Coronavirus updates | March 14, 2020

Padma awards ceremony postponed

March 14, 2020 07:30 am | Updated March 16, 2020 07:28 am IST

Health officials and ambulance drivers in personal protective gear by the side of the seven-storey COVID19 screening and 30-room isolation facility at Ernakulam Medical College.

Health officials and ambulance drivers in personal protective gear by the side of the seven-storey COVID19 screening and 30-room isolation facility at Ernakulam Medical College.

Even as a 68-year-old woman in Delhi became India’s second victim of coronavirus, a national emergency was declared in the United States on Friday over the fast spreading coronavirus to free up $50 billion in federal aid. Mr. Trump also said he would “most likely” be tested for the virus himself soon after facing possible exposure.

Meanwhile, with the second death and more than 80 positive cases of COVID-19 , India has launched a containment lockdown, according to experts, with several States closing schools, colleges and theatres and cancelling public events.

COVID-19 | Interactive map of confirmed coronavirus cases in India

The country, which is in the second stage of transmission, recorded the second fatality in the national capital. Health officials confirmed that the Delhi resident, who came in contact with her COVID-19 positive son, died at RML Hospital on March 13 night.

We have been covering the developments related to the coronavirus pandemic as it unfolded. Here are answers from experts on your queries about the virus, and a map of confirmed cases in India .

Here are the latest updates:

9.35 p.m.

No fresh cases in Kerala, monitoring of people reaching by road & rail to be strengthened

No fresh cornonavirus cases were reported in Kerala on Saturday, as the government decided to strengthen monitoring of people who reach the State by rail and road, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said.

Mr. Vijayan, who chaired the daily evaluation meet in Thiruvananthapuram, told reporters that a total of 302 people are in isolation wards in hospitals across the state.

“A total of 7,677 people are under observation in the state, out of which 7,375 people are under home quarantine and 302 are in isolation wards across the state.

Out of the total of 1,897 samples sent for testing, 1,345 tested negative,” the Chief Minister said.

Coronavirus care centres would be set up near airports in the state, he said.

The restrictions imposed have succeeded in limiting the spread to a certain extent, Mr. Vijayan said, adding that a set of volunteers would be enrolled to aid the health department and they would be given special training by the officials.

“A special team will monitor all the passengers of inter-state trains at the first station inside Kerala borders.


8.50 p.m.

Don’t conceal coronavirus-like symptoms, consult doctor immediately: Mamata

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee urged people on Saturday to not conceal coronavirus-like symptoms such as fever and cold, and immediately consult a doctor.

Appealing to people not to panic, she said there was no emergency-like situation in the state, but everyone should remain alert.

“Do not conceal if you are suffering from fever and cough or facing breathing problems. Go to the doctor straightaway. Remember, if you take rest for 14 days, chances of your recovery are there,” the Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo told Bengali television news channel "ABP Ananda".

Referring to the shutting of educational institutions in the state, she said it was a precautionary measure.

The chief minister also urged teachers to readjust the time-table of academic courses and asked them to work from home.

“We must continue with our normal life but take all precautionary measures. There is no problem in West Bengal at the moment, but that does not mean nothing will happen. We have to remain alert,” she said.

Ms. Banerjee said the ongoing budget session of the state Assembly should be shortened in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

8.30 p.m.

Centre frames guidelines on handling of COVID-19 casualties

Amid a controversy over the cremation of the 68-year-old woman who died in Delhi after being infected with novel coronavirus, the Union health ministry has begun working on framing guidelines for handling the bodies of those who die of the disease.

Though it is unlikely that coronavirus infection could spread from handling of a body, the guidelines are being drafted to dispel any misconception and raise awareness regarding spread of the disease from a deceased, a health ministry official said.

“Coronavirus infection is a respiratory disease which spreads through droplets and the probability of mortuary or disposal staff contracting the virus from the dead is unlikely as against in case of high-risk pathogens like Ebola and Nipah which have very high chances of spreading through direct contact with body-fluids of the deceased,” the official said.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines on ‘Infection prevention and control of epidemic and pandemic-prone acute respiratory infections in health care’ recommends proper use of personal protection equipment in accordance with standard precautions to avoid direct contact with body fluids while moving a body from isolation room or area.

