India reports third coronavirus death, number of cases rises to 137
Thermal screening of passengers being conducted at the Guwahati Railway Station in Assam, as part of measures to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus, on March 16, 2020. IANS

India reports third coronavirus death, number of cases rises to 137

New Delhi, March 17, 2020

India today reported its third death due to coronavirus disease (COVID-19), even as the total number of confirmed cases of infected persons across the countryhas risen to 137 so far.

Official sources said a 64-year-old coronavirus patient died in Mumbai on Tuesday, the first person to die of the disease in Maharashtra, which has reported the highest number of confirmed cases so far.

The man was under treatment at the state-run Kasturba Hospital in south-central Mumbai for the past few days. Health and government officials concerned declined to share further details.

There are another 38 coronavirus-positive patients admitted in hospitals across Maharashtra.

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

Meanwhile, the total number of confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) cases reported by India so far has risen to 137 with 23 more persons testing positive since yesterday, the Government said today.

The new cases reported since yesterday include seven in Maharashtra, five in Karnataka, three in Kerala, two each in Uttar Pradesh, Telangana and Ladakh, and one each in Delhi, Haryana and Tamil Nadu.

Of the 137 cases, 14 have recovered and have been discharged from hospitals -- five 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 this evening.

Out of the 137, as many as 113 are Indians while 24 are foreigners, including 17 Italians, two from the UK and one Canadian.

The number of confirmed cases include 39 in Maharashtra, 26 in Kerala, 15 each in Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, 11 in Karnataka, eight in Delhi, six in Ladakh, five in Telangana, four in Rajasthan, three in Jammu and Kashmir, and one each in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Punjab and Uttarakhand.

Contact tracing activity of these positive cases has led to identification of more than 5,200 contacts, who are kept under surveillance.

Meanwhile, the 4th batch of 53 evacuees from Iran arrived yesterday and they have been quarantined at the Army facility in Jaisalmer. All are reported to be asymptomatic at present and are in quarantine as per protocol.

The Government has, as a precautionary measure, expanded the minimum quarantine of 14 days to passengers coming from the UAE, Qatar, Oman and Kuwait with effect from March 18.

The government has prohibited the entry of passengers from European nations, including the UK, as well as passengers from Afghanistan, Philippines and Malaysia.

Airlines will have to enforce this at the port of initial departure. "This instruction is a temporary measure and shall be in force till 31st March 2020 and will be reviewed subsequently," an official press release said.

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.

Also, more than 13.19 lakh 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.


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