Coronavirus updates | March 21, 2020

Several States have imposed prohibitory orders to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

Updated - March 22, 2020 01:01 am IST

Published - March 21, 2020 08:07 am IST

The Disaster Response Force teams of Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation, wearing protective gear, spray disinfectant chemicals on the Necklace Road amid concerns over the spread of COVID-19 in Hyderabad

The Disaster Response Force teams of Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation, wearing protective gear, spray disinfectant chemicals on the Necklace Road amid concerns over the spread of COVID-19 in Hyderabad

The total number of people testing positive for the virus stood at 271 with 65 new cases on March 21, the Union Health Ministry said. Reports from the States put the  number of cases at 332 . The Centre said there was no evidence of community transmission yet in the country.

A nation-wide call for a ' Janata curfew ' has been announced from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on March 22 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Railways will not ply any passenger trains in the said hours; bus connectivity too is likely to be limited.

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

The Hindu has brought out an e-book on essential COVID-19 information, in addition to 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 latest updates:

10.35 pm | Assam

Four-and-a-half-year-old-girl is Assam’s first positive case

Assam has reported its first case of novel coronavirus with the initial test of a four-and-a-half-year-old-girl in Jorhat district turning out to be positive, the Deputy Commissioner said.

Deputy Commissioner Roshni Aparanji Korati told PTI that results of the test done in Jorhat Medical College and Hospital (JMCH) laboratory came positive this evening.

“We have sent the samples to ICMR-RMRC laboratory at Lahowal in Dibrugarh district for a recheck. The result is expected tomorrow afternoon,” she added.

Ms. Korati informed that the girl’s family had recently travelled from Bihar in a train to Jorhat.

“The girl, her sister and her mother came to Jorhat on March 19. Health workers visited the family on March 20 and brought them to JMCH as the girl exhibited symptoms. A sample was taken for testing and today evening, the result came,” she informed.

10.30 pm | Rajasthan

Rajasthan announces complete lockdown till March 31

In a late night decision, Rajasthan government announces complete lockdown of the State till March 31. All government and private offices, malls, shops, factories and public transport across the State will remain closed till March 31. Only essential services will be exempted from the lockdown.

8.45 pm | Karnataka

Five new coronavirus cases in Karnataka, total mounts to 20

Five fresh coronavirus cases have been reported in Karnataka on Saturday, taking the total number to 20 in the state, the Health department said.

“Till date 20 COVID-19 positive cases have been confirmed in the state which includes one death,” it said in a bulletin.

It said 18 positive patients are in isolation at designated hospitals and are stable.

Sharing details of the new cases, the department said three are from Bengaluru, while the other two are from Chikkaballapura and Mysuru.

The patients from the city who tested positive include a 53-year-old woman, a “high risk contact” of another person who tested positive earlier and was on strict home quarantine.

The other two are a 39-year-old man, who had returned from Amsterdam, on March 19, and a 21-year-old man, who had returned from Edinburgh, Scotland on March 17.

A 31-year-old man from Chikkaballapura with a travel history to Mecca has tested positive.

He had returned to India on March 14.

The other is a 35-year-old man from Mysuru who returned from Dubai.

-- PTI

8.30 pm | West Bengal

Fourth confirmed case in West Bengal

A 57-year-old man with no history of travelling abroad tested positive for novel coronavirus in West Bengal, making it the fourth confirmed case in the State, a health department official said on Saturday.

The resident of Dumdum in North 24 Parganas district was admitted to a private hospital on Monday with fever and dry cough. His symptoms intensified since Thursday, according to the official.

The man’s samples tested positive twice and he is currently at an isolation ICU of the hospital, the official said.

8.15 pm | Lucknow

Vasundhara Raje, Dushyant Singh and Jai Pratap Singh test negative

Uttar Pradesh Health Minister Jai Pratap Singh, former Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and her son MP Dushyant Singh , were among those who tested negative for the coronavirus, after attending a recent dinner party with singer Kanika Kapoor, who tested positive .

