Coronavirus updates | March 18, 2020

First case reported from Kashmir Valley; CBSE class 10, 12 board exams postponed; JEE-Main exam deferred.

Updated - March 19, 2020 09:41 am IST

Published - March 18, 2020 08:14 am IST

A police officer operates a drone at the Gateway of India to keep vigil on the crowd and to spread awareness about coronavirus through a built-in audio system in the drone, in Mumbai on March 18, 2020.

A police officer operates a drone at the Gateway of India to keep vigil on the crowd and to spread awareness about coronavirus through a built-in audio system in the drone, in Mumbai on March 18, 2020.

India reported its third death from the COVID-19 pandemic on Tuesday. The number of COVID-19 cases tested positive in India is 162 and there are 145 active cases including the first case reported from Kashmir Valley and three more from Rajasthan.

According to WHO, as of March 17, there were 184,976 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 7,529 deaths in 159 countries.

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

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, a list of State Helpline numbers , and a map of confirmed cases in India .

The new 24/7 national helpline numbers are 1075 and 1800-112-545 and  011-23978046. Email:

Here are the updates:


Delhi | 10.50 pm


Three of family test positive in Rajasthan

Three of a family from Rajasthan’s Jhunjhunu who had recently returned from Italy have been tested positive for coronavirus, prompting the government to impose Section 144 of the CrPC in the entire state.

The Rajasthan government also imposed a curfew within a km of their residence in Jhunjhunu.

Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot after holding a review meeting directed to impose the restrictions to curb the spread of the infection.

The patients had returned from Italy on March 8.

Their samples were sent to Jaipur’s SMS Hospital for testing.

Rajasthan Health Minister Dr. Raghu Sharma said they are being brought to Jaipur for treatment. He said all those people who came in their contact will be screened.

Delhi | 10.40 pm

CBSE postpones class 10, 12 board exams till March 31

The Central Board of Secondary Education has postponed ongoing class 10, 12 examinations till March 31 in view of the coronavirus outbreak.

“All ongoing CBSE examinations in India and abroad postponed till March 31 and will be rescheduled thereafter... after an assessment of the situation,” CBSE Secretary Anurag Tripathi said.

“All ongoing evaluation work will be suspended during the period,” he added.

The CBSE announcement came following a directive from the HRD ministry saying exams are important but safety and security of students and teachers is equally important.

HRD Ministry’s NTA postpones JEE for IIT, engineering college admissions

The Joint Entrance Exam (JEE-Main) for admission to IITs and engineering colleges has been postponed in view of coronavirus, according to the HRD Ministry’s National Testing Agency (NTA). The exam was earlier scheduled from April 5-11.

“The JEE-Main exam has been postponed. The new date will be decided in accordance with the board exams schedule and other competitive exams to ensure there is no clash,” a senior NTA official said.

Delhi | 10.30 pm


Modi to address the nation

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the nation on March 19 evening on the situation arising out of coronavirus outbreak and the efforts to combat it, the Prime Minister’s Office said.

“PM Shri @narendramodi will address the nation on 19th March 2020 at 8 PM, during which he will talk about issues relating to COVID-19 and the efforts to combat it,” the PMO tweeted.

In another tweet, the PMO said Modi chaired a high-level meeting to review the ongoing efforts to contain COVID-19.

“Ways to further strengthen India’s preparedness were discussed,” it said.

J&K | 10.20 pm

Kashmir records its first case of coronavirus: Officials


Maharashtra | 9.30 pm

Two more test positive in Maharashtra, total cases rise to 45 in the State

A 21-year-old male with travel history to Philippines, Singapore and Colombo has been found positive for COVID-19 in Pimpri Chinchwad.

A 50-year-old man from Ratnagiri with a travel history to Dubai has also tested positive for COVID-19 taking the Maharashtra count to 45.

So far 19 cases in have been reported from Pune district — eight in Pune city and 11 in the township of Pimpri-Chinchwad.

— Shoumojit Banerjee and Jyoti Shellar

New Delhi | 8.30 pm

Varsities advise students to leave hostels, access to reading rooms, mess prohibited

Suspension of mess facilities, closure of libraries and common areas and restrictions on movements are some of the problems students may have to face as universities and educational institutions in the country advise them to leave hostels in view of the coronavirus outbreak.

