Coronavirus updates | March 15, 2020

Italy hits one-day record with 368 deaths. Number of confirmed cases in India has crossed 110.

Updated - March 16, 2020 12:29 am IST

Published - March 15, 2020 08:12 am IST

People pray in the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie alle Fornaci, at Aurelio district in central Rome on March 15, 2020 as Italy imposed unprecedented national restrictions on its 60 million people to counter the coronavirus outbreak.

People pray in the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie alle Fornaci, at Aurelio district in central Rome on March 15, 2020 as Italy imposed unprecedented national restrictions on its 60 million people to counter the coronavirus outbreak.

The Union Health Ministry on Sunday said there were 110 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country. However, reports from States put the figure of persons testing positive at 114. Italy recorded 368 new deaths from the novel coronavirus, its highest one-day increase to date. The worldwide death toll rose past 6,000, with nearly 160,000 infections after 105 died in Spain. While China remains the country with the most deaths, the pandemic is now spreading more rapidly in Europe.

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


11.15 pm


Italy hits one-day record with 368 new coronavirus deaths: official data

Italy recorded 368 new deaths from the novel coronavirus, its highest one-day increase to date, taking the total to 1,809, the most outside China, official data showed.

The number of infections has reached 24,747, a count released to the media by Italy's civil protection service said.

The northern Lombardy region around Milan remained the European epicentre of the pandemic, officially reporting 1,218 deaths, or 67% of the Italian total.

But March 15 also saw the number of deaths in the southeastern Puglia region around the city of Bari double from eight to 16.

The Lazio region that includes the Italian capital Rome has officially recorded 16 deaths in all — up from 13 on March 15 — and 436 infections.


11.00 pm

Singapore confirms 14 more  cases

Fourteen new coronavirus positive cases were reported in Singapore on Sunday, taking the total number of such cases to 226 in the island-nation.

It is the highest number of new cases Singapore has reported in a single day. Three patients are linked to previous cases.

9.50 pm

Uttarakhand reports first coronavirus case

Uttarakhand on Sunday reported its first confirmed case of coronavirus with a probationer at the Forest Research Institute (FRI) testing positive for the virus.

The probationer had returned from Spain on March 11, Director (Health) SK Gupta told PTI .

A designated laboratory in Haldwani confirmed he is suffering from coronavirus, he said.

He has been admitted at the isolation ward of Doon Medical College and Hospital, the official said.

Originally from Agra in neighbouring Uttar Pradesh, the probationer’s swab samples had been sent along with that of another person to Haldwani for testing as they had both returned from Spain recently, he said.

The second person has tested negative, he said quoting, reports from Haldwani that arrived on Sunday.

Swab samples of the two had been sent after they showed coronavirus symptoms, he said.

8.25 pm

Two more test positive in Kerala

On Sunday, two more confirmed cases were confirmed from Kerala. One person is from Munnar and another one from Thiruvananthapuram.

8.00 pm

One more tested positive in Maharashtra

A woman residing in Pune district’s Pimpri-Chinchwad area with a travel history to Japan tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday, taking the total tally in the district to 16 and the State’s tally of positive cases to 33, Pune Divisional Commissioner Dr. Deepak Mhaisekar on Sunday.

He said the patient's swab sample was sent for testing on March 14 and had returned positive. This is the sixth case in the Pimpri-Chinchwad area to test positive for COVID-19 within 24 hours after five persons – three women and two men - tested positive on Saturday.

Thus far, a total nine cases in the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation and seven cases in the Pune Municipal Corporation have tested positive for COVID-19.

Maharastra Health Minister Rajesh Tope on Sunday said the police had been instructed to impose Section 144 of the CrPC, if required, to prohibit large crowds in wake of the outbreak.


7.30 pm

Global death toll passes 6,000

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

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


7.10 pm

One more test positive in Karnataka

One more person from Kalaburagi has been confirmed in Karnataka. The patient had been in contact with the 76 year old man who died on March 12 .

6.55 pm

Spain reports 2,000 new virus cases and more than 100 deaths

Spain on Sunday reported some 2,000 new coronavirus cases and more than a hundred deaths over the last 24 hours, the latest spike in Europe's second-most affected country after Italy.

The new figures raise Spain's number of COVID-19 infections to 7,753 — and its death toll to 288 — after the government imposed a near-total nationwide lockdown, banning people from leaving home except to go to work, get medical care or buy food.

5.30 pm

PM Modi, SAARC leaders participate in video conference to chalk out strategy

"We evacuated nearly 1400 citizens including some from our neighbouring countries. We recognize other countries are also concerned about safety of citizens in India. So we briefed foreign diplomats," Prime Minister Narendra Modi said.

