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Monday, February 24, 2020

Coronavirus Highlights: PM Modi praises AI crew which evacuated Indians from Wuhan

Coronavirus Highlights Japan on Thursday confirmed 44 fresh cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) onboard a luxury cruise currently quarantined near Yokohama port, where two Indian nationals, among others, have tested positive.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: February 15, 2020 10:36:42 am
coronavirus, coronavirus latest news, coronavirus news, coronavirus live update, coronavirus news update, coronavirus prevention, coronavirus infection, coronavirus in india, coronavirus in india news, coronavirus death toll, coronavirus death toll news, coronavirus death toll in india, coronavirus death toll in india, coronavirus in india latest news An entrance to the Wuhan City Central Hospital, in Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the coronavirus epidemic (Chris Buckley/The New York Times)

Coronavirus Highlights: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has written a letter of appreciation to the Air India crew and health ministry officials involved in the evacuation of citizens of India and Maldives from the Chinese city of Wuhan following the outbreak of novel coronavirus, the Prime Minister’s Office said on Thursday.

So far, there have been three confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in India and two of them have been cured while one other has also been discharged, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said Thursday.

Earlier in the day, Japan confirmed 44 fresh cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) onboard a luxury cruise currently quarantined near Yokohama port, where two Indian nationals, among others, have tested positive. The death toll due to the Coronavirus outbreak in China rose to 1,355 while the number of new cases soared by 14,840 – also a daily record – to a total of 48,206 cases, Reuters reported.

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Coronavirus death toll exceeds 1,300 in China, 2 Indians test positive onboard ship in Japan. Follow this blog for Highlights:


    20:28 (IST)13 Feb 2020
    Manufacturers fear coronavirus outbreak may hit India's drug industry

    The prolonged shutdown in China due to novel coronavirus outbreak may affect import of active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) from the neighbouring country, fuelling fears that the drug manufacturing industry in India could be severely hit. The Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP) last week constituted a high-level panel to assess its impact of the outbreak of the deadly virus in China on the supply of APIs in India.

    APIs are bulk drugs or raw materials used for manufacturing medicines. India produces drugs, including antibiotics, using APIs around 80 per cent of which are imported from China, mainly from Hubei province which is the epicentre of the outbreak. India also exports medicines. (PTI)

    19:52 (IST)13 Feb 2020
    PM Modi praises AI crew which evacuated Indians from Wuhan

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi Thursday wrote a letter of appreciation to the Air Indian crew which evacuated Indians from China's Wuhan following coronavirus outbreak. The letter would be handed over to the crew by Minister of State for Civil Aviation, the PMO said in a release.

    17:38 (IST)13 Feb 2020
    Japan reports first death from coronavirus

    A taxi driver in Tokyo has tested positive for the coronavirus, NHK public TV reported, marking a further spread of the disease in Japan even as authorities said some passengers aboard a ship quarantined off its coast would finally be allowed to disembark. The broadcaster, quoting sources, said the health ministry was trying to trace the route of the contagion, adding that the driver said he had carried passengers who appeared to be Chinese. (Reuters)

    17:15 (IST)13 Feb 2020
    Etihad to add daily flight connecting Abu Dhabhi to Thiruvananthapuram, Chennai just for May

    Etihad Airways will operate an additional daily flight on the Abu Dhabi-Thiruvananthapuram route and on the Abu Dhabi-Chennai route just for the month of May using its narrow-body aircraft, a top executive of the airline said on Thursday. The airline currently flies one daily frequency to Thiruvananthapuram and two daily frequencies to Chennai.

    "We have added another seven weekly flights to Chennai and another seven to Trivandrum (Thiruvananthapuram). So, Trivandrum goes up to 14 (weekly flights) and Chennai goes up to 21 (weekly flights) for the month of May," said Neerja Bhatia, Vice President, Indian sub-continent, Etihad Airways. "It is only for the month of May at the moment. We will let you know we have any long-term plans (for these additional flights)," she told reporters. (PTI)

    17:07 (IST)13 Feb 2020
    Kerala patient discharged from hospital

    A coronavirus positive patient who was admitted to Alappuzha medical college has been discharged. He has to remain under home quarantine till February 26. His later samples sent for testing had come back negative. Two other patients who tested positive for coronavirus are also stable. 

