Coronavirus updates | March 11, 2020

Visitors outside COVID-19 ward, opened inside the campus of Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases, in Bengaluru on March 10, 2020.

Visitors outside COVID-19 ward, opened inside the campus of Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases, in Bengaluru on March 10, 2020.

The World Health Organisation has declared the worldwide outbreak of the new coronavirus a pandemic . WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the spread of COVID-19 had reached the level of a pandemic, noting there are now more than 118,000 cases in 114 countries and 4,291 deaths. Dr. Tedros said: “We have rung the alarm bell loud and clear.”


India has suspended all visas , except a few categories such as diplomatic and employment, till April 15 to prevent the spread of coronavirus as 10 new cases were reported taking the total number of patients in the country to 60.  However, as per state health officials, the number of confirmed cases maybe up to 65.

The government also “strongly advised” Indians to avoid all non-essential travel abroad.

Explained: How is India containing COVID-19?


Here are the latest updates:




It's a pandemic, says WHO

Expressing increasing alarm about mounting infections, the World Health Organisation declared on March 11 that the global coronavirus crisis is now a pandemic. 

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who heads the U.N. agency, said the WHO is “deeply concerned by the alarming levels of spread and severity” of the outbreak. He also expressed concern about “the alarming levels of inaction.” 

"We have, therefore, made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic,” he said at a briefing in Geneva.


“All countries can still change the course of this pandemic. If countries detect, test, treat, isolate, trace and mobilize their people in the response,” Dr. Tedros said.

Epidemic vs. pandemic? Glossary of terms for virus outbreak



Karnataka man’s death not confirmed as due to COVID-19, say officials

The 76-year-old man who showed symptoms of COVID-19 after his return from Saudi Arabia died on Tuesday. However, the authorities, in an emergency press conference, clarified that it was not a confirmed case of COVID-19, as the medical investigation report was still awaited.

“It is not a confirmed case of COVID-19 death. The patient was admitted to a private hospital in Kalaburagi on Monday after he developed acute respiratory illness, along with cough, cold and fever. The hospital informed our health department which immediately quarantined the patient in the same hospital,” Deputy Commissioner B. Sharat said.

“The throat swab was collected and sent to National Institute of Virology, Bengaluru on the same day and quarantined around 30 people, including his family members, who were in his close contact, at their respective houses. Meanwhile, the patient was shifted to another private hospital in Hyderabad against medical advice on the same day. Since the respiratory illness was at the advanced stage, the family members lost hope and got the patient discharged from there also.

“The patient died on his way back to Kalaburagi on Wednesday night. We are awaiting the throat swab culture report without which we cannot conclusively say that it is a COVID-19 death.”

District Health and Family Welfare Officer M.A. Jabbar said that the throat swab culture report of the patient was expected on Thursday.



Consulates are in touch with Indian nationals in Iran, says Jaishankar

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar said that Indian consulates are in touch with nationals in Iran where the COVID-19 outbreak is severe and are making efforts to bring them back. Making a statement in the Rajya Sabha he said the government brought back Indian nationals in Wuhan and from a cruise ship in Japan.

“The government's focus has since shifted to Iran. There are 6,000 Indian nationals in various provinces of Iran. As the government started receiving information, direct flights between India and Iran were suspended temporarily from February 25. Our consulates in Iran reached out to Indian nationals and asked them to observe necessary precautions, ” said Mr. Jaishankar.

Iran says virus kills 63 more, death toll climbs to 354

Iran said Wednesday that the new coronavirus killed 63 more people, raising the death toll to 354 amid over 9,000 cases in the Islamic Republic.

Across the Mideast, the vast majority of the 9,000 people who have contracted the virus and the COVID-19 illness it causes are in hard-hit Iran. It has one of the world’s worst death tolls outside of China, the epicenter of the outbreak. Outside the Islamic Republic, only Iraq, Egypt and Lebanon have recorded deaths from the virus in the Mideast.


The government is focusing on bringing back Indians stranded in coronavirus-hit Italy and Iran after screening them, EAM S. Jaishankar says.

The Gujarat government rejects suggestion of the opposition to close malls, and other places of public gathering to stop coronavirus spread in the state.

