Coronavirus: Cases at 29; govt asks people to avoid mass gatherings

Following the six confirmed cases India’s total number rose to 28, including 16 Italian tourists in the country who have already been quarantined

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Visitors wear masks as prevention against coronavirus at Charminar in Hyderabad. Photo: PTI

As the novel coronavirus spreads its tentacles in India with 29 confirmed cases within 72 hours, the global death toll of the COVID-19 infected people rose to 3,112 and positive cases touched 90,870, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

In India, following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s example, BJP president JP Nadda and Home Minister Amit Shah on Wednesday (March 4) said they will not celebrate Holi or hold any Holi Milan function in view of the coronavirus outbreak.

Related news: Won’t attend Holi Milan function in view of COVID-19: BJP chief, Home Minister

“The world is battling COVID-19 Novel Corona Virus. The country’s medical fraternity are jointly making efforts to contain its spread. Keeping this in mind, this year, I will neither celebrate Holi nor organise Holi Milan. Stay safe, Stay Healthy,” Nadda tweeted.

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Union Home Minister Amit Shah too took to Twitter and urged people to avoid public gatherings.

Nadda and Shah’s decision came an hour after PM Modi tweeted, “Experts across the world have advised reducing mass gatherings to avoid the spread of COVID19 Novel Coronavirus. Hence this year, I have decided not to participate in any ‘Holi milan’ programme.”

Diving in the same stride, via the official Twitter handle of the Rashtrapati Bhavan, President Ram Nath Kovind said, “With alertness and safeguards, we all can help contain the outbreak of COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus.”

Meanwhile, following the six confirmed cases India’s total number rose to 29, including 16 Italian tourists in the country who have already been quarantined and a PayTM employee who was tested positive in Gurugram.

After a man was tested positive with COVID-19 infection in Telangana, IT parks in Hyderabad were evacuated even as the state government announced a slew of measures, including the creation of a ₹100 crore fund, to check the spread of the deadly virus.

Related news: Offices evacuated at IT Park as panic over coronavirus grips Hyderabad

On Wednesday, the K Chandrasekhar Rao-led government announced a ₹100 crore fund to upgrade health infrastructure as part of measures to tackle the coronavirus threat. About 3,000 isolation beds are being allotted to treat the cases of infection, the state health minister E Rajender said.

A workplace advisory was also issued by the Odisha government following the admission of a couple working in a Singaporean cargo ship to SCB Medical College and Hospital in Cuttack, for suspected coronavirus.

The advisory, which is based on the containment plan prepared by the Health Ministry, aims to tackle the Covid-19 disease.

Related news: Coronavirus: Self-declaration made compulsory for all international passengers

Asking the employers to ensure workplace cleanliness, it said, “Surfaces (desks and tables) and objects (telephone, keyboards) need to be regularly wiped with disinfectant containing 70 per cent alcohol.”

With the number of cases rising in the national capital, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) said it clean its premises more frequently while issuing several do’s and dont’s in both English and Hindi regarding precautionary measures to be taken to fight the deadly virus. The same would also be run on digital screens at major stations like Rajiv Chowk, Kashmiri Gate, Central Secretariat, Chandni Chowk, New Delhi.

On Tuesday (March 3), the United Nations’ agency for children (UNICEF) posted a video that emphasised the importance of washing hands by combining handwashing etiquettes with groovy dance moves.

Related news: Odisha issues advisory after couple hospitalised with corona symptoms

The agency tweeted a video of a Vietnamese artist named Quang Dang doing the “handwashing dance.”

“We love this handwashing dance from Vietnamese dancer, Quang Dang. Washing your hands with soap and water is one of the first steps to protect yourself from #coronavirus,” it tweeted.

In what turned out to be a day of global unity to fight coronavirus, the 189 members of the International Monetary Fund pledge to bring all available resources to bear to help countries combat the impact of the epidemic.

Related news: 16 Italian tourists among 28 confirmed coronavirus cases in India

The World Bank too unveiled USD 12 billion aid package to provide fast-track funds to help countries combat the outbreak.

Officials in India said 373 people who travelled abroad since January 15 have been kept under surveillance in Gautam Buddha Nagar for coronavirus.

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, who has been instrumental in spreading the awareness in India said that the country intends to set up a laboratory in Iran so that Indians there can be tested for a possible exposure to coronavirus before being brought back.

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