Two new COVID-19 cases were found in Delhi and Telangana
Two new cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) infection were reported in India on March 2, 2020 — one in capital Delhi and one in Telangana — were identified by the government, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said in a press conference.
Another case of an Italian tourist in Rajasthan was identified, according to media reports. The first three confirmed cases from Kerala are now reportedly free of the virus.
The new cases were ‘self-declared’, according to the minister. They had called a government helpline number provided to them after they had come back from international travel and said they were suffering from the symptoms found in virus.
The person from Delhi infected with COVID-19 had travelled to Italy, where the number of infected cases had surged to 1,704. The person from Telangana had travelled to Dubai.
The samples were sent to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) laboratories for testing, where they were tested positive, the minister said.
The number of ICMR labs in the country used for detecting the virus were increased to 34 from the initial 15, the minister said.
While the government has not yet issued travel advisories, it warned against non-essential travel to Iran, Italy, South Korea and Singapore.
The government cancelled visas for all foreign nationals travelling to India from Iran, said the minister, adding that the government was working out an evacuation plan to repatriate those in the middle-eastern country.
The minister declined to reveal details of the new cases in the country over issues of privacy.
The health minister — who is a doctor — said he could not "advise wearing masks at the moment". He said precautions listed by the World Health Organization — including washing hands regularly — should be followed.
The Health Ministry was also actively monitoring 25,000 people who returned from 12 countries after they showed some indications of being infected. After being screened, they were asked to ‘home quarantine’ themselves for up to 28 days. These cases have not tested positive for the virus, the minister said.
There are now 89,798 global cases of those infected with COVID-19, according to the WHO. Of these, more than a thousand cases have been identified in the last 24 hours.
In China, where the virus originated, 579 new cases have been reported. More than 2,800 have died from the infection in China, according to the report.
COVID-19 has now reached five more countries — Azerbaijan, Ecuador, Ireland, Monaco and Qatar — according to the WHO report. The WHO raised its risk assessment for the virus to ‘Very High’ from ‘High’ on February 28, 2020.
The WHO has not yet declared the outbreak as a pandemic. However, experts said an announcement to this effect does not matter anymore, as the COVID-19 outbreak had become a cause of global concern.
In my opinion, the window of containment was likely closed a while ago, though we still may have a window where we can delay (but not completely prevent) spread,” Nathan Grubaugh, a virologist with the Yale School of Public Health had told Down To Earth.
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