On 11 March, WHO officially declared COVID-19 a global pandemic, with growing case getting detected on over 100 locations internationally. The director general repeatedly stressed on the vulnerabilities faced by ill-prepared “weak” countries, in a conference on 23 January, that the virus poses a serious threat to South Asian countries owing to their poor public health system. South Asia Update reveals that the preparation about COVID-19 is very poor in the South Asian countries. On 17th March, WHO pushed to take “aggressive” action, fearing that some countries may be moving towards community transmission. According to South Asia update the first COVID-19 case reported in India was on 30 January in Thrissur district of Kerala.
The diseased was a student, who returned from a University in Wuhan. On 3 February, Kerala reported its third confirmed case, leading the government to declare a state of emergency. South Asia update says that India reported its first Covid-19 death of a 76-year-old man in Karnataka on 12 March. The Indian government has decided to quarantine itself from the rest of the world until 15 April suspending all visas except for diplomats, UN or international bodies, official and employment purposes. South Asia update reveals that similarly Afghanistan identified its first case of COVID-19 on 24 February 2020. The patient, a 35-year-old man, was a resident of Herat and had returned from Iran. Within five days, across the Durand line, Pakistan, confirmed two cases of COVID-19, both citizens who travelled to Iran. South Asia update reveals that within five days, across the Durand line, Pakistan, confirmed two cases of COVID-19, both citizens who travelled to Iran. On 10 March, nine new cases of coronavirus had emerged in Karachi. South Asia update says about Maldives that on 7 March, Maldives reported two confirmed cases. The infected patients are employees at a resort and caught the virus from an Italian tourist who tested positive upon his return to Italy. According to South Asia update, on 8 March, Bangladesh announced three cases of COVID-19. These confirmed cases included two people who recently returned from Italy. The trio has been isolated and treated in a local hospital. Nepal saw its first case of COVID-19 on 25 January. The infected was a Nepalese student, studying in Wuhan, with symptom-onset on 3 January. From South Asia update we know that the first case in Bhutan of COVID-19 was confirmed on 5 March, who is a 76 years old person from the USA, who had come to Bhutan as a tourist. Again South Asia update says that the last country to join the list was Sri Lanka, reporting its first coronavirus case on 11 March. Director-General of Health Services said that the infected 52-year-old tour guide had come in contact with Italian tourists and has been isolated in Colombo. The steady rise of COVID-19 cases in South Asia causes huge concern. In countries with poor infrastructure and lack of professionals, a virus as contagious as COVID19 can strike a crisis of very high magnitude.