Coronavirus: WHO declares COVID-19 a pandemic, India fights back with Epidemic Act

Coronavirus: WHO declares COVID-19 a pandemic, India fights back with Epidemic Act

Coronavirus outbreak in India: Decisions related to health lie with the states, but by invoking Section 2 of the Epidemic Diseases Act, advisories and directions of Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare can be enforced across the country; check out all latest coronavirus news on BusinessToday.In live blog

India has evacuated as many as 948 persons so from countries affected by the deadly virus so far, says the government India has evacuated as many as 948 persons so from countries affected by the deadly virus so far, says the government

Coronavirus update: World Health Organisation has classified coronavirus a pandemic. Meanwhile, India invoked Section 2 of Epidemic Diseases Act to deal with coronavirus. Earlier today, two employees from tech companies Mindtree and Dell have tested positive for the deadly coronavirus in India. Both these employees have a travel history to abroad. Besides, in what could be the first death due to coronavirus in India, a patient suspected of being infected with COVID-19 virus, has died in Hyderabad. However, no official confirmation has been received from the Telangana government so far. A total of 83 individuals, who arrived from Italy on Air India flight today, have been quarantined at Army facility at Manesar, Haryana. Out of 84 people, 74 are Indian, six are Italian and rest three are from the United States.

Also read: Coronavirus Live Updates: India scraps all visas as WHO declares COVID-19 'global pandemic'

Check all the latest updates on coronavirus outbreak on BusinessToday.In live blog

10.44 PM: French President Emmanuel Macron will now greet his counterparts with a namaste, tweeted Ambassador of France to India Emmanuel Lenain.

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10.15 PM: WHO characterises coronavirus as 'pandemic'

9.45 PM: India invokes Section 2 of Epidemic Disease Act to deal with coronavirus crisis. Decisions related to health lie with the states, but by invoking Section 2 of the Epidemic Diseases Act, advisories and directions of Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare can be enforced across the country.

6.51 PM: "Government has decided that all public and private educational institutions will suspend their teaching and class work till March 31. However, board and competitive examinations will take place as per schedule," said Bhupinder Kumar, director of National Health Mission in Jammu and Kashmir.

6.50 PM: Karnataka government has issued temporary regulation 'Karnataka Epidemic Diseases, COVID-19 Regulations, 2020' which aims to prevent spread of the disease. According to the regulation, all government and private hospitals should have flu corners for screening of suspected cases of COVID-19, ANI reported. Moreover, persons, institutions or organisations found guilty of using print or electronic media to spread misinformation on COVID-19 will be punished, the news agency further said.

6.46 PM: Three suspected cases of coronavirus under observation in West Bengal.

6.44 PM: Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray chaired a high-level meeting over preventive measures and preparations for coronavirus.

5.58 PM: Japanese Olympic organising committee executive member Haruyuki Takahashi plans to propose the possibility of postponing the 2020 Tokyo Olympics due to the coronavirus outbreak. The event is scheduled to happen between July 24 and August 9.

5.09 PM: 71 Chinese workers quarantined at construction site in Nepal

A total of 71 Chinese workers engaged at a construction site in Nepal have been placed under quarantine after their return to the Himalayan nation from China, an official said.

The Chinese workers, who returned to Nepal between March 4 and 6 from Chengdu and Beijing after celebrating the Chinese New Year, have been kept in isolation at the Pokhara Regional Airport project where they work.

"They had already been quarantined in China for 14 days before embarking for Nepal. As neither we nor the workers wanted to take any chances, we decided to place them in quarantine again," said airport project manager Binesh Munkarmi.

The workers' temperature is being checked three times a day, he said.

"We've informed the Province Health Directorate about the quarantine of Chinese workers. So far, everyone's is normal," Munkarmi said.


5.02 PM: "Srinagar Municipal Corporation has unanimously passed resolution to restrict public gatherings in Srinagar, and close schools and coaching centres in view of coronavirus transmission threat," says Srinagar Mayor Azim Mattu.