Also read: ‘Baby Doll’ singer Kanika Kapoor confirms testing positive for coronavirus

All samples collected from people who attended the parties in which Ms. Kapoor was present in Lucknow have tested negative, the Uttar Prasdesh Directorate of Health Services said on Saturday. Meanwhile, the number of COVID-19 positive cases in the State climbed to 26 with fresh cases from Noida and Moradabad, the latter a woman with a travel history from France.

8.00 pm | New Delhi

Delhi budget session to be held on single day

The five-day Budget Session of the Delhi Assembly will now be held on a single day on March 23 in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, a government official said on Saturday.

According to the original schedule, the session was to be held from March 23-27.

“The Delhi government will present its budget on March 23. On the same day, it will be passed,” the official said.

The number of COVID-19 cases in India rose to 283 on Saturday, the Union Health Ministry said.

The contagion has claimed one life and infected over 20 people in Delhi.

7.45 pm | New Delhi

Sonia urges people not to panic, pitches for relief package

Congress president Sonia Gandhi urged people on Saturday not to panic in view of the coronavirus outbreak and said the country will not bow down to this painful crisis.

She suggested a host of measures to help those affected due to the coronavirus and said a comprehensive, sector-wise relief package was required to be announced by the government to support those hit by its economic fallout.

In a statement, Ms. Gandhi urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the government to increase the number of testing facilities across the country and make public the details of hospitals and medical facilities through a dedicated portal.

She also pitched for a special budgetary allocation for enhancing the facilities to combat the virus.

“Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. A comprehensive, sector-wise relief package needs to be announced forthwith by the government, including necessary tax breaks, interest subvention and deferment of liabilities. For the salaried class, the government and the RBI must consider a deferment of EMIs,” the Congress chief said.

6.50 pm | Kerala

12 more test positive in Kerala

Twelve more fresh cases of coronavirus were reported from Kerala on Saturday, taking the tally to 49, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said.

While six more people tested positive from Kasaragod, three each new cases were from Kannur and Ernakulam districts, Vijayan told reporters after a COVID-19 review meeting in Thiruvananthapuram.

All those who were diagnosed with the virus today had returned from Dubai recently, Vijayan said.

6.45 pm | New Delhi

Modi holds video conference with representatives of pharma companies

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday held a video conference with representatives of pharma companies.

Mr. Modi told the pharma companies that this was the time to boost production.

The pharma companies assured the Prime Minister that India has enough supplies of all essential pharma commodities and there is no reason to worry.

Chemists and Pharma companies assured the Prime Minister that they will work on this crisis with the government to ensure that supply chains remain working 24/7. Nation comes first!

6.40 pm | West Bengal

Coronavirus: Mamata to chair all-party meeting on Monday

The West Bengal government convened an all-party meeting on March 23 to discuss measures being taken in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, sources said on Saturday.

Letters have been sent to all major political parties, urging them to attend the meeting at 4 pm, they said.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will be chairing the meeting that will be held in State secretariat ‘Nabanna’, sources said.

Leaders of all major political parties in the state said that they will be present in the meeting.

5.30 pm | Tamil Nadu

TN confirms three more confirmed cases

The Tamil Nadu Health Minister C. Vijayabaskar said "three foreign nationals under observation in Tamil Nadu test positive for coronavirus taking the total number of cases to 6 in the State."

"All 6 positive cases are imported cases from different regions with travel histories & not community transmitted. New cases were already quarantined & in our radar. Screening is more intensified at all ports of arrival incl Railway, dom.arrivals & interstate borders," he tweeted.


5.00 pm | Tamil Nadu

Chennai beaches shut until further orders

Following an announcement by the Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC), all beaches in Chennai, including Marina beach, Thiruvanmiyur, Palavakkam and Elliot’s beaches were shut from 3 p.m. on Saturday.

Corporation Commissioner G. Prakash said that all beaches that come under the jurisdiction of the Chennai Corporation would be closed till further orders and asked for citizens to be informed accordingly.


4.50 pm | New Delhi

Not everybody needed to wear masks, social distancing more important: Health Ministry

Union Health Ministry, on Saturday, said "We are conducted training on critical care management at 1,000 places through video conference."

It said "Asymptomatic direct, high-risk contacts of confirmed cases should be tested once between day 5-14 of coming in contact."

