Two new Covid-19 cases spook India, govt steps up screening

New Delhi: Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Monday said that India has increased screening and advised people to avoid non-essential travel to countries under the grip of coronavirus as two more cases were reported in India.

“The screening of passengers is being conducted at 21 airports, 12 major seaports and 65 minor seaports. 5,57,431 passengers have been screened so far at airports and 12,431 passengers have been screened on minor and major seaports,” Vardhan said at a press briefing.

“We advise Indians to avoid non-essential travel to China, Iran, Korea, Singapore, and Italy. As the situation develops, the travel restrictions may be further extended to other countries also,” he added.

The minister also said that restrictions on e-visa facility will remain suspended for China and Iran, and these can be further extended to other countries also.

Total coronavirus positive cases in India rose to five on Monday after the government announced two more cases. “One positive case of Covid-19 has been detected in New Delhi, and one has been detected in Telangana,” the Union Health Ministry said in a release, referring to the official name of the disease.

“The person from Delhi has a travel history from Italy, while the one from Telangana has a travel history from Dubai,” the ministry said.

The fresh cases and fears of spread of the disease caused the Sensex to wipe out its sharp gains in the last hour of trade to close down by 153 points on Monday. The broader Nifty of the NSE also shed more than 400 points from its day’s high and closed lower by 69 points.

“Detection of new cases of coronavirus in India has nipped the nascent pullback in the Indian equity market. Despite the stability in the equity markets globally, the coronavirus scare led to fall of close to 400 points in Nifty from its intra-day high of 11,430 in matter for just an hour or so,” Gaurav Dua, Sr VP, Head – Capital Market Strategy & Investments, Sharekhan by BNP Paribas, commented.

The global death toll from the new coronavirus epidemic surpassed 3,000 on Monday as more people died in China, Iran and the United States, with cases soaring around the world.

The virus has now infected more than 89,000 people and spread to over 60 countries after first emerging in China in December, 2019.

The rapid spread of the coronavirus has raised fears over its impact on the world economy, with the OECD lowering its global growth forecast by half a point to 2.4 percent, the worst performance since the 2008-09 financial crisis.

Image courtesy of thesatimes |

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