The Delhi government decides to call a one-day special Assembly session on the NRC-NPR issue and the coronavirus situation in the national capital on March 13, official says.

Music festivals Coachella and Stagecoach are officially postponed due to coronavirus epidemic.

India seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar hinted that the country’s players might limit using saliva to shine the white ball during the first ODI against South Africa on Thursday as a precautionary measure against the coronavirus outbreak.

An Air India pilots’ grouping has urged civil aviation regulator DGCA to exempt pilots from the mandatory pre and post-flight alcohol tests, amid coronavirus scare.

Sri Lanka announces its first coronavirus case, a 52-year-old tour guide who had come in contact with a group of Italian tourists.

All educational institutions, stadiums, and sports clubs in Srinagar will be closed from Thursday till further orders amid coronavirus scare, city administration says.

The Travancore Devaswom Board has appealed to Ayyappa devotees not to visit the holy hillock during the period as part of the governmental efforts to check the spread of the virus.


Italy announces 25 bn euros package to fight coronavirus

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said that Rome was allocating 25 billion euros (USD 28.3 billion) to fight the novel coronavirus outbreak that has killed 631 people in Italy.

“We have allocated an emergency sum of 25 billion euros,” Conte told reporters during a break in a meeting on the government’s response to the rapidly escalating health crisis.

The entire sum “will not all be used immediately,” Conte added.

Economy Minister Roberto Gualtieri said Italy will immediately use “half of these resources” and keep the other half in reserve.

Italy unveiled a 7.5-billion-euro emergency response package last Thursday that officials later said would likely have to be increase to match the rapid rise in new infections and deaths.

A top economy minister had said on Tuesday that the package could reach 10 billion euros.

Italy, whose faltering economy is the third largest in the eurozone, needs special EU permission to spend more than allowed under the bloc’s strict budget rules for its 27 member states.

EU leaders had said they would accept Italy’s request when it still stood at 7.5 billion euros.


‘Heat is not a deterrent for transmission’: Your COVID-19 queries answered

The Hindu had invited readers to send in queries related to COVID-19. Here are answers to selected questions.


India not to allow cruise ships with travel history to coronavirus-hit nations till Mar 31

India 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.

“Only those international cruise ships which had planned and intimated their call to an Indian Port not later than 1st January, 2020 will be allowed to call on such port.

“Any international cruise ship or any member of its crew or any passenger therein having a travel history of visiting any of the Covid-19 affected countries... since 1st Feb, 2020; will not be permitted to enter any Indian port till 31st March, 2020,” the Ministry of Shipping said.

The government said international cruise ships will be allowed only at ports having thermal screening facilities for passengers and crew members.

If any passenger/crew member of cruise ships show symptoms of coronavirus, disembarking will not be permitted, it added.


Formula One team staff tested for virus at Australian GP

Three Formula One team staff members have been isolated at the Australian Grand Prix while tests are conducted for the new coronavirus, officials said, casting a shadow over the opening race of the year.

Two were from the Haas F1 team and one from McLaren.

“Two personnel were showing some symptoms so they got themselves checked out and have put themselves into self-isolation, as they should, while they await results,” a Haas official told AFP.

A McLaren official added: “We can confirm that one team member has self-isolated in the hotel as a precaution, in line with our policy, after showing symptoms similar to coronavirus.

“We expect to receive the results overnight. The team is operating as per our normal schedule.”


Ladakh UT shuts all colleges, university till March 31

The Ladakh administration has closed all colleges and the university in the union territory from Wednesday until March 31 as a precautionary measure in consideration of the coronavirus outbreak.


Cinema halls in entire Jammu region to be shut till March 31

The Jammu and Kashmir administration has ordered closure of primary schools and aganwadi centres in five districts of Jammu and cinema halls across the region till March 31.


Chennai Metro is planning to put out awareness announcements



No fans allowed in India Open

The India Open Super 500 tournament, a crucial event for the Tokyo Olympic qualification, will be held without any spectators due to the global novel coronavirus outbreak, Badminton Association of India (BAI) said.

The USD 400,000 tournament was under threat in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, which has claimed over 4000 lives and infected more than 100,000 people globally.

However, BAI and the Badminton World Federation (BWF) on Wednesday issued a joint statement, making it clear that the event will go ahead as originally planned adding that precautionary measures will be taken for the smooth conduct of the tournament.