It further said that "Lot of misinformation about masks; not everybody needed to wear them, social distancing more important."

The Union Health Ministry said "262 people, mostly students, to fly from Rome to India on Saturday."

A mock drill will be held on March 22 for emergency response for handling coronavirus cases in government hospitals, said the Health ministry.

The Health Ministry official said "Government is working to ramp up production of masks, sanitisers" and also asked States to allow deodorant manufacturers to produce sanitizers. The official also said "There is no shortage of essential commodities, masks and sanitizers, don’t indulge in panic-buying." -- PTI


4.45 pm | New Delhi

Modi praises T.N. govt’s initiatives to control coronavirus

The initiatives taken by the Tamil Nadu government towards preventing the spread of coronavirus in the State have come in for praise from Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Mr. Modi called Chief Minister K Palaniswami over phone on Saturday and congratulated him on the measures taken to control spread of the virus.

The Chief Minister thanked Mr. Modi and explained in detail the series of measures taken by his government in the State, an official release said.

Mr Palaniswami informed Mr. Modi that his nine-point agenda would be followed in Tamil Nadu during the Janta Curfew on Sunday.

4.40 pm | Telangana

Telangana borders to be closed for 24 hours

As a precautionary measure to prevent COVID-19, the Telangana government has decided not to allow traffic of other States for 24 hours. The 24-hours self isolation will begin from 6 a.m. on Sunday.

Public staying on the borders are requested to observe ‘Janata Curfew’ as well as 24-hours self isolation and cooperate the State government.

All the State borders, sub-roads and other thoroughfares will be closed. Private vehicles, travel operators, autos and RTC buses of neighbouring States are requested not to enter into Telangana from 6 a.m. on Sunday to 6 a.m. on Monday.

Task Force teams have been arranged which will restrict the entry of vehicles of other States on the borders. The measure has been taken to prevent the dreaded coronavirus, the officials said.

However, there will be relaxation from self isolation for emergency services such as ambulances, milk vans, vehicles carrying medicines and the media personnel.

Private travel operators running their services to Hyderabad, Rangareddy, Karimnagar, Khammam and other places from Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and other States are requested to cooperate, the officials said.

-- Rajulapudi Srinivas

4.30 pm  | New Delhi

Kejriwal holds digital press conference

In his first ‘digital’ press conference held in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal reduced the number of people allowed to assemble in the national capital to five, down from 20.

“We are not affecting a lockdown at the moment but we may need to do so for the sake of the city, the country,” said the Delhi Chief Minister.

He also increased the amount of ration from the earlier 4 kg to 7.5 kg, as well as waived off the nominal rate of ₹2 per kg. “There are 72 lakh people who get ration... this will be free now,” he said.

Kejriwal said the government has also decided to double the pension benefits of widows and the economically backward to help alleviate some effect of the coronavirus epidemic.

About the Janata Curfew on Sunday, he said the option to suspend public transport was discussed, “but realised that may affect people needing to travel for emergencies. So, half the number of public buses will be on the roads tomorrow.”


4.20 pm | Uttar Pradesh

U.P. announces ₹1,000 financial aid to 35 lakh labourers, free ration to 1.65 crore workers

The Uttar Pradesh government on March 21 announced that around 35 lakh labourers in the State will get ₹1,000 each as financial aid while free ration for one month will be provided to 1.65 crore construction workers amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has directed officials for immediate release of payment to MNREGS workers in the State and to make foodgrains available to the poor in cities and villages, a statement issued by the U.P. government said.


4.10 pm | West Bengal

West Bengal shuts bars, pubs, parks, museums and others till March 31

West Bengal government orders shutting down of all restaurants, bars, pubs, nightclubs, amusement parks, museums and zoos till March 31 in wake of coronavirus pandemic.

3.30 pm | Jammu and Kashmir

Farooq Abdullah releases ₹1 Cr from his MPLAD funds

National Conference president Farooq Abdullah is unlikely to attend the ongoing session of Parliament because of the COVID-19 outbreak, according to his family.

