US President Donald Trump (File photo)
India

Coronavirus LIVE: Temporarily closing our Northern Border with Canada, says US President Trump

Temporarily closing our Northern Border with Canada, says US President Trump

We will be, by mutual consent, temporarily closing our Northern Border with Canada to non-essential traffic. Trade will not be affected, tweeted Donald Trump.

Updated at: March 18, 2020 at 7:17 PM

Postpone your appointment at AIIMS, if it is not urgent in nature, urges Delhi's AIIMS

All India Institute Of Medical Sciences, Delhi: In view of the outbreak of COVID-19, you are requested to postpone your appointment at AIIMS, if it is not urgent in nature.

Updated at: March 18, 2020 at 7:50 PM

Safdarjung Hospital decided to cancel all elective surgeries in the hospital with immediate effect

Vardhman Mahavir Medical College & Safdarjung Hospital: In view of the outbreak of coronavirus it has been decided to cancel all elective surgeries in the hospital with immediate effect, until further orders.

Updated at: March 18, 2020 at 7:36 PM

Karnataka High Court restricts the entry of litigants and visitors to the precincts of the court

Updated at: March 18, 2020 at 7:11 PM

Uttarakhand govt issues order to allow govt employees to work from home

Uttarakhand govt issues order to allow govt employees to work from home. The order reads, "Only employees whose presence in offices is very necessary shall be called to office". The order will be effective from March 19 to March 25.

Updated at: March 18, 2020 at 6:51 PM

Rajasthan High Court postpones municipal elections in the state for six weeks

Jaipur: Rajasthan High Court postpones municipal elections in the state for six weeks, in wake of COVID-19.

Updated at: March 18, 2020 at 6:33 PM

Karnataka government Wednesday enforced a lockdown, shutting down all public places including malls, theatre, schools and colleges as COVID-19 cases in the state rose to 13, reported Indian Express

Updated at: March 18, 2020 at 6:25 PM

Kolkata schools switch to e-classes to complete syllabi

With the West Bengal government extending the closure of educational institutes till April 15 in the wake of the novel coronavirus outbreak, several schools in the city have decided to conduct online classes to complete their syllabi on time.

The principal of Ram Mohan Mission School, Sujoy Biswas told PTI on Wednesday that the institute will conduct classes over Skype.

"Teachers will give lectures over Skype and students will submit their homework through portals," he said.

A spokesperson of the Heritage School said the teachers will hold online classes to cope with the loss of time.

"Teachers will share study materials and conduct tests through the internet," the spokesperson said.

The principal of Central Modern School in Baranagar, Nabarun Dey said, "We have put in place a mechanism where students can submit their work online."

The Future Foundation School is also offering online classes for all students.

"Classes 10 and 12 students must complete their syllabi on time," Principal Ranjan Mitter said.

Mitter said the students will learn lessons online, complete homework and submit them online.

Updated at: March 18, 2020 at 6:33 PM

EU shuts borders as virus deaths exceed Asia toll

The European Union sealed off its borders on Wednesday to try to put the brakes on the ferocious spread of the coronavirus pandemic, as the number of deaths on the continent soared past the toll in Asia.

Millions of people are on strict lockdown in Europe, now the epicentre of COVID-19 with more than 3,400 deaths now recorded, according to an AFP tally.

The United States and Britain led a multi-billion-dollar global fightback against the economic havoc unleashed by COVID-19 but financial markets were unimpressed, with Asian and European stocks plunging further.

Governments across the world have imposed draconian measures to try to slow the pace of infections, confining people to their homes, closing shops, restaurants and schools, dramatically changing life as we know it.

The coronavirus outbreak, which first emerged in China late last year, has quickly marched across the globe, infecting nearly 200,000 people and killing almost 7,900.

Europe has now recorded 3,421 deaths -- including 2,503 in Italy -- leapfrogging Asia with 3,384, according to an AFP tally at 1100 GMT.

As the spectre of a deep global recession looms large, London and Washington on Tuesday announced massive economic stimulus packages after coming under fire over their response to the crisis.

