Coronavirus in India LIVE Updates: Total number of cases rise to 151; Karnataka to be under lockdown till March 31
The coronavirus pandemic in India currently has infected over 142 people, with three deaths in the country so far. In the midst of a wave of panic and misinformation, here is all the latest fact checked news on the outbreak you will need to know.
The cases in India rose to 151 on Wednesday, a day after the country reported its third death due to the Covid-19. The Indian Army reported its first case, after a 32-year-old soldier came in contact with his father, who had returned to India from Iran on February 27 and tested positive for Covid-19.
While new cases were reported from Telangana and West Bengal, the World Health Organisation (WHO) had praised India's commitment to combat the novel coronavirus, which has infected more than 168,000 people and killed over 6,600 across the world. "I think the commitment of the Indian government from the top level -- the Prime Minister's office himself -- has been enormous, very impressive. This is one of the reasons why India is doing very well," said Henk Bekedam, the WHO Representative to India.
Here are the latest updates to the global health crisis, and its impact on India:
Break the Chain:
In a bid to contain the spread of coronavirus virus across the state, the Kerala government has launched a mass hand washing campaign named ''break the chain''. The campaign aims to educate people about the importance of public and personal hygiene. On Monday, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told the media that three new cases of coronavirus had been reported in the state, taking the total to 24.
Along with hygiene, it also highlights the importance of social distancing in "breaking the chain" of infections. One visual doing the rounds on social media is this:
National Coronavirus Helpline Number: 1075
In a bid to strengthen containment measures amid rising cases of coronavirus, the Health Ministry has issued guidelines for notifying COVID-19 in private facilities.
Stating that it is of utmost importance that each case of coronavirus is isolated and provided appropriate treatment and their contacts are traced at the earliest to break the chain of transmission, the Health Ministry said that it was important that support and cooperation of the private sector is enlisted in this regard.
The guidelines say:
Therefore, it shall be mandatory for all hospitals (Government and Private), medical officers in government health institutions and registered private medical practitioners, including AYUSH practitioners, to notify such person(s) with COVID-19 affected person to concerned district surveillance unit.
All practitioners shall also get the self-declaration forms who, within their knowledge, have travel history of COVID-19 affected countries as per the extant guidelines and are falling under the case definition of coronavirus (suspect/case), the guidelines read.
Incase the person has any such history in the last 14 days and is symptomatic as per the case definition of COVID-19, the person must be isolated in the hospital and will be tested for the disease as per the protocol.
Information of all such cases should be given to the state helpline number and also to national helpline 1075.
A 34-year-old soldier has tested positive for novel coronavirus in Leh, Army sources said on Wednesday.
This is the first COVID-19 case in the armed forces.
The soldier, a resident of Chuhot village in Leh, came in contact with his father who had already contracted the infection. His father had returned from a pilgrimage in Iran by an Air India flight on February 20 and is in quarantine at the Ladakh Heart Foundation since February 29.
The soldier was on leave from February 25 and rejoined duty on March 2. He was quarantined on March 7 and tested positive on March 16, sources said.
The soldier has been isolated at the Sonam Nurboo Memorial (SNM) Hospital. His sister, wife and two children are also quarantined at SNM Heart Foundation.
"Even though the soldier had rejoined duty, he was helping his family during his father's quarantine period and stayed at Chuchot village for sometime as well," they said.
With new case today, infection count climbs in Maharashtra:
A 28-year-old woman from Pune with a travel history to France and the Netherlands has tested positive for COVID-19, a senior official said on Wednesday.
With this, the number of COVID-19 cases in Maharashtra has gone up to 42.
Confirming the case, District Collector, Naval Kishore Ram said, "The woman returned India on March 15. She was admitted to hospitalhere on March 17".
Amid rising concern over coronavirus situation, Amitabh Bachchantook to Twitter to share a picture of his hand with a 'Home Quarantined' stamp on it.
Late Tuesday night, the actor tweeted a picture of his hand with a 'Home Quarantined' stamp on it. "T 3473 - Stamping started on hands with voter ink, in Mumbai .. keep safe, be cautious, remain isolated if detected..," he posted.
