule.
 

International economists predict recession due to COVID-19

US and European economists were predicting a recession as a result of the global coronavirus pandemic which has so far infected over 211,300 people across the world and killed 8,847 others since it first emerged in China last December.
 
The Initiative on Global Markets at the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business published the results of 74 economists on the likelihood of a major recession, reports Xinhua news agency.
 
A majority of respondents agreed that a recession was likely, with a bigger 82-per cent majority among European experts than a 62-per cent amongst the ones in the US.
 
"A sharp slowdown is likely; whether it will be persistent enough to rise to the level of a recession is not clear yet," commented Anil Kashyap of Chicago Booth.

30.8 mn in tourism, hospitality may lose jobs because of coronavirus

The coronavirus impact could render 3.8 crore people jobless, which is around 70 per cent of the total workforce in the tourism and hospitality sector, according to a grouping.

The Federation of Associations in Indian Tourism & Hospitality (FAITH) also said there should be a support fund for twelve months to support basic salaries with "direct transfer" to the affected tourism employees.

"As a result of this pandemic, Indian tourism industry is looking at pan India bankruptcies, closure of businesses and mass unemployment," FAITH said in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

It is believed that around 70 per cent out of a total 5.5 crore workforce could get unemployed, which is around 3.8 crore people.

Italy to extend lockdown measures over virus: Conte

Lockdown measures taken in Italy over the coronavirus pandemic will be extended beyond their original deadlines, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Thursday.
 
Imposed nationally on March 12, the shutdown of most businesses and a ban on public gatherings in Italy, the European country worst hit by the pandemic, are due to expire on March 25.

Modi to address nation at 8pm tonight, tweets MEA

Coronavirus India update: CMs, health ministers of all the states to discuss Covid-19 with Modi at 4 pm tomorrow

Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope: Chief Ministers of all the states as well as State Health Ministers will talk to Prime Minister Narendra Modi tomorrow at 4 pm, through video conferencing.

50% of Group B and C employees are required to attend office every day: Govt

50 per cent of Group B and C employees are required to attend office every day, and the remaining 50 per cent of staff should be instructed to work from home. Working hours of the employees should be altered: Union Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions.


Rate of platform tickets at Hubli, Belagavi and Ballari stations increased to Rs 50 till March 31

Rate of platform tickets at Hubli, Belagavi and Ballari stations increased to Rs 50 till March 31, to control crowding at platforms: Public Relations Officer (PRO), South Western Railway

Coronavirus outbreak: Odisha churches suspend all activities

Churches in Odisha have decided to temporarily suspend all activities as a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus outbreak.
 
The Odia Baptist Church in Cuttack, one of the largest in the state, and the Church of Christ in Bhubaneswar on Wednesday decided to put all activities, including Sunday mass, on hold till March 31. READ ON...

Azadpur Mandi will not be closed: Chairman

In order to prevent the infection of Coronavirus, precaution and safety measures are being adopted in Azadpur Mandi, the market will not be closed due to the fear of infection, the Chairman of Azadpur Mandi Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC), Adil Ahmed Khan, said on Thursday.
 
"Sanitizers have been distributed to the businessmen and soaps have been replaced for washing the hands. We are closely monitoring the cleanliness in the market," Khan said.

Sebi gives 45-day relaxation to cos for filing Q4 results amid COVID-19 concerns

Markets regulator Sebi on Thursday gave relaxation of 45 days to companies for filing fourth quarter financial results and one-month extension to file results for 2019-20.
 
Besides, relaxation of one month has been given for filing quarterly corporate governance report and three week each for shareholding patten and statement of investor complaint reports, the regulator said in a circular.
 
The decision has been taken in the wake of coronavirus pandemic, which has resulted in many restrictions, including free movement of people, thereby hampering businesses and day-to-day functioning of companies. READ ON...

Coronavirus - a preventable disease, says Dr Ravi Malik, Chairman of Media Cell, Indian Association of Pediatrics

AC local services on Western Railway in Maharashtra cancelled till March 31

AC local services on Western Railway in Maharashtra will be cancelled from tomorrow & will be replaced by non-AC suburban services, till 31st March: Public Relations Officer (PRO), Western Railway. 

Sample of Punjab man who passed away tests positive for Covid-19

The sample of a 72-year-old man, who returned from Germany via Italy a fortnight ago and died at a hospital in Punjab's Nawanshahr district after severe chest pain, has tested positive for novel coronavirus, senior officials said on Thursday.
 
The septuagenarian, who had diabetes and hypertension, tested positive after he died at the Banga community health centre on Wednesday, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) Director Jagat Ram said.
 
Health authorities did not confirm the exact cause of his death and there was no immediate confirmation from the Union Health Ministry either. READ ON...

Covid-19: Chandigarh, Punjab residents buying essentials in bulk

Even as government officials have appealed for no panic buying in the wake of coronavirus scare, residents of union territory of Chandigarh and neighbouring Punjab are busy buying grocery in bulk due to fear of shortage of food and other essential commodities, traders said on Thursday.
 
The fear of a lockdown is driving people to throng supermarkets and stores to buy essential items in bulk.
 
Government officials insist there is no need to panic and people shouldn't worry as no move is afoot to shut grocery and chemist shops even in an extremely grim situation.
 
Huge rush was seen in Chandigarh's Sector 26 grain market and other shopping areas.

Thermal Screening at Guwahati railway station, Assam

Coronavirus: Sunder Nagar market shut till Mar 31; 1st in Delhi

The upscale Sunder Nagar market in South Delhi has been closed till March 31 in view of the coronavirus outbreak, the traders' body said on Thursday, becoming the first market to shut down in the capital due to the disease which has left a person dead and sickened 10 people in the city. READ ON....

Two patients who have been tested positive for Coronavirus are on ventilator in Mumbai

Two patients who have been tested positive for Coronavirus are on ventilator at Kasturba Hospital, Mumbai: Rajesh Tope, Maharashtra Minister of Public Health & Family Welfare

Chorus for high-speed internet grows in J-K following detection of first case of coronavirus

The chorus for restoration of high-speed 4G internet services on mobile phones in Jammu and Kashmir has grown following the detection of the first case of coronavirus in the valley.
 
Several people, including Srinagar Mayor Junaid Mattu and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti's daughter Iltija Mufti, have called for the restoration of the services to help raise awareness about the virus.
 
 
"World's battling coronavirus but J&K admin still unrelenting & refuses to lift inhuman ban on 4G. In times of COVID pandemic, access to Internet & info is a necessity not a privilege. Are Kashmiri lives so cheap? (sic)," Iltija wrote on her mother's Twitter handle. READ ON....

Coronavirus impact: SoftBank shares close down 17% in biggest one-day fall

Shares of SoftBank Group Corp closed down 17% on Thursday in their biggest one-day fall, hammered by investor scepticism over the outlook for tech bets, such as office sharing firm WeWork and ridehailer Uber. READ ON...

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