US President Donald Trump said the White House was discussing a "substantial" spending bill with Congress that would include immediate cash payments to Americans.

Updated at: March 18, 2020 at 6:33 PM

Vistara says it is temporarily suspending its international flight operations from March 20 to March 31

Updated at: March 18, 2020 at 5:54 PM

All shopping malls, gyms, spas and swimming pools to be shut in Bihar till March 31 in wake of coronavirus, say officials

Updated at: March 18, 2020 at 5:47 PM

Number of COVID-19 cases in India rise to 151: Health Minister Harsh Vardhan

Updated at: March 18, 2020 at 5:45 PM

Centre asks all paramilitary forces to go into "battle mode" after a Jawan tested positive

Hours after an Indian Army soldier tested positive for the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, the centre has asked all paramilitary forces to go into "battle mode". An advisory has been issued by the government with details about soldiers' roles and responsibility in containing the spread of a virus that has killed nearly 7,000 people worldwide and infected over 1.7 lakh others, reported NDTV.

Updated at: March 18, 2020 at 7:17 PM

All educational institutions shut down in Andhra Pradesh in the wake of Coronavirus outbreak

PV Ramesh, Additional Chief Secretary to the Chief Minister: To strengthen ongoing measures to prevent & containCOVID-19 in the state, government has decided to close all educational institutions with immediate effect.

Updated at: March 18, 2020 at 5:29 PM

Film industry braces for financial loss, crowded release calender

With theatres closed, shootings on hold and the release of major films pushed indefinitely, Bollywood is reeling under the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, say industry insiders, pegging the losses at anything between Rs 300 crore to Rs 800 crore.

While trade analyst Taran Adarsh said losses at the moment could be "Rs 500 crore to Rs 800 crore", another insider said on the condition of anonymity that the industry could lose about Rs 350 crore in the first quarter of the calendar year.

Others were more chary about putting a figure but agreed this was a crisis for the Hindi film industry.

"This the worst time, not just for the film industry but for everyone. As far as the industry is concerned, business is getting hampered. It's too early to put any number as we don't know when the situation will be normal," T Series head Bhushan Kumar told PTI.

Updated at: March 18, 2020 at 5:35 PM

Spain virus cases top 13,700 with nearly 600 deaths

The number of people infected by COVID-19 in Spain soared past 13,700 on Wednesday with the number of deaths rising to almost 600, government data showed.

"We have 13,716 cases in Spain, which is 2,538 more than yesterday, which implies an increase of 18 percent," said Fernando Simon, the health ministry's emergencies coordinator.

Over the same 24 hour period, the number of deaths rose to 598, an increase of 107, a government statement showed, giving a higher figure than that initially announced by Simon.

Madrid remains the worst-hit area, accounting for 5,637 cases, or 41 percent of the total infections in Spain, while the number of deaths there rose to 390 deaths -- around two-thirds of the national total.

Updated at: March 18, 2020 at 5:35 PM

Meghalaya govt shuts tourist spots

The Meghalaya government on Wednesday decided to shut tourist spots in the state as part of its measures to prevent any possible transmission and outbreak of novel coronavirus.

"All tourist spots in the state of Meghalaya including parks and recreational areas are hereby advised to close till March 31," the order said.

The state's preparedness to tackle COVID-19 was also reviewed by Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma at a meeting during which he asked deputy commissioners to screen all people entering their districts.

State Health minister AL Hek and Home Minister Lahkmen Rymbui were also present at the review meeting.

The chief minister gave the instructions via video conferencing to the deputy commissioners and medical officers of the districts.

"The situation in the world and other parts of the country is alarming and there is a need to be serious but without creating panic," Conrad said in a statement.

Updated at: March 18, 2020 at 5:10 PM

Panic-stricken Indian students in UK desperate to get back home

Indian students in the UK are desperate to return to India and have flooded the Indian High Commission here with queries about when they are likely to get back home and be with their families, as New Delhi bans travellers from Britain starting on Wednesday due to the fast-spreading coronavirus pandemic.

