Coronavirus: 107 cases reported across India; SAARC meeting scheduled today
The total number of coronavirus cases in India rose to 107 on Sunday, according to the Ministry of Health. The tally jumped to 107 with Maharashtra witnessing a surge in positive coronavirus cases, from 19 on Saturday to 31 on Sunday. Later on Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to hold a video conference with the leadership of SAARC nations over coronavirus.
Out of the 107 coronavirus patients, nine have recovered. The recovered cases include three patients in Uttar Pradesh, two in Delhi, and one in Telangana. Three others in Kerala were discharged last month. Maharashtra also overtook Kerala as the worst-hit state, with the latter reporting 22 cases. Two people have also died: a 76-year-old man in Karanataka's Kalaburagi and a 68-year-old woman in Delhi.
Modi had on Friday called a video conference of SAARC nations. The SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) includes India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, the Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. India is notably the worst-hit SAARC nation. The agenda is to discuss a joint strategy to tackle the coronavirus disease, COVID-19. The meeting will be held at 5 pm on Sunday.
The Centre on Saturday declared COVID-19 a 'notified disaster', allowing access to disaster relief funds for tackling the coronavirus outbreak. A Rs. 4 lakh compensation announced for the kin of deceased coronavirus patients was later withdrawn. The Centre, however, listed masks and hand sanitizers as essential commodities under Essential Commodities Act up to June 30, 2020; allowing states to ask manufacturers to increase production.
Several states including Delhi, Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Telangana, and Uttarakhand, have shuttered schools and other public places in a bid to keep the virus from spreading further. The virus is notably highly-contagious, making public places a hotbed for infection. On Saturday, Karnataka also gave a strict advisory to IT companies, asking them to allow employees to work from home.
To limit the possibility of passengers contracting the virus, the Central Railway and Western Railway have withdrawn curtains and blankets from AC coaches, since it is not feasible to wash them after each journey. Passengers are advised to carry own blankets, if necessary.
A special Air India flight carrying 211 Indian students and eight others stranded in Milan in virus-hit Italy landed in Delhi on Sunday morning. They were shifted to the Indo-Tibetan Border Police's Chhawla camp where they will be quarantined. Separately, 236 Indians evacuated from Iran on Sunday have been quarantined at the Indian Army Wellness Centre in Jaisalmer.
COVID-19 was first detected in China's Wuhan city in December. It has since spread to roughly 137 countries, infecting over 1.5 lakh people. At least 5,800 people have also lost their lives due to the virus. The virus—named SARS-CoV-2—attacks a host's respiratory system, triggering flu-like symptoms, such as cough, fever and breathing difficulties. In severe cases, it causes pneumonia, multiple organ failure, and death.