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Coronavirus: Govt announces relief for contractors; oil rallies for 7th day

The announcement came a day after FM held talks with industry leaders on coronavirus-related issues

BS Web Team & Agencies 

A medical worker writes down a patient's dietary information on a colleague's protective suit inside Leishenshan hospital, a makeshift hospital to treat patients with the novel coronavirus, in Wuhan. Reuters

The government, on Wednesday, provided relief to contractors hit by disruptions in supply from since the epidemic first broke out by announcing that contractors will not face any action if they fail to honour contractual obligation.

The announcement came a day after held talks with industry leaders on coronavirus-related issues. According to media reports, India Inc sought exemption from penalties for delays in executing government contracts.

Department of Pharmaceuticals, meanwhile, has asked the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) to restrict exporting 12 active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and formulations in the aftermath of the outbreak.

The 12 APIs and formulations include antibiotics such as Choramphenicol, Neomycin, Metronidazole and Vitamins B1, B12, B6 along with progesterone, among others.

In China, while the situation remains severe, there are signs of the outbreak slowing down for the second day in a row. This was in part a result of an extensive door-to-door campaign launched in Wuhan, the epicenter of the epidemic.

"This must be taken seriously," said Wang Zhonglin, the city's newly minted Communist Party secretary. “If a single new case is found (after Wednesday), the district leaders will be held responsible."

As the outbreak showed signs of slowing down, Benchmark Brent prices rose for the seventh consecutive day. The global benchmark, meanwhile, has risen nearly 10% since falling last week to its lowest this year. US was up 53 cents at $52.58 a barrel.

This came on the heels of the World Health Organization (WHO) hailing ‘tremendous progress’ in the fight against since the virus first spread in December 2019.

Richard Brennan, WHO's regional emergency director, at a press conference in Cairo said: "We are making tremendous progress in a short period of time ... trends are very encouraging but we are not at a turning point yet.”.

On Wednesday, the deadly virus had claimed over 2,000 lives worldwide and had infected 74,185 more.

First Published: Wed, February 19 2020. 23:01 IST