India on Monday banned the entry of passengers from Europe, Turkey and the UK from March 18 till March 31 to contain the spread of the deadly coronavirus virus that has claimed three lives so far and infected nearly 150 people.

Britain's death toll from the COVID-19 has risen to 71 and the number of infection cases have gone up to nearly 1,950.

Universities and student associations in the UK are putting out advisories to try and calm some of the panic among the students, many of whom are on visas that are close to expiry and others who simply want to be with their loved ones as all face-to-face classes begin to be cancelled.

Updated at: March 18, 2020 at 5:10 PM

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee: It is wrong to say that a case of Coronavirus has been reported from Kolkata. It is the person who came from United Kingdom. I do not know how he was checked at the international airport.

Updated at: March 18, 2020 at 5:07 PM

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee: It is wrong to say that a case of #coronavirus has been reported from Kolkata. It is the person who came from United Kingdom. I do not know how he was checked at the international airport.

State government employees will be leaving their offices an hour early from tomorrow, says WB CM Mamata Banerjee

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee: State government employees will be leaving their offices an hour early from tomorrow to avoid crowding in public transport.

Updated at: March 18, 2020 at 5:07 PM

Karnataka to earmark Rs 200 crore to contain COVID-19 spread

The Karnataka cabinet has decided to earmark Rs 200 crore to combat the spread of coronavirus in the state, Chief Minister Yediyurappa said on Wednesday.

The restrictions that have been imposed in the state for a week from March 14 have been extended till March 31, he announced in the Legislative Assembly after a special cabinet meeting to discuss the impact of COVID-19.

The cabinet also decided to constitute a taskforce consisting of Medical Education Minister Sudhakar K, Deputy Chief Minister Ashwath Narayan C N, Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai, and Health Minister B Sriramulu.

Chief Secretary T M Vijay Bhaskar would serve as a member of the taskforce, which would be headed by Sriramulu.

Officials said the taskforce would meet daily, review reports on the outbreak and the measures to contain the spread of the virus.

"For immediate expenses (to contain the spread of the virus), about Rs 200 crore will be earmarked," Yediyurappa said.

The Chief Minister said all passengers coming by international flights would be tested and placed under quarantine for 15-16 days.

Updated at: March 18, 2020 at 5:10 PM

Iran reports another spike in coronavirus with 147 deaths

Iran says the new coronavirus has killed 147 more people, a nearly 15 per cent spike that raises the death toll to 1,135 people amid 17,361 infections in the country.

That is the biggest 24-hour rise in deaths yet recorded by Iran's Health Ministry since the virus first appeared in Iran in mid-February. Iran's deputy health minister, Alireza Raisi, announced the new tolls at a televized press conference on Wednesday.

The death toll's continued sharp increase worries experts that the outbreak in the Islamic Republic is far from being contained.

Meanwhile, Friday will mark the Persian New Year, Nowruz, raising fears of people traveling and further spreading the virus.

Updated at: March 18, 2020 at 5:10 PM

As per Indian Army advisory, the leave granting authorities have been told to grant leave only on essential or compassionate grounds till situation improves.

Updated at: March 18, 2020 at 4:16 PM

We are going to pay heavy price for our govt’s inability to act decisively, says Rahul Gandhi

Quick aggressive action is the answer to tackling the Coronavirus. India is going to pay an extremely heavy price for our governments inability to act decisively, tweeted Rahul Gandhi

Updated at: March 18, 2020 at 5:11 PM

CBSE issues guidelines issues new guidelines for remaining examinations

CBSE issues guidelines for the rest of the board examinations, says each center superintendent should ensure that candidates are seated at a distance of one meter from each other and masks are provided to candidates who cough/sneeze.

