Coronavirus live updates | Former union minister Suresh Prabhu goes into self-quarantine

India reported its third death from the COVID-19 pandemic on Tuesday. The number of COVID-19 cases tested positive in India is 149 and there are 132 active cases.

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: [email protected]

1.05 pm

Former union minister Suresh Prabhu goes into self-quarantine

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

Norway national tests positive in Goa

A Norwegian man has tested positive for novel coronavirus infection in Goa, Health Minister Vishwajit Rane said. The man had travelled to Delhi, Agra, Assam and Meghalaya after leaving Norway on February 6.

“The man 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 told PTI.

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.
| Photo Credit: V.V. Krishnan

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

UP 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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