India reports first coronavirus death, number of confirmed cases rises to 74
People wearing masks at Bengaluru City Railway Station as a precautionary measure against coronavirus, in Bengaluru on March 11, 2020. IANS

India reports first coronavirus death, number of confirmed cases rises to 74

New Delhi, March 12, 2020

India today reported its first coronavirus (COVID-19) death even as the number of cases across the country so far rose to 74, official sources said.

The first death due to the virus was confirmed in Karnataka, with medical tests establishing that a 76-year-old man who had died in Kalburgi district on Tuesday had been confirmed for COVID-19, State Health Minister B Sriramula said on Twitter late on Thursday.

In Delhi, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said the death of the patient was "confirmed to be caused due to co-morbidity and has also tested positive for COVID-19."

The man had visited Saudi Arabia for a month from January 29 to February 29.

"He was a known case of hypertension and asthma. He reached back to Hyderabad on 29th February and went to Kalaburgi," the Ministry added in a late night update.

The Karnataka Health Department has initiated contact tracing and isolation measures as a follow-up to the man's death.

Meanwhile, as many as 14 more people have tested positive for the virus in India in the past 24 hours, taking the total number of confirmed cases to 74 so far, the Government said.

The number includes 57 Indians and 17 foreign nationals, official sources said here today. Among the foreigners are 16 Italian tourists, who were part of a larger group of tourists from their country visiting India. The 57 Indians are from 13 states.

The number also includes three persons in Kerala -- students who had returned home in late January and early February from China, where the outbreak began some weeks ago, and who have since recovered fully and been discharged from hospital.

According to the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW), the number of confirmed cases include 17 in Kerala, 14 in Haryana, 11 in Maharashtra, 11 in Uttar Pradesh, six in Delhi, four in Karnataka, three each in Rajasthan and Ladakh, and one each in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab.

All incoming international passengers are being universally screened at 30 airports. Similarly, screening has been initiated for vessels arriving at 12 major ports and 65 non-major ports.

So far, the Government has evacuated 900 Indian citizens along with 48 belonging to other nationalities like Maldives, Myanmar, Bangladesh, China, US, Madagascar, Sri Lanka, Nepal, South Africa and Peru from COVID-19-affected countries.

In addition, 83 evacuees from Italy who arrived yesterday have been housed at Manesar near here for quarantine. All patients in the hospitals are being treated and reported to be stable.

The Group of Ministers (GoM) constituted to monitor the situation and evaluate preparedness and formulate measures to manage the outbreak, met twice yesterday after which the Government last night announced several new restrictions on travel to India, including suspension of all existing visas, except diplomatic, official, UN/International Organizations, employment, project visas, until April 15.

This will come into effect from 1200 GMT on March 13 at the port of departure, an official press release said here last night.

The meeting, chaired by Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, was attended by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Puri, among others.

The recommendations of the Committee of Secretaries chaired by Cabinet Secretary were placed before the GoM. After detailed deliberations on preventive measures, actions taken and preparedness for COVID-19, the GoM took various decisions.

The release said visa-free travel facility granted to Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card holders is kept in abeyance till April 15. This will come into effect from 1200 GMT on March 13 at the port of departure.

Any foreign national who intends to travel to India for compelling reason may contact the nearest Indian mission, it said.

All incoming travellers, including Indian nationals, arriving from or having visited China, Italy, Iran, Korea, France, Spain and Germany after February 15 shall be quarantined for a minimum period of 14 days. This will come into effect from 1200 GMT on March 13 at the port of departure.

Incoming travellers, including Indian nationals, are advised to avoid non-essential travel and are informed that they can be quarantined for a minimum of 14 days on their arrival in India, the release said.

Indian nationals are strongly advised to avoid all non-essential travel abroad. On their return, they can be subjected to quarantine for a minimum of 14 days.

International traffic through land borders will be restricted to Designated check posts with robust screening facilities. These will be notified separately by the Ministry of Home Affairs, it said.

Provision for testing primarily for students/compassionate cases in Italy will be made and collection for samples will be organized accordingly. Those tested negative will be allowed to travel and will be quarantined on arrival in India for 14 days, the release added.

Schools, colleges and cinema halls have been shut down in many places till the end of this month and several scheduled sports events, including the final of the Indian Super League football tournament and the India-South Africa ODIs in the coming days will be held behind closed doors, without any spectators.


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