The novel coronavirus or Covid-19 continues to spread beyond the borders of China, which made the World Health Organization (WHO) calling it a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) on January 30, 2020.
Reports state that the new Coronavirus has led to at least 2,592 deaths in China and has infected over 77,150. However, there are claims and videos prevalent over the social media claiming that the deaths are much more than the numbers declared and so are the suspected and infected cases.
The COVID-19, which was first detected in Wuhan, China, in 2019, has spread to more than 20 other countries. India being China's neighbour has to bear the brunt.
Coronavirus scare in India
On January 30, 2019, India reported the first confirmed case of coronavirus in the southern state of Kerala. The patient had a travel history from Wuhan in China. Another suspected case surfaced in Punjab in January with one more suspected case being reported from Rajasthan. Over a hundred people were kept under observation over suspected coronavirus infection in Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Kerala.
Quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship
The quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship had six Indian nationals testing positive for the deadly virus. A total of 138 Indians, including 132 crew and 6 passengers, were on board the ship. About 454 people onboard have tested positive for coronavirus.
The latest update is two developments that have been tweeted by Union Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar: An Air India flight landed at Delhi this morning from Tokyo with 76 Indians and about 36 nationals from Myanmar, Bangladesh, Madagascar, South Africa, Maldives, who were on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship. An Indian Air Force plane carrying 119 Indian nationals and five people from Sri Lanka, Nepal, South Africa and Peru also landed at Delhi today. The plane carried about 15 tonnes of medical aid supplies from India to Wuhan.
S Jaishankar described the consignment sent to Wuhan as a strong expression of India's solidarity with the Chinese people in their "difficult time".
Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a letter to Chinese President Xi Jinping on February 8 had stated that India is with China in this situation and also offered assistance in this "hour of need as a gift".
The 76 Indians and 36 foreigners evacuated from coronavirus-affected Wuhan have been taken to the ITBP facility in the national capital for quarantine.
What India is doing to check the virus
- -Passengers coming to India from Kathmandu, Indonesia, Vietnam and Malaysia will be screened Monday onwards.
- -To check the possible exposure to the virus; India is already screening passengers from China, Hong Kong, Thailand, South Korea, Singapore and Japan at 21 designated airports.
- -Following the advisory given by the WHO, India has imposed "some restrictions" on the export of certain medical equipment to China to tackle the shortage of supply in the country.
Until now, about 650 people have been brought back to Indian from Wuhan in two 747 Boeing Air India aircraft following the deadly novel Coronavirus outbreak in China.
Reports state that the coronavirus outbreak is on the brink of becoming a world pandemic with several countries now reporting cases.