India’s Coronavirus Count Climbs to 84, 3rd Fatality Suspected as 71-Year-Old Dies in Maharashtra
Representative Image. (AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade)
Seven persons who tested positive, including five from Uttar Pradesh and one each from Rajasthan and Delhi, have been discharged after treatment, a senior health ministry official said.
In Maharashtra, a 71-year-old man who had returned from Saudi Arabia and was suspected to have coronavirus infection died during treatment in Buldhana district, news agency PTI quoted a hospital official as saying. He was suffering from diabetes and high blood pressure.
Civil surgeon Premchand Pandit told PTI that the patient was admitted to a private hospital for high blood pressure a few days ago, and shifted to isolation ward of the Buldhana general hospital for symptoms of coronavirus on Saturday morning.
"His sample was sent for lab testing. He passed away at 4.20 pm. Lab report is still awaited," Dr Pandit said.
Besides, Rajasthan, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Punjab have reported one case each. Kerala has recorded 19 cases, including three patients who were discharged last month after they recovered from the contagious infection.
The total number of 84 confirmed cases includes 17 foreigners — 16 Italian tourists and a Canadian, the ministry said.
"The number of coronavirus positive cases in India has risen to 84," Special Secretary in the health ministry, Sanjeeva Kumar, said, adding more than 4,000 people who had come in contact with those testing positive have been identified through contact tracing and are under surveillance.
He further said there have been cases of people not willing to be quarantined despite coming in contact with those testing positive.
"A few states have also utilised the enabling provision for infectious disease management as provided under Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897. Under the law, the states may take, or require or empower any person to take some measures and by public notice prescribe such temporary regulations to be observed by the public," Kumar said.
He said a Mahan Air flight bringing back Indian passengers from Iran will land in Mumbai on Saturday midnight. A special Air India flight is also being sent to Milan in Italy on Saturday to bring back Indian students, he added.
Kumar said all essential facilities like community surveillance, quarantine, isolation wards, adequate Personal protective equipment, trained manpower, rapid response teams are being strengthened further in all states and Union Territories.
The government on Friday declared masks, including the N95 variety, and hand sanitisers as 'essential commodities' under the Essential Commodities Act in the wake of the coronavirus scare leading to shortages and black marketing of these items.
These items will remain under essential commodities segment till June-end, a move aimed at ensuring availability at reasonable prices and cracking down on hoarders and black marketers.
"Under the Essential Commodities Act, states can ask manufacturers to enhance their production capacity of these items, to make the supply chain smooth," he said.
Kumar also said, "Under the Disaster Management Act, states and Union Territories can now draw funds from the State Disaster Response Fund, in addition to the funds from the state government and the National Health Mission. The Ministry of Home Affairs has issued detailed guidelines to states and UTs in this regard.
Also, 12,29,363 passengers have been screened from 11,406 flights at the 30 designated airports. Additionally, instructions to enforce quarantine for all incoming passengers according to the guidelines are being implemented, he said.
Even as the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared novel coronavirus a pandemic, the health ministry officials on Friday asked people not to panic, saying no community transmission of the virus has been observed and there has only been a few cases of local transmission so far.
The Centre as part of its measures to contain the spread of the disease has announced that people will be allowed to travel through 19 of 37 land border checkposts from Saturday midnight and services of Indo-Bangladesh cross-border passenger trains and buses will continue to remain suspended till April 15.
Only four Indo-Nepal border checkposts will remain operational, and for citizens of Bhutan and Nepal visa-free entry to the country will continue, Home Ministry Additional Secretary Anil Malik had said.
He also said the decision on closing the Kartarpur corridor is under consideration.
The government had on Wednesday suspended all visas, barring a few categories like diplomatic and employment. It also asked Indian nationals to avoid all non-essential travel abroad.
All international passengers returning to India should self-monitor their health and follow the required do's and dont's as detailed by the government.