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Coronavirus HIGHLIGHTS: Indian Embassy keeps a close eye on Indians stuck in Iran

Coronavirus Outbreak HIGHLIGHTS: The disease has now spread to at least 47 countries; more than 82,000 people are infected, and over 2,900 dead. It has hit every continent except Antarctica.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: March 1, 2020 10:30:14 pm
Coronavirus HIGHLIGHTS: Pakistan is set to close its border with Afghanistan for seven days amid growing fears of the coronavirus spreading after two new cases were reported in the country. (AP/File)

Coronavirus outbreak HIGHLIGHTS: The Indian embassy is in touch with the Iranian authorities to receive reports of the Indians stuck in Iran due to coronavirus outbreak, the Minister of State for External affairs said on Sunday. The Indian embassy in Tehran issued an advisory for Indians stranded in the Islamic Republic. There are roughly 250 Indian students across Iran, including in Tehran, Shiraz and Kish Island.A number of politicians including senior Congress leader Saif-ud-din-Soz, former finance minister Syed Bukhari and the National Conference MP Masoodi have requested the center for safe return of stranded J&k students stuck in Iran.

Kerala CM in a letter addressed to the External Affairs minister S. Jaishankar urged the government and the Indian embassy in Iran to take necessary measures to arrange the safe return of hundreds of fishermen out of which 60 are from Kerala who are stuck in Iran amid coronavirus outbreak.

Meanwhile, China reported 573 new confirmed coronavirus cases on February 29, up from 427 the previous day and the highest daily increase in a week, the country’s health authority said on Sunday. The number of deaths stood at 35, down from 47 on the previous day, bringing the total death toll in mainland China to 2,870, the National Health Commission said. South Korea reported at least 210 new COVID-19 cases raising the total infected persons in the country to 3736 and Iran’s death toll rose to 54 on Sunday and the number of cases in Pakistan reach four. 


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21:08 (IST)01 Mar 2020
Kerala CM urges MEA to ensure safe return of stranded Indian fishermen in Iran

Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan on Sunday urged the External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar to arrange the safe return of hundreds of Indian fishermen stranded in Iran due to coronavirus outbreak. In a letter addressed to Jaishankar the CM highlighted that the state government has received information of more than hundreds of trapped fishermen out which 60 were from Kerala. "I request you to direct the Embassy officials to take necessary steps and arrange for the safe return of these persons," he further wrote.Most of the kerala fishermen hail from Thiruvananthapuram. Earlier the Fisheries Minister J Mercykutty Amma said that the government will take the required steps to bring back the stranded fishermen adding that providing them with food and medicines was a top priority.(PTI)

20:36 (IST)01 Mar 2020
Politicians appeal for the safe return of J&K students stranded in Iran

A number of politicians have made appeals to the centre for the safe return of people of Jammu and Kashmir stuck in Iran following the rapid outbreak of the deadly coronavirus. Former Union Minister and senior Congress leader Saif-ud-din Soz as well as former finance minister Syed Bukhari asked the central government to evacuate the J&K students and businessmen stranded in Iran. Bukhair in a statement said that he is in touch with the MEA and has submitted details of over 240 J&K students stuck in Tehran and other Iranian cities, PTI reported. The National Conference MP from Anantnag said he spoke to Minister of external Affairs S Jaishankar about the safe return of kashmiri students from Iran.There are roughly 250 Indian students across Iran, including in Tehran, Shiraz and Kish Island. Iran has the highest number of coronavirus caused deaths in the world outside China.

20:16 (IST)01 Mar 2020
Indian embassy in touch with Iranian authorities over Indians stuck in Iran due to coronavirus

The Indian embassy is in touch with the Iranian authorities to receive reports of the Indians stuck in Iran due to coronavirus outbreak, the Minister of State for External affairs said on Sunday.Talking to twitter Muraleedharan said "In view of COVID19, working to facilitate the return of those Indians wishing to go back home. Discussions underway with concerned authorities to work out arrangements. Will keep you updated”. Gaddam Dharmendra, the Indian envoy to Iran on Saturday said that the authorities are working to bring back several Indians stuck in Iran. The Indian embassy in the Iranian capital said that they were closely monitoring the situation and issued an advisory for Indians stuck in Iran. Meanwhile, the Indian government issued a statement to avoid non-essential travel to Iran on 26 February. The government advisory further added that any person coming to India from Iran or had visited Iran since 10 February may be quarantined for 14 days.