The Indian Institute of Technology (Indian School of Mines), Dhanbad, has directed students to vacate their respective hostels latest by midnight of March 18.

The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi, which had also directed students to vacate hostels, has allowed foreign students and PhD scholars whose research is at crucial stages to stay.

The National Institute of Rourkela has said the students who are staying back will do it “at their own risk”.

The Jamia Millia Islamia and Jawaharlal Nehru University too have advised students to leave hostels.

The classes in universities and educational institutions are suspended till March 31.

New Delhi | 8.00 pm

Delhi HC experimenting with video conference facility to conduct proceedings

The Delhi High Court on March 18 said it was experimenting with holding proceedings through video conferencing in view of the coronavirus pandemic and the system would probably be in place by next week.

A Bench of Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice C. Hari Shankar said experiments and trial runs were being conducted to ensure that the system works smoothly and successfully.

From next week proceedings through video conferencing might be seen in a few cases, the court said.

“Wait for 2-3 days. We are experimenting. It will probably be done by Monday [March 23]. On Monday we want to conduct one matter by video conferencing. We have installed the system at our residence and here [high court] and rehearsals have been done.

“We will do some more rehearsal to ensure we can do it successfully,” the Bench said while hearing a plea seeking holding of court proceedings through video conferencing to ensure that no person infected with COVID-19 comes to the court premises.

Karnataka | 7.50 pm

Infected Hyderabad techie's contacts show no symptoms

The health department said on Wednesday that none of the Hyderabad techie's contacts traced in Karnataka have shown symptoms.

The 24-year-old software professional  who tested positive for COVID-19 in Hyderabad  on March 2 worked for a Bengaluru-based company.

He had travelled by an Indigo flight from Dubai to Bengaluru on February 20 and had worked with 13 colleagues in the Bengaluru office before coming to Hyderabad by bus on February 22.

New Delhi | 6.45 pm

Monitoring prices of soaps, cleaners: govt.

The Centre is closely monitoring the prices of soaps, floor cleaners and thermal scanners due to a sudden surge in demand for these items amid the growing number of COVID-19 cases in the country, Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said on Wednesday.

Maharashtra | 6.30 pm

Total coronavirus cases in Maharashtra rise to 43

A 68-year-old woman has tested positive in Mumbai on March 18. The number of confirmed cases in Maharashtra has now gone up to 43.

— Jyoti Shellar

Earlier in the day, four passengers, all belonging to the same family, were de-boarded from a Delhi-bound train at Palghar station in Maharashtra after they were found with ‘quarantine seal’.

They were de-boarded from coach number G4 & G5 of 12216 Garib Rath on 18/03/2020 at Palghar station when the TTEs noticed & also co-passengers raised an alarm seeing a stamp on their hands, railway authorities said.

New Delhi | 6.15 pm

Transport Ministry suggests cutting down passenger transport

The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has written to the States and the Union Territories advising on cutting down of passenger transport. It has urged the States to facilitate refunds in case advance bookings were made.

- Jagriti Chandra

Data | 5,680 flights cancelled: the coronavirus impact on global air travel

Tamil Nadu | 6.00 pm

Second case reported in Chennai

Minister for Health and Family Welfare C. Vijayabaskar tweeted : "#Coronaupdate: #RGGH, Chennai reports the 2nd positive case for #Covid19. The Pt hails from Delhi, is in isolation & stable is under the observation of the expert team treating #Covid19. #TNHealth @MoHFW_INDIA #Vijayabaskar"

Tamil Nadu recorded its second positive case of coronavirus disease, COVID-19, on March 18. A 20-year-old youth, who had travelled from Delhi to Chennai in a train, tested positive for COVID-19 and is already in the isolation ward of Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital (RGGGH).

Health Minister C. Vijayabaskar, in a tweet, said the patient was in isolation and his condition was stable. He is under the observation of an expert team.