T 3473 - Stamping started on hands with voter ink, in Mumbai .. keep safe , be cautious , remain isolated if detected .. pic.twitter.com/t71b5ehZ2H— Amitabh Bachchan (@SrBachchan) March 17, 2020
Bachchan has been actively spreading the word on coronavirus on social media. He recently penned a poem and posted a video of his rendition of the same on Twitter. He also cancelled his weekly Sunday meeting with his fans at his residence.
Dilip Kumar, another Bollywood icon, on Monday said he is "completely under isolation" as a precautionary measure to avoid any infection due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The 97-year-old actor shared his health update on Twitter.
Meanwhile, the Mumbai municipal corporation on its Twitter handle thanked Bachchan for "spreading the word" on home quarantine.
Mid-Day Meal Scheme Takes a Hit
The Supreme Court Wednesday took note of the non-availability of mid-day meals to children as schools in many parts of the country have been shut due to the coronavirus pandemic.
A bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde took suo motu cognisance of the matter and issued notices to the states and union territories asking them how children were being provided mid-day meals amid the shut down of schools.
Schools in Delhi-NCR and many other states are closed till March 31 in view of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Kerala is dealing with this by delivering meals to children at home.
“Kerala, a state of 34m in southern India, is now home-delivering midday meals to pupils whose schools have been shut due to COVID-19. Somehow between tracing contacts, quarantining people, and slowing the spread of the virus, their Communist-led government thought of this, too," tweeted Saugato Datta, managing director of New York-based non-profit Ideas42, which uses insights from behavioural economics to find solutions to social problems.
Children are also spreading coronavirus awareness on the streets and in videos that are now going viral in the state.
Battling Fake News
Maharashtra Cyber Police has warned of strict action against rumour-mongers who spread misleading and unverified information on social media regarding COVID-19, an official said on Wednesday.
According to the official, police have stepped up online surveillance to identify senders of such fake news and other content.
At 42, Maharashtra has reported the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the country so far.
The official said many instances of spreading of false and unverified news regarding coronavirus on various social media platforms have come to the fore.
These kind of posts can potentially lead to panic and terror among the common people, he said.
"Maharashtra cyber police are monitoring social media activities and will take stringent action against those found spreading such kind of false and unverified news and other contents," he said.
Meanwhile, police have also appealed to all television news channels, newspapers and web portals to publish news related to coronavirus after confirming it from authorised sources.
The official said even common people can file complaints against rumour-mongers with local police stations or on www.cybercrime.gov.in.
As per the 'Maharashtra COVID-19 Regulations 2020' issued by the state Health department on Saturday those who spread rumours or fake news about coronavirus will be held responsible under section 3 of the Epidemic Diseases Act 1897 and will be booked under section 188 of the IPC, the official added.
Army to screen troops daily after case in force
The Indian Army is taking measures like screening of all troops daily during morning parade and cancelling mass gatherings to check and control the coronavirus threat.
"During morning PT/parade/ roll call all troops will be screened by medical officers. Those reporting with complaints or symptoms of cough, cold or fever will be reported to nearest military hospital to prevent cross infection," the advisory said.
UP government mulling financial support for daily-wage workers
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath announced that the state government is mulling to extend financial support to daily-wage workers of the state who are suffering losses due the coronavirus-induced slump. He also announced that a committee led by the state finance minister will submit its report in 3 days.
कोरोना वायरस के दुष्प्रभाव के चलते दिहाड़ी मजदूर भाई-बहनों को परिवार के भरण-पोषण में समस्या न हो, इस हेतु प्रदेश सरकार ने एक तय धनराशि मजदूर भाई-बहनों के बैंक खाते में प्रदान करने का निर्णय लिया है।— Yogi Adityanath (@myogiadityanath) March 17, 2020
इस संबंध में वित्तमंत्री की अध्यक्षता में गठित समिति 3 दिन में रिपोर्ट सौंपेगी।
6th positive case in Telangana
A person who returned from the UK has tested positive in Telangana. The Covid-19 patient has been admitted to Gandhi Medical College hospital in Hyderabad. With this, the total number of cases has reached six.