Updated at: March 18, 2020 at 4:15 PM

The top court today decided to hold only four courts tomorrow in view of health hazards due to Coronavirus, says senior Supreme Court official

Updated at: March 18, 2020 at 4:15 PM

255 Indians test positive in Iran

The Ministry of External Affairs today confirmed that a total of 276 Indians living abroad were infected of which 255 are in Iran. The other numbers were one each in Hong Kong, Kuwait, Rwanda and Sri Lanka; five in Italy and 12 in UAE, reported News18

Updated at: March 18, 2020 at 2:48 PM

South African cricketers told to self-isolate on return from aborted India tour

South African cricketers told to self-isolate on return from aborted India tour Johannesburg, Mar 18 (PTI) The South African cricket team has been asked to self-quarantine for the next 14 days after returning midway from an ODI tour of India due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cricket South Africa's chief medical officer, Dr Shuaib Manjra, was quoted as saying that the players have been told to isolate themselves and will be tested for the deadly virus in case any symptoms show up.

"We have recommended the players social distance themselves from others and self-isolate for a minimum of 14 days. I think that is proper guidance to protect themselves, people around them, their families and their communities," he was quoted as saying by the media

Updated at: March 18, 2020 at 2:48 PM

Public may not rush in J&K bank branches for depositing electricity bills, says Department of Information & Public Relations, Kargil

Department of Information & Public Relations, Kargil (Ladakh): Public may not rush in J&K bank branches for depositing electricity bills. Bills may be submitted when situation gets normal. Power supply will not be disconnected for not depositing bills on due date.

Updated at: March 18, 2020 at 2:45 PM

Fresh COVID-19 case in Telangana, number goes up to six Hyderabad

A fresh coronavirus case has been reported in Telangana on Wednesday, taking the total number of cases in the state to six.

The person, who tested positive for the virus, came from the United Kingdom, official sources said, adding that further details would be shared later.

The Telangana government on Saturday announced a number of measures, including the closure of all educational institutions, coaching centres and summer campstill March 31, to prevent the spread of the virus in the state.

Board exams, however, would be held as per schedule.

Updated at: March 18, 2020 at 2:12 PM

Vaishno Devi Yatra csuspended over coronavirus pandemic

Vaishno Devi closed by Jammu and Kashmir administration over coronavirus pandemic, reported Hindustan Times

Updated at: March 18, 2020 at 2:04 PM

B Sriramulu, Karnataka Health Minister: 2 more #COVID19 cases have been registered in Bengaluru today, taking the total infected cases to 13. 56 year old male, resident of Bengaluru returned from USA on 6th March. Another, 25 yr old female, who has returned from Spain.

Updated at: March 18, 2020 at 2:02 PM

Maharashtra to open seven more labs for coronavirus testing: Rajesh Tope

Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope on Wednesday said seven more laboratories will come up across the state for testing suspected novel coronavirus cases.

At present, only three labs are operating in the state at Mumbai, Nagpur and Pune where samples of suspected persons are tested.

"KEM, JJ Hospital and Haffkine Institute will soon get the testing facilities. Most likely they will commence operations in the next five days," Tope told reporters.

Similar laboratories will come up in different parts of the state, he added.

At 42, Maharashtra has reported the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the country.

Tope also said the government was planning to open four more laboratories at state-run medical colleges in Nashik, Dhule, Miraj in Sangli district, and Aurangabad.

Updated at: March 18, 2020 at 2:48 PM

Another case of Coronavirus in Noida

Chief Medical Officer, Gautam Buddh Nagar: A person, with a travel history to Indonesia, has tested positive for Coronavirus . This is the fourth positive case of Coronavirus in Gautam Buddh Nagar.

Updated at: March 18, 2020 at 1:43 PM

Bangladesh postpone U-16 cricket tour of India due to COVID-19 pandemic

The Bangladesh Cricket Board on Wednesday postponed its under-16 team's tour of India due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bangladesh under-16 team was scheduled to play two three-day matches and three one-day matches against India in the series but after the outbreak of the coronavirus, BCB decided to defer it.

"We decided to call it off considering these unforeseen circumstances," BCB director Mohahmmed Jalal Yunus told PTI.

"We don't want to risk our players. There is anyway no or limited flight connectivity at this time. Logistically also it would not have been possible." The deadly disease has so far claimed over 8,000 lives globally. In India, the virus has infected 147 people and killed three.

