Over 40 confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported across India, after six people were tested positive for the virus in Kerala. Kerala Health Minister K.K. Shailaja said the State had been put on high alert in the wake of the new cases.
Explained: How is India containing COVID-19?
Meanwhile, China, the epicentre of the virus, has reported 22 new deaths from the deadly coronavirus, the lowest number of fatalities in more than a month, taking the death toll to 3,119.
Here are the latest updates:
Telcos using caller tune to spread awareness
The government has ordered all telecom firms to make a 30-second audio clip on coronavirus as a caller tune of mobile phone users to create awareness among masses — an order that state-owned BSNL and Reliance Jio have fully complied with while other telcos are yet to follow.
Top sources said on a request from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) ordered superseding of the phone ringing tone that one hears on dialling a number, with the 30-second information clip.
The only exception to not hearing the coronavirus message is when a user has subscribed to a particular tune, they said.
Govt. warns of action against those hiding travel history
The Health Department has warned that it will not hesitate to take legal action against persons who do not divulge their history of travel to or contact with nations from where COVID-19 has been reported and later turn out to have contracted the potentially lethal virus.
Health Minister K.K. Shylaja said the Health Department’s priority now was to provide the best of care to the COVID-19 patients. But those keeping their travel history a secret just to avoid personal inconvenience, were committing a crime to society and would definitely invite further action, she said. The family that returned from Italy had endangered the entire State by their irresponsible behaviour.
43 cases of COVID-19 in India, says Health Ministry
Four new cases of COVID-19 have tested positive in a India taking the total number of cases to 43 on Monday.
“Four new cases of COVID-19 have been reported since Sunday. One case each has been reported from Kerala, Delhi, UP and Jammu. 40 are active cases of COVID-19 in the country,” said an official release from the Union Health Ministry.
The Health Ministry has appealed to the people to kindly observe the Do’s and Don’ts, coughing etiquettes, hand-washing and avoid large gatherings.
Qatar bans entry of people from India
Qatar has temporarily banned entry of people coming from India and 13 other countries in the wake of coronavirus outbreak.
The temporary ban would also be applicable on people coming from Bangladesh, China, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Syria and Thailand.
“This decision comes as a preventive measure due to the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) worldwide,” Qatar government said in a statement dated March 8.
Flagship carrier Qatar Airways has also stopped flights from India, sources said.
Four new cases reported
Three new cases of coronavirus have been reported in the country, taking the number of cases to 42, Union Health Ministry officials said on Monday.
One new case each has been reported from Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir, the officials said, adding that no deaths have been reported yet.
Passenger leaves the hospital against medical advice
A patient who was brought to isolation ward of the Government Wenlock Hospital on Sunday night, reportedly left the hospital against medical advice on the early hours of Monday.
The person hailing from the city had arrived at the Mangaluru International Airport from Dubai on Sunday evening. He was found to be having a fever during the medical screening at the airport.
An ambulance was sent from the city to bring him to the isolation ward of the hospital for tests related to COVID-19. Before the staff could come, the passenger reportedly left the hospital. More details are awaited.
Karnataka warns action against pharmacies selling drugs that claim to prevent COVID-19
As more people are getting increasingly anxious about COVID-19, many medical stores in the city are using this opportunity to sell medicines claiming they would help prevent getting infected.
When The Hindu visited some medical shops, the shopkeepers were selling these medicines claiming that they are ‘safe’ and will ‘ensure’ people do not get affected by COVID-19. One of the shops even had a separate rack labelled “Prevention of corona”.
While some of these medicines come in the form of pills that do not have labels, some stores are also selling ‘Arsenic Alb 30 P’ and made tall claims that it would ensure that people who consume it would be safe from the virus.
In breach of protocol, COVID-19 samples fetched from VIP’s home in Telangana
Amid intense efforts by Health officials to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the State, a hush-hush task was taken up last Wednesday. Samples from two young family members of a Telangana political leader were collected from their home, in what is a clear violation of protocol.