Soilicitor General's double standards on coronavirus
The Supreme Court adjourned the hearing of the habeas corpus petition challenging the detention of former Chief Minister of erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir Omar Abdullah.
The matter was adjourned due to the non-availability of Solicitor General Tushar Mehta. When Justice Arun Mishra enquired about why the SG was not present, a junior counsel said that he is "not coming to court at all due to the coronavirus scare".
Just a few hours later, at around 12.20, the Solicitor General appeared for the Madhya Pradesh Governor in the Supreme Court, which is hearing pleas concerning whether or not a floor test should be held in Madhya Pradesh, in the wake of the resignation of 22 rebel MLAs formerly with the ruling Congress party.
BJP decides to not hold protest, demonstration for a month
The BJP will not hold protest or demonstration for one month due to coronavirus, the party's chief J P Nadda said. "PM, yesterday in the Parliamentary party meeting, had desired that because of coronavirus we should avoid any type of agitation, dharna, demonstration. Keeping that in view, the BJP has decided that for the next one month the party won't participate in any agitation, demonstration," Nadda was quoted as saying by PTI. "All party units have been asked to spread awareness about coronavirus and they must discuss the dos and dont's in small groups. While on one hand we have to see to its that we keep ourselves clean, we also need to make sure that we do not panic," he added.
Government tells Lok Sabha: At least 276 affected Indians abroad
The government apprised the lower house of the Parliament that there are 255 Indians infected with the coronavirus in Iran, 12 in UAE, five in Italy and one each in Hong Kong, Kuwait, Sri Lanka and Rwanda. As per international norms, those who have tested positive cannot be flown back to their countries and will have to be treated where they are.
Vaishno Devi Yatra Closed?
Confusion regarding the Vaishno Devi yatra arose when the department of press and information bureau of Jammu and Kashmir had tweeted announcing the closure of the Vaishno Devi yatra and banning of all interstate buses as part of the precautionary measures to arrest the spread of coronavirus.
#COVID19 #JammuAndKashmir— DIPR-J&K (@diprjk) March 18, 2020
Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Yatra has been closed from today.
Operations of All Inter State Buses - Incoming and Outgoing from J&K, banned from today.@ANI @PIB_India @DDNewslive @airnewsalerts @kansalrohit69
But Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board (SASB) has said no such order has been received by them and the pilgrimage is on.
Fresh cases reported from Noida and Bengaluru
A couple from Noida with travel history to Indonesia were tested for coronavirus after showing symptoms, The Indian Express reported. The husband has been tested positive while the final confirmation of the wife's sample is awaited, Dr Anurag Bharagava CMO, told the publication . Meanwhile, Karnataka health minister has confirmed two more cases in the state, taking the total to 13. Both patients are from Bengaluru.
Noida resident tests positive, four cases in the district now
A resident of Noida, who recently returned from Indonesia, has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, Gautam Buddh Nagar health officials said on Wednesday.
The total number of positive cases for the COVID-19 in the district now stands at four, Chief Medical Officer Anurag Bhargava said.
"The sample of this person, who lives in Sector 41 of Noida, was taken four days ago and he has tested positive for coronavirus. He has been admitted to the Government Institute of Medical Sciences (GIMS) in Greater Noida for treatment," Bhargava said in a statement.
He said the infected person's house and nearby areas are being sanitised.
On Tuesday, two persons – residents of Noida's Sector 78 and Sector 100 – who recently returned from France had tested positive for coronavirus, according to officials.
Officials said one resident of Delhi had earlier tested positive for coronavirus in Noida.
Roche Diagnostics gets license to test COVID-19
The Drug Controller General of India gave a nod to Roche Diagnostics, a private company, to procure a license to test the COVID-19. They have received the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) emergency approval for the coronavirus.
Delhi shuts National Zoological Park till March 31
The National Zoological Park has been shut till March 31 as a precautionary measure against Covid-19.
Maharashtra: 4 passengers with 'Home Quarantine' stamp on hands asked to de-board train
Four passengers with 'Home Quarantine' stamp on hands de-boarded from a train in Mumbai as co-passengers raised an alarm. The four had just returned from Germany and were headed to Surat. They were marked in indelible ink and were medically advised to self-quarantine for 14 days at the airport.