About mortuary care and post-mortem examination, WHO recommends packing and transporting a body with acute respiratory infection to a morgue, crematorium or burial by ensuring it is fully sealed in an impermeable body bag before being removed from the isolation area to avoid leakage of body fluid.

“When properly packed in a body bag, the body can be safely removed for storage in the mortuary, sent to the crematorium, or placed in a coffin for burial,” it said.

The global health body advises using personal protective equipment such as disposable, long-sleeved, cuffed gowns for handling bodies; if the outside of the body is visibly contaminated with body fluids, excretions, or secretions, it has to be ensured that the gown is waterproof.

It further recommends that mortuary staff and burial team apply standard precautions like proper hand hygiene and use appropriate personal protective equipment, including facial protection, if there is a risk of splashes from the patient’s body fluids or secretions onto the body or face of the staff member.

“Transmission of lethal infectious diseases associated with mortuary care has been reported... manage each situation on a case-by-case basis, balancing the rights of the family with the risks of exposure to infection,” WHO said.


6 p.m.

Maharashtra govt. orders closedown of schools, colleges

The Maharashtra government has ordered closedown of schools and colleges in the area of jurisdiction under municipal corporations, city councils and nagar panchayats. The decision is effective till March 30. All examinations except Class X and XII have been postponed. All anganwadis along with Private coaching classes have been closed down too. The information was from State's Health Minister Rajesh Tope.

"Strict action will be taken against rumour mongering. Prisons will be checked too" Home Minister Anil Deshmukh in the Assembly.

5. 45 p.m.

Casinos, pubs, other public places to remain closed in Goa

The Goa government on Saturday announced closure of educational institutes and public places including casinos, swimming pools and pubs in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak in the country till March 31. The order will come into force from Sunday (March 15) midnight.


5. 35 p.m.

Two more test positive in Maharashtra’s Yavatmal

Two people who had returned from Dubai test positive for coronavirus in Maharashtra’s Yavatmal.


5 p.m.

Padma awards postponed

The Ministry of Home Affairs announced that the Padma awards ceremony scheduled to be held on April 3 has been postponed. The date and time of the ceremony will be announced at a later date.

4. 45 p.m.

BCCI, AIFF suspend tournaments

BCCI suspends Irani Cup tie, the last fixture of men's domestic season, scheduled between Saurashtra and Rest of India in Rajkot from March 18 due to COVID-19 outbreak.

Women's Challenger Series, scheduled in Ahmedabad from March 29, has also been suspended. No domestic cricket will be played till further notice, the cricket body has said.

Also, the All India Football Federation on Saturday suspended tournaments at all levels, including the flagship I-League, till March 31 owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The suspension will come into effect from Sunday.

“Adhering to the advisories issued by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, and directives from several State Governments, all footballing activities under the aegis of AIFF stay suspended till March 31, 2020,” the country’s apex football body said in a statement.


Nagpur | 4.30 p.m.

One more tests positive in Nagpur

One more person tested positive for coronavirus in Nagpur on Saturday, taking the number of such cases in the city to four and in Maharashtra to 20, officials said.

“A 43-year-old man has tested positive for coronavirus in Nagpur. He was admitted to the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) in the city,” officials said.

“He had travelled to the US along with the man, who is the first person to be found positive for coronavirus in the city,” they said.

With this, the total number of coronavirus cases in Nagpur has gone up to four now, they said.

Of the total number of coronavirus positive patients in the state, 10 are in Pune, four in Mumbai, and one each in Thane and Ahmednagar, officials said.


Rwanda | 4.15 p.m.

Indian man tests positive in Rwanda

Rwanda has confirmed its first case of  coronavirus , an Indian citizen who arrived in the East African nation from Mumbai on March 8, the Health Ministry said on Saturday.

He had no symptoms on arrival but presented himself to a health facility on March 13, the ministry said. Rwanda is the 19th African nation to report the presence of coronavirus.

“He is currently under treatment in stable condition, isolated from other patients,” the ministry said. “The tracing of all contacts has been conducted for further management.”