New Delhi  | 5.50 pm

Vistara suspends international operations

Vistara, a joint venture between Tatas and Singapore Airlines, has announced the suspension of international operations from March 20 to March 31, 2020

— Jagriti Chandra

"Due to the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on border controls and air travel across the world, Vistara is temporarily suspending its international operations from 20 March 2020 to 31 March 2020," the airline said in a statement.

At present, the airline operates to five foreign destinations —- Colombo, Kathmandu, Dubai, Bangkok and Singapore.

Kerala | 5.30 pm

Kerala issues guidelines to foreign tourists

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.

The testing laboratory will issue them certificate which will enable them to fly to their respective nations.

“The tourist on receiving the certificate to ensure quick departure to their respective countries by following all precautions in health advisory while travelling from their stay place to the airport, at the airport and in the flight,” the guidelines said.

New Delhi | 5.15 pm

Rajya Sabha MP raises issue of shortage of sanitisers, masks

Rajya Sabha Congress MP Ripun Bora on Wednesday highlighted problems being faced by people due to shortage and high prices of sanitisers and masks amid outbreak of coronavirus.

Raising the issue during the Zero Hour in the House, he said the government has asked people to take precautionary steps like cleaning of hands.

Mr. Bora said there was shortage of sanitisers, soaps and masks not only in metro cities, but also in rural areas of the country.

He said these items were being sold at exorbitant prices.

The Congress member urged the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to monitor the supply, and ensure their availability and proper prices so that there is no panic among the public.

Telangana | 5.00 pm

343 Indian students in Malaysia headed to India

343 Indian students who were stranded in Malaysia have boarded two Air Asia flights at Kuala Lumpur. The flights — one headed to Visakhapatnam and the other to Delhi — are likely to reach between 10.30 p.m. and 11.00 p.m.

— Ramesh Susarla

4.50 pm

All malls in Gurugram to be shut down

Gurugram district administration has ordered closing down of all shopping malls, weekend bazaars, pubs, bars, night clubs, lounges, cinema halls and multiplexes till March 31.

Pharmacies, grocery stores and super markets have been exempted.

Weddings, family gatherings, conferences, sports and religious activities should not have more than 50 persons.


4.40 pm

Total cases in Telangana rise to 7

Telangana Health Minister's office has said another person has tested positive for COVID-19. This takes the number of cases in the State to 7. One person has recovered.

This take the total number of cases in the country to 153.

4.00 pm

Resident doctor of Lucknow's KGMU tests positive

A 25-year-old junior resident doctor of the King George Medical University (KGMU) in Lucknow has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) after coming in contact with two patients undergoing treatment for the disease on its premises, a hospital spokesperson said on Wednesday.

The KGMU subsequently, in a statement, announced suspension of all undergraduate academic classes and examinations till April 2 as a preventive measure to stem the spread of COVID-19.

The doctor has been kept in an isolation ward a

3.20 pm

One more test positive in Noida

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.

3.00 pm

276 Indians with coronavirus abroad

As many as 276 Indians infected with coronavirus are abroad, the Ministry of External Affairs informed the parliament today.

This includes 255 in Iran and 12 in UAE. One Indian each has tested positive in Rwanda, Kuwait, Hong Kong and Sri Lanka. As many as 12 people are being treated in Italy.  The Indian Embassies in the respective countries are in touch with such Indian citizens regarding appropriate medical attention in cooperation with local authorities.


2.45 pm

TN portal


The Tamil Nadu Health Department has launched a web portal - -- as a one-stop centre for all queries on coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Now, people with travel history and symptoms of COVID-19 can self-report on the portal following which the 24x7 control room will get in touch with them.

2.35 pm

Two more test positive in Karnataka

Two more positive cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Karnataka, taking the total number of cases to 13.

The two new cases are a 56-year-old male, a resident of Bengaluru who returned from USA on 6th March, and another 25-year-old female, who returned from Spain around the same time.

Both have been quarantined and are being treated in designated isolated hospitals in the city.

1.10 pm

Big Temple to closed for devotees till March 31

The Big Temple in Thanjavur will remain closed for devotees and tourists till March 31, according to the Collector, M.Govinda Rao.

Regular pujas would continue to be performed at the Sri Brahadeeswarar Temple. The closure of the temple for devotees and the tourists was taken as a precautionary measure to prevent possible spreading of the COVID-19 virus, he said.

