Coronavirus Updates: Novel Coronavirus Cases In India Rise To 258; Maldives Pledges $200,000 Contribution To The SAARC Corona Emergency Fund, And More…

Novel coronavirus cases in India rose to 258 on Saturday after 35 fresh cases were reported in various parts of the country, the Health Ministry said. However, according to ICMR 271 individuals have been confirmed positive among suspected cases and contacts of known positive cases. A total of 15,701 samples from 14,811 individuals have been tested for SARS-CoV2 as on March 21 10 am, it said. Among the Health Ministry’s 258 figure are 39 foreign nationals, including 17 from Italy, three from the Philippines, two from the UK, one each belonging to Canada, Indonesia and Singapore. The total figure includes four deaths reported from Delhi, Karnataka, Punjab and Maharashtra. “The total number of active COVID-19 cases across India stands at 231 so far,” the ministry said, adding that 23 others have been cured/discharged/migrated while four have died. Maharashtra has reported the highest number of COVID-19 cases at 52, including three foreigners, followed by Kerala at 40, including seven foreign nationals.

Maldives on Saturday pledged USD 200,000 contribution to the SAARC Corona Emergency Fund proposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with an initial offer of USD 10 million from India to help combat the fast-spreading COVID-19 pandemic in the region. Welcoming Prime Minister Modi for creating the emergency and relief fund, Maldives Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid said the country will join the initiative to tackle the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic. “We welcome PM @narendramodi’s initiative to create an COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund and its pledge of USD 10million. Government of Maldives joins the initiative and pledge USD 200,000 to address issues emanating from COVID-19”.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) issued new guidelines to facilitate continued testing amid the constraints of the coronavirus pandemic. Noting that the spread of COVID-19 had evolved into “an even greater health and societal emergency” since its March 6 communique, WADA urged Anti-Doping Organizations (ADOs) to act in accordance with restrictions placed by local health authorities “to ensure proper protection of athletes and doping control personnel, while protecting the integrity of doping control programs, particularly in the lead-up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.” WADA’s latest guidelines advise anti-doping organizations to make sure that sample collectors are free from any symptoms of illness. Collectors should also ask athletes if they have any symptoms or if they or anyone at the collection site are in the groups thought to be at heightened risk from COVID-19. If test collection personnel are found to have contracted the virus, athletes they tested should be informed and vice versa, WADA said on Friday.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and US counterpart Secretary of Defence Mark T Esper on Friday discussed about the grave situation arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic and agreed to remain in touch during this trying period.

Both the ministers expressed confidence that through open communication and mutual support, the world can overcome the pandemic.

“Mr Singh briefed Secretary Esper about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s initiative to coordinate COVID-19 relief efforts in South Asia,” a defence official said.

Besides, the two defence ministers reviewed progress in bilateral defence cooperation spanning cooperation in the region, expanding military-to-military engagements and defence trade and industry, as part of India-US comprehensive global strategic partnership.

He invited Secretary Esper to visit India at the earliest convenience.

Coronavirus has infected more than 2,45,000 people and killed more than 10,000 across the world.

In a tweet, Rajnath Singh said: “We also reviewed the progress in bilateral defence cooperation as a part of India-US comprehensive global strategic partnership. India and the United States are committed to further deepen and strengthen the defence cooperation.”

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