“Dr. Abdullah has many health issues, which make him very vulnerable to coronavirus. He is staying away from Parliament for two reasons: he is recovering from a cataract surgery and the fear of coronavirus,” a family member told The Hindu

Released on March 13 after over seven months of detention following the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status in August last year, the five-time Chief Minister maintained silence on the political issues and chose to spend time with his family and visiting his incarcerated son Omar Abdullah as per the jail manual.

He released ₹1 crore from funds allocated to him under the Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme to combat the threat of COVID-19. “I hope the amount I have released from my MPLAD fund will give the required flip to the efforts of the agencies concerned to deal with the situation in an effective way. The party is alive to the situation, and we will walk the extra mile to lend a curbing the spread,” he said. 

Dr. Abdullah has also asked two MPs of his party, Muhammad Akbar Lone and Hasnain Masoodi, to release funds for their constituencies.

3.15 pm | New Delhi

Govt caps maximum retail price of 200ml hand sanitizer at ₹100 till June

The government has capped maximum retail price of hand sanitizer at ₹100 per 200ml bottle till June 30 this year amid sharp rise in the prices of this product amid the coronavirus oubreak.

Similarly, price of a 2 ply (surgical) mask has been capped at ₹8 and that of 3 ply (surgical) mask at ₹10 till June 30, Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said in a statement.

“The price cap has been imposed taking into account the sharp increase in prices of raw materials used in making of face masks and hand santizer,” Mr. Paswan said.

Earlier this month, the government had declared sanitizers and masks essential commodities” to prevent hoarding and price manipulation of such goods.

On March 19, the government had placed price limits on alcohols used in making hand sanitizer. --PTI

3.10 pm | Iran

Iran reports 123 new coronavirus deaths, raising total to 1,556

Iran said on Saturday that 123 more people had died from coronavirus, raising the official death toll to 1,556 in the Islamic republic, one of the world's worst affected countries.

Health ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said 966 more cases have been confirmed over the past 24 hours and 20,610 people are now known to have been infected in Iran.


2.40 pm | Delhi

Crowded waiting areas at Delhi Airport

People who have travelled from abroad complained of crowded waiting areas inside the Delhi Airport, in which COVID-19 can “spread” and waiting time as long as 11 hours on Saturday. 

“My daughter landed at 2.45 am from Canada and she is still inside the airport. She told me that it is overcrowded inside the airport and there are people from affected areas such as England and Dubai waiting along with them. This defeats the purpose of isolation,” a person who is waiting for his 20-year-old daughter at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi told The Hindu .

Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted that the State government will hold all press conferences digitally. “All Delhi Govt. press conferences will be conducted digitally now. It’s very important that all journalists, who are on the forefront of our battle against Corona, also protect themselves as they are in a high exposure environment.”

2.15 pm | Gujarat

Cases in Gujarat climb to 13

Coronavirus positive cases climb to 13 in Gujarat. New cases from Surat, Gandhinagar as the deadly infectious virus spreads in the Sate. Out of 13 cases, 12 have recently returned from abroad, said Deputy CM and Health Minister Nitin Patel.

2.10 pm | West Bengal

West Bengal postpones HSC exams

West Bengal government postpones Higher Secondary examination mid way due to spread of Coronovirus (COVID -19). The State Board examination for Class XII started on March 12 and was scheduled to continue till March 27. A decision on holding the examinations scheduled on March 23, March 25 and March 27 will be announced after April 15. More than 7.90 lakh students in the state were appearing in the examinations.

2 pm | Telangana

Couple in Warangal deboarded from train after they were found to have home quarantine stamp

A newly-married couple travelling from Secunderabad by Train number 22691 KSR Bengaluru City-Hazrath Nizamuddin Rajdhani Express were deboarded at Kazipet junction in Warangal district on Saturday morning after they were found with home quarantine stamp on their wrist in wake of COVID-19.

12.30 pm | Maharashtra

Woman in Pune with no foreign travel history tests positive

A Pune woman in her early 40s with no history of foreign travel has tested positive for COVID-19, confirmed Pune district authorities on Saturday taking the total tally of positive cases in the district to 22.