1.05 pm

Former Union Minister Suresh Prabhu goes into self-quarantine

Former Union Minister Suresh Prabhu. File

Former Union Minister Suresh Prabhu. File


Former union minister and BJP MP Suresh Prabhu has self quarantined himself at his residence for the next 14 days, as a precautionary measure following his return from Saudi Arabia to attend a meeting on March 10.

Sources said though Mr. Prabhu has tested negative for the coronavirus , he, however has decided to stay in isolation as a precaution. — PTI


12.45 pm

Now, Goa says no positive cases in the State

Goa Health Minister Vishwajit Rane on Wednesday said a Norway national in the state has tested positive for novel coronavirus but shortly afterwards retracted the remarks.

Mr. Rane said the earlier information was based on a ‘hoax call’ to the concerned nodal officer.

“The Norway national came to Goa on February 20. He was having fever since March 10 and was isolated as a suspect in hospital in Panaji,” the minister had told PTI earlier today.

12.15 pm

Bihar govt. declares COVID-19 an epidemic

The Bihar government has declared COVID-19 as an epidemic and issued the Bihar Epidemic Diseases COVID-19 Regulation 2020.

The regulation has given legal powers to government officials to conduct mass screening of suspected patients, including forcible isolation, sealing of any geographical area and taking punitive action against those hiding symptoms of the virus, running away from isolation centres or spreading misinformation. — Amarnath Tewary


12.10 pm

Three doctors from Institute of Nephro-Urology in Bengaluru under home quarantine

Three doctors from the State-run Institute of Nephro-Urology located in Victoria Hospital campus have been home quarantined since Tuesday as one of the doctors is related to the 20-year-old girl, who tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday.

Those under home quarantine include the institute’s director Keshavamurthy R.


12.05 pm

Pay and use quarantine facility in Delhi

A municipal worker near the Ibis hotel at the Aerocity, which is one of the three hotels to quarantine people.

A municipal worker near the Ibis hotel at the Aerocity, which is one of the three hotels to quarantine people.

The Delhi government has offered pay and use quarantine facilities in three premier hotels in the Aerocity near the airport for people.

People can book rooms in RedFox, IBIS and Lemon Tree hotels situated near the Indira Gandhi International Airport. They will have to stay mandatorily for 14 days. These hotels have been asked to set aside 182 rooms for this purpose. The maximum limit of the per day rate has been set at Rs 3,100.

The bills will have to be paid by the guests who want luxurious isolation during the quarantine," Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had said.

12.00 noon

U.P. govt schools to promote all students up to Class VIII without examination

Students of classes one to eight of all government primary schools in Uttar Pradesh will get promoted without having to appear in examinations in view of the coronavirus outbreak.

“Orders have been issued to promote all students, studying in schools run by the basic education department, of class one to eight to next classes without examination. All schools have been closed till April 2,” Additional Chief Secretary, Education Renuka Kumar said in a order issued on Tuesday night.

Competitive and other examinations, except Boards, have been postponed till April 2.

11.55 am

SC notice to states, UTs over non-availability of mid-day meals to children

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.

11.30 am

BJP not to hold protest for one month: J.P. Nadda

The Bharatiya Janata Party has decided not to hold any protest or demonstration for a month in view of the coronavirus outbreak, party president J.P. Nadda said on Wednesday, March 18, 2020.

The party will not holding public gatherings, he said adding if they have to convey anything, senior party leaders will do so through memorandums.

“All party units have been asked to spread awareness about coronavirus and their dos and don’ts,” Nadda said.

The BJP president’s statement came a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a parliamentary party meeting of the BJP asked MPs to spread awareness among the people in small groups about coronavirus and suggested that they should refrain from launching any mass agitation till April 15.

11.00 am | Karnataka


Covid-19 restrictions to continue for another week

The existing COVID-19 restrictions in Karnataka are all set to be continued for another week, said Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa in Bengaluru on Wednesday.

“There is a need to take all possible measures to ensure that the disease is contained in the State. We will discuss about in the cabinet meeting scheduled in the afternoon and make an announcement,” he told reporters.

