NEW DELHI: While anxiety in India ebbed after lab reports attributed the recent death of a Keralite in Kochi to pneumonia, the global panic continued over the rapid spread of novel coronavirus, with new cases emerging and a few countries under-reporting its footprint.
In just a week, the virus extended its reach to over 30 more shores, taking its total spread to 66 nations and territories, including the Japanese cruise ship, Diamond Princess.
In Kerala, a 36-year-old man, who was undergoing treatment with symptoms of COVID-19 at the Government Medical College Hospital in Ernakulam, had arrived from Malaysia on Thursday last.
His death on Saturday had raised concerns, but lab tests established it was due to acute pneumonia.
A relieved Tamil Nadu reported that all 49 swab samples sent for testing so far reported negative for the virus. But panic-buying of daily necessities was reported in Japan and tourist sites across the world were deserted.
In Paris, the Louvre Museum closed its doors and priests stopped placing sacramental bread in worshippers’ mouths. Also, the French community church in Rome, St Louis of the French, closed its doors to the public after a priest was infected.
The UK reported 12 new cases, six of whom had travelled to Italy, two to Iran, three with close contact to a known case and one with no travel history or link to any known case so far.
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American Airlines suspended flights to Milan from March 1 to April 25 after the State Department raised its warning to ‘do not travel’ for parts of Italy.
Indians stuck in Iran
Foreign minister S Jaishankar said the government is collaborating with Iran to set up a screening process for the safe return of hundreds of Indian fishermen, including Keralites, caught in the middle of the outbreak, after an appeal by Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan
Oil prices drop below $50
Stock markets in the Gulf plunged on Sunday.
The Saudi bourse was down 3.7%, its lowest level in 18 months. Saudi Aramco dropped 2.1% to $8.70, its worst performance since listing. Five other markets were also hit as oil prices dropped below $50 a barrel
Five Serie A games off
Five matches in Italy’s Serie A, including the heavyweight duel between Juventus and Inter Milan, were postponed. Sunday’s clash pitting Juventus and third-placed Inter in Turin was among those fixtures to be called off.