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Coronavirus outbreak: Kerala lifts ‘state calamity’ alert, but remains on high vigil; China toll touches 637

As the coronavirus continued to spread at an alarming pace in China with official death toll of 637, India stepped up its efforts to detect and check the virus, which originated in Chinese city of Wuhan.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: February 7, 2020 10:34:09 pm
Coronavirus outbreak: Kerala lifts 'state calamity' alert, but remains on high vigil; China toll touches 637 Kochi: Medical staff, wearing protective suits, hold medical waste as they exit the Special Isolation Ward set up to provide treatment to novel coronavirus patients at Kochi Medical college, in Kerala, Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020. (PTI Photo)

The Kerala government Friday lifted the ‘state disaster’ status that was declared in the state after three students who returned from China’s Wuhan, the epicentre of the novel coronavirus, tested positive.

KK Shailaja Teacher, the state health minister, said that no new positive cases had been reported in the state after February 3. She said that 61 people were currently in isolation wards of various hospitals across the state and that over 3,000 people were still under observation. She, however, said that existing alerts surrounding the respiratory diseases will continue to remain. Read in Malayalam

“We have received the result of the repeat sample of the positive patient in Alappuzha, which was sent for retesting at the National Institute of Virology in Pune. It came out negative. Considering all these circumstances, the government has decided to withdraw the ‘state calamity’ alert. But that does not mean that we are lowering our guard. The (28-day) quarantine period will continue. Those who come from the affected areas will still have to report to health officials,” Shailaja told reporters.

Yokohama: Medical workers in protective suits lead a passenger tested positive for a new coronavirus from the cruise ship Diamond Princess at Yokohama Port in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020. (AP/PTI Photo)

Meanwhile, the death toll in mainland China has touched 637, with a total of 31,211 confirmed cases. In Malaysia, a four-year-old Chinese girl in Malaysia was sent home after she recovered from the disease, Telegraph quoted Malaysian doctors as saying. She became the first patient to have recovered after contracting the virus.

HOW INDIA IS TACKLING CORONAVIRUS

A group of ministers (GoM), headed by the Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, has been constituted to monitor the virus outbreak. This group consists of ministers of External Affairs, Home, Shipping and Civil Aviation. Nearly 150 passengers with symptoms of coronavirus have been referred to isolation facilities in the country. The health minister in the Rajya Sabha today declared that existing visas would no longer be valid for any foreign national traveling from China.

“As of today, 1,275 flights have been screened covering 1,39,539 passengers. 150 passengers identified with symptoms have been referred to isolation facilities. All 647 people evacuated from China’s Wuhan city, who are lodged at the quarantine facilities set up by the Army and Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) in and around Delhi, have tested negative for nCoV,” Vardhan said

EXPLAINED: Remdesivir, the drug a China college wants to patent to fight coronavirus

External Affairs Minister told the Upper House that nearly 80 Indian students were still in the virus-hit Wuhan province of China. “The 80 people include 10 students who had come to the airport but were running fever so Chinese authority after screening did not allow them to board the flight,” he added. Meanwhile, 70 others chose to stay in Wuhan and not be evacuated by the two flights.

“We were prepared to bring back not only our people but also those from all our neighbourhood who would have liked to. This was an offer which was made to all our neighbours but only 7 nationals of Maldives chose to avail the offer,” Jaishankar told the Rajya Sabha.

Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, in the Rajya Sabha today declared that existing visas would no longer be valid for any foreign national traveling from China. (Source: ANI/Twitter)

In view of the fear surrounding the virus, screening of passengers had been stepped up at 21 airports and 12 major seaports. The screening has also been extended at all integrated check posts on the Nepal border after the Himalayan nation reported a confirmed case, according to PTI.

A Chinese man was admitted to a hospital in Pune after he vomited on Pune-bound Air India flight from Delhi under the suspicion of possible exposure to the virus, officials said.

DOES THE WORLD HAVE A CHANCE TO RECUPERATE?

Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO) stated that the drop in the number of new virus cases for two days was “good news” but warned against reading too much into it. The WHO director-general also said that the world was running out of masks and protective gear to combat the novel coronavirus. “The world is facing a chronic shortage of personal protective equipment,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told the WHO’s executive board in Geneva.

After Russia and Hong Kong tightened borders with China, the latter has said it may jail or fine anyone who fails to observe the two-week quarantine for arrivals from mainland China starting tomorrow. Hong Kong Airlines also stated that it had been forced to lay off hundreds of employees as the outbreak compounds problems at the already-struggling firm, AFP reported. Nearly 41 people aboard a cruise ship off Japan’s coast tested positive for coronavirus today, local media broadcaster NHK told news agency AFP.

After Russia and Hong Kong tightened borders with China, the latter has said it may jail or fine anyone who fails to observe the two-week quarantine for arrivals from mainland China starting tomorrow.

According to a report that surfaced today, Chinese scientists believe that the virus jumped from bats to humans through pangolins. Scientists found the genome sequence separated from the endangered mammals 99 per cent identical to that from infected people.

US President Donald Trump had a phone conversation with Chinese Premier Xi Jinping and lauded Beijing for showing “great discipline” in tackling coronavirus outbreak. “Nothing is easy, but he will be successful, especially as the weather starts to warm and the virus hopefully becomes weaker, and then gone,” Trump wrote on Twitter.

Meanwhile, the death of a Chinese doctor who had acted as a “whistleblower” for the coronavirus outbreak triggered a wave of mourning and sparked online anger at the Chinese government

BUSINESSES, MARKETS TAKE A HIT

Asian and European markets have been subdued as investors globally fretted over rising death toll and economic damage from the coronavirus outbreak. The virus has caused major volatility in the world markets, resulting in shares tumbling and market prices of various commodities falling. Revenues of most industries and trade have been hit due to the virus outbreak.

china coronavirus, coronavirus equipment, who on coronavirus, coronavirus treatment equipment, coronavirus preventive equipment, global health emergency, coronavirus death toll. wuhan coronavirus outbreak, indian express Medical workers in protective suits attend to patients at the Wuhan International Conference and Exhibition Center, which has been converted into a makeshift hospital to receive patients with mild symptoms caused by the novel coronavirus, in Wuhan, Hubei province, China February 5, 2020. Picture taken February 5, 2020. (China Daily via REUTERS)

“Coronavirus will have a larger negative effect on the global economy than the SARS outbreak in 2003. At the time of SARS, China was the sixth-largest economy, accounting for only 4.2 per cent of world GDP. China is now the world’s second-largest economy, accounting for 16.3 per cent of world GDP. Therefore, any slowdown in the Chinese economy sends not ripples but waves across the globe,” IHS Markit said, as per PTI reports.

Automakers and parts suppliers have had to shut factories in China, in line with government guidelines, or have flagged a hit to profits. The most productive car factory, South Korea’s Hyundai suspended operations at Ulsan complex, over China’s crippling industrial output, AFP reported.

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