(Afshan Yasmeen)


10.30 am

National Restaurants Association issues advisory to close operations from today

Now it will be difficult to have food outside home as the National Restaurants Association of India (NRAI) has advised its member restaurants across the country to shut down from March 18 to 31 in view of the serious health risk posed by COVID-19 to lakhs of employees and millions of customers.

Read: COVID-19 fear: hotel industry bears the brunt


9.25 am

Pune woman tests positive

A woman with a travel history to France and the Netherlands has tested positive for COVID-19, taking the total tally of positive novel coronavirus cases in Pune district to 18 and the State’s tally of positive cases to 42 , said Pune District Collector Naval Kishore Ram on Wednesday.

“The person, in her late 20s, had returned to Pune after travelling to France and the Netherlands. With this case, Pune now has eight COVID-19 positive cases and Pimpri-Chinchwad has 10,” said Mr. Ram.


9.15 am

Army jawan in Leh tests positive

A 34 year old Jawan of the Indian Army in Leh tested positive for COVID-19 making it the first case in the armed forces. He contracted it from his father who returned from Iran recently.

Read: 3 more COVID-19 cases in Ladakh, one more in J&K


9:00 am


Kyrgyzstan confirms first few coronavirus cases

Kyrgyzstan has confirmed its first three coronavirus cases, Healthcare Minister Kosmosbek Cholponbayev said on Wednesday.

Three Kyrgyz nationals tested positive after arriving from Saudi Arabia, he told a briefing.


9:00 am


Coronavirus claims 11 more lives in China

The epicentre of the novel coronavirus outbreak Wuhan city in China reported a single confirmed case for the second consecutive day on Tuesday even as 11 people died of the deadly disease in the country, taking the toll to 3,237, health officials said on Wednesday.


8:20 am

5,680 flights cancelled: the coronavirus impact on global air travel

Close to 5,680 planned flights which were supposed to either depart from or arrive at 10 foreign airports this week were cancelled mostly due to  travel bans  related to COVID-19. Airports in Italy and South Korea are the most affected, while the ones in India and the U.S. are less affected. Mumbai is the most affected Indian airport while among international airports Amsterdam was hit the most due to cancellations.


8:15 am

Turkey confirms first coronavirus death

Turkey confirmed late on Tuesday its first death related to the coronavirus and the country more than doubled its confirmed cases to 98, from 47 a day earlier.

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca told a press conference that an 89-year old died after contracting the virus from someone who had contact with China, the epicentre of the global outbreak.

Turkey diagnosed 51 more cases on Tuesday, he said.


8:00 am

Justin Trudeau warns virus restrictions could last weeks, months

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has urged Canadians to hunker down for possibly weeks or months of business closures and home-stay to prevent the spread of new coronavirus.

He said his government was preparing to roll out a new package of financial supports -- worth Can$25 billion (US$18 billion), according to public broadcaster CBC -- to ease the burden on Canadians and their businesses.

His government is also considering using the Emergency Measures Act, an extremely rare measure.

West Bengal

West Bengal reports first case

West Bengal has reported its first positive case of coronavirus as a student who returned from United Kingdom tested positive.

Senior officials of the State government said that the student has been kept under isolation at Infectious Diseases and Beliaghta General Hospital in Kolkata. The student arrived in the country on March 15 and has been in contact with three persons including his parents and a driver.



COVID-19 claims India’s third victim in Mumbai

India reported its third death from the COVID-19 pandemic on Tuesday, with the Union Health Ministry putting the number of positive cases at 137.  However data from States puts the number at 143.

The deceased person had a history of travel to Dubai and was being treated in Mumbai, Joint Secretary in the Union Health Ministry Lav Agarwal said at a press conference.

7:30 am

51 private labs will soon be allowed to conduct tests

The “test, test, test” prescription of the World Health Organisation (WHO) is not for India, Director-General of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) Balram Bhargava said on Tuesday, stressing that community transmission of  COVID-19  has not yet occurred.

Dr. Bhargava, however, also announced that 51 private laboratories [accredited by the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL)] will soon be allowed to test for COVID-19 to enhance capacity for diagnosis and detection in addition to the 72 functional laboratories.


(with inputs from Agencies)

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