4.54 PM: Cinema halls in the Jammu, Samba, Kathua, Reasi and Udhampur districts closed till March 31 due to coronavirus scare.

4.33 PM: So far, Government of India has evacuated 948 passengers from COVID-19 affected countries, said Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Out of these, 900 are Indian citizens and 48 belonging to different nationalities including Maldives, Myanmar, Bangladesh, China, USA, Madagascar, Sri Lanka, Nepal, South Africa and Peru, the ministry added.

4.28 PM: Centre advises states to step up sanitation in public transport, bus terminals

All states and union territories have been asked to step up sanitation and hygiene in all public transport vehicles to contain the spread of coronavirus, the Road Transport and Highways Ministry said on Wednesday.

The states and union territories have also been advised to step up sanitation at bus terminals and stops, the ministry said.

"It advised all the states to take up necessary steps in public transport vehicles to ensure sanitation of seats, handles and bars," the ministry said.


3.45 PM: No entry for cruise ships with travel history to coronavirus-hit nations

India on Wednesday prohibited entry of any international cruise ship, crew or passenger with a travel history to coronavirus-hit countries post February 1, 2020 to its major ports till March 31.

To prevent the spread of the deadly virus, the Ministry of Shipping said it will allow only such international cruise ships to call on its major ports that had intimated their call to the ports by January 1, 2020.

The government said international cruise ships will be allowed only at ports having thermal screening facilities for passengers and crew members. Master of Vessel will have to submit documents related to crew, passengers regarding travel to/from coronavirus-hit nations to port. If any passenger/crew member of cruise ships show symptoms of coronavirus, disembarking will not be permitted, the government said.


3.33 PM: 83 individuals quarantined in Manesar today

A total of 83 individuals, who arrived from Italy on Air India flight today, have been quarantined at Army facility at Manesar, Haryana. Out of 84 people, 74 are Indian, six are Italian and rest three are from the United States.

3.29 PM: Special Secy, H&FW, Sanjeeva Kumar, says total 60 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus have been reported in the country so far.

3.23 PM: Dell, Mindtree employees test positive

Two employees from tech companies Mindtree and Dell have tested positive for the deadly coronavirus in India. Both these employees have a travel history to abroad. - PTI

3.19 PM: 900 Indians evacuated from affected countries

EAM S Jaishankar tells the Rajya Sabha that India has evacuated as many as 948 persons so from countries affected by the deadly virus. OF this, as many as 900 are Indian nationals.

3.08 PM: Total coronavirus cases in Italy

In Italy, over 10,419 people are infected with the deadly coronavirus and as many as 631 people have died. The entire country has virtually been lockdown.

3.06 PM: Total cases cross 3,100 in China

Total infections in mainland China stood at 80,778 with 24 new cases by Tuesday, while 22 more deaths took the toll to 3,158, the National Health Commission said on Wednesday. -Reuters

3.03 PM: Foreign minister S Jaishankar in the Rajya Sabha: "As many as 108 samples were received in India on March 7. People who tested negative were brought back yesterday. Samples of 529 more Indians are being tested in NIV Pune."

2.55 PM: Indian citizens are advised to refrain from travelling to China, Iran, Republic of Korea, Italy and Japan.

2.36 PM: First COVID-19 death in Hyderabad?

In what could be called as the first death due to coronavirus in India, a patient suspected of having infected with COVID-19 virus, has died in Hyderabad. However, no official confirmation has been received from the Telangana government so far. The patient, who was earlier admitted at Gulbarga Institute of medical Sciences (GIMS), reportedly died at a private hospital in Hyderabad yesterday night. Later, the body was brought to his native place in Kalaburagi, Karnataka, for last rights.

2.30 PM: The Delhi govt has called a special assembly session on NRC-NPR issue, coronavirus situation on March 13.

2.25 PM: Railways takes measures to meet coronavirus challenge

Indian Railways has geared up its entire machinery in a big way to take comprehensive measures on prevention of Corona COVID 19 virus infection. Minister of Railways and Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal has directed the Railway Board to ensure that adequate prevention measures are put in place across Indian Railway system. The Chairman Railway Board, Vinod Kumar Yadav, has taken meeting with all General Managers through Video Conference on 5th and 6th March 2020 to review the preparedness and convey priorities and directions.

