NEWS
16/03/2020 7:49 AM IST | Updated 16/03/2020 7:59 PM IST

As It Happened: 114 New Coronavirus Cases Confirmed, Says Health Ministry; Calls For Shutdown Of All Schools, Malls

The health ministry said Odisha, Jammu & Kashmir, Ladakh and Kerala saw one patient in each state test positive for COVID-19.

Maharashtra on Monday reported 4 new cases of the novel coronavirus Covid-19, taking the number of patients in the state to 37. Maharashtra has the highest number of patients so far. 

Odisha also confirmed the first positive patient in the state. 

However the health ministry said India has 114 patients who tested positive for coronavirus.

State governments across the country continued to take measures to fight the disease that has claimed over 6,500 lives across the world, two of them in India. 

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced on Monday that night clubs, gyms and spas will be shut in Delhi till 31 March. Meghalaya shut its schools and colleges till the end of the month, while Karnataka set up “war rooms” in its state-run medical college and hospitals. 

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

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Here are today’s updates:

6:50 pm: Social Distancing Just One Of The Measures, Says Health Ministry

“We suggested social distancing is one of the approach, it is not that just social distancing will help,” Lav Aggarwal said to a question on how a country of over a billion people who will maintain 1 metre of social distance. 

Aggarwal said there were other measures in place to ensure the virus doesn’t spread, without detailing on what these measures were. 

6:47 pm: In Touch With States Over Condition Of Quarantine Facilities, Says Health Ministry

When asked about people tweeting about bad conditions in quarantine facilities, Lav Aggarwal, joint secretary of the health ministry said that they were in touch with states to maintain conditions in such facilities. 

Scroll.in published an article pointing out how people tweeted with photos and videos of how the quarantine facilities were in shambles. 

6:42 pm 114 Tested Positive So Far, Taken Important Measures To Shut Schools, Malls, Pools, Says Health Ministry

In a press conference on the outbreak of the coronavirus, Lav Aggarwal, joint secretary of the health ministry said there were 114 patients —Odisha, Jammu & Kashmir, Ladakh and Kerala — who have tested positive for coronavirus so far, 13 of them have recovered. 

Aggarwal said, “Important measures including closing of schools, swimming pools, malls, allow employees to work from home, less use of public transport, 1 meter distance between people should be maintained till 31st March.”

 

4:43 pm: 114 People Have Tested Positive For Coronavirus, Says Health Ministry

The health ministry said on Monday that as of 4:30 pm, India had 114 patients who have tested positive for coronavirus.

It said that there were 13 people who had recovered from it. 

4:40 pm: Indian Not Immune To This Pandemic, Says RBI Governor

RBI governor Shaktikanta Das said on Monday that while India’s economy may see some impact from the coronavirus outbreak, it was “relatively insulated” from the global value chain, so the impact will be less. 

He also said, “India is not immune to this pandemic. Efforts are being made by the government to arrest the effect of the coronavirus”

 

4:35 pm: Bolsonaro Ignores Warning, Cheers Supporters And Takes Selfies

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro drew criticism for celebrating demonstrations of his supporters in several major cities and even taking selfies with them amid the coronavirus outbreaks. Bolsonaro appeared to shrug off the advice of medical experts suggesting he take precautions after several members of his recent delegation to Florida tested positive for the virus.

Bolsonaro strode down the ramp of the presidential palace in a Brazilian soccer jersey and met a throng of protesters at the gate, where he bumped fists, grabbed cell phones to take pictures and leaned in for selfies with the crowd.HuffPost Brazil reports (in Portuguese) that just days early Bolsonaro had called for the demonstrations to be postponed.

4:31 pm: Premier Hotels In Delhi’s Aerocity Will Offer Quarantine Facilities 

The Indian Express reported that the Delhi government has ordered three premier hotels in Aerocity near the airport to set aside rooms for paid quarantine facilities for people flying in from abroad. 

The report said that the three hotels will have at least 182 such rooms.

4:10 pm: Tripura Shuts Schools, Colleges, Gyms

Tripura also shuts schools, colleges, universities, gyms, pools till March 31. 

4:02 pm: Schools, Colleges Shut In Meghalaya

In an order effective from Tuesday, the Meghalaya government announced shutting of schools and colleges till March 31, reports PTI. 