19:44 (IST)01 Mar 2020
Saudi Arabia prepares 25 hospitals for any upcoming coronavirus cases

The Saudi Arabian government has prepared 25 hospitals for any upcoming coronavirus cases in the country, a health ministry official said on Sunday. Till now the kingdom has not reported any confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, Reuters reported. Coronavirus cases in the Middle East have risen to 1100 a majority of them being in Iran.

19:11 (IST)01 Mar 2020
Coronavirus outbreak hitting supply chains of Indian automakers

Indian automobile manufacturers Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd and Tata Motors on Sunday highlighted how their supply chains have suffered since supply parts coming from China have been hit as the coronavirus outbreak spreads. In a press release chief of sales and marketing at M& M (Ltd) expressed concerns over the continuation of the supply problem for next few weeks. Similarly, Tata Motors said that the coronavirus had hit their supply chains and that they were working to ease the situation, Reuters reported.  Along with the aforementioned companies, India's largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki reported a sales decline of 1.6 percent in February from a year ago. M&M and Tata Motors said their domestic sales had fallen by 42 percent and 34 percent respectively. (Reuters)

17:39 (IST)01 Mar 2020
Coronavirus infection death toll jumps to 54 in Iran

In Iran the death toll of people infected by the novel coronavirus has risen to 54 as the number of infected cases jumped to 978 people in a night, Iran's health ministry said on Sunday. 

The recent figures show eleven more deaths than Saturday along with 385 new cases of infections in just one day. At least 7 government officials including Iran's senior health minister have been infected by the virus. Iran has the world's highest death toll outside China.  According to the government the country is preparing for the possible testing of tens of thousands of people for the coronavirus. Although the new data released brings down the percentage of deaths to infections from around 20 percent to 5.5 percent it is still higher than other countries.  Iran houses the majority of the 1100 cases that emerged in the Middle East.

16:29 (IST)01 Mar 2020
Pakistan to close its border with Afghanistan amid coronavirus outbreak fears

Amid growing fears of the coronavirus outbreak, Pakistan from 2 March will close its border with Afghanistan for 7 days ,the Interior Ministry said. 'In order to prevent the spread of coronavirus on both sides of the border is in the best interest of the people of the brotherly countries' the ministry said in a statement issued on Sunday. 'During the period, necessary measures will be taken to safeguard the health of people of both countries' it added. The total number of coronavirus infections in the country have reached 4 after 2 new cases surfaced on Saturday.The first case was reported from Karachi where a young man who had returned from Iran was tested positive. To prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus schools have been shut in Karachi, southern parts of the Sindh province and southwestern parts of Balochistan. Authorities have begun to trace approximately 8000 pilgrims who have returned from Iran. More than 200 pilgrims have till now been quarantined at the Taftan border in Balochistan.

15:46 (IST)01 Mar 2020
UK Health Minister calls the coronavirus "a very significant challenge" as confirmed cases rises to 23

United Kingdom health Minister Hancock on Sunday said "Coronavirus is a very, very significant challenge" and that the UK is planning in case things get worse reported Reuters.  He also added that the UK is in containment stage of the virus. The number of COVID-19 cases in the United Kingdom have risen to 23 on Saturday as 3 more patients tested positive, Britain's health ministry reported. The ministry in a statement further said that out of 10,483 people that have been tested in the UK, 10,460 were confirmed negative and 23 were tested positive.  British PM Bortis Johnson said on Friday said that treating coronavirus has become his government's top priority.