Mr. Modi offered $10 million for SAARC COVID-19 emergency fund.

India offered online training capsules for SAARC emergency response teams.


"We are in an unknown territory. Our major vulnerability is the border with Iran," Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said. He suggested a common framework for tele-medicine for helping the poor and the vulnerable in South Asia. He sought coordination between SAARC and SCO for learning from the Chinese experience.


President of the Maldives Ibrahim Mohamed Solih said Maldives has 13 COVID-19 cases. There has been no death so far. Tourist arrivals declined by 22.8% in Maldives in March. A 35% drop in tourism is expected this year. Tourism contributes a quarter of Maldives' GDP, he said. He added that $446 million shortfall due to COVID-19 is expected this year.

"Long term recovery plan should be included in the comprehensive regional strategy on COVID-19," Mr. Solih said.

Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said there are a large number of Sri Lankans in Italy, adding that "all nationals arriving will spend 14 days quarantine in different locations in Sri Lanka".  He said the first patient was a Chinese lady who recovered. "At present we have 11 cases in hospitals," he said.

Mr. Rajapaksa said a national task force has been created, with power that meets daily to stop the spread of COVID-19. Twelve hospitals have been declared suitable for treating the disease in Sri Lanka.

"34 Sri Lankan students were evacuated from Wuhan by Air Lanka. They were quarantined for 14 days. None tested positive. 750 Sri Lankans are in various universities in China. They are quarantined.

"Sri Lankan general elections will be held on time but big meetings are discouraged.

"All major international conferences meetings have beencancelled. Gatherings for religious reasons have been stopped for two weeks," Mr. Rajapaksa added. Any passenger coming from high risk countries will be quarantined in Sri Lanka . Because of these reasons, the country's economy has taken a hit. Tourists from Italy, Germany and EU are the main visitors to Sri Lanka, he said.


Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina thanked Mr. Modi for hosting 23 Bangladeshi students evacuated from China. So far there have been three COVID-19 cases in Bangladesh, she said.

"All SAARC countries need to collaborate to defeat COVID-19. WHO regional leader can be invited in this mechanism.

"Bangladesh will be happy to host a SAARC based institution to fight COVID-19," she said.


Prime Minister of Nepal, K.P. Oli, said the movement of third country nationals through the land border has been suspended. All mountaineering permits have been suspended for spring 2020.


Prime Minister of Bhutan Lotay Tshering said that the first person with COVID-19 has left Bhutan. He was airlifted and is now with his family.


Dr Zafar Mirza of Pakistan said that Pakistan has managed to keep COVID-19 cases at minimum which was praised by WHO. All measures are being monitored by Prime Minister Imran Khan. Entire western border has been closed for 3 weeks. Entry only at 3 international airports. All educational institutions have been closed for 3 weeks.

Learn from SAARC observer states especially China where COVID-19 emerged first.

Pakistan representative asks for immediate lifting of lockdown of Kashmir to ensure medical care and supplies to the COVID-19 affected people.

-- Kallol Bhattacharjee reports

5.15 pm

Kerala CM seeks PM Modi's intervention to restore beneficial clauses in SDRF

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has sought the intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to restore the beneficial clauses in the State Disaster Respond Fund (SDRF) for providing relief to COVID-19 patients.

The Union Ministry of Home Affairs had on March 14 issued an order permitting the utilisation of SDRF for “responding appropriately to Covid-19”, but later made some modifications to it.

As per the initial order the fund could have been used to provide compensation in case of any death related to COVID-19 as well as utilisation of the fund for treatment of patients.

While terming the order as a “welcome step”, the Chief Minister pointed out that a “partial modification” of the order the same day that took away the beneficial provisions.

4.30 pm | Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan declares emergency

Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev declared a state of emergency on Sunday due to the coronavirus outbreak, barring almost all travel to and from the country.

The decree published by the President's office restricts entry to and departure from Kazakhstan for everyone except diplomats and those invited by the government.

The emergency is set to last until April 15.

4.15 pm | Tehran

Iran's death toll from coronavirus reaches 724 - Health official on Twitter

Iran's death toll from COVID-19 has reached 724, with 113 new deaths in the past 24 hours, an Iranian health official tweeted on Sunday, adding that some 13,938 people have been infected across the country.

“In the past 24 hours, 1,209 new cases have been confirmed ... with 113 deaths in the past 24 hours, the death toll has reached 724,” Alireza Vahabzadeh, an adviser to Iran's Health Minister, tweeted.

