People wearing masks as a precautionary measure against coronavirus, in Bengaluru on March 5, 2020.
People wearing masks as a precautionary measure against coronavirus, in Bengaluru on March 5, 2020. |IANS

Coronavirus: Number of cases in India rises to 110

By Sonny Abraham/NetIndian News Network

New Delhi, March 15, 2020

The total number of confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) cases reported by India has risen to 110 with 26 more persons testing positive since yesterday, the Government said today.

Two persons have so far died of the disease -- a 76-year-old man in Kalburgi, Karnataka and a 68-year-old woman in Delhi.

Of the 110 cases, 13 have recovered and have been discharged from hospitals -- four in Uttar Pradesh, three each in Kerala and Rajasthan, two in Delhi and 1 in Telangana, figures put out by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said, on the basis of information received from around the country till 11.30 pm today.

Out of the 110, as many as 93 are Indians while 17 are foreigners -- 16 Italians and a Canadian.

"Contact tracing of these cases has led to identification of more than 4000 contacts who have been put under surveillance. Efforts are on to identify further contacts of these cases," the release said.

The number of confirmed cases include 32 in Maharashtra, 22 in Kerala, 14 in Haryana, 13 in Uttar Pradesh, seven in Delhi, six in Karnataka, four in Rajasthan, three each in Telangana and Ladakh, two in Jammu and Kashmir, and one each in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Punjab and Uttarakhand.

To check shortages and blackmarketing, Government of India has declared masks and hand sanitizers as essential commodities under the Essential Commodities Act up to June 30, 2020. Under the Act, States can ask manufacturers to enhance their production capacity of these items to make the supply chain smooth.

Some states have also utilised the enabling provision for infectious disease management as provided under Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897. Under the Act, 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.

Under the Disaster Management Act, the States/UTs can now draw funds from the State Disaster Response Fund, in addition to the funds from the state government and the NHM. Ministry of Home Affairs has issued detailed guidelines to States/UTs in this regard.

In addition, the network of labs equipped to test COVID-19 has been expanded to 52, in total.

Also, 12,76,046 passengers have been screened from more than 11,400 flights at the 30 designated airports. In addition, instructions to enforce quarantine for all incoming passengers as per the guidelines are being implemented.

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan reviewed the status of the action being taken by the Government against the coronavirus outbreak at a high-level meeting here today.

He reviewed the status and preparedness of the States/UTs in terms of quarantine facilities; isolation wards, adequacy of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs), masks, testing kits etc. He also advised the states/UTs for maintaining hygiene and cleanliness in the hospitals and adhere to all laid down protocols for containment and management of COVID-19.

He reviewed the steps taken by various States for social distancing in great detail. The measures taken for avoiding non-essential travel and mass gatherings was also reviewed.

The Minister discussed the further measures to be taken for strengthening capacities of the states, mass awareness among the people for prevention through social distancing, work-from-home etc. Management of quarantine facilities was discussed in detail at the review meeting.

Outcomes of the discussion of the meeting will be put up to the Group of Ministers (GOM) on COVID-19, at their meeting tomorrow.

Harsh Vardhan has directed for scaling up the capacity of the 24x7 Control Room Helpline (011-23978046) by adding more lines and additional human resource, to serve the queries on COVID19 through the Control Room.

In addition, as part of efforts of the Government to evacuate Indian citizens from COVID-19 affected countries, an Air India flight from Milan, Italy arrived in Delhi this morning carrying 218 evacuees.

These evacuees are quarantined at the ITBP camp at Chhawla, as per protocol. In addition, the third batch of 236 evacuees from Iran arrived today; they are being quarantined at the Army facility in Jaisalmer. They have already been tested prior to their departure from Iran.

All are reported to be asymptomatic at present. Also, a total 265 passengers coming from COVID-19 affected countries have been quarantined at Trivandrum, Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Hyderabad.