3.20 pm

COVID-19 a 'disaster'

The Ministry of Home Affairs has notified COVID-19 as a 'disaster' for providing assistance under State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF).

An ex-gratia relief of Rs.  4 lakh to kin of those who died of COVID-19, cost of hospitalisation for managing patients as fixed by State Government, will be provided.

3.10 pm

US Embassy, Consulates in India cancel all visa appointments from Mar 16

The US Embassy and Consulates in India have cancelled all visa appointments from March 16 in the wake of coronavirus outbreak.

A statement issued by the US Embassy here said, “US Mission India posts, in light of the global COVID-19 pandemic, are cancelling immigrant and non-immigrant visa appointments from March 16, 2020, onward.”

“Your visa appointment stands as cancelled. Once Mission India resumes regular consular operations, appointments will be made available and you will be able to reschedule,” it said.

West Bengal | 3 p.m.

West Bengal govt. closes all educational institutions till March 31

The West Bengal Government on Saturday announced that all schools, colleges and universities in the State will remain closed till March 31, in the view of evolving situation on the spread of COVID-19 .

“It has been decided that all Government, government- aided, private educational institutions- schools, colleges, universities, madrsahs, SSK / MSK will remain closed from 16 March , 2020 to 31 March 2020 in public interest," a press release issued by the State government said.


West Bengal | 2.30 p.m.

West Bengal seals border with Bhutan

The West Bengal government has sealed the State’s border with Bhutan in the wake of novel coronavirus pandemic, a senior official said on Saturday.

The West Bengal Police, which mans the border gate on the Indian side in Jaigaon in Alipurduar district, stopped the movement of goods and travellers from India to Bhutan on Friday evening, the official said.

The move comes after Bhutan recently issued a notification to the Alipurduar district administration informing it about a halt in tourist and business activities in the wake of coronavirus outbreak, he said.

The Himalayan kingdom had earlier this month banned the entry of foreigners after an American tourist tested positive for the coronavirus.

Hyderabad | 2.10 pm

Fresh case of COVID-19 reported in Hyderabad

Less than 12 hours after Telangana reported its only COVID-19 patient has recovered, another patient has tested positive for the virus. The patient has been placed in isolation and being treat in Gandhi Hospital, Hyderabad.

The patient had recently travelled to Italy, Chief Minister K. Chandrashekara Rao told the Assembly.

A high-level meeting of Health Minister, secretaries of various departments is underway to review preventive measures to check spread of corona virus in Telangana.

The Chief Minister has called for a Cabinet meeting at 6 pm.

Nagpur| 1.30 p.m.

Four admitted in Nagpur hospital return home without informing authorities

Four persons admitted to a government-run hospital in Nagpur for suspected coronavirus infection, returned home without informing the authorities, police said on Saturday. The incident occurred late Friday night, they said.

According to police, the four persons were later traced and asked to return to the hospital. Their test results are awaited.

“Four persons, including two women, had come to the Indira Gandhi Government Medical College and Hospital (IGGMCH) on Friday morning to give their blood samples for suspected coronavirus infection. They were kept in the isolation ward.

However, at night they left the hospital without informing the authorities,” a police official said.

“We later traced them and contacted them on phone.

They have been asked to return to the hospital. They told us that they were annoyed over the delay in getting the test results and also over sharing the toilet with coronavirus positive patients admitted in the hospital,” he added.

So far, three persons have been found positive for coronavirus infection in Nagpur.

Hyderabad | 12.50 pm

Telangana’s first COVID-19 patient discharged

The index (first) COVID-19 case from Telangana was discharged from Gandhi Hospital on Friday night. Though guidelines state that a person who tested positive for coronavirus can be discharged after 14 days of isolation at hospital provided he/she tests negative twice consecutively, the index case from the State was discharged on the 13th day, the date of admission (March 1) included.

The 24-year-old man will be in would be under home isolation for 14 days more. His medical condition would be monitored for the fortnight.

Tiruchi | 12.35 pm

Screening at temples

Devotees being screened by health officials to prevent the further movement of people with COVID-2019 symptoms, at Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple in Srirangam on Saturday, March 14, 2020.

