India reports first coronavirus death

Coronavirus outbreak’s impact intensified in India on Thursday as the country registered its first death due to the deadly virus in Karnataka while the total number of positive cases surpassed 70. Several state governments declared coronavirus as an epidemic and ordered the educational institutions to remain shut at least till March 31.

Strict tourism guidelines and scare among investors resulted in a bloodbath at the share markets, which witnessed the worst day since 2008. The two key indices – Nifty and Sensex, lost around 8 per cent by the end of the business.

Meanwhile, the Centre announced that it has stepped measures to control the coronavirus outbreak. The government also announced measures to evacuate 400 Indians stranded in Iran within the next three days.

First confirmed death from coronavirus in India:

The first confirmed case of death from coronavirus in India has been reported from Karnataka’s Kalaburgi. A 76-year-old man who had recently passed away has been confirmed as a case of Covid-19 death.

“The 76-year-old man from Kalaburgi who passed away and was a suspected Covid-19 patient has been confirmed for Covid-19” B Sriramulu, Karnataka health minister said in a tweet.

The minister said that necessary contact tracing, isolation and other measures as per protocol were being carried out. Telangana government has also been informed since he went to a private hospital there, he said.

Positive cases surpass 70

As per the Centre’s data, the number of positive coronavirus cases in India jumped from 60 to at least 74 on Thursday. The 14 new cases include nine from Maharashtra and one each from Delhi, Ladakh, Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh as well as one foreign national, the Union Health Ministry said on Thursday. Apart from these the state governments of Karnataka and Kerala also reported two new cases each (including the death).

Lav Aggarwal, the Joint Secretary in the health ministry, said 1,500 people who came in contact with these 74 infected people were under rigorous observation while over 30,000 people across the country were under community surveillance.

Say no to panic: PM Modi

As the Centre and the states ramped up their efforts to tackle novel coronavirus, which has claimed at least 4,600 lives globally and affected nearly 125,293, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked the countrymen not to panic and asserted that the government was fully vigilant.

Apart from directing the Union ministers not to travel abroad in the upcoming days, Modi also urged people to avoid non-essential travel, saying, “we can break the chain of spread and ensure the safety of all by avoiding large gatherings.”

Asking people not to panic, the Union health ministry said no community transmission of the virus has been observed and there has only been cases of local transmission so far.

With the novel coronavirus being declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation, Raman R Gangakhedkar, the head of the Epidemiology and Communicable Diseases-I, a division of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), said even though the virus is difficult to isolate, scientists at the National Institute of Virology in Pune have been successful in finding about 11 isolates, but developing a vaccine will take at least one-and-a-half to two years.

Centre, 15 states and UTs set up helplines for coronavirus

The government has set up a central helpline — 011-23978046 — related to coronavirus outbreak in the country, besides 15 states and union territories using either of ‘104’, ‘108’ and ‘102’ as their state-level helpline number, the Union Home Ministry said.

Bihar, Goa, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Punjab, Sikkim, Telangana, Uttarakhand, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu, Lakshadweep and Puducherry are using phone number 104 as helplines for tackling coronavirus outbreak, it said.

Meghalaya is using 108 and Mizoram 102 as their respective helpline for the viral outbreak, they said.

A central helpline — 011-23978046 — related to coronavirus outbreak in the country has also been set up, the ministry said.

The Delhi government’s helpline is 011-22307145, it said. (India Today)

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