The crisis has led to the cancellation or postponement of sports events across the globe.

In India, BCCI has suspended the IPL till April 15 and called off an ongoing three-ODI series against South Africa, besides putting all domestic matches on hold till further notice.

Updated at: March 18, 2020 at 1:47 PM

Ghaziabad hospital faces safety kit shortage, reported TOI

Updated at: March 18, 2020 at 1:28 PM

Books being distributed to those in isolation in Wayanad

Close on heels of releasing multi-lingual pamphlets on the dos and don'ts on coronavirus, the Wayanad district administration has launched yet another innovative scheme of distributing books and periodicals among those under home quarantine in the district.

"This is a kind of positive gesture on our part towards those who are under isolation. We are trying to send out a humanitarian message to these people that the whole society is with them and that it is for the sake of the society they are being put on home quarantine," district Collector Dr Adeela Abdulla told PTI.

The whole exercise is done under a scheme -"Donate-a- book"- wherein anyone can donate books and periodicals to their panchayats.

The books would be delivered to those under isolation through a mechanism via the panchayat concerned, she said.

Panchayat sources said there has been a good response to the scheme in the district and the people in isolation had also taken the "read-and-relax" project in good spirit.

Updated at: March 18, 2020 at 1:47 PM

Prisoners making masks in Bihar town to ward off COVID-19

From supplications at places of worship to masks being produced by jail inmates, besides hectic activities at the biggest hospital, this north Bihar district is witnessing invocation of all powers, human and otherwise, to prevent the deadly COVID-19 from striking.

Although nobody has so far tested positive for the dreaded virus in Bihar, where the state government has imposed a semi-lockdown as a preventive measure, Muzaffarpur which hit the headlines last year for losing close to 200 children to an outbreak of brain fever seems determined not to fall prey to yet another virulent affliction.

At the Muzaffarpur Central Jail, about 50 prisoners are working overtime to produce facemasks, which is expected to provide protection to fellow inmates here and elsewhere.

Updated at: March 18, 2020 at 1:47 PM

Indian Army has postponed all Services Selection Board (SSB): Indian Army

Indian Army: Indian Army has postponed all Services Selection Board (SSB) batches commencing from 20th March onwards till further orders in view of COVID-19 outbreak.

Updated at: March 18, 2020 at 1:02 PM

Army officer attached to College of Military Engineering in Pune asked to self-quarantine

An Army officer attached to the College of Military Engineering in Pune has been asked to self-quarantine after he showed symptoms of flu, sources said on Wednesday.

The wife of another officer at the institute has also been asked to self-quarantine. Both of them are yet to be tested for coronavirus, they said.

Officials said that as a precautionary measure, at some places officers are being quarantined after returning from leave while at other locations body temperature is being checked to see whether they are have any symptom of infection.

The Army has already asked its officers to avoid non-urgent travel to contain spread of coronavirus infection within the forces.  In the first case of the coronavirus in the Indian Army, a 34-year-old soldier has tested positive for the infection in Leh, Army sources said on Wednesday as the the total number of cases in India rose to 147.

Updated at: March 18, 2020 at 1:47 PM

Suresh Prabhu goes into self-quarantine as precautionary measure after coming from Saudi

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 Prabhu has tested negative for the coronavirus, he, however has decided to stay in isolation as a precaution.

Earlier, Union Minister of State V Muraleedharan too self-quarantined himself at his residence in the national capital as a precautionary measure after a medical institute he had visited recently had reported a COVID-19 case. He too had tested negative.

The total number of the coronavirus cases in India has climbed to 147 on Wednesday.

Updated at: March 18, 2020 at 1:47 PM

Distressed Indian students in the Philippines seek help to get back home

Hundreds of distressed Indian students, stuck in the Philippines, are seeking help through video messages as they are unable to fly back home due to the travel restrictions imposed by India to contain the spread of the deadly novel coronavirus, according to friends and relatives of some of these students in the US.