Karnatka under lockdown till March 31
Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa told the asembly that the partial lockdown in the state will continue till March 31. The chief minister also announced the corpus fund of Rs 200 crore to tackle Covid-19. A task force has been formed under the presidentship of Health and Family Welfare Minister B Sriramulu, Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai and DCM CN Ashwathnarayan, Chief Secretary.
All public places including malls, theatre, schools, colleges, and other public places are to remain shut.
NDA suspends activities
The National Defence Academy (NDA) here has suspended all large gatherings, guest lectures, expeditions and other group activities in view of the coronavirus outbreak, a senior official said on Wednesday. All NDA cadets and personnel have been briefed and sensitised about the causes and symptoms of COVID-19 by the commanding officer of Military Hospital, he said.
WB officials to stay at home after coming in contact with officer whose son tested COVID-19 positive
A few senior West Bengal government officials, including Home Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay, were asked to stay at home after they came in contact with an officer whose son tested positive for coronavirus, sources said on Wednesday.
The officials came in contact on Monday with the woman officer of the home department whose son tested positive for coronavirus after returning from the UK. They have been asked not to come to office till further instructions, sources told PTI.
Maharashtra suspends learning license tests
Maharashtra has decided to discontinue computerised learning licence tests at Regional Transport Offices (RTO) in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak In a circular issued on Tuesday, state Transport Commissioner also asked the RTOs to stop holding camps at the tehsil level where a large number of people gather for driving licence and vehicle fitness tests.
West Bengal allows government employees to leave early
CM Mamata Banerjee said that the government has decided to allow state government employees to leave their offices an hour early to avoid crowding in public transport.
Kerala issues guidelines to foreign tourists for safe return
Strengthening surveillance and control measures against the coronavirus in Kerala, the state government on Wednesday issued guidelines to ensure safe return of around 5,000 foreign tourists in the southern state. In view of some countries seeking mandatory certificate stating that the passengers are COVID-19 negative, the state government directed all foreign travellers in the state to contact the COVID-19 district cell which will ensure their sample test for coronavirus.
Airline Industry to face major losses
All Indian airlines will report significant losses in the first quarter of this year and may initially ground around 150 planes as the shock from the coronavirus pandemic will be "far deeper and much longer", according to a report. Aviation advisory firm CAPA India on Wednesday said even before COVID-19 (coronavirus) appeared on the scene, most Indian carriers already had very strained balance sheets and almost no liquidity.
"This latest shock will once again expose the vulnerability of India's aviation system as happened during the fuel price spike in 2008. But on that occasion the shock was short-lived, even if its impact reverberated for several years. This time, the shock itself will be far deeper and much longer," it said in a report.
Assistance to China
India provided 15 tonnes of medical supplies to coronavirus-hit China comprising masks, gloves and other emergency medical equipment at a cost of about Rs 2.11 crore, the government informed the Lok Sabha on Wednesday.
In a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha, Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan said the medical supplies included one lakh surgical masks, five lakh pairs of surgical gloves, 75 pieces of infusion pumps, 30 pieces of enteral feeding pumps, 21 pieces of defibrillator and 4,000 pieces of N-95 masks.
Bollywood majorly affected
With theatres closed, shootings on hold and the release of major films pushed indefinitely, Bollywood is reeling under the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, say industry insiders, pegging the losses at anything between Rs 300 crore to Rs 800 crore.
While trade analyst Taran Adarsh said losses at the moment could be "Rs 500 crore to Rs 800 crore", another insider said on the condition of anonymity that the industry could lose about Rs 350 crore in the first quarter of the calendar year.
Others were more chary about putting a figure but agreed this was a crisis for the Hindi film industry.
"This the worst time, not just for the film industry but for everyone. As far as the industry is concerned, business is getting hampered. It's too early to put any number as we don't know when the situation will be normal," T Series head Bhushan Kumar told PTI.
Tamil Nadu tests second positive Covid-19 case
Tamil Nadu has reported another Covid-19 positive case in Chennai. The patient hails from Delhi, who has now been quarantined, and is said to be stable. The case was confirmed by Tamil Health Minister C Vijayabaskar. The health minister has said that the condition of the patient is stable and is under observation.
