WHO Declares Coronavirus Outbreak a Global Pandemic, India Suspends Most Visas Due to 60 Positive Cases

WHO Declares Coronavirus Outbreak a Global Pandemic, India Suspends Most Visas Due to 60 Positive Cases :- The head of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Wednesday that the new coronavirus outbreak can now be characterized as a pandemic. Talking at a news conference in Geneva, he said, “We are deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity and by the alarming levels of inaction. We have therefore made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic.”

India Suspends Most Visas Due to 60 Positive Cases

While adding that he expected the number of cases and deaths to grow in the coming days and weeks, he said, “We have never before seen a pandemic sparked by a coronavirus.”

Meanwhile, India announced on Wednesday that it would suspend most tourist visas, except a few categories such as diplomatic and employment, till April 15 in a bid to contain the spread of coronavirus. The suspension will come into effect from 12pm GMT (5.30 pm IST) on March 13 at the port of departure.

With 10 new cases being reported on Wednesday, the total number of patients in India has risen to 60, however, the state health officials have confirmed 65 cases. Among the fresh cases reported, eight were from Kerala and one each from Delhi and Rajasthan since Tuesday, said the Union Health Ministry, giving a state-wise breakup which included five (Delhi), nine (Uttar Pradesh), four (Karnataka) and two in Ladakh.

India has also closed its border with neighbouring Myanmar to counter the coronavirus outbreak, as countries across South Asia reported a rise in cases on Wednesday. Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh in a tweet on Tuesday, “As a precautionary measure (to prevent) transmission of coronavirus/COVID-19, the international border with Myanmar has been closed… until further orders.”

Indian Railways has also been directed to set up 1,000 isolation beds and more than 12,000 beds for quarantine purposes to tackle a possible outbreak of Covid-19. Meanwhile, Air India suspended its flights to Rome, Milan, and Seoul on Wednesday.

Karnataka government has also invoked sections of the Epidemic Disease Act, 1897 which compels to close all offices and schools apart from imposing restrictions on the movement of individuals and vehicles outside the contaminated area.

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