COVID-19 updates, March 4, 2020

India reports 29 cases so far.

Updated - March 05, 2020 01:12 am IST

Published - March 04, 2020 12:01 pm IST

Navneet Kaur Rana, MP from Amravati Lok Sabha constituency, Maharashtra, wears a protective mask as she arrives in Parliament on Wednesday, March 5, 2020

Navneet Kaur Rana, MP from Amravati Lok Sabha constituency, Maharashtra, wears a protective mask as she arrives in Parliament on Wednesday, March 5, 2020

Fifteen Italian tourists, including the wife of an infected Italian, and eight Indians have tested positive for coronavirus on March 4, taking the number of cases to 29 in the country.

Two cases with a high viral load were detected in Telangana . A Paytm employee tested positive in Gurgaon. The company said in a statement that the person had travel history to Italy. The Health Ministry also confirmed the case which came to light in the evening.


The Union Health Ministry has set up control room to tackle coronavirus-related queries.

If you have fever, cough and difficulty in breathing, call your State helpline number or Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India’s 24X7 control room number +91-11-23978046 , a press release said. For any health related query people can email at

Explained: When can people transmit the novel coronavirus? | Watch: COVID-19 — Dos and don'ts from the Health Ministry


Here are the updates:

New Delhi| 8.35 p.m.

Paytm employee in Gurgaon tests positive for COVID-19

A Paytm employee in Gurgaon has tested positive for novel coronavirus, the company said in a statement on Wednesday. It said the employee had recently returned from a vacation in Italy, one of the worst-hit countries from coronavirus.

Paytm has advised all its employees to work from home for the next couple of days while the Gurgaon unit gets sanitised, according to the statement.


New Delhi| 8.05 p.m.

CBSE to allow students to carry masks, hand sanitiser during boards exams

Students appearing for class 10 and 12 board examination will be allowed to carry masks and hand sanitiser in the exam centre in view of coronavirus scare, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) announced on Wednesday.

“Face masks and sanitisers may be carried by students in the examination centre,” CBSE Secretary Anurag Tripathi said.

Class 10 and 12 board examinations began on February 15.


Washington| 8.00 p.m.

IMF members pledge all available resources against COVID-19

The 189 members of the International Monetary Fund pledged on Wednesday to bring all available resources to bear to help countries combat the impact of the new coronavirus epidemic.

Following an unusual conference call of the IMF’s governing body, the members said they were united in addressing the challenges posed by COVID-19.

“We have called upon the IMF to use all its available financing instruments to help member countries in need,” the statement said.

“We are determined to provide the necessary support to mitigate the impact, especially on the most vulnerable people and countries.

Also read|COVID-19 has higher death rate than influenza: WHO chief


Punjab| 7.50 p.m.

70,000 people screened for COVID-19 in Punjab, all negative: Health Minister

As many as 70,000 people have been screened for the deadly coronavirus in Punjab so far, Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu informed the state assembly on Wednesday.

“Their test reports have been found negative,” he said during the Zero Hour.

The Health Minister further informed the House that medical teams have been deputed at the Amritsar and Mohali airports for screening of passengers.

Besides, medical teams have also been deputed at the Attari-Wagah border and the Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur.

New Delhi | 7.20 p.m.

Rashtrapati Bhavan not to hold traditional Holi gatherings

''With alertness and safeguards, we all can help contain the outbreak of COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus. In a precautionary measure, the Rashtrapati Bhavan will not hold the traditional Holi gatherings,'' tweeted the Rashtrapati Bhavan.


Italy| 7.15 p.m.

Italy to shut down schools across the country

Italy is closing all schools and universities from Thursday until mid-March to help curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, Ansa and other Italian news agencies cited government sources as saying.

The measure was one of several being considered by the government at a meeting on Wednesday to combat COVID-19, which has killed 79 people in Italy and infected more than 2,500, the most in Europe.

Hyderabad| 6.50 p.m.


Four family members of Hyderabad's first COVID-19 patient test negative

Four family members of the first COVID-19 positive patient from Hyderabad tested negative for COVID-19.

