Philippines reported the first death outside China from the deadly virus on Sunday (Photo Credit: Image by Michal Jarmoluk from Pixabay )
India suspended e-visa facility for Chinese travellers and foreigners residing in the neighbouring country on Sunday as it reported its second coronavirus case. It also issued a fresh advisory saying anyone with travel history to China since January 15 can be quarantined in view of the novel coronavirus outbreak. Menwhile, 323 more Indians and seven Maldivians were brought back by air from the Chinese city, epicentre of the outbreak, taking the number of evacuees to 654.
The developments came as the virus, which emerged in early December and traced to a market in Hubei capital Wuhan that sold wild animals, has killed more than 300 people in China, infected over 14,000 others and spread to 25 countries. The Philippines on Sunday reported the first death outside China from the deadly virus.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause a number of illnesses, ranging from common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). The novel coronavirus (nCoV) that started spreading from China's Wuhan, is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.
Here's the lastest on coronavirus outbreak
India's second coronavirus case was also reported in Kerala with another student who had returned from Wuhan testing positive. Both the cases in India have been reported in Kerala, where nearly 2,000 people are under observation in hospitals and homes. The patient had returned to Kerala on January 24, Kerala government said in a statement.
Kerala Health Minister K K Shailaja said the condition of the student, currently admitted to the isolation ward at the Alapuzha Medical College Hospital, was "stable". The first case was reported from Thrissur on Thursday with a woman medical student who returned from Wuhan testing positive for the infection.
Since the coronavirus outbreak in China, Kerala, which is thickly populated, has been on high alert as a large number of students from the state are studying in the University of Wuhan.
The government also announced temporary suspension of e-visa facility for Chinese travellers and foreigners residing in the neighbouring country and issued a fresh advisory saying anyone with travel history to China since January 15 can be quarantined. The Indian embassy in Beijing announced that travel to India on e-visas stands temporarily suspended with immediate effect "due to certain current developments".
"This applies to holders of Chinese passports and applicants of other nationalities residing in the People's Republic of China. Holders of already issued e-visas may note that these are no longer valid," it said.
In its fresh advisory, the Health Ministry asked people to refrain from travelling to China in view of coronavirus outbreak and said anyone with travel history of China since January 15 could be quarantined. The decision of issuing a new travel advisory was taken at a high-level review meeting held by Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba.
As on Sunday, 58,658 passengers from 445 flights have been screened for nCoV symptom. A total of 142 symptomatic travellers picked up by the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) have been referred to the isolation facilities. As many as 130 samples have been tested of which 128 have been found to be negative so far, the Health Ministry said.
A second Air India flight in as many days evacuated 330 passengers, including seven Maldives citizens from Wuhan. Of these, 300, including Maldives citizens, have been housed at ITBP Chawla Camp and 30 are in the Army's Manesar facility. They are being effectively monitored, the health ministry said.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said in a tweet on Sunday, "7 Maldivians brought back with 323 Indians from Wuhan on the second @airindiain flight today. #NeighbourhoodFirst at work again."
On Saturday, 324 Indians were brought back from Wuhan and admitted to the quarantine facilities set up by the Army and the ITBP, though none of them have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, according to officials.
A video shared by government officials on Sunday showed a group of six students dancing and taking selfies and videos inside the Manesar facility.
"The students are happy as they have been evacuated. You can see them dancing and making videos even though they have their face masks on," said an official.
The US has imposed a 14-day travel ban on all visitors from China, regardless of their nationality. Singapore has stopped issuing all types of visas to Chinese travellers, while Vietnam has halted tourist visas. Russia said Saturday it would halt visa-free tourism for Chinese nationals and also stop issuing them work visas. It had already stopped issuing electronic visas to Chinese nationals. Similar visa restrictions have been imposed by the Philippines, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, and the African nation of Mozambique. The Philippines on Sunday reported the first death outside China from the deadly virus.