The woman, presently on ventilator support at the city’s Bharti Hospital, tested positive for COVID-19 after her throat swabs were sent to the National Institute of Virology (NIV) to check for the possibility of H1N1 (swine flu) infection, said an official.


12.25 pm | Kerala

Cases filed against mosque and temple for defying the orders

Despite orders from the government and district administration to avoid congregation at religious places, a large number of people neglecting the orders gathered at mosques and temples in Kannur. The police took cases against over 200 people, including the authorities of three mosques and a temple, on Saturday.

According to the District Police Chief Yathish Chandra, the cases were filed against the mosque and temple authorities for allowing to conduct mass and also temple festival, by defying the orders imposed in the wake of COVID-19 outbreak.

The cases were taken against a mosque committee member and those came for the mass at Palot mosque and 19 Mile mosque in Mattanur police limit, and Shivapuram in Maloor police limit. In Taliparamba, police took a case against Trichambaram temple committee authority for organising the temple festival on Saturday.

Mr. Chandra said the seriousness of the disease has been already been discussed with all the religious leaders and the concerned police station has called the authorities to avoid any congregation where more than 50 people assemble at a place.

However, defying the orders the masses and temple festival was organised in the district. This cannot be tolerated as it is against the government order and putting the lives of several people at risk, he said.

He said cases under IPC 188 Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), 269 (Negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life) has been filed against them.

He further said that it has been decided to serve notice at all the religions institutions to avoid mass and other congregations.  

12.20 pm | Maharashtra

Mumbai Metro suspends operations on Sunday due to Janata Curfew

As a part of the 'Janata Curfew' announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Mumbai Metro announced that it would not be operating on March 22.

"In continuation of its fight against COVID-19 and in support of Hon’ble PM’s appeal of Janata Curfew, Mumbai Metro One suspends operations on 22/03/2020 (Sunday) to encourage people to stay at home and make “Janta Curfew” an unprecedented success," it said on Twitter.

12 pm | India

SBI opens emergency credit line for borrowers

Amid businesses getting affected due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, the country’s largest lender State Bank of India has opened an emergency credit line to meet any liquidity mismatch for its borrowers.

The additional liquidity facility — Covid-19 Emergency Credit Line (CECL), will provide funds up to ₹200 crore and will be available till June 30, 2020, SBI said in a circular issued on Friday.

The loan will be offered at an interest rate of 7.25% with a tenure of 12 months.

The bank said the credit line is open for all standard accounts which have not been classified as SMA 1 or 2 as on March 16, 2020 are eligible to avail this credit line.

11.45 am | Maharashtra

Couple booked for hiding foreign travel history

A case was registered against a couple in Maharashtra’s Jalgaon district after they allegedly failed to inform the authorities about their trip to Thailand, police said on Saturday.

People with history of travel abroad have been advised to remain under mandatory quarantine due to possible exposure to coronavirus, irrespective of whether they show any symptoms of the infection.

A survey team from the district administration on Friday tracked down the couple, who had failed to inform the authorities about their recent trip to Bangkok and Pattaya in Thailand, an official from Amalner police station said.

“The couple, who live in Gajanan Nagar area of Amalner, had recently visited Thailand. When the team questioned them about their travels, the duo said they had only been to their son’s place in Pune,” he said.

However, further investigations revealed that they had travelled to Thailand, he said, adding that the couple has been booked under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and Epidemic Diseases Control Act, 1897.

The duo has been quarantined and their swab samples have been sent for testing, he said. - PTI

11.35 am | Maharashtra

Maharashtra issues guidelines to limit use of A/Cs

Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope on Saturday announced government has issued circulars directing people to restrict use of air conditioning in the wake of the COVID-19 scare. The WHO guidelines are clear on this and COVID-19 can sneak through AC ducts and vents so the directive, he said.

The directive issued by State Health Secretary Pradeep Vyas said the air conditioned rooms have grater possibilities of the COVID-19 virus surviving or entering through vents and thus the there should be minimum use of the cir conditioning in government and private offices.

11.25 am | Gujarat

One more person tests positive in Gujarat

One more person with recent travel history to Srilanka tested positive for COVID-19 in Gujarat. So far, 8 persons have been found infected with the virus in the State.