3:55 pm: Teenager With Coronavirus Like Symptoms Admitted In Kolkata Hospital

A teenager was admitted to the isolation ward of a government hospital in Kolkata after he showed coronavirus-like symptoms, reported PTI

According to a state health department, the 19-year-old showed flu like symptoms when screened at the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport on Monday.

According to the official there were 12 people admitted at Kolkata’s Beliaghata ID and BG Hospital.

Swabs of all those admitted at the isolation ward of the hospital have been collected and sent for examination, he said.

3:53 pm: In Karnataka, ‘War Rooms’ In State-Run Medical Colleges-District Hospitals

PTI reported the Karnataka government on Monday has decided to create “war-rooms” in state-run medical colleges-district hospitals in its fight against COVID-19.

Medical Education Minister Sudhakar K noted that there are a total of 17 districts where there are government medical colleges attached with hospitals.

Such medical colleges-government hospitals would themselves act as “war-rooms” to deal with the Coronavirus outbreak, he told reporters.

“In each medical colleges-government hospitals, separate 150-200 bed zones will be created (to deal with such cases)”, he said after a meeting with Directors of Government-run medical colleges. (PTI)

2:51 pm: Delhi HC Will Issue More Directions To Prevent Spread Of Coronavirus

The Delhi High Court on Monday said it will issue more directions about precautions to prevent the spread of coronavirus. The court observed this when an advocate mentioned before a bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar that the photocopy shops and cash counters in the complex should accept also digital payments.

Advocate and BJP leader Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay said the photocopy shops and the cash counters in the high court premises accept only cash payments and they should also accept digital payments as a precaution to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Litigants and lawyers have to deposit court fees and stamp fees, in cash, at these counters.

Only urgent matters are being heard and dates are being given in rest of the cases.

2:49 pm: Nitish Kumar Announces Compensation For Kin If Someone Dies Of Coronavirus

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said in the assembly on Monday that the state will bear all expenses of those who contract the coronavirus. 

Kumar also said that if someone dies of coronavirus, their families will be given a compensation of Rs 4 lakh. 

 

2:45 pm: Visitors In Parliament Being Screened 

2:34 pm: Modi Shares Video On How To Curb Spread Of Coronavirus

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday shared a video saying, “Follow these simple steps to avoid spreading of Corona Virus.”

In the video Modi said everyone from the central government to gram panchayats were taking steps to curb the disease. 

Saying that we have all doctors and medical facilities, Modi said, “We shouldn’t leave any steps for precaution. We also need to understand what precautions we need to take. These are not very big steps.”

Modi reiterated steps like not touching your face and washing your hands, apart from saying we shouldn’t step out unless we really need to. 

 

1:48 pm: No Floor Test For Kamal Nath Govt Amid Coronavirus Fears

Amid concerns of coronavirus, the Madhya Pradesh Assembly was on Monday adjourned without a floor test for the Kamal Nath government. 

The BJP has now approached the Supreme Court which has agreed to hear the matter.  

Read more here.

1:44 pm: Coronavirus cases rise to 38 in Maharashtra

The total number of Covid-19 cases in Maharashtra rose to 38 on Monday after one more person, with travel history to Dubai, tested positive.

 

1:22 pm: Delhi Shuts Gyms, Night Clubs

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Monday that gyms, night clubs and spas will remain shut till 31 March. He said that gatherings of over 50 people, apart from weddings, will not be allowed. 

Kejriwal requested that people should postpone weddings as well. 

 

1:08 pm: 4 More New Cases In Maharashtra

The health ministry has said on Monday that four more people have tested positive in Maharashtra, in Mumbai and Navi Mumbai. 

Now total number of confirmed patients in the state to 37. 

12:45 pm: Odisha Officials Ask Tourist To Leave Puri After First Positive Case In The State

Amid the coronavirus outbreak, officials in Odisha have requested tourists to leave Puri, the seaside temple town usually thronged by tourists. 

The state reported it’s first positive case on Monday, and the patient had travelled to Italy, reported Scroll.in.

Regional Transport Officer SK Roy told ANI, “We are convincing tourists, foreign and domestic, to not enter the city”.

11:53 am: Puerto Rico Imposes Mandatory Curfews

Puerto Rico imposed a curfew for residents on Sunday, saying most businesses would require to shut down, with officials citing those who had failed to socially distance as the outbreak continues to spread. 