2.12 PM: Chhawla Quarantine facility update

Total 14 days of quarantine completed at ITBP Quarantine facility, Chhawla, New Delhi. Sampling being done for final test of 112 wuhan evacuees, including 36 foreign nationals by ITBP doctors. Reports will come out tomorrow. If tested negative, all of them will be released in a couple of days.

2.09 PM: Grofers says it has taken out measures to deal with coronavirus outbreak

  • All essential supply chains are functioning normally, both at Grofers and its suppliers
  • The company is committed towards sticking to honest pricing
  • Stringent screening has been implemented to make sure all employees are healthy
  • Travel has been put on hold between locations and offices
  • Precautions have been taken to avoid inter-mingling of supply chain and offline footfalls in stores

2.07 PM: Kerala releases map of route taken by three-member family

The Kerala government has released a map of the route taken by the three-member family, which returned to the state from COVID-19 hit Italy, on February 29, with an aim to track all those who had come in contact with them. All the places visited by the family upon their return have been mentioned in the map, so that people can voluntarily inform authorities if they had come in touch with them.

1.46 PM: Govt issues advisory on hygiene in public transport

Ministry of Health: "To prevent the spread of COVID-19, hygiene and sanitation to be stepped up at all bus terminals and display of public health messages to be ensured on public transport vehicles, bus terminals and bus stops."

1.36 PM: Indian bowlers might limit usage of saliva for shining ball: Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

1.29 PM: Thailand cancels visa on arrival for Indians

Thailand on Wednesday cancelled the grant of visa on arrival for 18 countries and visa exemption for three others to contain the spread of the coronavirus, the country's interior minister said. Previously, nationals of 18 countries or territories could use their passports or travel documents to apply for Visa on Arrival (VoA) at Thai immigration checkpoints. - Reuters

1.20 PM: A 76-year-old man suspected to be infected with coronavirus dies in Karnataka's Kalaburagi, PTI reports citing government sources.

1.14 PM: Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan says efforts on to improve internet quality

"As more people will be working from their homes, efforts were taken to improve the quality and availability of broadband internet. Food will be delivered to families under observation. Respective DCs will ensure this," says the CM.

1.10 PM: Kerala on high alert

State has been put under high alert after 17 positive cases of coronavirus. All public programmes suspended till this March 31. Educational institutions of Classes up to 7 will remain closed. No change in exams for Classes 8 to 10. The state government has also launched a massive awareness programmes across the state.

1.06 PM: Kerala asks Cochin airport staff to place themselves in quarantine

ACK Nair, director of Cochin International Airport Limited: A passenger flew down from Italy some days ago. Later, he tested positive for coronavirus. Keeping this in view, we have asked the airport staff who came in his contact to place themselves under home quarantine.

1.00 PM: Several hundred students stuck in Italy

Hundreds of students from Telangana and Andhra Pradesh have been stranded in Italy, which has be completely shut after over 600 deaths due to coronavirus. Italy saw 36 per cent jump in COVID-19 deaths on Tuesday, the Civil Protection Agency said, which is the largest rise in absolute numbers since the contagion came to light on February 21.

12.54 PM: Govt figures on coronavirus

Ministry of Health and Family Welfare: "10 news cases of #COVID19 confirmed. 8 cases are from Kerala and 1 each from Rajasthan & Delhi. Total cases rise to 60 across the country."

12.18 PM: Farmer buries 6,000 chickens in Karnataka

Coronavirus scare in India has led to a steep fall in chicken prices, forcing poultry farmers to dump chickens. In one such case, a poultry farmer in Karnataka dumped 6,000 chickens, all around a month old, after unfounded fear of transmission of coronavirus from chicken, reports The Times of India.