Devotees being screened by health officials to prevent the further movement of people with COVID-2019 symptoms, at Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple in Srirangam on Saturday, March 14, 2020.


A day after the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam management set up a screening camp each at Alipiri and Srivarimettu as a precautionary measure, authorities screened devotees at Srirangam Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple in Srirangam, near Tiruchi in Tamil Nadu.

In tune with the measures taken by the Central and State governments to contain the spread of COVID-19 , the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) has embarked on a twin-pronged strategy to create awareness among pilgrims, and to screen them at the entry point.

12.30 pm

Saudi cancels international flights for two weeks

Saudi Arabia said Saturday that it would halt all international flights to the kingdom for two weeks in the latest effort to contain the spread of COVID-19 infection.

Gulf nations have been scrambling to contain the pandemic, which has spread to more than 100 countries and infected more than 130,000 people. Of special concern is nearby Iran, where one of the worst outbreaks has infected more than 11,000 and killed more than 400 .

12.15 p.m.

Nearly 12 lakh international passengers screened for coronavirus: Civil Aviation Ministry

Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Saturday said so far nearly 12 lakh passengers coming from abroad have been screened for coronavirus at various airports across the country.

Speaking at “Wings India 2020” an aviation related event in Hyderabad, the Union Minister said there would be a drop of 15 to 20% in domestic air traffic for the time being due to the virus concerns.

He further said, out of over 11 lakh passengers who were screened at 30 airports only 3,225 were referred to tests.

Indian airports have “set up a benchmark” for other countries in terms of taking precautionary measures such as screening and making facilities available at aerodromes in the wake of the virus outbreak, he added.

11.50 am

Rajasthan closes schools, cinema halls till March 30

Rajasthan government on Saturday decided to close all educational institutions, coaching centres, gymnasiums, cinema halls and theatres till March 30 to prevent the spread ofcoronavirus .

Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, who presided over a high-level meeting here, said the decision had been taken as a precautionary measure in accordance with the Centre’s advisory after the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared COVID-19 a global pandemic . Read more

11.30 am

Australia-New Zealand remaining ODI games cancelled

The  two remaining games of the Chappell-Hadlee ODI series between Australia and New Zealand were on Saturday cancelled  as the visiting will have to hurry back home to avoid a new set of travel restrictions owing to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

According to a report in ‘ESPNCricinfo’, a three-match T20 International series that was scheduled in New Zealand after the ODI series in Australia also stands cancelled at the moment. Read more

10.25 am

Keralites stranded in Rome arrive at Kochi airport

An Emirates flight carrying a section of the 40-odd Malayalis stranded at Fiumicino International Airport in Rome for over three days landed at the Cochin International Airport Limited on Saturday around 8.30 a.m.

A total of 21 stranded passengers were flown to Kochi this morning, CIAL said.

Flights to Iran were cancelled though limited number of commercial flights to evacuate citizens from Iran .

The stranding was because of the March 6 notification that made 'pre-flight negative tests' mandatory before boarding from Italy and South Korea. Iran,  Italy and South Korea are the worst hit apart from China. The notification came in force on 10 March midnight surprising many passengers. Read more

10.15 am

RSS meet in Bengaluru cancelled

Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh’s Akhil Bharatiya Pratinidhi Sabha (ABPS), which was to begin on March 15 in Bengaluru, has been cancelled owing to restrictions imposed on public gatherings to prevent spread of COVID-19 .

The government of Karnataka has imposed several restrictions for a week on all places and events of public gathering starting Saturday. Read more

10.00 am

Swaminarayan sect closes all temples globally

In view of the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus, the Swaminarayan sect has announced to close all its temples globally and suspend routine activities until further notice as part of its efforts to protect the health of volunteers, visitors and local communities.

COVID-19 , which has been declared as a pandemic by the World Health Organisation, has claimed over 5,000 lives, including 41 in the US, and infected more than 134,000 people globally.

The Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam (BAPS) Swaminarayan Sanstha, which runs about 100 temples in the US, over the weekend in particular is visited by thousands of devotees every month.

The BAPS is a volunteer-driven organisation that aims to improve society through individual growth by fostering Hindu ideals of faith, unity, and selfless service.