The duo in question had travelled to Dubai in February. Sources said at least three persons were sent in a vehicle on Wednesday to collect the sample from the suspected patients’ house on the city outskirts. Officials in the know heaved a sigh of relief when the samples collected from them tested negative the following day.
Another coronavirus patient identified in Pakistan; total cases rise to 7
A 50-year-old man has been tested positive for the deadly coronavirus in Pakistan, taking the total number of the COVID-19 infections in the country to seven.
The new case was found in Karachi on Sunday.
This is the seventh case in Pakistan though one has already recovered and discharged, while another one is ready to be discharged, Zafar Mirza, the special assistant to the prime minister on National Health Services, said on his official Twitter handle on Sunday.
Sensex nosedives over 1,500 points on global equity rout, sinking oil prices
Equity benchmark Sensex plummeted over 1,500 points in opening session on Monday led by deepening rout in global markets amid rapidly-spreading coronavirus and sinking crude prices.
Global oil benchmark Brent crude futures plunged nearly 30% to $32.11 per barrel after top exporter Saudi Arabia launched a price war in response to a failure by leading producers to strike a deal to support energy markets.
Continuing its downward spiral, the 30-share index was plunged 1515.01 points, or 4.03 %, to 36,061.61. The NSE Nifty too cracked 417.05 points, or 3.80%, to 10,572.40.
Police turn back foreign tourists from Attukal Pongala locality
In a bid to forestall further COVID-19 infections, the Kerala police on Monday turned back some foreign tourists from the Attukal Pongala festival area.
Thousands of women have assembled within a six-km square radius of the famed temple to participate in the festival. Many have been sleeping rough since Sunday to secure an open ground to offer the sacrament, a mix of rice and jaggery cooked on open hearths.
Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran told newspersons that the tourists were holidaying at Kovalam and the spectacle had attracted them. The government had instructed hoteliers to counsel foreigners against visiting congested places, given the global outbreak.
The government has sent back law enforcers, including women officers, who it had requisitioned from Pathanamthitta to help police the festival.
The virus had resurfaced in the district last week when a non-resident Keralite family arrived from Italy and established contact with their friends, neighbours and relatives.
Mr. Surendran said the government ran a certain amount of risk by allowing the festivities to go ahead. But, a decision to cancel the festival would have upended months of planning.
JAMMU AND KASHMIR
First confirmed coronavirus case in J-K
A 63-year-old woman tested positive for coronavirus in Jammu, making her the first confirmed case in Jammu and Kashmir, officials said on Monday.
The woman, who had a travel history to Iran, was among two patients who were declared “high viral load cases” by the administration on the weekend.
They are undergoing treatment at the isolation ward of the Government Medical College (GMC) hospital and are in a stable condition, the officials said.
“The test report of the woman patient is positive, while the report of the other patient is still awaited,” a Health Department official said.
Three-year-old tests positive in Kochi
A three-year-old child, who arrived at Kochi on March 7 from Italy via Dubai and was immediately taken to the isolation ward of Ernakulam Medical College, has tested positive for COVID-19.
Samples collected from the child’s parents have now been sent to NIV, Alappuzha, for testing.
The Cochin International Airport Ltd had introduced universal screening since March 3 and the child, with high fever, was taken straightway in a special ambulance of the health department to the isolation ward. The child’s parents are also admitted there, said district administration officials.
TTD to get thermal guns for screening devotees
The widespread scare of COVID-19 seems to have no impact on the rush to Tirumala, the abode of Lord Sri Venkateswara. The average number of devotees remains at 75,000 per day touching close to 1 lakh during weekends.
The rush is expected to increase in the ensuing holidays. A majority of pilgrims visiting Tirumala belongs to Tamil Nadu. In view of COVID-19 threat, the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) has advised devotees against visiting the Venkateswara temple not to come for darsan if they have even slightest symptoms of cold, sore throat or fever.