The Indian government on Tuesday banned the entry of passengers from Afghanistan, Philippines and Malaysia to India with immediate effect amid stepped up efforts against the spread of COVID-19.

Updated at: March 18, 2020 at 1:47 PM

Hearings through video conferencing in some cases may commence from next week, Delhi HC says amid coronavirus scare

Updated at: March 18, 2020 at 12:27 PM

List of hospitals doing rounds on WhatsApp as certified hospitals for conducting blood test for coronavirus, is fake, says Maharashtra health department

Maharashtra health department says, list of hospitals doing rounds on WhatsApp as certified hospitals for conducting blood test for coronavirus, is fake. Blood test isn't conducted to ascertain Coronavirus, reported News18

Updated at: March 18, 2020 at 12:18 PM

Kolkata Police warns rumour-mongers of stern action

The Kolkata Police on Wednesday warned rumour-mongers of strict action against spreading fake news on social media over novel coronavirus, a senior officer said.

Special teams have been set up at the Kolkata Police headquarters and the police stations within its jurisdiction in this connection, he said.

"Strict action will be taken against those spreading fake news. We will not take such things lightly... this is an emergent situation and spreading of false and unverfied news can lead to panic among the people," the IPS officer said.

The cyber cell of the Kolkata Police is keeping a 24x7 vigil on the Internet to curb any attempt to spread dissemination of fake information over COVID-19, he added.

The city police has also launched a special drive to reach out to people by raising their awareness on COVID-19, asking them to keep away from spreading rumours, and not to believe anything circulated on social media platforms without checking its veracity, he said.

Updated at: March 18, 2020 at 1:47 PM

All Rajasthan courts to take up only urgent matters till Mar 31

In view of the coronavirus pandemic, the Rajasthan High Court will function for only two hours a day till March 31 and take up matters that require urgent hearing during which the accused will be exempted from appearing in person before the judges.

Subordinate courts, special courts and tribunals have also been directed to take up only urgent matters and resort to video conferencing for certain cases till March 31, an order of the HC said.

The decision was taken at a meeting comprising the high court administration, all HC judges including the Chief Justice, Advocate General, Additional Solicitor General and members of bar, the order said.

Updated at: March 18, 2020 at 12:10 PM

Indian Army quarantines all the soldiers and colleagues of the Ladakh Scouts jawan who tested positive

Army sources: Indian Army has quarantined all the soldiers and colleagues of the Ladakh Scouts jawan who has tested positive for COVID-19 in Ladakh. The jawan was attached to the Ladakh Scouts Regimental Centre in Leh.

Updated at: March 18, 2020 at 12:06 PM

Delhi High Court says that it will consider the petition seeking court's direction to issue a direction for practice, stipulating that video conferencing be allowed for advocates and also allow courts to function in the wake of Coronavirus

Updated at: March 18, 2020 at 11:55 AM

All UP govt school students of classes 1 to 8 to get promoted without exams

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, an official said on Wednesday.

Examinations in primary schools were scheduled between March 23 and 28.

"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.

Updated at: March 18, 2020 at 12:10 PM

Man in UP booked for black marketing, selling sub-standard masks

Amid increase in the demand of masks due to coronavirus outbreak, a man has been booked for allegedly black marketing and selling sub-standard masks, the Uttar Pradesh police said on Wednesday.

The FIR was registered against Vivek Kumar on Tuesday after a district administration team found him selling sub-standard masks and also black marketing them, in Babrala locality of Gunnaur area here, Superintendent of Police Yamuna Prasad said.

Police have recovered 500 masks made of cloth from him, he said.

Uttar Pradesh has so far recorded 16 cases, including one foreigner as the number of cases across the country rose to 147 on Wednesday, according to the Union Health Ministry. The cases include 25 foreign nationals and the three persons who died in Delhi, Karnataka and Maharashtra.

Delhi has reported 10 positive cases which includes one foreigner while Maharashtra has 41 cases, including 3 foreigners. Kerala has recorded 27 cases which includes two foreign nationals.