3.44 pm

Al-Aqsa mosque, 3rd holiest in Islam, closes over coronavirus concerns

The Islamic endowment overseeing the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, the third holiest site in Islam, said the mosque itself and other buildings will be closed over concerns about the coronavirus . Sheikh Omar Kiswani, the director of the mosque, said Sunday that prayers will continue to be held outdoors. The closure is to continue indefinitely.


3.15 pm

India-Bangladesh passenger train services suspended

India-Bangladesh passenger train services between Kolkata and cities in the neighbouring country have been suspended from Sunday as a precaution against the spread of COVID-19, on a Union government directive, an Eastern Railway official said.

The Eastern Railway said services of Maitree and Bandhan Express trains will remain suspended from March 15 to April 15 or till further orders, whichever is earlier.

The services of the two trains have been suspended as precautions being taken to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus, the ER official said.

While Maitree Express connects Kolkata with the Bangladesh capital Dhaka, Bandhan Express runs between Kolkata and Khulna city of the neighbouring country.

3 pm | West Bengal

10 admitted to Kolkata hospital with COVID-19-like symptoms

Ten persons have been admitted to the isolation ward of the Beliaghata ID and BG Hospital here with symptoms like those of COVID-19, a senior health department official said on Sunday.

All the 10 persons, who are from across the State, have a history of travelling abroad or coming in contact with foreigners, he said.

One of the two admitted persons from Kolkata had travelled to Switzerland in the last week of February, the official said.

“The other city resident had recently travelled to Darjeeling with a British citizen. After returning from the hill town, he complained of fever and cold,” he said.

Swab and blood samples of the admitted persons have been sent for medical examination, the official added.

2.45 pm | Assam

Assam shuts schools, cancels exams till March 29

The Assam government on Sunday ordered shutting down of educational institutions, gymnasiums, swimming pools and cinema halls with immediate effect till March 29 in the wake of novel coronavirus outbreak.

Assam Chief Secretary Kumar Sanjay Krishna, addressing a press conference here said, “Even though no positive case has been detected in the State so far, we are taking all precautionary measures.”



Cases in country climb to 108

The number of COVID-19 cases in the country rose to 107 on Sunday noon, with 12 fresh cases in Maharashtra, the Union Health Ministry said. The figure does not include a 59-year-old woman who tested positive today in Aurangabad city of Maharashtra, according to a State health official.

The Health Ministry figure (107) includes two persons who died in Delhi and Karnataka.

With the fresh case in Maharashtra, the number of positive cases has gone up to 32 in the State, and 108 in the country.


1.15 pm | New Delhi


218 Indians evacuated from Italy sent to ITBP quarantine

A total of 218 Indians, mostly students, brought here from Italy on Sunday have been taken to an Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) quarantine facility in south-west Delhi’s Chhawla area, officials said.

The Air India flight from Milan landed around 9.45 a.m. at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA).

1.10 pm | Andhra Pradesh


Local body polls put off for six weeks

The State Election Commission (SEC) has deferred the local body elections by six weeks due to the threat of COVID-19. It will resume the election process after the arrest of the spread of Coronavirus, or its decline, and normalcy is restored, State Election Commissioner (SEC) N. Ramesh Kumar announced at a press conference on Sunday.


12.50 pm | Uttarakhand


Uttarakhand government shuts schools, colleges and cinema halls

The Uttarakhand government has declared COVID-19 an epidemic and shut all multiplexes, cinema halls, degree colleges and technical institutes across the state till March 31, official sources said.

The decision was taken at a meeting of the State council of ministers on Saturday night.

However, medical colleges will remain open, they said.

12.45 pm | Jerusalem

Coronavirus crisis delays start of Netanyahu corruption trial

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's corruption trial was delayed on Sunday for two months, until May, due to the coronavirus crisis.

Israel's Justice Ministry said the trial, due to have opened on March 17 with the reading of an indictment against Israel's longest-serving leader in three graft cases, would begin on May 24 “due to developments related to the spread of the coronavirus”.

Mr. Netanyahu, who is spearheading Israel's tough measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus, has denied any wrongdoing in the investigations. Charges against him include bribery, breach of trust and fraud.

12.45 pm | Kerala


20 passengers evacuated at Kochi airport after man who tested positive found on flight

Twenty people on a Dubai-bound Emirates flight from Kochi were evacuated before takeoff on Sunday after it was found that a native of the United Kingdom who tested positive for COVID-19 was among the 270 passengers.

It was earlier feared that all the passengers would undergo a check for the viral fever, however, health authorities took the call and decided to evacuate only 20. Later, the flight left for Dubai.



