17/03/2020 8:05 AM IST | Updated 17/03/2020 7:42 PM IST

As It Happened: Now, 137 Patients Diagnosed With Coronavirus In India

One person, a 68-year-old man, died in Maharashtra, a state that has the highest number of confirmed cases.

The number of coronavirus patients in India touched 137 on Tuesday as of 05:15 pm, even as a 64-year-old man in Mumbai died of the disease. Maharashtra has the highest number of patients in India at the moment. 

A 68-year-old woman in Puducherry’s Mahe region tested positive. 

This comes even as the government imposed fresh travel restrictions on Monday, prohibiting entry of passengers from the EU countries and the UK from March 18.

This comes as ASI announced that all monuments protected by it, including the Taj Mahal will be shut for visitors. 

Maharashtra also shut the Shani Shignapur temple for devotees. 

Coronavirus: Symptoms, Prevention, Helplines, All You Need To Know

India’s Low Number Of Coronavirus Cases Could Be Result Of Low Testing

Here are the day’s updates:

7.04 pm: India could be making same grave mistake as US, says expert

“The United States’s major mistake was framing this as a travel-related infection and artificially limiting testing protocols to those who travelled to China. Widespread testing is what is necessary to identify cases, connect them to care, or self-isolate them,” Dr Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the John Hopkins Center for Health Security, told HuffPost India’s Piyasree Dasgupta.

Read the full interview here.

6.51 pm: British government advises UK citizens against “non-essential travel globally”

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the measure would remain in place for an “initial period” of 30 days. The government did not advise British people to immediately return to the UK if they are overseas. 

Read more about the British government’s measures here

6.26 pm: Confirmed cases of Covid-19 rise to 5 in Telangana

Health Minister Eatala Rajendra said that another case of Covid-19 was confirmed in the state on Tuesday, taking the total number to 5. 


Met Gala Postponed Indefinitely Because Of COVID-19, Vogue’s Anna Wintour Confirms 

The 2020 Met Gala won’t take place on May 4 as scheduled because of the global coronavirus crisis, Vogue editor-in-chief and event co-chair Anna Wintour confirmed in an op-ed on Monday. Wintour also lambasted President Donald Trump in the op-ed for his response to the outbreak.

“I, like so many of us, have been appalled by how [Trump] has responded to the pandemic,” Wintour wrote, adding that she would be voting for former Vice President Joe Biden in the upcoming election. The theme of the this year’s Met Gala — a lavish annual fundraising benefit organized by Vogue at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City — was “About Time: Fashion and Duration.” 

6:07 pm: Euro 2021 Postponed

Norway Football Association confirmed via Twitter that Euro 2021 tournament has been postponed, to be played between June 11 and July 11, 2021.

5:35 pm: 137 Confirmed Coronavirus Patients In India

The health ministry has said that India has 137 confirmed coronavirus patients in India. The highest is in Maharashtra (34 patients), followed by Kerala (24 patients). 

Three people have died so far in India. 

5:20 pm: Setting Up Labs That Can Test 1,400 Samples A Day, Says Indian Council of Medical Research

Indian Council of Medical Research in a press conference said that it was in touch with “high-quality private laboratories” to be able to increase tests. 

Director general Dr Balram Bhargava, also said ICMR was increasing labratories. ANI quoted him as saying, “Currently the laboratory expansion of ICMR is engaged, we are expanding our number of laboratories and as we speak, today we have 72 functional laboratories in ICMR system.”

“We’re also operationlising through  two high-throughput systems which are the rapid testing laboratories. They will be operationalised in two locations and they can test up to 1400 samples per day in those labs. We’re operationlising them by the end of this week,” Bhargava said. 

5:13 pm: Central Railway Cancels 23 Trains 

4:23 pm: Puducherry Reports First Confirmed Coronavirus Patient

Puducherry reports its first confirmed COVID-19 patient; 68-year-old woman tests positive in Mahe region, reports PTI

4:21 pm: Odisha Extends Regulation Period To April 15, Prompts Panic Buying 

The Odisha government on Tuesday extended the period of all regulations in force over the COVID-19 outbreak from March 31 to April 15, prompting panic-buying of essential items across the state.

