Three more cases of Coronavirus have been confirmed in India, taking the total to at least 34. Union Special Secretary (Health) Sanjeeva Kumar, on Saturday evening, said that two cases of Coronavirus were confirmed in Ladakh and one in Tamil Nadu. He also instructed officials to plan for early testing and evacuation of Indians from Iran.
"Officials have been instructed for early testing and evacuation of Indians from Iran. In addition to 31 cases, 3 more cases have been found positive. 2 from Ladakh and 1 from TN. All are stable," said Additional Secretary, Ministry of Health, Sanjeeva Kumar.
The two patients in Ladakh had a travel history from Iran and the patient in Tamil Nadu had a travel history from Oman. No details regarding nationality, age, sex, was provided by the government official.
Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a review meeting with concerned ministers, including Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan, EAM Dr. S Jaishankar, General Bipin Rawat, Chief of Defence Staff, etc. The Secretary of Health and Family Welfare made a presentation regarding the action taken by the Ministry to tackle the virus. A government release stated that "the presentation emphasized on the core areas of surveillance at point of entry and community, laboratory support, hospital preparedness, logistics and risk communication."
The Prime Minister appreciated all the efforts taken to fight the virus but "mentioned that India has to be prepared in its response as per the evolving scenario."
On Friday, the Health Ministry also advised the citizens from across the country to avoid mass gatherings. In a notification issued, the Ministry stated that all mass gatherings may be "avoided or postponed till the disease spread is contained". The notification further stated that if mass gatherings are organized, states will have to take "necessary action to guide the organizers on precautions to be taken as per the risk communication material already sent so as to avoid any Severe Acute Respiratory Illness (SARI) cases and Influenza-Like Illness (ILIs) including Covid-19."
Globally, more than 3,400 people have died, with the epicentre being in China. The virus has infected more than 1,02,000 people globally and has now spread to North America South America, Europe, New Zealand, and as many as 80 other countries.
On March 1, UN Humanitarian Chief Mark Lowcock today released US$15 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to help fund global efforts to contain the virus. The announcement came soon after the WHO upgraded the global risk of the Coronavirus outbreak to "very high" – its top level of risk assessment. The WHO has said there is still a chance of containing the virus if its chain of transmission is broken.