Confirmed coronavirus cases rise to 34 as Ladakh, Tamil Nadu report infections; Modi directs officials to make provisions for critical care

Three more people tested positive for the coronavirus in India on Saturday, taking the total number of cases in the country to 34

FP Staff March 07, 2020 23:49:06 IST
Confirmed coronavirus cases rise to 34 as Ladakh, Tamil Nadu report infections; Modi directs officials to make provisions for critical care
  • Three more people tested positive for the coronavirus in India on Saturday, taking the total number of cases in the country to 34

  • During a review meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi directed officials to identify locations for sufficient quarantine facilities and make provisions for critical care

  • The total number of cases across the world crossed 1,00,000 mark, with countries such as Iran, Germay, South Korea and Italy recording their biggest one-day increases in cases

Three more people tested positive for the coronavirus in India on Saturday, taking the total number of cases in the country to 34. The total number of cases across the world crossed 1,00,000 mark, with countries such as Iran, Germay, South Korea and Italy recording their biggest one-day increases in cases.

The Union health ministry said that three more positive cases of novel coronavirus were detected, with two from Ladakh and one from Tamil Nadu. The two patients from Ladakh have a travel history to Iran while the one from Tamil Nadu had visited Oman, the ministry said, adding all the patients are stable.

The ministry further said that more that 150 people, who had come in contact with two American nationals who tested positive for coronavirus in Bhutan and had toured various places in India, including Assam, Mumbai and Kolkata, have been put under Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP).

State governments steup up efforts

State governments, too stepped up vigil, amid suspected cases being reported from Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab. The test results of two patients kept under isolation at a hospital in Jammu and Kashmir indicated that they might have a high possibility of having contracted the disease, said an ANI report.

According to the report, the two had left the hospital against medical advice and had to be brought back. Meanwhile, based on preliminary tests two persons from Hoshiarpur tested positive for the virus at the Guru Nanak Dev Hospital in Amritsar.

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A medic official uses thermal screeing device on a passenger in the wake of deadly coronaviru, at an airport in Dibrugarh. PTI

Raman Sharma, medical superintendent of the hospital, said both the patients came to Amritsar from Italy on 3 March. "They were coughing so they were admitted to the hospital for treatment and their blood samples were examined. These patients have been isolated and are being treated in the same isolated room," ANI quoted him as saying.

"Their preliminary investigation confirmed the infection of COVID-19 . Their final report is yet to come from the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune," he said.

In Jammu and Kashmir, primary schools in fours districts — Baramulla, Budgam, Srinagar and Bandipora — were shut down amid the virus scare.

In Rajasthan, all the samples collected from suspected patients, who had come in contact with an Italian couple suffering from coronavirus infection, tested negative, reported PTI.

Additional Chief Secretary, Medical and Health, Rohit Kumar Singh said 282 samples have been collected so far in the state with 280 negative cases.

The Italian couple had tested positive earlier this week and is admitted at the SMS Hospital in Jaipur.

Singh said the state government has  decided to conduct screening of every foreigner who visits the state. Private medical colleges and all major private hospitals were also asked to make arrangements for isolation wards, he said, adding that the biometric attendance system had been discontinued in all governments hospitals.

The states of Karnataka, Odisha, Jammu and Kashmir and Uttar Pradesh, too said that they will suspend marking of biometric attendance till 31 March.

The Odisha government imposed restrictions on foreign visit of ministers and senior officers, while Governor Ganeshi Lal and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said they will not celebrate Holi.

The Andhra Pradesh government approved release of Rs 408 crore for bolstering the health system to deal with any eventualities, even as the reports of 23 of 32 suspected cases returned negative. The test results of the other nine are awaited.

Telangana health minister E Rajender asked district health officials to be ready with a concrete plan of action to handle the situation and if required, send suspected cases to Hyderabad for further examination. Rapid response teams should be ready in each district and awareness among public, particularly in maintaining proper hygiene, should be created, he said.

Many states, including Telangana also cautioned against the hoarding of masks, sanitisers and other protective gear and warned suppliers of stringent action in case of high pricing.

India's 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers match against Qatar scheduled for 26 March in Bhubaneswar has been postponed while Maharashtra health minister Rajesh Tope said "discussion" is underway on whether the IPL, set to start from 29 March in Mumbai with a match between Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings, should be postponed in view of the coronavirus scare.