Taking to Twitter, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said the decision was taken as part of his government’s efforts to prevent the spread of the disease.

“The regulation will be in force till 15th April which may be extended based on the situation. Appeal everyone to comply with the regulation and be part of Odisha’s efforts in protecting the people of the state from #COVID19,” the chief minister tweeted.

4:21 pm: Central Railway Increases Platform Ticket Prices In Mumbai, Pune To Curb Crowds

3:36 pm: Pune Restaurants, Bars Shut Voluntarily Till 20 March

Amid 126 positive patients being detected in India, with most of them in Maharashtra, the Pune Restaurant and Hoteliers Association has decided to voluntarily shut bars and restaurants till 20 March to avoid spread of the coronavirus. 


3:28 pm: Visitors At MHA Being Given Hand Sanitisers

2:48 pm: Coronavirus Will Devastate Economies Of Developing Nations, Says Imran Khan

Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan said on Monday he fears the new coronavirus will devastate the economies of developing nations, and warned richer economies to prepare to write off the debts of the world’s poorer countries.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Imran Khan criticized recent comments by the president of neighboring Afghanistan, which appeared to reference accusations that Pakistan used militants to further its own goals in years past. (AP)

2:14 pm: Large Number Of People Gather At Shirdi Saibaba Temple Before Temple Shuts Today

Meanwhile, large number of devotees gathered at the Shirdi Saibaba Temple in Maharashtra before it shuts down at 3 pm today.


 2:06 pm: Maharashtra’s Shani Shingnapur Temple Closed 


2:02 pm: IIT Kanpur Asks Students To Vacate Hostels 

IIT Kanpur asked its students to vacate hostels, Hindustan Times reported

It quoted Deputy director of the institute Prof Manindra Agarwal, as saying, “The institute administration suspects that the spread of the virus will increase over the next week or two. To avoid such a scenario in which a large number of students will have to be vacated with shortage of transport facilities, we have sought a gradual reduction of students in the hostels.”

The institute has also cancelled its yearly fest ‘Techkriti’. 

1:38 pm: No Breath Analyser Tests In Maharashtra Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

Battling rising number of novel coronavirus cases, the Maharashtra government has suspended the use of breath-analyser for testing drunk driving cases for the time being. A senior Home Ministry official said the move is aimed at minimising the chances of viral transmission by restricting person-to-person contacts. “We have decided to suspend the use of breath-analyser apparatus for the time being,” he said. (PTI)

1:19 pm: Pakistan Cricket Board Postpones Premier League T20 Events

The Pakistan Cricket Board on Tuesday postponed the remainder of its premier T20 event ― the Pakistan Super League ― amid the global COVID-19 pandemic. The PSL had entered the knockout stages and semifinal matches were due to be played on Tuesday in Lahore.

“HBL PSL 2020 postponed, to be rescheduled. More details to follow in due course,” the PCB tweeted from its official handle.

Multan Sultans were to take on Peshawar Zalmi at 2pm at the Gaddafi Stadium, followed by a match between Karachi Kings and Lahore Qalandars at the same venue in the evening. (PTI)

12:53 pm: Shops Shut, Streets Deserted In Pune 

12:43 pm: 3 More People Test Positive In Ladakh

Ladakh Commissioner Secretary Rigzin Sampheal said on Tuesday that 3 more cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Ladakh with the total number of patients increasing to 6. 


12:39 pm: India Trying To Deliver Best Possible Treatment To Corovirus Patients, Harsh Vardhan Tells Rajya Sabha

Health minister Harsh Vardhan told the Rajya Sabha that India was trying to give the best possible treatment to its patients. 

He said India was using retroviral drugs on some patients and that Indian Council of Medical Research was in touch with every development on the coronavirus happening across the world. 