India's number of positive cases rises to 151
Vistara suspends international flights for 11 days
Air Vistara has temporarily suspended its international operations from March 20 to 31 in view of the coronavirus pandemic.
Vistara: We are temporarily suspending our international operations from March 20 to March 31. We have also temporarily adjusted domestic capacity for March & April in view of reduced demand. Customers booked on the affected flights will be fully refunded. #Coronavirus pic.twitter.com/fgcYaCeWt0— ANI (@ANI) March 18, 2020
AP shuts down all educational institutions
The Andhra Pradesh government on Wednesday decided to close all educational institutions across the state to prevent and contain the spread of coronavirus. The government ordered all schools, colleges, universities and coaching centres to shut down from Thursday. Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy reviewed the situation with officials of education and health departments and decided to announce holidays for educational institutions in tune with the Centre's guidelines.
Delhi disinfects 7,877 public service vehicles
The Delhi government on Wednesday said it has disinfected 7,877 public service vehicles, including auto-rickshaws, so far to contain the spread of novel coronavirus.
Delhi Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot said, "We advise the owners and operators of public service vehicles to act responsibly and get their vehicles disinfected on a daily basis so that we can overcome this crisis. We are providing this facility free of cost for everyone."
The disinfection drive is being organised at all DTC and cluster bus depots on a daily basis in two shifts -- 10 am to 12 pm and 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm.
Punjab considers releasing prisoners
The Punjab Jails Department has mooted a proposal to release around 3,000 drug peddlers and 2,800 petty criminals lodged in various jails in the state to curb prison overcrowding and contain coronavirus outbreak.
“We have proposed to the state government to take a decision on releasing 3,000 inmates who have been caught with small quantity of drugs and booked in the NDPS cases after consulting with courts and police,” Jails Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa said here on Wednesday.
The minister added that he has also proposed the release of petty criminals, numbering around 2,800, after due consideration. He said they are in jails for crimes like snatching.
He said these measures have been suggested to prevent the spread of coronavirus outbreak in jails.
Mumbai woman tests positive for COVID-19, cases rise to 8 in city
A 68-year-old woman has been tested positive for the virus, taking the number upto eight in Mumbai. She is a maid of the man, who returned from USA recently on March 7 and was a close contact with a patient who was admitted to Kasturba hospital.
Govt offices in Maharashtra to operate with 40% staff, people to work on alternate days
Government offices in Maharashtra will operate with 40 per cent staff, people will work on alternate days.
Coronavirus to impact the economy: Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian
Chief Economic Advisor (CEA) K Subramanian said that COVID-19 outbreak will hit the Indian economy and the impact can only be assessed after the pandemic is over.
"Share markets in several countries including the USA, Brazil, Argentina, and Japan have crashed. There is uncertainty across the world due to coronavirus. Whenever there is uncertainty, an atmosphere of fear comes in share markets, which will result in ups and downs," Subramanian told ANI.
"We have to monitor the situation. According to my estimation, it should go down till April. The first case of coronavirus was reported on January 22. In other countries, COVID-19 cases increased exponentially," he said.
Odisha CM's sister in home isolation after her trip from abroad
Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik's sister has been kept in home isolation after she recently returned from abroad. "I have registered my sister’s details at the govt portal for persons coming from abroad. I appeal all of you to also register details about your family members & friends coming from abroad. It will help protect the state from coronavirus," Patnaik said.
Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik: I have registered my sister’s details at the govt portal for persons coming from abroad. I appeal all of you to also register details about your family members & friends coming from abroad. It will help protect the state from #coronavirus. (File photo) pic.twitter.com/MoefcpxIy9— ANI (@ANI) March 18, 2020
"I am not too happy with how much the authorities are doing to inform people. I hope and wish there was much more intensive information and communication activities. When people say there is panic, part of that fear and panic is that there is not enough information about the virus or how it spreads and how it does not spread. So I think that knowledge is extremely critical. So I hope they bring in all these measures into full swing as quickly as possible," said former union health secretary K Sujatha Rao to Asiaville. See more