11.20 am | Karnataka

Health official suspended for careless screening

A Health Department official deployed at Tumakuru railway station to screen passengers for fever has been suspended for going about his task carelessly while busy on his mobile phone.

A video of him talking on his mobile phone while  conducting thermal screening carelessly was widely circulated on social media on Friday. The official is identified as Narasimhamurthy A., a Senior Health Assistant. He was assigned to do thermal screening of passengers arriving at Tumakuru railway station on Friday.

Meanwhile, Tumakuru Deputy Commissioner Dr. K. Rakesh Kumar has imposed Section 144 in the district till March 31 as a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19 infection in the district. Section 144 is not applicable to students who have to attend examinations and to those who attend funeral in the district.

11.15 am | Punjab

Three fresh cases in Punjab

Three people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Punjab's Mohali, Dr. Harman, the nodal officer at the health department (S.A.S Nagar district), told The Hindu .

The total cases in Punjab have now reached six.

10.55 am | Karnataka

Another positive case in Karnataka

Another person has tested positive for COVID-19 in the State taking the total number of cases to 16.

A 32-year-old resident of Gowribidanur in Chikkaballapur, who returned from Mecca, has tested positive. Health Minister B. Sriramulu confirmed this in a tweet on Saturday.

10.50 am  | Rajasthan

Six new cases in Rajasthan

Six new coronavirus positive cases have been detected in Rajasthan, of which five are in Bhilwara and one in Jaipur. With this, the total number of positive cases in Rajasthan is 23, though three of them were cured by treatment in isolation.

The five new cases in Bhilwara are those of para-medical staff of a private hospital where the doctors who tested positive on Friday at work.

10.40 am | Karnataka

In Karnataka, hotels and restaurants will be open only for takeaways till end of month

The State government has directed all hotels and restaurants in municipal corporation limits to stop dining facility and remain open only for takeaways and online ordering from Saturday till March 31 to stop the spread of COVID-19 .

 Pubs and bars too will be closed, while takeaway liquor shops can stay open. 

In an order on Friday, the government also imposed a ban on jatras , urs  and other such religious gatherings to ensure social distancing. It also stated that all medical staff involved in COVID-19, including students of medical and para-medical courses, cannot be given leave.

10.35 am | Tamil Nadu

Justice S.M. Subramaniam of Madras High Court will contribute his one month salary of ₹2.25 lakh for the welfare of unorganized sector labourers who had lost their earnings due to COVID-19. He will hand over the cheque to TN Chief Secretary at the Secretariat today.

10.30 am | West Bengal

Third coronovirus case from West Bengal

West Bengal on Saturday reported the third case of coronovirus infection when a 23-year-old woman tested positive for the viral infection. The woman had a history of travel to Scotland and hails from Habra in North 24 Parganas. She has been shifted to isolation ward of Infectious Disease and Beleghta General Hospital.

Earlier this week two youths aged 18 and 22 years have been tested positive for the Coronovirus infection. Both of them have a travel history to United Kingdom and are being treated at the same hospital.


10.20 am | India

Ola, Uber suspend ride-sharing option across India

India’s two biggest app-based aggregator cab services, Uber and Ola, have decided to suspend their ride-sharing option — Uber Pool and Ola Share — in the light of the rising cases of COVID-19 in the country.

“We are determined to help reduce the spread of coronavirus in the cities we serve. With that in mind, we are suspending the Uber Pool service across India. In line with the Government advisory, we urge people to stay safe and discourage non-essential travel,” a Uber spokesperson said.


10 am | India

Despite clearance, KLM flight from Amsterdam with 100 Indians refused permission to land in Delhi

A flight from Amsterdam to Delhi carrying 100 Indian passengers, including a pregnant woman, was not allowed to land in Delhi on Saturday because of worries over the COVID-19 pandemic, hours after it was given clearance to arrive, sources confirmed.

“[There were] some gaps in interpreting the advisory, which has led to this problem,” a senior official told The Hindu , indicating that the government will try to resolve the issue on Saturday, with less than 24 hours to a complete flight ban being put into place.