15:17 (IST)01 Mar 2020
Coronavirus outbreak strikes sports events around the world

Coronavirus that has been declared as a global health emergency by the WHO has adversely impacted a number of sports events around the world. A number of Olympic qualifiers have been postponed or relocated for taking precautionary measures from the virus outbreak. Iran has suspended all sports events from 24 February for at least 10 days with the exception of Indoor Pro League soccer matches, AP reported.  Coronavirus outbreak has resulted in disrupting the daily lives of thousands infected and has had negative repercussions on the global trade. 

14:52 (IST)01 Mar 2020
South Korea reports more than 200 new cases

South Korea has reported at least 210 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday raising the total infected persons in the country to 3736, Reuters reported.  The Korean Centre for Disease Control and Prevention(KDCP) reported 18th death due to coronavirus in the East Asian country.  

13:52 (IST)01 Mar 2020
Coronavirus outbreak batters economies, raises fear of spread

Amid fears about where the next outbreak of a fast-spreading new virus would appear, infections and deaths continued to rise across the globe Sunday, emptying streets of tourists and workers, shaking economies and rewriting the realities of daily life, AP reported. Panic-buying of daily necessities emerged in Japan, tourist sites across Asia, Europe and the Mideast were deserted, and governments closed schools and banned big gatherings. Amusement parks have been shuttered and concerts cancelled. In Paris, priests stopped placing sacramental bread in worshippers' mouths. While the new coronavirus has extended its reach across the world, definite geographic clusters of infections were emerging, with Iran, Italy and South Korea seeing rising cases. The United States, meanwhile, recorded its first death, a man in his 50s in Washington state who had underlying health conditions but who hadn't traveled to any affected areas. ``Additional cases in the United States are likely, but healthy individuals should be able to fully recover,'' President Donald Trump said at a Saturday briefing, where officials announced heightened warnings about travel to certain regions of Italy and South Korea as well as a ban on travel to Iran.

12:32 (IST)01 Mar 2020
Some say the coronavirus risk is exaggerated, the ‘normal’ flu is just as bad. Here’s some perspective

Australia and the United States have announced their first coronavirus deaths and the global death toll is approaching 3,000. The virus is now in 59 countries on all continents except Antarctica, with nearly 87,000 cases recorded officially. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has raised its assessment of the spread and risk of impact of COVID-19 to “very high at global level”. As the concern spreads, however, several voices are asking whether coronavirus is really as serious a threat as it sounds, and whether the common flu actually does not kill more people. Read more here

12:16 (IST)01 Mar 2020
NASA images show nitrogen dioxide levels fall over China after coronavirus outbreak

With China reeling under the coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19), satellite images released by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the European Space Agency’s (ESA) revealed that airborne nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels have significantly decreased over the country, reflecting the slowdown in economic activity and curbs on movement. On Saturday, NASA released the images and said that there is evidence that the change is “at least partly related to the economic slowdown following the outbreak of coronavirus”. The data was collected by the Tropospheric Monitoring Instrument (TROPOMI) on ESA’s Sentinel-5 satellite. The Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) on NASA’s Aura satellite has also been making similar measurements.

11:22 (IST)01 Mar 2020
South Korea closes churches as coronavirus tally passes 3,500

Churches were closed in South Korea on Sunday with many holding online services instead, as authorities fought to rein in public gatherings, with 376 new coronavirus infections taking the tally to 3,526 cases. That came a day after the biggest daily jump of 813 cases in South Korea's battle with the largest virus outbreak outside China, said the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC), which will update numbers later in the day. The death toll of 17 was unchanged from Saturday, it added. In Seoul, the capital, about a dozen worshippers were turned away from the Yoido Full Gospel Church, which put a sermon for its 560,000 followers on YouTube, filmed with a small choir instead of all 200 members and 60-strong orchestra.

11:09 (IST)01 Mar 2020
Trump, on 1st death from virus in US: 'No reason to panic"

Seeking to reassure the American public, President Donald Trump said there was ``no reason to panic`` as the new coronavirus claimed its first victim inside the US, AP reported. The White House also announced new restrictions on international travel to prevent its spread. Trump, speaking Saturday only moments after the death in Washington state was announced, took a more measured approach a day after he complained that the virus threat was being overblown and that his political enemies were perpetuating a ``hoax.''