On Friday, Srinagar Mayor Junaid Mattu had called for the cancellation of Khelo India's first winter games chapter, which is scheduled to begin in Gulmarg on Saturday. Around 800-900 sportspersons are expected to participate in the event.

Narendra Modi holds review meeting

Modi held a review with top officials including Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, his deputy Ashwini Kumar Choubey, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba, Niti Aayog member Vinod Paul, Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, and secretaries of health, pharma, civil aviation, MEA, health research, home, shipping, NDMA and others.

During the meeting, the prime minister directed officials to identify locations for sufficient quarantine facilities and make provisions for critical care, reported PTI.

"All departments should work in convergence and action should be initiated for creating awareness in community about the disease and the precautions to be taken," the prime minister was quoted as saying in an official statement.

"He exhorted the officers to identify the best practices for COVID-19 management from across the world and within the states, and ensure their adoption," it said.

The prime minister said that in view of expert opinion, people should be advised to avoid mass gatherings as much as possible and made aware of the do's and don'ts. He also instructed officials to plan for early testing and evacuation of Indians from Iran where, according to reports, 145 people have died so far due to the disease.

Aroud 2,000 Indians, including pilgrims, are curretly stranded in Iran.

On Saturday, a flight from Tehran brought to Delhi swab samples of 300 Indians in Iran who are suspected of having the coronavirus infection. The flight, operated by Mahan Air, then returned with many Iranian nationals.

The samples are being tested at the laboratory in AIIMS, the health ministry said.

Six scientists from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) have been sent to Iran along with equipment and reagents, worth approximately Rs 10 crore in order to set up a labarotary there, the health ministry said.

Earlier in the day, the prime minister asked people to keep away from rumours regarding the infection and emphasised on the need to follow the advice of doctors in this regard. He also asked people to avoid handshakes and start greeting others with 'namaste' once again.

"In such times rumours circulate very rapidly. Some say don't eat this, don't do that. Some people will bring in new things such as eat this to keep coronavirus away. It is my request to all my fellow countrymen, kindly keep away from these kinds of rumours," he said.

"Whatever you do, kindly do it on the advice of your doctor. Let's not become doctors ourselves," the prime minister added.

Passengers from 12 countries to be seggrated at airports, says AAI

The Airports Authority of India (AAI) in the evening said  that passengers from 12 countries will be segregated from other passengers till the conveyer belt areas at airports. An AAI spokesperson said passengers from China, South Korea, Japan, Italy, Iran, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Hongkong, Vietnam, Nepal and Indonesia  would not be allowed to mingle with other passengers during "health screening, immigration and in conveyer belt areas".

The health ministry said that 7,26,122 passengers from 7,108 flights have been screened at airports.

Fifty-two laboratories for testing novel coronavirus are now operational across the country. An additional 57 labs have been provided with Viral Transport Media and swabs for sample collection, said the health ministry.

Caller tunes to spread awareness on coronavirus

In order to spread awareness among the masses, special COVID-19 mobile phone caller tune was launched by all telecom operators with basic infection prevention messages played when a caller dials a number. Over 117.2 crore subscribers of BSNL, MTNL Reliance Jio, Airtel and Vodafone-Idea are being progressively reached out to through SMSs and call backs, the ministry said.

Alarming rise in cases in Italy, Iran, South Korea

The situation in some countries including Iran, South Korea worsened in the 24 hour period since Friday even as the overall number of cases crossed the 1,00,00 mark.

In Iran, the number of deaths caused by the virus rose by 21 over the past 24 hours, and reached 145 while the number of confirmed cases increased by thousand, reaching 5,823, reported Reuters.

According to reports, one of those who died was a conservative lawmaker from Tehran.

In South Korea, the coronavirus cases jumped above 7,000 on Saturday, up by 448 from the previous day, with more than half of the total number linked to a secretive church at the centre of the country’s outbreak.

In Europe, the number of cases in Germany rose to 648 while Italy, with 148 deaths, recorded the highest number of deaths outside the epicentre, China.

The virus, which affected 778 more people in Italy on Saturday also started showing its effects on the economy, with tourism, manufacturing and financial industries taking a hit.

With inputs from agencies

Updated Date:

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