The photo shows the flight path of KLM 871, which was not allowed to land in Delhi.

The photo shows the flight path of KLM 871, which was not allowed to land in Delhi.


The flight, KLM 871, was due to land in Delhi around 1 in the morning on Saturday, but was “redirected” back to Amsterdam by civil aviation authorities at the last minute before landing, a flight path of the plane shows.

9.30 am | Australia

Shane Warne turns gin distillery over to hand sanitiser

Legendary Australia leg-spinner Shane Warne has turned his hand from making gin to making hand-sanitiser as shortages frustrate attempts to control the coronavirus outbreak.

Warne, who retired from test cricket in 2007 with a record 708 wickets, is a part-owner of the award-winning SevenZeroEight gin distillery.

The co-founders of the company include two prominent West Australian surgeons and Warne said the company would turn its production from gin to alcohol hand rubs which would be provided to two hospitals in the western state.


9.10 am | India

Patients with respiratory illness in hospitals will also be tested, says ICMR

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has revised its testing strategy to contain the spread of COVID-19 .

Testing is now offered to all hospitalised patients with Severe Acute Respiratory Illness (fever and cough and/or shortness of breath). Also, asymptomatic direct and high-risk contacts of a confirmed case should be tested once between day 5 and day 14 of coming into his/her contact.

In a notification issued on March 20 , the ICMR said that all asymptomatic individuals who have undertaken international travel in the last 14 days should stay in home quarantine for 14 days, and that they will be tested only if they become symptomatic (symptoms include fever, cough, difficulty in breathing). All family members living with a confirmed case should be home quarantined too, according to guideline.

All symptomatic contacts of laboratory confirmed cases, all symptomatic health care workers, and all hospitalized patients with Severe Acute Respiratory Illness (fever AND cough and/or shortness of breath) will be tested as well.


9 am | Maharashtra

Maharashtra takes lead to put fliers from U.S. on home quarantine list

In its fight against COVID-19, Maharashtra is the only affected State to have included passengers arriving from the United States on its home quarantine list. The government of India list, updated multiple times since the exercise began on January 17, has listed 22 countries on the current list before a week-long curfew on international flights comes its force on March 22.

The U.S. was put on the Mumbai airport’s Airport Health Organisation (APHO) list after Health Minister Rajesh Tope issued instructions following his visit to the airport, where staff are grappling with multiple directives, also being frequently updated, from State, Centre, APHO etc. This would also essentially mean that direct passengers from the U.S. landing anywhere other than Mumbai are not being quarantined. Besides, Mumbai and Bengaluru. other airports are yet to introduce a hand stamping system for those who have been asked to be in home quarantine.


8.30 am | Italy

Italy’s death toll tops 4,000 after new one-day record

Italy reported a record 627 new coronavirus deaths on March 20 and saw its world-topping toll surpass 4,000, despite government efforts to stem the pandemic’s spread.

The Mediterranean country’s daily rate of fatalities is now higher than that officially reported by China at the peak of its outbreak around Wuhan’s Hubei Province.

But Matteo Bassetti of Italy’s prestigious San Martino clinic in Genoa said the government probably had no idea how many people really had the new disease.


8 am | South Korea

South Korea reports 147 new coronavirus cases

South Korea reported 147 new coronavirus infections on Saturday, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The new cases bring the country's total to 8,799.

The newly reported cases rose back up to above 100, from the 87 recorded on Friday, although South Korea has been experiencing a downward trend in new cases from the peak of 909 cases reported on Feb. 29.

- Reuters


Singer Kanika Kapoor’s COVID-19 status has politicians worried

Bollywood singer  Kanika Kapoor’s announcement  on Friday that she had tested positive for COVID-19 triggered a  scare among several top politicians  who had attended a series of events with her in Lucknow recently as well as those who were in contact with them.

Many have since announced that they were going into quarantine.


On the frontline, fighting the coronavirus

With 53 confirmed cases, Maharashtra now has the highest number of novel coronavirus cases in India. The Hindu's correspondent from Mumbai, Jyoti Shelar speaks to doctors, medical officers and microbiologists who remain vigilant as the virus continues to spread

(With inputs from Agencies)

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