12.06 PM: Masks placed on idols at Varanasi temple

The 'Shivling' at Prahladeshwar temple have been covered with a mask and posters have been put up in temple appealing devotees to not touch the idols.

11.56 AM: M&M Chairman Anand Mahindra shares a motivational tweet in wake of coronavirus scare in India. "The world is consumed by fear of COVID-19, but here's one ninety plus lady, Mrs. Kaur, who won't be scared at all, in my opinion! She looks like she's ready to outrace the virus. What an inspiration," says the tycoon.

11.53 AM: Delhi HC on coronavirus

The Delhi High Court has asked the central and Delhi governments to file response on the pleas seeking proper preventive measures to control.

11.49 AM: Coronavisus update from J&K

Rohit Kansal, Principal Secretary Planning, Jammu & Kashmir: All primary schools, cinema halls and Anganwari centres in the 5 districts, Jammu, Samba, Kathua, Reasi and Udhampur to be closed till March 31. - ANI

11.37 AM: India reported 18 new cases of coronavirus on Tuesday, taking the number of total cases to 62.

  • Positive from Kerala: 8
  • Maharashtra: 5
  • Karnataka: 4
  • J&K: 1

11.34 AM: The number of new coronavirus cases in India has jumped to 62.

11.30 AM: An Apple employee has tested positive for coronavirus in Ireland. "One of our employees in Cork has been confirmed to have COVID-19," Apple said in a statement.

11.00 AM: In wake of coronavirus, Vietnam has also suspended visa exemptions for eight countries, including the United Kingdom, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Sweden, France, Germany and Spain.

10.50 AM: Govt must prevent cases in Maharashtra: Devendra Fadnavis

"Government should take decision to control and prevent more cases in Maharashtra. At the same time it's necessary that people don't panic about the situation," said former Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis.

10.40 AM: Five positive cases in Pune: Health Minister

"Five positive cases in Pune. Forty people who went to Dubai have been traced. They are under observation and people who were in primary for secondary contact of these people are also under observation," said Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope.

10.33 AM: Three people under observation in Maharashtra

Three people in Maharashtra district are under observation as they had travelled to Dubai with four persons in Pune who have tested positive for the coronavirus, a health official said here on Tuesday. The persons from Beed did not show any symptoms of the virus but were under watch as a precaution, he clarified.

10.26 AM: Not scared, says West Bengal BJP chief

West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh on Tuesday appeared to downplay the global coronavirus scare, asserting that thousands of people at temples across India drink water with their hands and also consume 'prasad', but "nothing happens" as they have the blessings of god. Ghosh said the humankind, which have conquered the world and reached the moon, are now scared of coming out of their homes.

10.19 AM: 58 people evacuated from Iran

The first batch of 58 evacuees from Iran arrived on Tuesday, with 25 men, 31 women and 2 children on board. All the evacuees are monitored and clinically stable presently.

10.17 AM: More than 1,400 contacts have been put under surveillance for these positive cases, till date. Also, 404 Indian contacts of the US citizen tested positive for COVID-19 in Bhutan have been identified and put under surveillance in Assam.

10.16 AM: Coronavirus meet cancelled due to coronavirus

The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) has cancelled a meet, 'Doing Business Under Coronavirus', which was scheduled to be held in New York on Friday. The reason for cancelling the roundtable is believed to be coronavirus itself. As per Bloomberg, the CFR has also cancelled all meetings that were supposed to be held between March 11-April 3.

9.40 AM: Death toll rises to 60 in South Korea

South Korea has reported 242 new cases of coronavirus compared with only 35 a day earlier, bringing the total in Asia's worst outbreak outside mainland China to 7,755, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said. The death toll rose by one to 60.

9.20 AM: Total cases cross the world (WHO figures)

  • Global cases: Over 113,851
  • Global deaths: Over 4,015

9.17 AM: A Mindtree employee, who had a travel history to abroad, has been tested positive for coronavirus...the employee and his family members have been quarantined, reports CNBC TV18.

9.05 AM: Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams appeals to NRI devotees to avoid temple visit at Tirumala for 28 days from the day they have landed in India, reports India Today.