    16:45 (IST)13 Feb 2020
    EU ministers hold emergency talks on COVID-19 virus

    European Union health ministers were holding an emergency meeting Thursday on how to prevent the COVID-19 virus from further spreading across Europe. Ministers from the bloc's 27 member states gather in Brussels amid the outbreak, which has infected around 60,000 people worldwide. Mike Ryan, the executive director of the World Health Organization's emergencies program, will also join the debate via video link.

    More people have now died from COVID-19 than during the SARS outbreak, but no death has been reported in Europe so far. Less than 50 suspected cases have been registered on the continent but the EU insists coordinated action is required to keep these figures low.

    15:50 (IST)13 Feb 2020
    In India, almost 16000 under surveillance for coronavirus

    Health Minister Harsh Vardhan: "15991 people across the country are under surveillance for coronavirus. 457 people were given treatment and 41 in isolation."

    15:49 (IST)13 Feb 2020
    Three confirmed cases of coronavirus in India

    Union Minister Harsh Vardhan addresses press on coronavirus: Three confirmed coronavirus cases in India. Two have been cured, one has also been discharged. All three had links to Wuhan. We revised the travel advisory as the situation changed. All visas were declared invalid, including for foreign nationals. 

    15:07 (IST)13 Feb 2020
    Two more passengers test positive for coronavirus at Kolkata airport

    Two passengers who arrived at NSCBI Airport from Bangkok have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, Airports Authority of India officials said on
    Thursday. With this, a total of three passengers have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in Kolkata.

    15:02 (IST)13 Feb 2020
    Coronavirus has just 0.2% mortality rate, SARS was 10%

    In comparison to the SARS epidemic of 2002-2003, the novel coronavirus is less fatal than the epidemic which resulted in around 800 deaths 17 years ago. Like the 2019-nCoV or Wuhan virus, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) is also caused due to a type of coronavirus, called the SARS coronavirus (SARS-CoV). Read more here

    14:12 (IST)13 Feb 2020
    Passenger suspected of coronavirus onboard Bangkok-Delhi flight quarantined

    An Indian citizen, onboard a Bangkok-Delhi SpiceJet flight, suspected to be infected with coronavirus was quarantined at IGI airport on Thursday, an airline spokesperson said. “He was seated on seat number 31F and was the only passenger in that row. The said passenger was quarantined by the Airport Health Organisation (APHO) after landing in Delhi,” the official said.

    12:52 (IST)13 Feb 2020
    Tokyo stocks wobble after China reports sharp rise in coronavirus deaths

    Japanese shares wobbled on Thursday as a sharp jump in the death toll from the coronavirus triggered concerns that the epidemic could get worse before it is brought under control. The benchmark Nikkei average slipped 0.14% to 23,827.73, while the broader Topix fell 0.34% to 1,713.08. The death toll in China's Hubei province, the epicentre of the flu-like virus outbreak, rose by 242 to 1,310 as of Wednesday. A record 14,840 cases were reported in Hubei on Thursday, from 2,015 new cases nationwide a day earlier, under a new method for diagnosing cases.

    12:07 (IST)13 Feb 2020
    Imran Khan directs authorities to take all possible steps for Pakistan students stuck in virus-hit Wuhan

    Prime Minister Imran Khan has directed authorities to take every possible step to help Pakistani students stuck in China's Wuhan. The government, however, said that it would not evacuate its citizens from Wuhan in an attempt to stem the spread of the coronavirus which has killed over 1,000 people and infected nearly 50,000 since its outbreak, The Express Tribune reported. "I have issued instructions to our Foreign Office and Overseas Ministry to do everything possible for our students who are stuck in Wuhan city," Khan had tweeted on Wednesday night.

