Coronavirus Updates: 149 New Deaths Reported In Iran; Indian Railways Decides To Suspend All Concessional Tickets And More…

The government today said it will not allow any scheduled international commercial passenger aircraft to land in India beginning March 22 for a period of a week. The move is the latest among a slew of steps the government has announced to curb passengers coming from abroad in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

As a precautionary measure, in view of the emergent situation due to COVID-19, it has been decided to postpone the ongoing Combined Higher Secondary Level Examination (Tier-I), 2019 with effect from 20.03.2020. Similarly, the Junior Engineer Examination paper 1 2010, scheduled to commence from 30.03.2020 has also been postponed.

Iran on Thursday announced 149 new deaths due to the novel coronavirus, raising the toll to 1,284, according to the health ministry. A total of 18,407 people have contracted the disease in the country — one of the worst hit by the novel coronavirus — according to figures provided by Deputy Health Minister Alireza Raisi.

The US has pledged to provide USD 1.8 million to Nepal to prevent and combat the fast-spreading coronavirus pandemic. Nepal has had just one confirmed case of coronavirus, but it is at risk due its location between China and India. Of the total funds pledged by the US, around USD 1.1 million will scale up existing USAID health programmes in Nepal to educate communities on COVID-19 prevention and to counter misinformation regarding the virus, states a US Embassy press release. The remaining USD 700,000 will support ongoing preparedness and response activities in Nepal implemented through the World Health Organization, the press release adds.

The Indian Railways decides to suspend all concessional tickets except for patients, students and those in the Divyangjan category from the midnight of March 20 till further notice to discourage unnecessary travel in view of the coronavirus outbreak.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire accused Amazon on Thursday of placing “unacceptable” pressure on employees after unions claimed the retailer will not pay staff who refuse to go in to work fearing coronavirus contagion. “This coercion is unacceptable and we are going to make sure Amazon knows this,” Le Maire told France Inter radio. About 200 of the 1,700 employees at Amazon’s distribution centre near Douai in northern France refused to work on Tuesday, exercising the “right of refusal” in France’s labour code if an employee considers there is a risk to health or safety. And half of the full-time employees at its Montelimar facility in southeast France walked out on Wednesday, union sources said.

The UK capital is headed for much tougher lockdown measures within days as London remains the country’s coronavirus hotspot, with over a third of the UK’s 2,626 confirmed cases, at 953. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson insisted on Wednesday that Britain remains a “land of liberty” but did not rule out a further crackdown on London, where the virus has been spreading faster than any other part of the country despite government advice to refrain from all social contact and unnecessary travel and work from home as far as possible.

IT company HCL Technologies on Thursday said one employee from its Noida office has tested positive for coronavirus. The employee is currently in an isolation ward, the company said in a statement, adding that all prescribed protocols of sanitisation and contact tracing have been done. “Unfortunately, one employee from our Noida office has been tested positive for the Novel Coronavirus while he was in self-isolation after his return from international travel and hence our office is following all government and heath advisory protocols,” HCL Tech said.

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