“The YONEX-SUNRISE India Open 2020 to be staged in New Delhi from 24-29 March will go ahead as planned,” the statement said.


Virus outbreak in China may affect Indian industries: Goyal

The shutdown of factories in China due to the coronavirus outbreak may affect Indian industries like pharmaceutical, electronics and automobile which import components and raw materials from the neighbouring country, Parliament was informed.

Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said the outbreak has led to restrictions on movement of people and business activities in many provinces of China, in order to control the spread of the virus.

“The closure of factories in China may affect Indian industries, which import components, intermediaries and raw materials from China like the pharmaceutical, electronics and automobile industries,” Mr. Goyal said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.

He said the government is engaged with Export Promotion Councils and trade bodies on assessing and addressing potential disruptions in their supply chains.

The government is also in talks with the councils and trade bodies with missions abroad to secure and transport inventories available with the existing suppliers and find alternative sources of supply, he added.


River cruise boat quarantined in Cambodia

Scores of passengers and crew aboard a river cruise boat are being held under quarantine in eastern Cambodia after a British passenger tested positive for the coronavirus.

The vessel belonging to Viking River Cruises is under police guard as it remains moored on the Mekong River outside the town of Kampong Cham.


Bureau of Immigration issues advisory to international passengers on travel, visa restrictions

The Bureau of Immigration (BoI) has asked all incoming international passengers returning to the country to self-monitor their health and follow required do’s and dont’s as detailed by the Union Government.

Further, all passengers having travel history to China, Hong Kong, Republic of Korea, Japan, Italy, Thailand, Singapore, Iran, Malaysia, France, Spain and Germany are advised to undergo self-imposed quarantine for a period of 14 days from the date of their arrival.

The BoI, in a detailed advisory related to travel and visa restrictions related to COVID-19 , said if such passengers are working in some organisations or institutions, their respective employers are advised to facilitate work from home during this period.



Kerala govt releases route map of journey of Pathanamthitta 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.


The text in Malayalam reads: "This is the map covering the route taken by the family tested positive for COVID-19. If you were at the above mentioned place at the mentioned date and time, please contact 9188297118, 9188294118.



Virus cluster around Seoul call centre raises alarm

A virus cluster connected to a call centre in one of the busiest areas of Seoul has raised alarms that South Korea’s outbreak — thought to have been waning — has gained a foothold in the more populated capital region.

More than half of South Korea’s 51 million people live in the Seoul metropolitan area.

So far, 93 people have tested positive among the call centre’s employees and their families, Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon said Wednesday in a briefing broadcast over YouTube. The number could grow as tests are being done on people who worked on other floors of the Korea Building in Seoul’s Guro district.

While most of the infected workers live in Seoul, some of them commuted from nearby cities such as Incheon and Bucheon, raising concern about a broader spread through public transit.



Goa man who travelled to Italy kept under watch

A 27-year-old man from Goa, who travelled to Italy and Finland last month and came in contact with a COVID-19 patient, has been kept at an isolation ward of a state-run hospital in Panaji after he complained of cough and fever, Goa Health Minister Vishwajit Rane said on Wednesday.

The man, a native of Vasco town in South Goa, was working on a ship and returned to the coastal state two days back, Rane said. “He had come in contact with a coronavirus patient mid-February while he was working on a ship,” the minister said in a statement.



85-year-old man tests positive in Jaipur

An 85-year-old man, who returned from Dubai to Jaipur on February 28, was sent to the isolation ward in Sawai Man Singh Government Hospital here after he was tested positive for COVID-19 infection . His confirmatory test with fresh samples was done on Tuesday night after his initial test turned out to be positive.

The octogenarian resident of Adarsh Nagar locality in the city, who was suffering from fever, cough and breathing problems since he arrived here, was earlier taken to two private hospitals, which referred him to SMS Hospital for diagnosis.



42 passengers from Italy quarantined in Kochi hospitals

In the wake of COVID-19 cases being widely reported, nine out of the 42 people who arrived from Italy on Wednesday morning have been referred to the Government Medical College, Ernakulam, while the remaining 33 people have been isolated at the Aluva district hospital.

