India’s first COVID-­19 death  in Karnataka; cases touch 74

  • Health officials in Karnataka reported the country’s first COVID­19 death late on Thursday after samples of a 76 ­yea r­old man, who was a suspected COVID­19 patient and passed away on Tuesday night, tested positive for the disease. The patient from Kalaburgi also had co­morbidities such as asthma, hypertension and diabetes.
  • He had returned from Saudi Arabia on February 29. According to reports, he fell ill soon after and was admitted to a private hospital and later shifted to the Gulbarga Institute of Medical Sciences (GIMS). His throat swab was sent to check for COVID­19 infection.


Sensex slumps 2,919 points, Nifty sinks to 33 ­month low

  • The Indian benchmarks registered their biggest single­day fall on Thursday, with the Sensex plunging 2,919.26 points, or 8.18%, to close at 32,778.14 — over 22% lower than its January high of 42,273.87. This was the lowest close for the index in nearly two years.
  • All 30 stocks in the Sensex ended the day with deep losses, with heavyweights such as HDFC Bank, TCS, Axis Bank, ONGC, State Bank of India (SBI) and ICICI Bank shedding over 9% each on Thursday. Most of the Sensex constituents touched their 52­ week lows.


Delhi declares COVID-19 an epidemic, shuts schools, colleges and cinemas

  • The COVID­19 was declared an epidemic by the Delhi government on Thursday. Lieutenant­Governor Anil Baijal chaired a meeting at Raj Niwas with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to review the preparedness to contain the disease.
  • All cinemas, schools and colleges — except those where exams are on — will remain shut till March 31. Disinfecting all public and private places will be made compulsory.


‘COVID-­19 vaccine at least 2 years away’

  • Senior health officials have said a COVID-­19 vaccine will take at least two years to develop even with expedited clinical trials and approvals. The virus has affected at least 74 people in the country, including 17 foreign nationals (16 Italians and a Canadian).
  • “This is an evolving virus and we are still learning about it. We would say right now we must try to prevent it as much as possible, contain it and wait for things to happen,” he said. Asked if high temperature kills the virus, a senior health official said there is no study or evidence to suggest that.