    11:24 (IST)13 Feb 2020
    Hong Kong property developers cut retail rents in February amid coronavirus battle

    Major shopping mall landlords in Hong Kong are offering cuts in February rent by as much as 60% to help tenants ride out the effects of the coronavirus outbreak. Hong Kong's retail sector, battered by months of often violent anti-government protests, is likely to suffer in the coming months as the outbreak in mainland China has emptied shopping centres and closed down tourist attractions. Henderson Land said it will cut February rent by 20% to 60% for its small- to medium-size tenants in retail, food and beverage, as well as education businesses following similar moves by its peers. "Hong Kong's retail and food and beverage businesses have been greatly affected since February due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus outbreak," Henderson Land said in an emailed statement on Thursday.

    10:43 (IST)13 Feb 2020
    Qatar ready to re-route oil, gas cargoes to China due to spread of coronavirus: Minister

    Qatari energy companies are “actively engaged” in accommodating rescheduling or re-routing some requests for deliveries of Qatari oil and gas cargoes to China after the spread of the coronavirus, the Qatari energy minister said in a statement late on Wednesday, Reuters reported.

    10:23 (IST)13 Feb 2020
    Singapore rugby sevens tournament postponed due to coronavirus: Source

    Singapore's annual rugby sevens tournament will be postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters on Thursday. The World Sevens Series tournament, due to take place in the city-state April 11-12, could be pushed back until October, the source said. Singapore, which has reported 50 cases of a virus that has claimed over 1,300 lives in China, has advised businesses to defer or cancel non-essential, large-scale events. Event organisers did not respond to a request for comment.

    09:48 (IST)13 Feb 2020
    Coronavirus LIVE: China's Hubei province communist party chief relieved of duty

    The head of the Communist Party in the Chinese province of Hubei, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak, has been relieved of duty, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Thursday. Shanghai Mayor Ying Yong has been appointed as the new secretary of the Hubei Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China, replacing Jiang Chaoliang, the report said, citing the party's central committee.

    09:24 (IST)13 Feb 2020
    Coronavirus LIVE: Japan confirms 44 more cases onboard luxury cruise, Indian crew in quarantine

    Japan today confirmed 44 more cases of COVID-19 onboard a luxury cruise currently quarantined near Yokohama port, where several Indians are also stranded. The number of cases onboard the ship have now increased to 218.

    09:20 (IST)13 Feb 2020
    No word of any coronavirus cases, but North Korea steps up anti-virus campaign

    While North Korea has yet to publicly confirm any cases of the new coronavirus, authorities have doubled down on prevention efforts, extending quarantines and dispatching Red Cross workers around the country, state media said, Reuters reported. On Wednesday, North Korean media announced that the quarantine period had been extended to 30 days, and that all government institutions as well as foreigners living in North Korea were expected to obey it "unconditionally." "The spread of the epidemic comes to be a serious problem with the possibility of international disaster," state news agency KCNA said.

    08:59 (IST)13 Feb 2020
    Second case of new coronavirus confirmed among China evacuees in US

    A second case of novel coronavirus has been confirmed in the US among evacuees from China, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Wednesday, AP reported. The person was aboard a flight from the city of Wuhan that arrived at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in Southern California last week, the CDC said. The patient was in isolation at a San Diego hospital, UC San Diego Health confirmed.

    08:42 (IST)13 Feb 2020
    No evidence that coronavirus can be passed on to child in womb: Study

    There is currently no evidence that the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) causes severe adverse outcomes in newborn babies or that it can pass to the child while in the womb, according to a small observational study of women from Wuhan, China. These women were in the third trimester of pregnancy and had pneumonia caused by COVID-19. In the study, published in The Lancet, there were two cases of fetal distress, but all nine pregnancies resulted in livebirths. The study also found that symptoms from COVID-19 infection in pregnant women were similar to those reported in non-pregnant adults, and no women in the study developed severe pneumonia or died.

    08:32 (IST)13 Feb 2020
    Coronavirus LIVE updates: Hong Kong extends suspension of schools till at least March 16

    Hong Kong extended on Wednesday the suspension of schools till at least March 16 in a bid to contain the spread of the coronavirus in the city, where 50 cases of the flu-like infection have been confirmed, Reuters reported. Secretary for Education Kevin Yeung said secondary and primary schools would not return from the prolonged break until at least mid-March, extending an earlier suspension that was due to see students return to lessons on March 2.