Karnataka has 11 coronavirus patients. The number of cases in Ladakh rose to 8 and Jammu and Kashmir three. Telangana has reported five cases which includes two foreigners.

Rajasthan has also reported four cases including that of two foreigners. Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Uttarakhand and Punjab have reported one case each. In Haryana, there are 16 cases, which include fourteen foreigners.

Updated at: March 18, 2020 at 12:10 PM

Amitabh Bachchan gets a 'Home Quarantined' stamp on his hand

Amid rising concern over coronavirus situation, Amitabh Bachchantook to Twitter to share a picture of his hand with a 'Home Quarantined' stamp on it.

Late Tuesday night, the actor tweeted a picture of his hand with a 'Home Quarantined' stamp on it. "T 3473 - Stamping started on hands with voter ink, in Mumbai .. keep safe, be cautious, remain isolated if detected..," he posted.

Bachchan has been actively spreading the word on coronavirus on social media. He recently penned a poem and posted a video of his rendition of the same on Twitter. He also cancelled his weekly Sunday meeting with his fans at his residence.

Dilip Kumar, another Bollywood icon, on Monday said he is "completely under isolation" as a precautionary measure to avoid any infection due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The 97-year-old actor shared his health update on Twitter.

Meanwhile, the Mumbai municipal corporation on its Twitter handle thanked Bachchan for "spreading the word" on home quarantine.

Updated at: March 18, 2020 at 11:16 AM

Supreme Court takes suo motu cognisance of non-availability of mid-day meals

Supreme Court takes suo motu cognisance of non-availability of mid-day meals for children due to the closure of schools in the light of Coronavirus. A Bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde issues notices to all state governments and union territories.

Updated at: March 18, 2020 at 4:15 PM

BJP not to hold protest for 1 month in view of coronavirus outbreak: J P Nadda

The BJP 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.

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.

Updated at: March 18, 2020 at 12:10 PM

Indian industry welcomes UK Finance Minister Rishi Sunak's coronavirus action plan

The Indian industry in the UK has welcomed the “unprecedented” rescue package unveiled by Britain's Indian-origin Finance Minister Rishi Sunak to help businesses in Britain combat the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Sunak on Tuesday announced a whopping 330-billion pounds worth of rescue measures in the House of Commons, including easier to access loan facilities, liquidity assistance for businesses through the ongoing crisis period and a 12-month business rates holiday for the retail and hospitality sector.

“This unprecedented support package is very welcome. The Chancellor has extended a third of a trillion pounds in grants, guarantees, corporate paper and unlimited loans, showing the considerable flexibility the state has to act in times of crisis,” said Jim Bligh, Chair of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) UK India Business Forum “This shock will hit all sectors of the economy and businesses of all sizes, so the Treasury must continue to show flexibility as government, citizens and businesses rise together to defeat the challenge of coronavirus,” he said.

Updated at: March 18, 2020 at 12:10 PM

IIT Bombay announces closure of activities in the wake of Coronavirus

In view of the novel coronavirus outbreak, IIT Bombay has announced a virtual shutdown of its campus at Powai here till March 31.

In the Tuesday night decision, the IIT-B decided to ask students to vacate hostels by March 20 evening.

"An emergency meeting of all heads of departments and other academic and administrative units was called on Tuesday to take stock of the situation on the campus, arising out of the COVID-19 outbreak in the country.

"This was particularly needed in view of the increasingly stringent measures being taken by MCGM (Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai) and the state administration, to control the spread of the virus," said an official statement issued by Subhasis Chaudhuri, Director, Indian Institute of Technology B.

Updated at: March 18, 2020 at 12:10 PM

Australia warns citizens not to travel abroad; cases surge to 454

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Wednesday warned its citizens not to travel abroad and banned "non-essential" gatherings of 100 people or more as the government declared the deadly coronavirus, that has infected over 450 people in the country, a "human biosecurity emergency".

Prime Minister Morrison on Wednesday said Australians should abandon all overseas travel because of the coronavirus epidemic. There have been 40 new cases since Tuesday.