All were passengers of the Qatar Airways which came from Italy to Kochi via Doha.



People with travel history to Italy, South Korea need ‘negative’ COVID-19 certificate to enter India

In addition to visa restrictions, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has stated that people travelling from or having visited Italy and South Korea will now have to submit certificate of having tested negative for COVID-19 by the health authorities from laboratories at designated labs in their countries.

This measure came into effect from March 10 and is a temporary measure until cases of COVID-19 subsides.



Latest sample of COVID-19 patient from Chennai, Telangana tests negative

The latest test result of a 45-year-old man, who returned from Muscat and tested positive for COVID-19, has returned negative, top officials of the Health Department said. The patient, who is undergoing treatment at the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital (RGGGH), was asymptomatic and fine, officials said.

The 24-year-old index (first) COVID-19 case from Telangana would be discharged in four days if he tests negative in the second consecutive test. The youngster who was admitted to Gandhi Hospital with viral pneumonia on March 1, tested negative for coronavirus infection for the first time on Sunday.



UK health minister tests positive for coronavirus

Britain's Conservative MP Nadine Dorries. File

Britain's Conservative MP Nadine Dorries. File


British MP Nadine Dorries, a minister in the health department, has tested positive for coronavirus , she said in a statement on Tuesday. “I can confirm I have tested positive for coronavirus... and have been self-isolating at home,” said the Conservative MP.

Health officials are now trying to trace where she contracted the virus and who she has been in contact with, she added.



Turkey announces first coronavirus case

Turkey announced Wednesday its first coronavirus case, a man who had recently travelled to Europe and is in good health.

“The test of a patient suspected of carrying the coronavirus returned positive,” Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said in a television broadcast.

He added that the man was likely to have contracted COVID-19 while travelling in Europe, but declined to say which country or where in Turkey the patient had been hospitalised.



168 die in Italy, highest single-day toll

Italy recorded 168 deaths on Tuesday from COVID-19, its highest single-day toll to date, pushing the number of fatalities outside China to more than 1,000.

Overall in Italy, 631 people have died from the disease and 10,149 have been infected in just over two weeks.

Andhra Pradesh

Door-to-door survey to begin today

The State government will conduct a two-day door-to-door survey starting Wednesday to identify the persons who had recently been to novel coronavirus (COVID-19) affected countries.

The ground level survey is to reach out to the persons who have not undergone 28-day mandatory observation and isolation and check any possibility of the spread of the virus.



Airport gets more doctors, thermometers to screen all arriving passengers

With all international passengers arriving into the country being screened for COVID-19 and the resultant queues over the long weekend, Mumbai airport has added 90 doctors and infrared thermometers.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), meanwhile, has pulled up airlines for not ensuring enough self-declaration forms are available on board, leading to crowds at the terminals.



147 under observation

As many as 147 people are under observation for suspected COVID-19 infection in Kozhikode district on Tuesday.

Also read:Some dos and don’ts to fight COVID-19

District Medical Officer V. Jayasree said in a release that 61 of them were newly added. Seven persons are under observation in the isolation ward attached to the Government Medical College Hospital and eight at the Government General Hospital, Kozhikode.

Also read:Kerala in partial shutdown mode

Ten body fluid samples of suspected patients had been sent for lab tests. Mental health counselling was given to two persons.


All four patients in city are stable

The condition of all the four persons who have tested positive for COVID-19 in Bengaluru is stable. They are currently admitted in the State-run Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases (RGICD) and responding well to treatment.

Also read:Fourth positive case made least contacts

A day after Karnataka reported the first confirmed COVID-19 case, three more persons tested positive in Bengaluru on Tuesday.


Visas suspended

The Central government has in a release issued late on Tuesday night noted that all regular Visas (including e-Visas) which have been granted to nationals of France, Germany and Spain on or before March 11, 2020 and where these foreigners have not yet entered India stand suspended.

Also read:Gulf travel plans of NRIs go awry

“Visas of all foreigners already in India remain valid and they may contact the nearest FRRO/FRO through e-FRRO module for extension/conversion etc of their visa or grant of any consular service, if they choose to do so. A notification to this effect is being issued by the Bureau of Immigration (BOI),” it added.

(With inputs from agencies)

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