    08:26 (IST)13 Feb 2020
    US airlines extend China flight cancellations into late April

    United Airlines said late on Wednesday it will extend cancellations of all US flights to China through late April due to the coronavirus epidemic. With the announcement by Chicago-based United, all US passenger carriers flying to China have now canceled flights into late April. Carriers say part of the reason is a dramatic drop-off in demand. United said it was extending cancellations of flights to Hong Kong, which had been set to resume on Feb. 21, and for flights to mainland China, that had been set to resume on March 28. Flights will resume starting April 24. United normally operates roughly 12 flights per day from the United States to mainland China and Hong Kong.

    07:59 (IST)13 Feb 2020
    China: Hubei province sees surge in coronavirus deaths on switch to new methodology

    The death toll in China's Hubei province from a coronavirus outbreak leapt by a record 242 on Thursday to 1,310, with a sharp rise in confirmed cases after the adoption of new methodology for diagnosis, health officials told Reuters. The rise in the toll more than doubled the prior provincial daily record of 103 set on Monday, while the number of new cases soared by 14,840 - also a daily record - to a total of 48,206 cases. Health officials in the province, the epicentre of the epidemic, said they had started including people diagnosed using the new methods from Thursday. Excluding cases confirmed using the new methods, the number of new cases rose by only 1,508, the official data showed.

    07:48 (IST)13 Feb 2020
    Punjab: Leaves of staff engaged in screening for coronavirus cancelled

    The Punjab government on Wednesday issued instructions to cancel the holidays/leaves of all key staff engaged in the reporting and management for COVID-19 (official name for the disease caused by the coronavirus). In a press communiqué, Health and Family Welfare Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu said staff working on surveillance of coronavirus, reporting, tracing and management would only be granted leave after getting sanction from the Directorate Health Services so that screening as well as testing process of the suspected passengers are not affected. The minister said that till date, a total of 22,236 passengers had been screened at the international airports in Amritsar and Mohali. Another 16,549 passengers had been screened at the Attari-Wagah Border, Amritsar, and 5,687 passengers had been screened at Dera Baba Nanak checkpost in Gurdaspur.

    07:42 (IST)13 Feb 2020
    Cruise ship shunned over coronavirus fears arrives in Cambodia

    A cruise ship which had spent two weeks at sea after being turned away by five countries over fears that someone aboard may have the coronavirus arrived in Cambodia on Thursday to the relief of passengers and the praise of global health officials. The MS Westerdam, which has 1,455 passengers and 802 crew on board, arrived at an anchoring point in the Cambodian port town of Sihanoukville early on Thursday morning, according to data published by the Marine Traffic website. "We've had so many near moments we thought we were going home only to be turned away," Angela Jones, an American tourist on board the ship, told Reuters.

    07:32 (IST)13 Feb 2020
    Sensex rises for 2nd session on coronavirus containment hopes

    The benchmark Sensex on Wednesday surged 350 points on positive global cues in the wake of favourable comments by the US Federal Reserve and reports that spread of the coronavirus cases has been contained. Led by FMCG stocks, the 30-share BSE Sensex soared 349.76 points, or 0.85 per cent, to close at 41,565.90. Similarly, the broader NSE Nifty jumped 93.30 points, or 0.77 per cent, to 12,201.20.