Of the 454 confirmed cases in Australia, 43 have recovered and 5 have died from the COVID-19, according to the official figures.

Morrison declared a national "human biosecurity emergency" and ordered a halt to "non-essential" indoor gatherings of more than 100 people, on top of an existing ban on outdoor events of more than 500.

He said, "We haven't seen this sort of thing in Australia since the end of the First World War. This is a once-in-a-100-year-type event," Morrison said.

Updated at: March 18, 2020 at 12:10 PM

Maharashtra: All parks & gardens of Nagpur Metropolitan Region Development Authority (NMRDA) are closed till 31st March. State govt had earlier issued an order that all tiger reserves, sanctuaries & national parks to remain closed till 31st March 2020, in wake of Coronavirus

Updated at: March 18, 2020 at 10:51 AM

Srikalahasti temple authorities restricts tours in the wake of Coronavirus

Aandhra Pradesh: Srikalahasti temple authorities in Chittoor have appealed to devotees to restrict their tours in view ofCoronavirus. Children below 12 yrs & senior citizens are advised to avoid visit. All paid services are cancelled. 'Laghu darsanam'(brief darsan) is allowed.

Updated at: March 18, 2020 at 10:45 AM

Soldier in Ladakh tests positive for COVID-19

An Indian Army soldier has been placed in an isolation ward at a hospital in Ladakh after he was found infected with coronavirus, sources in Army stated

Updated at: March 18, 2020 at 12:10 PM

Vidhana Soudha in Bengaluru being sanitised with the spraying of disinfectants

Updated at: March 18, 2020 at 9:20 AM

One more person has tested positive for Coronavirus in Pune

One more person has tested positive for Coronavirus in Pune. The person has travel history to France and Netherlands. Total number of positive cases reaches 18 in Pune and 42 in Maharashtra, says Naval Kishore Ram, District Magistrate of Pune, Maharashtra

Updated at: March 18, 2020 at 8:42 AM

COVID-19 toll surges to 3,237 in China

The death toll due to the COVID-19 outbreak in China has increased to 3,237, authorities said on Wednesday, while the number of confirmed cases in the Asian country has risen to 80,894.

Chinese health authorities reported 11 deaths and 13 newly confirmed cases of novel coronavirus infection on the Chinese mainland on Tuesday, Xinhua reported.

All deaths were reported in Hubei Province, according to the National Health Commission.

Updated at: March 18, 2020 at 8:39 AM

First confirmed case of coronavirus in Bengal

The first confirmed novel coronavirus case was detected in West Bengal on Tuesday, as a youth who returned from the UK recently tested positive.

He has a sore throat and slight cold, and was being given supportive treatment for the symptoms.

The 18 year old youth, who came back from the UK on March 15, was admitted to the state's referral hospital for infectious diseases ID Hospital, Beliaghata, on Tuesday morning.

His sample, sent to the National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases (NICED), was found to be positive in the evening.

Soon after receiving the test report, the hospital and state health department officials transferred him to a special air conditioned isolation cabin earmarked for confirmed coronavirus cases.

His sample has also been sent to the National Institute of Virology, Pune, for reconfirmation.

His parents and driver were also being brought to the ID hospital for quarantine. According to health department officials, their samples would be sent to NICED on Tuesday night itself.

According to sources, the youth, who studies in England, had attended a birthday party there in which a number of invitees later developed the deadly disease.

The youth apparently did not have any symptoms of novel coronavirus when he underwent thermal screening at the NSCBI Airport.

However, when the health department officials learnt that a number of people who attended the party, including his girlfriend, had got the disease, they contacted him and requested that he should get hospitalised on Monday.

But his patients took him to hospital only on Tuesday.

Sources said the infected youth is a son of a bureaucrat -- a special secretary in the state home department.

Extra safety measures have been taken at the ID Hospital. All gates to the isolation ward is under lock, and a number of police personnel have been posted

The care givers at the hospital have been given all kinds of protecting gear for their own safety.

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Updated at: March 18, 2020 at 10:59 AM