To prevent large gatherings, BAPS mandirs (temples) will be closed throughout the world, but devotees will be given daily darshan through the websites of each mandir, the BAPS said in a media release.

9.20 am

U.S. summons Chinese envoy over Beijing's coronavirus comments

The U.S. State Department summoned the Chinese ambassador to the United States on Friday to protest against comments by Beijing suggesting the U.S. military might have brought the coronavirus to Wuhan, as tensions between the two global powers over the outbreak intensified.

David Stillwell, the top U.S. diplomat for East Asia, delivered a very “stern representation” to China's ambassador Cui Tiankai, a State Department official said, adding that Beijing's envoy was “very defensive.”

The State Department official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said China was seeking to deflect criticism of its role in “starting a global pandemic and not telling the world.”

“Spreading conspiracy theories is dangerous and ridiculous. We wanted to put the government on notice we won't tolerate it for the good of the Chinese people and the world.” Read more

9.00 am

Latin America death toll rises to 5

Argentina announced its second coronavirus-related death on Friday as Ecuador reported its first, taking the total death toll in Latin America to five as the virus shows signs of spreading rapidly.

Venezuela, Uruguay, Guatemala and Suriname reported their first cases of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Overall cases in the region have more than doubled in the last two days to over 340 as the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) warned governments on Thursday to prepare their health services to cope.

8.15 am

Canada shuts Parliament

Canada shut down Parliament and advised against all non-essential travel outside the country while Prime Minister Justin Trudeau governed remotely from his home, in self-imposed quarantine after his wife tested positive for the new coronavirus.

Dr. Theresa Tam, the chief public health officer, also advised more social distancing, no handshakes and kisses.

The Canadian government is advising the cancellation of all large events like concerts. Transport Minister Marc Garneau said cruise ships with more than 500 people will not be able to dock in Canada until July 1.

Overseas flights returning to Canada will also be restricted to a small number of airports in the country.

Canada’s House of Commons voted to shut down for at least five weeks to help ensure lawmakers do not contribute to the spread of the virus.

The moves came a day after Mr. Trudeau’s wife tested positive . The Prime Minister himself has been in self-imposed quarantine.

8.00 am

Miami mayor tests positive for virus after Brazilian event

The mayor of the city of Miami has tested positive for the new coronavirus after meeting with a Brazilian senior official who was also in close proximity to President Donald Trump.

Also read: Europe now ‘epicentre’ of COVID-19 pandemic: WHO

Mayor Francis Suarez said in a Friday statement that he was not feeling any symptoms and advised anyone who shook hands with him or was close to him since Monday to self-isolate for 14 days.

Florida politicians such as US Sen. Rick Scott had expressed concerns about coming into contact with the Brazilian president’s press secretary Fabio Wajngarten, who tested positive after joining Bolsonaro in a visit to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate last weekend.

As of Friday afternoon, Florida tallied 45 people in the state testing positive for COVID19, ranging in age from 25 to 83, the state health department announced. Two of them have died. Most appear to be travel-related but in more than a dozen cases, the route of infection was not immediately clear.

7.45 am

Jaipur Foot USA postpones mega camp in Patna

The Jaipur Foot’s US chapter has deferred a mega camp in Patna to provide the needy artificial limbs in view of travel restrictions and precautionary measures implemented by the government of India to combat the novel coronavirus.

“The new dates of the Dr B R Ambedkar mega camp will be announced soon,” Jaipur Foot USA chairman Prem Bhandari said.

Hundreds of differently-abled people from in and around the Bihar capital were slated to get artificial limbs and other equipment at the April 14 camp, which was being organised to mark the 129th birth anniversary of Dr B.R. Ambedkar.

7.30 am

New Zealand cancels mosque massacre remembrance

New Zealand has cancelled a national remembrance service to mark Sunday’s first anniversary of the Christchurch mosque attacks because of coronavirus fears, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.

“This is a pragmatic decision. We’re very saddened to cancel, but in remembering such a terrible tragedy, we shouldn’t create the risk of further harm being done,” Ms. Ardern said Saturday. Read more

(With inputs from agencies)

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