Featured image: Medical staff use thermometers during checks for COVID-19 at the border crossing with Italy in Vrtojba, Slovenia, March 11 , 2020. Photo: Reuters/Borut Zivulovic.
India registers 107 cases
The number of novel coronavirus cases in the country rose to 107 on Sunday, with Maharashtra reporting the highest followed by Kerala, while over 450 stranded Indians were flown back from Italy and Iran, the two worst affected countries after China, and quarantined. Extending the border restrictions in view of the Coronavirus outbreak, the government has suspended travel and registration of pilgrims to Kartarpur Sahib Gurudwara through the corridor from Sunday midnight, besides movement of all types of passengers to Pakistan through international border points.
The Assam government on Sunday ordered closure of all educational institutions, cinema halls, gymnasiums and swimming pools with immediate effect till March 29 due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. All exams, except board examinations, have been cancelled till the specified date, Chief Secretary Kumar Sanjay Krishna said at a press conference in Guwahati.
A 46-year-old person from Telangana tested positive for coronavirus on Sunday, taking the total number of cases to three in the state, health department officials said. On Saturday, the state reported the second COVID-19 positive case, with the samples of a person who travelled to Italy testing positive. The first positive case of a 24-year-old techie, who was the first confirmed case in Telangana, was discharged from the state-run Gandhi hospital here on Friday night following his recovery.
Haryana shuts all schools till month end
The Haryana government on Sunday shut all schools, cinema halls and clubs in the state till March 31 as a measure to prevent the spread of coronavirus infection. Haryana’s Home and Health Minister Anil Vij said a ban had also been imposed on holding political, cultural and social gatherings or sports events that attract a crowd of more than 200 people with immediate effect. Both government and private schools across the state will remain closed till March 31, Vij said, adding that the decision was taken after Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar held a meeting with senior officials including those from the health department. However, students will appear for their board/annual/assessment examinations as per schedule. (PTI)
The Jammu and Kashmir administration has said 2,157 people – travellers and persons in contact with people suspected to have the new coronavirus – have been placed under surveillance in the union territory. According to the daily media bulletin on COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, 1,829 persons have been quarantined at home and 29 are in hospitals; another 131 persons are under home surveillance. The administration also said 101 samples have been sent for testing, of which 87 have come back negative. Only two people have tested positive thus far while reports of 12 more are awaited, the bulletin added. A total of 168 persons have completed their 28-day surveillance period. (PTI)
Centre withdraws compensation offer within hours
Within hours of notifying the coronavirus pandemic as a natural disaster in order to compensate victims’ kin to the tune of Rs 4 lakh each through the State Disasters’ Response Fund, the Centre withdrew its announcement for unknown reasons. “It listed assistance norms in a release published earlier on Saturday, and said Rs 4 lakh would be paid to the families of victims, ‘including those involved in relief operations or associated in response activities, subject to certification regarding the cause of death from the appropriate authority’,” India Today reported. However, a subsequent notice regarding the SDRF contained no mention of the amount nor the state’s decision to bear the cost of hospitalisation and treatment.
Yediyurappa attending big wedding in defiance of own order
Karnataka chief minister B.Y. Yediyurappa attended the matrimonial celebrations of the daughter of his party colleague M.L.C. Mahantesh Kavatagimath in Belagavi on March 15. The wedding was attended by over 3,000 others, according to a police officer at the venue, as well as Suresh Angadi (MoS railways), MLA Mahesh Kumthalli, and others from the BJP, Congress and the JD(U), according to The Hindu. None of this would be notable except Yediyurappa’s government has shut down malls, cinema halls and other centres of social congregation around the state for 10 days and asked the state’s residents to refrain from conducting or attending grand weddings – all to curb the spread of the new coronavirus.
Civic polls put off in Andhra Pradesh
Elections to rural and urban local bodies in Andhra Pradesh were on Sunday put off for six weeks by the State Election Commission in view of spread of coronavirus. Elections to gram panchayats have been kept in abeyance for six weeks, state election commissioner N. Ramesh Kumar said.
“Taking due consideration of emerging challenges posted by coronavirus spread, the SEC is of the firm view that continuing with the election schedule may be detrimental and harmful to the public health at large,” he told a press conference here.
Elections to Mandal Parishad Territorial Constituencies and Zilla Parishad Territorial Constituencies are originally scheduled for March 21. (PTI)
Woman tests positive in Aurangabad
A 59-year-old woman tested positive for coronavirus in Aurangabad city of Maharashtra on Sunday, a state health official said. With this, the number of people who have tested positive in the state has gone up to 32. “The woman has tested positive for coronavirus infection. She had travelled to Russia and Kazakhstan. She has been quarantined at Dhoot Hospital in Aurangabad,” the official said. (PTI)
Bengaluru techie’s wife didn’t know she was infected
The wife of a Bengaluru-based techie, who has tested positive for COVID-19, and her family are facing an FIR from the Agra district administration after she travelled there while harbouring the new coronavirus herself. However, Indian Express has reported that the techie has tickets to prove that she travelled to Agra on March 8-9, whereas her husband tested positive only on March 12. That is, she didn’t know that she had COVID-19 nor did she know her husband did either. The couple had recently returned from Europe and had travelled to Agra via Delhi. The techie also told the newspaper that his wife intends to cooperate fully with authorities.
More Indians flown back from Iran
Union external affairs minister S. Jaishankar said on Sunday that the third batch of Indians, of 234 people, had been successfully evacuated from Iran. The government has been working to bring Indian nationals stranded in Iran, which has already reported over 10,000 people infected by the new coronavirus. The 234 Indians comprises 131 students and 103 pilgrims. Batches of 44 and 58 Indian pilgrims had been on Friday and Tuesday, respectively. Rohit Kumar Singh, the principal secretary at the Rajasthan health department, said the evacuees “had landed at Jaisalmer and have been shifted to the quarantine facility set up at the army cantonment there.” He also said the army and civil administration are working to provide adequate care to the evacuees.
— Dr. S. Jaishankar (@DrSJaishankar) March 14, 2020
COVID-19 victim wasn’t cremated until 14 hours after death
The body of the 68-year-old woman who died at Delhi’s RML hospital after contracting the new coronavirus couldn’t be cremated until local authorities could figure out what the right procedure was, Hindustan Times reported. After her death on Friday night, RML hospital advised “immediate cremation”. But when the woman’s relatives took her body to Nigambodh ghat, and then to the Lodi Road crematorium, authorities there refused to cremate because they weren’t aware of the right procedures. Finally, her body was cremated at 12.30 pm on Saturday after authorities from RML hospital and the North Delhi Municipal Corporation, wearing protective gear, completed the cremation procedure at the Lodi Road facility. In future, the corporation said it will require a letter from the hospital before cremating people who died of COVID-19. Another doctor also told Hindustan Times that once a person has died, they cannot transmit the virus because doing so requires coughing.