Puerto Rico Gov. Wanda Vázquez said via executive order “Given that the response from some citizens has not been adequate under the emergency situation, our priority is health and to protect the life of all of us who live on this island,” Vázquez said in an address. “All citizens will have to stay home to stop the spread of this virus.”

The curfew was instituted a 9 p.m Sunday and will continue till March 30. 

11:20 am: One More Person Tests Positive In Maharashtra

One more patient in Maharashtra tested positive for the coronavirus on Monday, taking the total number of patients in the state to 33. 

Maharashtra has the highest patients with COVID-19 in India. 

10:45 am: Case Registered Against 79 People For Gathering At Cochin Airport

ANI reported that a case has been reported in Kerala’s Kochi against four known and 75 unknown people for gathering at the Cochin International Airport to welcome a reality show contestant. 

They violated the ban issued in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. 

10:41 am: Norway Asks Students To Return From ‘Poorly Developed’ US

Norway’s University of Science and Technology issued an alert on Sunday asking students studying abroad to return home as a response to the coronavirus pandemic — specifically singling out ‘poorly developed’ U.S.

The warning from the nation’s largest university, with some 40,00 students, applies “especially” to students staying in nations with “poorly developed health services,” as well as countries, “for example the USA,” with a “poorly developed collective infrastructure.”

Read more here

 

10:30 am: Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal To Have Review Meetings Through Video Conference 

10:22 am: Union Ministers To Hold Meeting Today 

9:54 am: This Is How Arnold Schwarzenegger Is Spending Time During Quarantine (It Includes A Donkey And A Pony)

Arnold Schwarzenegger is spending time with his pony Whiskey and donkey Lulu, amid the coronavirus outbreak. In a video asking people to stay home, he said, “We don’t go out, we don’t go to restaurants, we don’t do anything like that anymore here. We just eat, with Whiskey and with Lulu, we have a good time.”

He tweeted the video saying, “Listen to the experts, ignore the morons (foreheads). We will get through this together.” 

9.26 am: No Need To Be Scared, Says Delhi Man Who Has recovered From COVID-19

A 45-year-old businessman who has recovered from COVID-19 told NDTV in Sunday that it was “just a normal flu” and people didn’t need to be scared. 

He told NDTV, “There is no need to be scared. It is just like normal flu. If a healthy person reaches the doctor, our health system is well-equipped, one of the best in the world. Isolation ward is not like a two-by-two cell without sunlight.”

He was the first positive patient in Delhi. 

9.05 am: Serena Williams, Alexis Ohanian announce 6-week isolation

Serena Williams and her immediate family are going into a lengthy self-imposed lockdown amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The tennis star announced she’d be spending “the next 6 weeks in solitude” in an Instagram post on Friday. “Being a wife. Being a mom. Cooking. Cleaning. Spring cleaning. Face mask. Makeup tutorials. I’ll let you know how it goes.... stay safe everyone,” she captioned a clip of herself applying makeup.

8.43am: CDC suggests ban on groups of 50 people or more as US moves closer to shutdown

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged the organisers of large events and gatherings to cancel or postpone any meeting of 50 or more people for the next eight weeks, effective immediately.

US governors, including those in Ohio and Illinois, have begun restricting where people can go in an effort to inhibit the spread of the virus.

The CDC said the recommendations do not apply to schools, colleges or businesses, and said that the types of events that should be canceled include weddings, concerts, parades and sporting events.

“This recommendation is made in an attempt to reduce introduction of the virus into new communities and to slow the spread of infection in communities already affected by the virus,” it said. “This recommendation is not intended to supersede the advice of local public health officials.”

8.26 am: Karnataka to carry out thermal screening at state assembly, courts

Karnataka will begin thermal screening of visitors at various places, including Assembly, high court, secretariat and civil courts from Tuesday. , PTI reports.

8.13 am: Three covid-19 patients in Rajasthan test negative after treatment

Three of Rajasthan’s coronavirus patients—two Italian tourists and an Indian man who returned from Dubai— have tested negative for covid-19.

The Italian couple, a 69-year-old man and his 70-year-old wife,  were administered the Lopinavir/ Ritonavir combination, usually a second- line HIV medication, Indian Express reported.

7.54 am: Vatican says all Holy Week events will be held without visitors

In a move described as unprecedented in modern times, the Vatican said on Sunday that all of Pope Francis’ Holy Week events, including on Easter Sunday, would not involve public participation over COVID-19 concerns.

