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Coronavirus Updates, March 17: India Reports Third Death; Bengal, First Case

Coronavirus Updates, March 17: India Reports Third Death; Bengal, First Case

Featured image: An awareness drive for the coronavirus. Photo: PTI

Bengal reports first positive case of coronavirus

A man, who recently returned from England, on Tuesday tested positive for the novel coronavirus, making it the first case in the state of West Bengal, a health department official said.

The man was admitted to Beleghata ID Hospital after he showed symptoms of Covid-19, he said.

Medical examinations revealed that the person had contracted novel coronavirus, officials said.

India’s third related death

India has reported the third coronavirus-related death on Tuesday, after a patient died in Maharashtra. The two previous deaths were from Karnataka and Delhi. The patient was a 64-year-old man who was being treated at the Kasturba Hospital in Mumbai.

The total number of people who have tested positive for the coronavirus infection in India stands at 137 as of 5:15 pm on Tuesday. This includes 24 foreign nationals, 14 people who have been cured or discharged and three people who have died.

The man, who had travelled to Dubai early this month, was first admitted to a private hospital and was later moved to the Kasturba Hospital after he had tested positive for COVID-19.

Doctors have confirmed that the man had underlying health issues, including heart disease, and his health began to fail late on March 16.

The patient’s wife and his son have also been tested positive for the infection and are undergoing treatment. Medical officials have confirmed that their condition is stable and they have been responding to medical care.

As on March 16, Maharashtra had 39 cases (including one death) of COVID-19. The state has the highest number of infections across the country. Most of these cases have been detected in western Maharashtra and a few have also been found in the rural and two-tier cities of the state like Yavatmal and Aurangabad.

Following the death, the state’s chief minister Uddhav Thackeray has called for an urgent cabinet meeting where further measures to curb the spread of the disease, especially the possibility of community transmission, will be discussed.

The state government has started several quarantine facilities in cities where coronavirus cases have already been found. The state, like Delhi, has initiated talks with private hotels to open isolation centres for nominal cost along with those run free of cost.

Doctor who treated patient tests positive

According to news agency ANI, Sharat B., the deputy commissioner of Kalaburagi, who treated the 76-year-old man who died due to COVID-19 has tested positive. The 63-year-old doctor has been kept in quarantine at his home. He will be sent to an isolation ward on Tuesday, the agency reported.

MoS V. Muraleedharan tests negative

According to intiial reports, Union minister of state for external affairs V. Muraleedharan suspected that he might have the coronavirus infection and got himself tested. The test returned negative, sources said.

On Tuesday evening, the minister confirmed that he had tested negative. In a tweet, he asked people not to panic and take precautions.

Temples shut or restrict access

With many states encouraging social distancing and isolation, many Hindu temples across the country have either shut down or have restricted entry to visitors. News agency PTI reported that the Siddhivinayak Temple, one of most visited shrines in Mumbai, will remain closed for devotees until further notice in view of the coronavirus threat.

Osmanabad’s Tuljabhavani temple has also been closed, while the Mahakaleshwar temple in Ujjain will not allow devotees to attend the ‘Bhasmarti’ event at the temple until the end of this month.

Passengers from three more countries to be barred from entering India

The government on Tuesday banned the entry of passengers from Afghanistan, Philippines and Malaysia to India with immediate effect, according to an additional travel advisory.

In continuation of the travel advisory issued on March 11 and March 16, the following additional advisory has been issued.

“Travel of passengers from Afghanistan, Philippines and Malaysia to India is prohibited with immediate effect,” it said. No flight shall take off from these countries to India after 15:00 hours Indian Standard Time (IST). The airline shall enforce this at the port of initial departure, according to the advisory.

This instruction is a temporary measure and shall be in force till March 31 and will be reviewed subsequently.

With coronavirus cases swelling in the country, the government banned the entry of passengers from EU countries, Turkey and the UK from March 18 till March 31 on Monday.

Passengers at Delhi airport stranded, waiting to be quarantined

With India screening people who have arrived from countries affected by the coronavirus pandemic, some passengers took to Twitter to point out that it was taking several hours for the tests to be conducted, and proper facilities were not provided. Around 800 people were left stranded at the Delhi airport on Monday, said one user, Anish Gawande.

Taj Mahal closed

The Taj Mahal will also remain closed for tourists until further notice. The site, India’s most popular tourist destination, attracts visitors from across the globe.

Along with the Taj Mahal, dozens of other protected monuments and museums across in the country including the Ajanta and Ellora caves and religious sites, were also ordered closed.

Mumbai goes into lockdown mode

Mumbai ordered offices providing non-essential services to function at 50% staffing levels. The city also authorised hospital and airport authorities to stamp the wrists of those who have been ordered to self-isolate with indelible ink reading “Home Quarantined” and displaying the date until which the person has been ordered to self-quarantine, according to Reuters.

Maharashtra has been the hardest hit in India by the coronavirus, with 39 people confirmed to have the infection. One person from the state died because of the virus on Tuesday.

Accredited private labs can now conduct coronavirus tests

With more people requiring to be tested for the coronavirus infection, the Centre will now allow accredited private labs to test blood samples. According to the Times of India, Balram Bhargava, director general of the Indian Council of Medical Research confirmed this on Monday.

There are aroung 60 private labs that have been accredited by the National Accreditation Board for Laboratories. Until now, only government labs have been permitted to do the test. According to the report, though their capacity is around 5,000 samples per day, only 60-70 are being processed.

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