In another case, two more samples were sent to Pune for clarity.

"Two more samples were sent to the National Institute of Virology Pune to get clarity. Results would be known by Thursday evening," said Telangana Health Minister Eatala Rajender.

The Minister added that private hospitals now which have capacity are allowed to provide treatment for COVID-19 from today. Earlier, isolation, treatment for COVID was allowed only Gandhi Hospital, Hyderabad. Now, private hospitals can admit, treat, and send samples to Gandhi Hospital for tests.


New Delhi | 6.40 p.m.


HRD Ministry advisory to States, CBSE

Union HRD Ministry directs Chief Secretaries of States and CBSE to spread awareness among students on basic protective measures against coronavirus.

Saudi Arabia | 6.30 p.m.


Saudis suspend Umrah pilgrimage to Mecca

Saudi Arabia has suspended the year-round “umrah” pilgrimage to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina over coronavirus fears, the Interior Ministry said. (Umrah is the year-round pilgrimage taken to Mecca, while Hajj is taken during the prescribed period in a year.)

Saudi has decided “to suspend umrah temporarily for citizens and residents in the kingdom”, the Ministry said in a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency.

The decision comes after Saudi Arabia last week suspended visas for the pilgrimage and barred citizens from the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council from entering two of Islam's holiest cities. — AFP


Ethiopia| 6.10 p.m.

African airlines face $40 million hit in 2020 from coronavirus

Coronavirus disruption could cost African airlines $40 million in revenue this year, a global industry body said on Wednesday, a potentially devastating hit to often struggling airlines counting on lucrative Chinese routes to fund expansion.

The global hit to the aviation industry is projected to be $29 billion this year - a 4.7% industry-wide drop in revenue per passenger kilometre, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has said.

The blow to African airlines could be as much as $40 million, IATA's special envoy to Africa, Raphael Kuuchi, said at an aviation conference in Addis Ababa.


Iran | 6.05 p.m.

Iran rejects U.S. virus aid offer amid 'vicious' sanctions

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday dismissed a US offer to help the Islamic republic fight its coronavirus outbreak, charging that “vicious” American sanctions are depriving the country of medicine.

Iran has scrambled to halt the rapid spread of the virus that has claimed 92 lives out of 2,922 confirmed infections in the past two weeks.

“Those who have deprived the people of even medicine and food through sanctions, who have done the most vicious things... they appear with a mask of sympathy and say that we want to help the nation of Iran,” Mr. Rouhani said, in a clear reference to the United States.

U.S. President Donald Trump had said Saturday he was ready to aid Iran with the virus outbreak if the Islamic republic asked for assistance.

Iran orders troops to fight coronavirus outbreak as death toll rises to 77


Jammu and Kashmir |6.00 p.m.

Two passengers with travel history to Italy, South Korea quarantined at Jammu hospital

Two passengers with a travel history to Italy and South Korea have been shifted to the quarantine ward at a government medical college hospital in Jammu, officials said on Wednesday.

Jammu and Kashmir has been put on alert to deal with any threat emerging due to coronavirus, even though no positive case has been found in the Union Territory so far, officials said.

The tests of the two persons have been sent to Delhi and symptomatic passengers have been instructed for home quarantine, they said.

West Bengal | 4.40 pm

COVID-19 being hyped to divert attention from Delhi riots: Mamata Banerjee

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday alleged that a section of the media was playing up the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) to deflect public attention from the Delhi riots.

Addressing a rally at Buniyaadpur in Dakshin Dinajpur district of north Bengal the Trinamool Congress chairperson accused the media of ‘playing up’ the outbreak of COVID-19.

4.10 pm

A number of international sports events have been cancelled, postponed or shifted to other cities due to the new virus outbreak.


Karnataka | 3.50 pm

Karnataka appeals to shun coronavirus rumours

Karnataka Health and Family Welfare Minister B. Sriramulu on Wednesday appealed to consider only official information and shun rumours on Coronavirus.

“I request that you consider only official information, without heeding any rumours that are spreading across various social networking sites,” tweeted Sriramulu.