11.20 am | Tamil Nadu


Avoid travel out of Tamil Nadu for 15 days, says CM

As part of precautionary measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 , Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami on Sunday appealed to the general public to avoid travel out of Tamil Nadu for the next 15 days. He also urged people to keep off social gatherings in large numbers in public places.

The State government ordered closure of kindergarten and up to class V sections in all schools till March 31.


10.30 am


Pilgrimage to Kartarpur Sahib suspended

Pilgrimage and registration for Kartarpur Sahib Gurudwara in Pakistan will be suspended beginning Sunday midnight in view of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Home Ministry said.

The government has also suspended movement of all types of passengers through international border points with Pakistan from 00:00 hours of March 16 in view of the threat from coronavirus.


9.45 am


Over 230 Indians evacuated from Iran, quarantined at Army wellness centre in Jaisalmer

Two Air India flights carrying over 230 Indians from coronavirus -hit Iran landed in Jaisalmer on Sunday morning and the passengers have been quarantined at the Indian Army Wellness Centre at Jaisalmer.

Defence spokesperson Col. Sombit Ghosh said, “236 persons have landed in Jaisalmer by two Air India flights this morning. They are being quarantined at the Indian Army Wellness Centre at Jaisalmer,” Col. Ghosh said.




S.Korea reports 76 new coronavirus cases

South Korea on Sunday reported 76 new coronavirus cases and three more deaths, a fall in new cases to double-digits for the first time in over three weeks.

South Korea, which has the highest number of cases in Asia after China , now has a total to 8,162 confirmed infections and 75 deaths, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said (KCDC).


3.20 am


234 Indians stranded in Iran have arrived in India: Jaishankar

Two hundred and thirty-four Indians stranded in coronavirus-hit Iran have arrived in India, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Sunday.

Also read:44 Indian pilgrims evacuated from Iran


3.10 am


Special Air India flight with 211 students departs from Milan

Union Health Ministry, Sanjeeva Kumar said on Saturday said that a Mahan Air flight bringing back Indian passengers from Iran will land in Mumbai on Saturday midnight.

Also read: Explained:How does soap use help in tackling COVID-19?



Spain locks down its citizens, while France shuts nightlife

Spain locked down its 46 million citizens and France ordered the closing of the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the cafes and restaurants - as governments took increasingly desperate measures to put more space between people and contain the coronavirus.

Also read:Spanish PM Sanchez’s wifes tests positive



UK advises citizens against travel to Spain

British government on Sunday advised its citizens against all but essential travel to Spain amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

Britons who are currently in Spain should follow the advice of local authorities, said Britain's Foreign and Commonwealth Office, adding that transport services to the country will be operating at reduced levels.




Trump tests negative for coronavirus

President Donald Trump has tested negative for the new coronavirus, according to the president’s personal physician.

The White House released the test results Saturday night after Mr. Trump told reporters hours earlier that he had taken the coronavirus test , following days of resisting being screened despite the fact that he had been in recent contact with three people who have tested positive for the virus, including members of the Brazilian president’s delegation who visited with him at his Florida resort.



Casinos, pubs, other public places closed

The Goa government on Saturday announced closure of educational institutions 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.




Schools, colleges, malls to be shut till March 31

The Maharashtra government on Saturday announced closure of all schools, colleges, training institute, anganwadis in urban areas as the number of novel coronavirus cases rose to 31 in the State. Health Minister Rajesh Tope said in the Assembly that new patients have been detected from across the State.



New COVID-19 testing lab at KEM

Mumbai is all set to have a new laboratory to test the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Civic health officials on Saturday said the new testing facility will be ready at KEM Hospital in Parel by next week.

Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) health officer Dr. Daksha Shah said besides opening the new laboratory, the working hours of the existing facility at Kasturba Hospital will be increased. “The new lab at KEM will be opened at the earliest. We are waiting for some tests to be carried out on the premises,” she said.


COVID-19 victim cremated after initial refusal

The body of a 68-year-old woman from Delhi, who succumbed to COVID-19, was cremated at Nigambhod Ghat on Saturday after initially being denied permission by the crematorium, said her family.


Hampi, key attractions in Kodagu among places closed for a week

Ballari Deputy Commissioner S.S. Nakul ordered the closure of heritage sites in Hampi exercising powers vested under Section 144(3) of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The Deputy Commissioner and the District Magistrate issued the order on Saturday banning the entry of all tourists between 6 a.m. of March 15 and 6 a.m. of March 22.

(With inputs from agencies, reporters)

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