    07:26 (IST)13 Feb 2020
    Explained: COVID-19— How WHO names a new disease

    On Tuesday, the World Health Organization (WHO) gave an official name to the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. The disease will be called “COVID-19”; the “CO” stands for coronavirus, “VI” for virus and “D” for disease. The coronavirus itself is called “nCoV-2019”. In a statement on Tuesday, the WHO Director-General said: “Under agreed guidelines… we had to find a name that did not refer to a geographical location, an animal, an individual or group of people, and which is also pronounceable and related to the disease. Having a name matters to prevent the use of other names that can be inaccurate or stigmatizing.” The Indian Express' Mehr Gill explains how Coronavirus was named by the organisation

    06:53 (IST)13 Feb 2020
    Mobile World Congress in Barcelona called off over coronavirus fears

    The Mobile World Congress (MWC), the annual telecoms industry gathering that draws more than 100,000 visitors to Barcelona, was cancelled on Wednesday after a mass exodus by exhibitors due to fears over the coronavirus outbreak. Bowing to the inevitable, the GSMA telecoms association that hosts the get-together said it had cancelled the Feb. 24-27 event despite assurances from local and national health officials that it would have been safe to hold it.

    00:29 (IST)13 Feb 2020
    Maharashtra: Quarantined Chinese national discharged from Pune hospital

    A Chinese national who was quarantined at a hospital in Pune for possible exposure to the novel coronavirus, was dicharged on Tuesday and he thanked the authorities for the medical treatment and care. The man was admitted to the hospital on February 7 after he vomited on a flight from Delhi to Pune.

    23:58 (IST)12 Feb 2020
    Drop in new coronavirus cases in China

    China on Wednesday reported its lowest number of coronavirus cases in two weeks. The 2,015 new confirmed cases took the total number of those infected to 44,653. This, however, was the lowest daily rise since January 30.

    23:56 (IST)12 Feb 2020
    Coronavirus has impacted tourism in Vietnam: Ambassador

    "Coronavirus is spreading epidemically and the govt of Vietnam has conducted a number of inter-agency meetings in order to identify the measures and steps in order to quarantine this epidemic. We have able to identify and isolate the virus. We hope that we will be able to develop a vaccine to fight against the virus. Outbreak of Coronavirus has impacted business especially tourism in Vietnam," Vietnamese Ambassador to India Pham Sanh Chau told ANI. 

    22:09 (IST)12 Feb 2020
    Imran Khan issues order to ensure safety of Pakistani students in China

    In the wake of growing concerns over the deadly coronavirus in China, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan Wednesday said that the country will do everything possible for the Pakistani students stuck in Wuhan, the epicentre of the disease. “I have issued instructions to our Foreign Office and Overseas Ministry to do everything possible for our students who are stuck in Wuhan city,” Khan tweeted. Read more

    21:33 (IST)12 Feb 2020
    Chinese crew allowed to enter Kolkata after being quarantined, thermal scanning to be done tomorrow

    Nineteen Chinese crew of a vessel coming from Shanghai was allowed to enter Kolkata port after the ship was quarantined at Sagar Island in South 24 Parganas for several hours on Wednesday, port officials said. The crew members will undergo thermal scanning in the port in view of the novel coronavirus outbreak in China. "A total of 19 Chinese crew on board including Captain Zhou Yingde was quarantined at Sagar Island today. They were cleared by doctors of Kolkata Port Trust there and allowed to enter Kolkata tomorrow," officials said. The Kolkata Port Trust last month began mandatory screening of the crew of shipping liners coming and leaving the two ports under it in view of the novel coronavirus scare. (PTI)

    20:54 (IST)12 Feb 2020
    Coronavirus: 40 of 41 samples test negative in Maharashtra

    The swab samples of 40 of the total 41 people quarantined in Maharashtra after returning from the Chinese regions affected by novel Coronavirus outbreak have tested negative, the state government said on Wednesday. While 39 of them were discharged from isolation facilities by Tuesday evening, two others remained admitted at Naidu hospital in Pune and at Kasturba hospital in Mumbai, respectively. Pune-based National Institute of Virology (NIV) has stated that samples of 40 people who were admitted to the isolation facilities have tested negative in laboratory tests, while reports of the remaining one person is expected on Thursday. (PTI)

    19:22 (IST)12 Feb 2020
    Two Indian crew on board Japanese cruise ship test positive for coronavirus

    Two Indian crew on board a cruise ship off the Japanese coast have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, the Indian Embassy in Japan said on Wednesday as authorities confirmed that 174 people have been infected with the deadly disease. The cruise ship Diamond Princess with 3,711 people on board arrived at the Japanese coast early last week and was quarantined after a passenger who de-boarded last month in Hong Kong was found to be the carrier of the novel virus on the ship. A total of 138 Indians, including passengers and crew, were on board the ship.