He said the state Health and Family Welfare department has taken all possible measures to prevent the spread of infection.

“So far, 40,207 passengers have been inspected at the Bengaluru airport. Blood tests were performed on 251 people and 238 were negative. The report of the remaining 13 people is yet to come,” he said.

Explaining the 24-year-old city-based techie’s case, who tested positive for Coronavirus in Hyderabad, Mr. Sriramulu said his residence and office in Bengaluru were cleaned on Tuesday from the infection.

“And 25 of his office colleagues were contacted, and one was hospitalized in a preoperative manner, and a blood sample was sent for testing,” he added.

Delhi | 3.45 pm

17 Indians abroad infected with coronavirus

Seventeen Indians have been infected with coronavirus abroad, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said on Wednesday.

Responding to a question in Lok Sabha, Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan said 16 cases were reported from Japan on the cruise ship and one from the UAE.

He further said that the government evacuated a total of 766 persons -- 723 Indian nationals and 43 foreigners -- from China.

Similarly, 119 Indians have been brought back to India from the cruise ship in Japan, Mr. Muraleedharan said.

Rajasthan | 3.00 pm

'215 people came in contact with COVID-19 affected Italian tourists'

Rajasthan Health Minister Raghu Sharma said at least 215 people came in contact with the COVID-19-affected group of Italian tourists.

Mr. Sharma informed the Assembly that swab samples of 93 people have been taken. A total of 51 suspected patients have been tested negative whereas reports of 41 others are still pending.

As many as 53 people in Jhunjhunu, 14 each in Jodhpur and Jaisalmer, 44 in Bikaner, six in Udaipur and 76 people in Jaipur came in contact with the group. The 15 Italian tourists who were tested positive for COVID-19 had reached Delhi, via Jaipur and Agra. The tourists entered Rajasthan via road from Delhi.

He said that though there is no prescribed medication or vaccine to treat the disease, the suspected patients in the state are being given swine flu medication as a precautionary measure.

Purchase orders have been given for 50,000 personal protective equipment kits and 5 lakh each of N95 and triple layer masks to deal with the problem, the minister said.

2.35 pm

Helpline numbers

The Union Health Ministry has set up control room to tackle coronavirus-related queries

If you have fever, cough and difficulty in breathing, call your State helpline number or Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India’s 24*7 control room number +91-11-23978046, a press release said.

For any health related query people can email at


Delhi | 2.20 pm

Let's fight coronavirus together: Kejriwal

As fresh cases are being reported, people in the national capital are scrambling to buy face masks.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the government has enough N95 masks in stock and will check if such masks are sold at higher price in black market.

N95 masks are recommended for blocking viruses.

Mr. Kejriwal also asked Delhiites to avoid public  spaces and wash hands often. The public needs to be aware and come together to fight coronavirus like Delhi fought Dengue last year, he said.

Mr. Kejriwal announced that he will not be celebrating Holi on account of the the violence in Delhi and also due to the virus threat. - Jaideep Deo Bhanj

Delhi | 1.30 pm

Trying to get Indians back from Iran: Harsh Vardhan

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan has said that all international passengers will be screened for coronavirus symptoms.

"We are trying to get Indians back from Iran. We are working on strategy," Dr. Vardhan said.

If the Iranian government lent its support, a testing facility could be set up there as well. "This will help bring back Indian citizens from Iran after a thorough screening," he said.

An estimated 1,200 Indians, mostly students and pilgrims, are in Iran currently. Iran has so far reported over 2,000 coronavirus cases and 77 deaths.

Delhi | 1 p.m.

India reports 28 cases so far

Fourteen Italian tourists and one Indian driver have tested positive for COVID-19. They were part of the same group as the Italian man who was tested positive for COVID-19 in Rajasthan.

Six family members of Delhi man who was found to have contracted COVID-19, have been tested positive. They hail from Agra.

All the Italian tourists were at Chhawala ITBP medical camp currently. The Principal Secretary to PMO will also be holding a review meeting on Wednesday to oversee the COVID-19 preparedness.