12:32 pm: Harsh Vardhan Thanks Those Working To Curb Coronavirus Outbreak

Health minister Harsh Vardhan thanked doctors, paramedics, airlines staff and pilots on Tuesday saying, “think there are not enough words to appreciate them. I thank all the doctors and paramedics of the country, on behalf of all of you.” 

12:29 pm: India Issue Fresh Travel Advisory, Bans Flights From Afghanistan, Philippines And Malaysia 

In a fresh travel advisory issued on Tuesday the health ministry that travel of passengers from Afghanistan, Philippines, Malaysia to India is prohibited
with immediate effect.

“No flight shall take off from these countries to India after 1500 hours Indian Standard Time (IST). The airline shall enforce this at the port of initial departure,” the advisory said

This comes even as India had banned people from European Union, the European Free Trade Association, Turkey and United Kingdom to travel to India. This will come into effect from Wednesday.  

12:20 pm: 126 Confirmed Cases In India

According to the health ministry, as of 11:52 AM on Tuesday, there were 126 patients confirmed to have COVID-19 in India. 

12:11 pm: All National Sports Camps, Except For Tokyo Olympics, Postponed Indefinitely: Kiren Rijiju

All national camps, except for those where athletes are preparing for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, were on Tuesday postponed until further order in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju said the academic training at the National Centre of Excellence and Sports Auhtority of India Training Centres will also be suspended. (PTI)

11:57 am: MOS External Affairs V Muraleedharan Self-Quarantines

MoS of external affairs V Muraleedharan, ANI reports, is in self-quarantine after attending a meeting at a medical institute in Trivandrum on March 14 where there was a doctor who tested positive for COVID-19. 

The doctor had returned from Spain. 

11:19 am: 125 Patients Have Tested Positive For Coronavirus 

Meanwhile, the health ministry says at as of 10:55 am on Tuesday there are 125 patients in India who have tested positive for the coronavirus. 

11:15 am: Wife, Son Of Mumbai Man Who Died Also Tested Positive For Coronavirus

The person who died of coronavirus in Mumbai on Tuesday had returned from Dubai, The Hindu reported. 

The newspaper said that his wife and son also have tested for the coronavirus. 


10:58 am: COVID-19 Patient Dies In Maharashtra

A 64-year-old patient admitted to Mumbai’s Kasturba hospital died on Tuesday morning, according to ANI

This takes the death toll from coronavirus in India to 3. 

10:48 am: WHO’s Message To All Countries — ‘Test, Test, Test’

At a time when India has restricted tests to only those with travel histories in the recent past, the World Health Organisationn has said ‘test, test, test’ is their message to all countries. 

“We have a simple message to all countries - test, test, test,” WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news conference in Geneva on Monday, calling the pandemic “the defining global health crisis of our time.”

“All countries should be able to test all suspected cases, they cannot fight this pandemic blindfolded.

Read more here

9:59 am: Maharashtra Will Stamp Left Hand Of Those Asked To Be In Quarantine

The Maharashtra government has said that it will stamp those who have been quarantined for coronavirus in indelible ink.

An IANS report carried by NDTV reported Health Minister Rajesh Tope saying the left hand of those who have been asked to remain in quarantine will be stamped so that they can be identified easily. 

9:41 am: No Community Transmission In India Yet, Says Medical Research Body

The Indian Council of Medical Research has now said that there is no community transmission in India at the moment. 

It has also laid out guidelines of who should be tested. 

9.31 am: Tormund Actor From ‘Game Of Thrones’ Has COVID-19 Too

Game of Thrones actor Kristofer Hivju, who played Tormund Giantsbane on the show, has tested positive for COVID-19. 

The actor made the announcement on Instagram. 

Read more here

9.26 am: Actor Idris Elba Tests Positive For Coronavirus 

Actor Idris Elba, announced through a video along with his wife, that he had testes positive for COVID-19. 

“This morning I tested positive for Covid 19. I feel ok, I have no symptoms so far but have been isolated since I found out about my possible exposure to the virus. Stay home people and be pragmatic. I will keep you updated on how I’m doing 👊🏾👊🏾 No panic,” he said in a tweet. 

