Coronavirus Updates: Bhaichung Bhutia To Feature In Asian AFC’s Awareness Campaign; Special Plane From China Lands in Islamabad, And More…

A total of 149 new coronavirus cases, including two deaths, have been reported since Friday, taking the overall positive cases in the country to 873, Health Ministry officials said on Saturday. Lav Agarwal, the Joint Secretary in the Health Ministry, said the government is focussing on high disease-burden hotspots and is working in-tandem with states to implement rigourous contact-tracing, community surveillance and containment strategies. The focus is also on setting up dedicated COVID- 19 hospitals in every state, he said, adding 17 states have so far started work on this. “We are constantly engaged in discussion with states for earmarking dedicated COVID-19 hospitals,” said Agarwal.

Deaths from the coronavirus pandemic topped 12,000 across the globe at 1710 GMT on Saturday. China has not reported any local coronavirus cases for the third consecutive day but the country is facing a sharp increase of COVID-19 cases from abroad, a health official said on Saturday. New York: Close to one billion people worldwide were confined to their homes on Saturday as the global coronavirus death toll shot past 11,000 and US states rolled out lockdown measures already imposed across swathes of Europe

Former India captain Bhaichung Bhutia will feature in Asian Football Confederation’s (AFC) public awareness campaign on the COVID-19 pandemic, the continental body said. The #BreakTheChain campaign features some of Asia’s biggest names in football, sharing inspiring messages of solidarity and timely reminders on the best health practices and guidelines put in place by the World Health Organization (WHO).

IOA President Narinder Batra on Saturday said the Tokyo Olympics qualification events, postponed due to COVID-19 pandemic, will be held once the health crisis is resolved and asked the National Sports Federations (NSFs) to prepare a list of such tournaments in their respective sports. The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) President also asked the top brass of all the NSFs to share calendar of their athletes’ preparations for the Tokyo Games, pushed back by one year to 2021 in view of the worsening COVID-19 pandemic. 

In a bid to check the spread of coronavirus, many state and Union Territories have intensified monitoring of international passengers who arrived in their jurisdictions over the past two months, officials said on Saturday. The state and UT administrations have geared up their machinery after Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba, in a letter Friday, told them that more than 15 lakh international travellers have arrived in India since January 18, but there appears to be a gap between the actual monitoring for COVID-19 and the total arrivals.

With the suspension of religious services across the UAE due to the coronavirus outbreak, several temples, churches and Islamic centres in the country are using technology to connect to the people and help them remain calm in the time of pandemic, according to a media report. Measures adopted by different faith groups include virtual Islamic classes; live-streaming of masses by churches; webcasts of weekly satsangs by Hindu temple, Khaleej Times reported. The Islamic Information Centre in Dubai is conducting two new courses via WhatsApp, which now has 166 attendees, said Rashid Al Junaibi, director of the centre. The centre had put all classes on hold until further notice as per the instructions by the Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department.

A special plane from China carrying a team of eight medical experts and relief assistance landed in Islamabad on Saturday to help Pakistan to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus, which has infected over 1,400 people in the country, the Pakistani foreign ministry said. Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood welcomed the Chinese guests at the Islamabad airport.

A labourer who was ill was left unattended by a doctor attached to ambulance service in Madhya Pradesh’s Datia district, leading to his death at a bus stand, a health official said on Saturday. Shanu Kushwaha (35), who worked as a labourer in Gwalior, apparently took ill as nationwide lockdown to contain coronavirus kicked in. According to eye-witnesses, he was left by unidentified persons at Bhaguvapura Passenger Shelter (bus stand) here, and when somebody spotted him in helpless conditon, the 108 ambulance serice was alerted. An ambulance with doctor reached the spot, but the doctor — name not disclosed — allegedly only examined him and left him at the same spot, without shifting him to government hospital.

In a bid to infuse professionalism in its efforts to arrest the spread of the highly infectious coronavirus, the Odisha government is mulling inviting expression of interest from experts across the globe to manage the emergent situation in the state. 

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