The official confirmed cases in India as of today stands at 28 . It includes 17 from Jaipur, 6 in Agra, 3 in Kerala and one each in Telangana and Delhi. Three patients from Kerala have recovered from the illness.


Odisha govt advisory to keep coronavirus at bay

The Odisha government has in its list of dos and dont’s asked people to avoid hugging, shaking hands while greeting and keep their workplace clean to ward off coronavirus infection.

The state government issued the workplace advisory based on the containment plan prepared by the Health Ministry to tackle the COVID-19 disease.

Asking the employers to ensure workplace cleanliness, it mentioned, “Surfaces (desks and tables) and objects (telephone, keyboards) need to be regularly wiped with disinfectant containing 70 per cent alcohol.”

Soaps or sanitizing hand rub should be provided near wash basins and water supply should be ensured as frequent hand washing kills the virus and prevents spread of Covid-19, it said.

Posters should be displayed promoting respiratory hygiene, and tissue papers or masks should be made available to the employees.

The staff should be advised home isolation whenever they develop flu like symptoms, it said.



Two samples from Hyderabad sent to NIV Pune for further tests

Out of 47 samples collected from people in Telangana, viral load was found to be high in two cases. Their samples are sent to National Institute of Virology, Pune for further testing. 45 have tested negative.

Among the two, whose samples have been sent for further tests, one was a hospital staff treating the COVID-19 patient. The other person is said to have travelled to Italy recently.



Modi not to take part in Holi milan

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said he has decided not to participate in any ‘Holi milan’ programme as experts have advised to reduce mass gatherings to avoid the spread of COVID-19.

“Experts across the world have advised to reduce mass gatherings to avoid the spread of COVID19 Novel Coronavirus. Hence this year, I have decided not to participate in any ‘Holi milan’ programme,” the PM tweeted.

This year, Holi is on March 10.



Watch | COVID-19: Dos and don'ts from the Health Ministry

Here's a video on how we can protect ourselves and others, a list of dos and dont's released by the Health Ministry.

Uttar Pradesh


109 of 137 samples test negative in Uttar Pradesh

Of the 137 samples sent for testing for COVID-19 in Uttar Pradesh, 109 have found to be negative while six samples that tested positive have been sent for confirmation, the government said. The results of 22 cases were still awaited, said the State Control Room, Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme Vector Borne Disease Division Directorate of Health Services.




Malaysia returned father-daughter duo admitted to hospital in Vizag on coronavirus suspicion

Officials from the Medical and Health Department hospitalised a person and his daughter, who came from Malaysia, for observation, after the duo were found having coronavirus symptoms.




Techie with suspected COVID-19 put in Isolation Ward in Kakinada Govt. Hospital in A.P.

A 35-year-old Hyderabad-based Software Engineer suspected to have been infected with coronavirus has been admitted to the Isolation Ward at the Government General Hospital (GGH) here in East Godavari district in the early hours of Wednesday.



One Intel employee in Bengaluru potentially exposed to coronavirus, under quarantine

Tech giant Intel has said one of its employees in Bengaluru has “potentially been exposed” to coronavirus and is currently under quarantine. The company also said it has implemented precautionary measures like travel restrictions, increased frequency of office sanitisation, and work-from-home provisions in India.




Hyderabad COVID-19 patient questioned on contacts

In his 24 years, perhaps Monday was the first time that this Hyderabad man was persistently asked by someone to give minute-by-minute details of who all he met, places he had been to, how much time he spent with them from the moment he stepped into Telangana.



China reports fall in cases, South Korea death toll hits 32

China on March 4 reported 38 more deaths from the  new coronavirus  but a fall in fresh cases for a third consecutive day. The death toll nationwide is now 2,981, the National Health Commission said, with more than 80,200 people infected in total.



COVID-19 has higher death rate than influenza: WHO chief

Contrary to the general notion that COVID-19 has lower death rate compared with influenza (commonly called as seasonal flu), COVID-19 has globally caused more than three times the number of deaths in reported cases than influenza.



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