Read more on Huffpost US.

8.52 am: French president Emmanuel Macron announces 15-day lockdown

France will introduce restrictions on movement for 15 days starting midday on Tuesday, President Emmanuel Macron announced. He said people should stay at home and only go out for essential activities, adding that anyone caught breaking the rules would be punished.

“We are at war, a sanitary war,” Macron said. “The enemy is here. Invisible, but here.”

HuffPost Francecovers Macron’s announcement.

8.49 am: Canada to close borders to most non-citizens, U.S. excepted 

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced new restrictions on travellers arriving in the country, closing the borders to all foreign nationals from around the world. Exceptions will be made for air crew, diplomats, immediate family members of Canadian citizens and U.S. citizens “at this time,” he said. The government is also mandating that air carriers screen passengers in line who show symptoms of COVID-19 so they don’t board planes.

8.40 am: Actor Dilip Kumar under “complete isolation and quarantine” 

Actor Dilip Kumar on Monday said he is under “complete isolation and quarantine” as a precautionary measure against the novel coronavirus pandemic. The 97-year-old actor shared a health update on Twitter, adding that his wife, actor Saira Banu, was ensuring he did not contract any infection.

8.29 am: Section 144 imposed in Nagpur

Authorities on Monday imposed section 144 of the CrPC in Nagpur to check the spread of novel coronavirus. Police said the measure, banning assembly of people, has been taken to contain the spread of the disease and for safety of members of the public.

It has become necessary to restrict gathering of people in large numbers at one place in view to contain the spreading of coronavirus and for the safety of people and public health, Joint Commissioner of Police Ravindra Kadam said.

8.18 am: Taj Mahal among over 3,600 monuments shut in India

All ASI-protected monuments and central museums across the country will be shut till March 31 in view of the threat of coronavirus, Union Culture Minister Prahlad Patal had said Monday. An order regarding the same will be issued soon, he said.

The Taj Mahal is among the 3,691 centrally protected monuments and sites under the Archeological Survey of India (ASI).

8.09 am: US says its begun first human trial of coronavirus vaccine

The first human trial to evaluate a candidate vaccine against coronavirus disease 2019 has begun in Seattle, US health officials said Monday.

“The open-label trial will enroll 45 healthy adult volunteers ages 18 to 55 years over approximately 6 weeks,” the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) said in a statement.

“The first participant received the investigational vaccine today.” (AFP) 

7.58 am: Karnataka confirms two more patients, total 10 in state

7.56 am: Idris Elba tests positive for coronavirus

7.51 am: Centre vs state tally of patients

A Maharashtra government official said four patients were detected for the novel coronavirus infection, taking the state tally to 37, as concerns over the pandemic steered decisions across all sectors and states, including in politically volatile Madhya Pradesh.

The Union ministry did not immediately add the Maharashtra cases to its national count, covering 15 states and union territories. Kerala officials also maintained the total tally was 24 as against 23 given by the Union ministry.

7.43 am: Govt’s social distancing measures

The GoM held their 7th meeting on Monday and after detailed deliberations social distancing measures as a preventive strategy has been proposed for implementation, Aggarwal said, adding that these interventions are proposed to be in force till March 31.

The key measures proposed include closure of all educational institutions ― schools, colleges and universities ― gyms, museums, cultural and social centres, swimming pools and theatres, he said.

All ASI-protected monuments and central museums across the country will also be shut till March 31, Union Culture Minister Prahlad Patal said.

Students should be advised to stay at home and online education should be promoted, Aggarwal said.

“Non-essential travel should be avoided. Buses, trains and aeroplanes should maximise social distancing in public transport, besides ensuring proper disinfection of services,” he said.

7. 39 am: Sikkim stops all domestic and foreign entries

Sikkim Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang said neither foreign nor domestic tourists will be allowed to enter into the state, and announced shutting down of educational institutes till April 15.