    18:50 (IST)12 Feb 2020
    Coronavirus caused more deaths than SARS, but is less life threatening

    Even as the number of new coronavirus cases being detected each day are dropping, fears over the outbreak refuse to cease. The viral infection has so far killed over 1,100 people in China — the epicentre of the outbreak — with 97 more deaths recorded Wednesday. Despite the death toll, the novel coronavirus epidemic, later renamed by the WHO as COVID-19, is not a life-threatening illness. Here's why

    18:04 (IST)12 Feb 2020
    Motor racing-Chinese Grand Prix postponed due to coronavirus

    Formula One's Chinese Grand Prix has been postponed due to the recent outbreak of coronavirus in the country, the organisers said on Wednesday. The FIA and Formula One said in a statement that they had jointly decided to postpone the race, which was scheduled for April 19 at the Shanghai International Circuit. "As a result of continued health concerns and with the World Health Organisation declaring the coronavirus as a global health emergency, the FIA and Formula 1 have taken these measures," the two bodies said. The Chinese Grand Prix joins a list of sporting events to have been cancelled due to coronavirus that has killed more than 1,100 people and infected more than 44,000 in China after it first emerged in Wuhan late last year. (Reuters)

    16:31 (IST)12 Feb 2020
    Only coronavirus patient in Tibet discharged from hospital

    The only patient infected with the novel coronavirus in Tibet was discharged from hospital on Wednesday after 18 days of treatment. The 34-year-old patient is from Suizhou city in Hubei province, the epicentre of the virus. He travelled from Hubei's capital Wuhan to Lhasa, the provincial capital of Tibet by train from January 22 to 24. On January 25, he developed symptoms of cough and fever, and later went to the designated medical institution in the region and was hospitalised. He was confirmed to be infected with the new virus on January 29, becoming the the first and only confirmed case in the region. (PTI)

    16:16 (IST)12 Feb 2020
    Coronavirus: DMK seeks Centre's help in securing release of Indians onboard quarantined ship

    DMK president M K Stalin on Wednesday sought the Centre's intervention in securing the release of around 100 Indians, including six from Tamil Nadu, from a cruise ship quarantined in Japan for nearly 10 days over outbreak of novel coronavirus. The "Diamond Princess" has been in quarantine at Yokohama since arriving off the Japanese coast early last week after the virus was detected in a former passenger who got off the ship in Hong Kong. A total of 174 confirmed cases have been reported from among the 3,700-odd passengers and crew. In his message, he has sought the Centre's intervention for the release of these hundred Indians from the vessel, the DMK said and urged Jaishankar to immediately intervene and ensure their safe return. (PTI)

    In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, workers disinfect closed shop lots following the coronavirus outbreak, in Jiang'an District of Wuhan in central China's Hubei Province, Monday, Feb. 10, 2020.  (Cheng Min/Xinhua via AP)

    The fast-spreading virus has killed more than 1,000 people in China, where there have been nearly 43,000 cases. There have been another 319 confirmed cases in 24 other countries, including 13 in the United States.

    Over 800 people have been evacuated from Wuhan on six US evacuation flights since Jan. 28. Hundreds have been quarantined on air bases in California, Texas and Nebraska, according to the U.S. State Department.

    Nearly 200 people evacuated from the China coronavirus outbreak were released from quarantine in California on Tuesday with officials urging Americans not to shun them, or workers who helped them, after both groups faced discrimination.

    The 195 US citizens, mostly US State Department employees and their families, underwent the United States’ first mandatory quarantine since 1963 after they were evacuated from the coronavirus-stricken Chinese city of Wuhan. They were flown by government-chartered cargo jet on Jan. 29 to March Air Reserve Base in Riverside County about 60 miles (97 km) east of Los Angeles where they were in quarantine for 14-days – the outer limit of the virus’ possible incubation period.

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