8.58 AM: British health minister tests positive for coronavirus

British junior health minister Nadine Dorries has tested positive for coronavirus and is self-isolating, she said on Tuesday. Dorries said she took all the advised precautions as soon as she was told of her diagnosis. Public Health England has started detailed contact tracing and the department and my parliamentary office are closely following their advice. -- Reuters

8.55 AM: Three cases from Punjab

Five-year-old symptomatic child, who came from Italy recently, admitted to a Gurdaspur hospital in Punjab. Two suspected cases also admitted to PGI Chandigarh.

8.46 AM: Spreading disease is a crime: Kerala Health Minister

Kerala Health Minister KK Shailaja says as per the Public Health Act, people who are supporting or hiding anything that leads to spreading of the disease is a crime. "Those who are not revealing their travel history of coming back from affected areas and countries will be considered a crime," she adds. "If they become positive, they will spread the disease. So we are asking them to reveal their identity and contact health department. Chief Minister has announced that hiding travel history is a crime & proper action will be taken," says the Kerala Health Minister.

8.38 AM: Coronavirus to cost global economy up to $2 trillion: UN

The coronavirus outbreak could cost the global economy up to USD 2 trillion this year, the UN's trade and development agency said, warning that shock from the epidemic will cause a recession in some countries and depress global annual growth to below 2.5 per cent. -- PTI

8.35 AM: India bars more countries

Amid the rising cases of coronavirus affliction globally, India on Tuesday barred entry of the nationals of three more countries -- France, Germany and Spain -- suspending the regular as well as e-Visas granted to them till date.

8.35 AM: Coronavirus death toll jumps 36% to 631 in Italy

The death toll from an outbreak of coronavirus in Italy has jumped by 168 to 631, an increase of 36%, the Civil Protection Agency said on Tuesday, the largest rise in absolute numbers since the contagion came to light on Feb. 21. The total number of cases in Italy, the European country hardest hit by the virus in Europe, rose to 10,149 from a previous 9,172, an increase of 10.7%. The head of the agency said that, of those originally infected, 1,004 had fully recovered compared to 724 the day before. Some 877 people were in intensive care against a previous 733. -- Reuters

8.31 AM: Number could soon rise up to 59

The health ministry says many are being retested for confirmation (of COVID-19). Once the fresh cases declared by the state governments are taken into account, the figure will go up to 59 or even more.

8.22 AM: Travel advisory to employees

The government has said that if people, who have travel history to below-mentioned countries, are working in some organisations/institutions, their respective employers are advised to facilitate work from home during this period.

8.20 AM: Avoid non-essential travel: Health ministry

Indian citizens are advised to avoid non-essential travel abroad.Indian citizens are strongly advised to refrain from travelling to China, Italy, Iran, Republic of Korea, Japan, France, Spain and Germany, says the Ministry of Health.

8.15 AM: New travel advisory for international passengers

All incoming international passengers returning to India should self-monitor their health and follow required do's and dont's on COVID-19, says the government advirosry. Those having travel history to China, Hong Kong, Republic of Korea, Japan, Italy, Thailand, Singapore, Iran, Malaysia, France, Spain and Germany have been advised to undergo self-imposed quarantine for 14 days from date of their arrival.

8.10 AM: Govt puts additional visa restrictions

With respect to restrictions on visa, all regular visas (including e-wisas), which have been granted to nationals of France, Germany and Spain on or before March 11, 2020, where these foreigners have not yet entered India, stands suspended.

8.05 AM: New guidelines on coronavirus

Passengers travelling from/having visited Italy or Republic of Korea & desirous of entering India will need certificate of having tested negative for COVID-19 from designated laboratories authorised by health authorities of these countries from today, says the government.

8.00 AM: Six new coronavirus cases in India

India reported six new cases of coronavirus on Tuesday: three (3) from Bengaluru (with travel history from the US via Dubai); one (1) more from Bengaluru with travel history from US via Heathrow; and two (2) from Pune (travel history from Dubai).