Coronavirus cases in India rises to 170; Death toll reaches 8,967 globally
New Delhi, Mar 18: The number of novel coronavirus cases in India rose to 170 with 152 active cases on Wednesday after a 23-year-old woman has tested positive. She has travel history to the United Kingdom.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the nation on Thursday at 8 pm about the coronavirus pandemic. He chaired a high-level meeting to review the ongoing efforts on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the number of confirmed cases worldwide surpassed 200,000 on Wednesday. Of those, 8,967 have died, 85,745 have recovered, and 124,528 are still open, according to the John Hopkins Resource Center.
However, China claimed it had no new domestic cases of the novel coronavirus for the first time since it started recording them in January, but reported a spike in infections imported from abroad, AFP reported.
In India, 14 fresh cases were reported from various parts of the country, according to the Health Ministry.
The cases include 25 foreign nationals -- 17 from Italy, 3 from Philippines, one each belonging to Canada, United Kingdom, Indonesia and Singapore. The figure also includes three deaths reported from Delhi, Karnataka and Maharashtra.
Delhi has, so far, reported 10 positive cases which includes one foreigner, while Uttar Pradesh has recorded 16 cases, including one foreigner. Maharashtra has 42 cases, including three foreigners, while Kerala has recorded 27 cases which include two foreign nationals.
Three persons infected with the virus have died, so far, the latest casualty being a 64-year-old man from Mumbai with a travel history to Dubai who succumbed on Tuesday. A 76-year-old man from Kalaburagi who returned from Saudi Arabia and a 68-year-old woman in Delhi who had tested positive for the coronavirus are the other deceased.
The government on Tuesday banned the entry of passengers from Afghanistan, Philippines and Malaysia to India with immediate effect. This instruction is a temporary measure and shall be in force till March 31 and will be reviewed subsequently.
With coronavirus cases swelling in the country, the government has also banned the entry of passengers from the European Union countries, Turkey and the UK from March 18 till March 31.
On March 11, India suspended all visas, except a few categories such as diplomatic and employment, till April 15 to prevent the spread of coronavirus. The government has also proposed certain social distancing measures as a preventive strategy for implementation, a health ministry official said said, adding that these interventions are proposed to be in force till March 31.
The key measures proposed include closure of all educational institutions -- schools, colleges and universities -- gyms, museums, cultural and social centres, swimming pools and theatres, he said. All ASI-protected monuments and central museums across the country will also be shut till March 31, Union Culture Minister Prahlad Patel said.
Students should be advised to stay at home and online education should be promoted, the official said. "Non-essential travel should be avoided. Buses, trains and aeroplanes should maximise social distancing in public transport, besides ensuring proper disinfection of services," the health ministry official said.
The government has urged local authorities to have a dialogue with organisers of sporting events and competitions involving large gatherings and they may be advised to postpone such events, he said.
It has also proposed that local authorities should have a dialogue with opinion leaders and religious leaders to regulate mass gatherings and ensure no overcrowding. Private sector organisations and employers are being encouraged to allow employees to work from home wherever feasible, he said.