A total of 90,893 cases of the novel coronavirus infections and 3,110 deaths, mostly in China, have been reported till Wednesday.
The cases have also been reported in South Korea, Italy and Iran. In India, too, at least 26 confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported. Here are the top 10 updates from the day:
1. A Paytm employee in Gurgaon has tested positive for novel coronavirus, the company said in a statement. It said the employee had recently returned from a vacation in Italy, one of the worst-hit countries from coronavirus.
Paytm has advised all its employees to work from home for the next couple of days while the Gurgaon unit gets sanitised, according to the statement.
2. Amid the coronavirus scare, the Maharashtra government issued a statement saying that except the medical staff treating the infection or those who have come in contact with patients, others need not use face masks.
In a statement titled "CORONA-KNOW IT TO FIGHT IT", the state health department said the general public need not use face masks.
3. Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jairam Thakur said that three suspected cases of coronavirus have been found in the state.
"Among the three cases, the two people under observation in the Tanda Medical College in Kangra had returned from Italy. The third person, who came back from South Korea, is under observation in Indian Gandhi Medical college at Shimla," Thakur told reporters.
4. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and other top BJP leaders will skip the Holi celebrations in view of the coronavirus outbreak even as Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also announced not to celebrate Holi and cited incidents of communal violence in the national capital among the reasons.
Later, President Ram Nath Kovind's office also tweeted that the Rashtrapati Bhavan will not hold the traditional Holi gatherings as a precautionary measure as with "alertness and safeguards, we all can help contain the outbreak of COVID-19".
5. Bollywood stars are also skipping multi-city tours, while some films are being delayed due to cporonavirus. Also, Bollywood is taking precautions in view of the increasing number of coronavirus cases with some filmmakers saying they are being careful while choosing outdoor shooting locations and others upping hygiene levels by making sure their crew is equipped with masks and sanitisers.
"It is not a very aggravated situation in India right now, but people are getting the jitters. I am sure it will be controlled soon. If it spreads further, it will affect collections and cinemas. I think at the moment distributors and producers must be thinking of insuring their films. If we talk about moviegoing, I think the effect is coming in gradually because people will have reservations about going out," trade analyst Rajesh Thadani told IANS.
6. Kerala Health Minister KK Shailaja said that three students who had returned from Wuhan, China, and tested positive for coronavirus are stable and at home. "The three students are free to move around as their isolation period is over," Shailaja told ANI.
She also said, "On March 3 we again conducted a meeting with the Rapid Response Team (RRT) to discuss the further steps to prevent the spread of coronavirus in the state.
7. The Sports Ministry has asked the National Sports Federations (NSFs) to adhere to the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines before sending its athletes outside the country for training and international competitions.
"The Government has advised all National Sports Federations to exercise caution while planning foreign competitions and training for the teams and individual athletes in the light of the importance of some of these competitions which contribute to Olympic qualification. A copy of the advisory has been sent to all the NSFs," said the Sports Authority of India in a statement.
8. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that the government is working intensively to ensure meaningful intervention, if needed, to deal with the impact of unfolding coronavirus crisis on the country.
The Reserve Bank of India had said it was closely monitoring global as well as domestic situation regarding the impact of deadly coronavirus and ready to take necessary action to ensure orderly functioning of financial markets.
9. Seventeen Indians living abroad have tested positive for novel coronavirus, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said.
Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan responding to a question in Lok Sabha said 16 cases were reported from onboard cruise ship Diamond Princess -- and are now being treated at a medical facility in Japan, while one Indian national tested positive in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
10. The HRD Ministry directed Chief Secretaries of all states and the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to spread awareness among students on basic protective measures against coronavirus.
HRD Secretary Amit Khare said in a letter that "informed students can be agents of change for their family, community and beyond".
"Central government has taken many steps to contain the spread of this virus but creating awareness amongst general public is extremely important to prevent and reduce transmission of the novel coronavirus.
(With input from Agencies)