 

The events, however, will be aired online and on TV.

7.47 am: 13 patients in India free of coronavirus, says health ministry

This includes three of the four patients reported in Rajasthan.

7.44 am: Italy recorded 368 deaths on Sunday

Italy recorded 368 more deaths from the coronavirus outbreak on Sunday, its biggest one day rise, amid growing concern about the ability of its strained health system to cope with the relentless increase in new cases.

7.31 am: 110 coronavirus patients in India

The home ministry announced that India has 110 covid-19 patients as 11.30 pm on Sunday. Maharashtra has 32 patients, Kerala 22 and Uttar Pradesh 12.

7.25 am: Global death toll cross 6,000

A spike in deaths in Spain has pushed the global toll past 6,000, according to an AFP tally compiled from official sources.

The worldwide death toll rose to 6,036, with 159,844 infections after 105 died in Spain. While China remains the country with the most deaths with 3,199, the pandemic is now spreading more rapidly in Europe, with 1,907 deaths in the continent’s worst-hit country Italy.

7.17 am:  Maharashtra expands testing capacity

Maharashtra reported 32 positive cases of novel coronavirus so far, state Health Minister Rajesh Tope said. He announced that the laboratory capacity to test samples of suspected novel coronavirus will be expanded to 350 per day from the present 100 per day at the civic-run Kasturba hospital in Mumbai in the next two days.

Tope said another laboratory will be set up at KEM hospital in Mumbai in the next two days. New laboratories will also come up at JJ Hospital, the Haffkine Institute―also in Mumbai, besides at BJ hospital in Pune in the next 15-20 days.

7.13 am: Kerala launches ‘break the chain’  initiative to prevent spread of virus

As the total number of positive cases rose to 22 in Kerala, the state government launched a “break the chain” initiative to prevent the spread of the virus.

Twenty Dubai-bound passengers were detained at the Kochi airport after a UK national, who was under surveillance but sneaked out and joined the group, tested positive for novel coronavirus, PTI reported.

Kerala has also launched an intensified medical check up in inter-state border areas for people entering the state by rail and road.

SAARC meet

SAARC nations on Sunday vowed to jointly combat coronavirus as Prime Minister Narendra Modi proposed an emergency fund with an initial offer of $10 million from India and asserted that the best way to deal with the pandemic was by coming together, and not growing apart.

The underlying message of the video conference was unitedly taking on the virus. Pakistan raised the issue of restrictions in Kashmir, calling for immediate lifting of the lockdown there to allow disease containment measures.

Apart from Modi, Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, Nepalese Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli, Bhutanese premier Lotay Tshering, Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Special Assistant to Pakistani Prime Minister on Health Zafar Mirza, participated in the video conference.

Evacuations

A total of 218 Indians, mostly students, from Milan landed at around 9.45 AM on Sunday at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) in Delhi and were taken to an ITBP quarantine facility in south-west Delhi’s Chhawla area.

More than 230 Indians brought back from Iran reached New Delhi at about 3:15 AM and were quarantined at the Indian Army Wellness Centre in Jaisalmer, the third batch to be evacuated from that country.

They had arrived in Delhi on a Mahan Air flight from Tehran and were ferried by two Air India flights to Jaisalmer, IGI airport officials said.

The first batch of 58 Indian pilgrims were brought back from Iran on Tuesday and the second group of 44 Indian pilgrims had arrived from there on Friday.

Indian Railways withdraws blankets and curtains

The Indian Railways issued orders to all its zones to withdraw blankets and curtains from AC coaches as they are not washed every day. Other items in the bed roll, including bedsheets, towels and pillow covers, are washed every day, it said.

The railway board has also instructed that the minimum temperature in the coaches be set at 24-25 degrees Celsius.

“All curtains and spare blankets to be washed, dried and stored in clean and dry storage facility. 100 per cent fresh washed linen to be provided in sealed packets as per existing instructions,” it said.

The railways will ask passengers to bring their own blankets through SMS and IVRS.

It has also instructed its personnel to intensively clean coach fittings such as grab handles, window grill, bottle holders and charge points as they are touched by thousands of passengers every day.

Officials said liquid soap, napkin rolls and disinfectant chemical will be provided to passengers by the housekeeping staff on board.

In AC coaches, attendants have been told to not recirculate used linen.