``This is very serious stuff,'' he said, but still insisted the criticism of his administration's handling of the virus outbreak was a hoax. Trump appeared at a hastily called news conference in the White House briefing room with Vice President Mike Pence and top public health officials to announce that the U.S. was banning travel to Iran and urging Americans not to travel to regions of Italy and South Korea where the virus has been prevalent.

10:08 (IST)01 Mar 2020
Australia's first coronavirus death confirmed as former Diamond Cruise passenger

A former passenger on the Diamond Princess cruise ship that was quarantined off Japan for coronavirus died in a hospital in Perth early on Sunday, a health official said, becoming Australia's first death from the virus, Reuters reported. The 78-year-old man had been in quarantine since being evacuated from the cruise ship off Yokohama, one of more than 150 Australians taken off the vessel.
'Our condolences are with his family and unfortunately he's the first death we've had from coronavirus in Australia,' Andrew Robertson, the chief health officer of Western Australia state, told journalists. The man's widow also caught the virus, but is in stable condition, the health official said. Australia's tally of virus infections rose by one to 26 on Sunday, the latest government figures showed.

10:07 (IST)01 Mar 2020
Armenia reports first coronavirus infection

Armenia reported its first coronavirus infection on Sunday, in a citizen returning from neighbouring Iran, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said in a post on Facebook. The 29-year-old, who arrived in the former Soviet nation on Friday, went to a doctor because he was not feeling well, the prime minister added. "He is now in good condition," Pashinyan said, adding that authorities planned to isolate those had been in contact with him.

09:08 (IST)01 Mar 2020
Trump says US considering restrictions at Mexican border over coronavirus

The United States is considering shutting the country’s southern border with Mexico to control the spread of the new coronavirus, President Donald Trump said on Saturday, as his administration announced new limits on travelers who have visited Iran and recommended against travel to hard-hit areas of Italy and South Korea. Read more here

08:19 (IST)01 Mar 2020
Gatherings banned, travel restricted as coronavirus cases grow worldwide

Leaders in Europe, the Middle East and the Americas rolled out bans on big gatherings, and stricter travel restrictions as cases of the new coronavirus spread around the world. The United States on Saturday reported its first death from the disease, a Washington state man in his 50s. Two of the state's three cases have links to a nursing home, state officials said, where dozens of residents have symptoms of the disease. U.S. President Donald Trump and top officials said in a White House press briefing that travelers from South Korea and Italy would be subject to additional screening, and warned Americans against traveling to coronavirus-affected regions in both countries. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said a ban on travelers from Iran entering the country would be expanded to include any foreign nationals who have visited Iran in the last 14 days. The United States may also restrict travel on its southern border with Mexico, officials said.

07:38 (IST)01 Mar 2020
Final coronavirus report awaited: Man dies 2 days after arriving from Malaysia

Amid lingering threat of the novel coronavirus, a 26-year-old man who reached Kochi from Malaysia died on Saturday. While the initial lab test was negative for coronavirus, the Health Department is awaiting the final report to ascertain the cause of death. The man had arrived in Kochi on February 27 with fever and pneumonia and was immediately shifted to the isolation ward at the medical college. Read more here

People wearing masks to prevent contracting the coronavirus wait in line to buy masks at a department store in Seoul People wearing masks to prevent contracting the coronavirus wait in line to buy masks at a department store in Seoul, South Korea (Reuters)

The disease has now spread to at least 47 countries; more than 82,000 people are infected, and over 2,800 dead. It has hit every continent except Antarctica. On the other hand, Nigeria and New Zealand reported have their first confirmed cases of the coronavirus. New Zealand's health ministry said the affected person is in their 60s. It also added that the patient is being treated in Auckland City Hospital and is in an improving condition.

A statement published by China's National Health Commission on Thursday, citing a meeting held the previous day, said that the situation in Hubei province and Wuhan is "still complex and serious".

Also, some coronavirus patients discharged from hospitals after recovery have been readmitted after testing positive again, health authorities said recently.

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