Bengaluru Karnataka on Thursday registered India’s first coronavirus death after medical tests proved that the 76-year-old man from Kalaburgi died of the disease.
“The 76-year-old man from Kalaburgi who passed away and was a suspected to be a COVID-19 patient has been confirmed for COVID-19,” tweeted state Health Minister B. Sriramulu late on Thursday night. He said the health department has initiated the contact tracing and isolation measures. The deceased returned to Kalaburgi on February 29 from the Middle East and passed away on Wednesday. He incidentally showed flu-like symptoms and was admitted to hospital on March 5.
However, his family members moved him to another hospital in Hyderabad on Tuesday, disobeying medical advice.
Karnataka Health Minister B. Sriramulu said the man was a coronavirus suspect after his death on Wednesday and confirmed the cause of death on Thursday.
Following his death in a private Hyderabad hospital, Karnataka health department’s Information, Education and Communication (IEC) special officer Suresh Shastri said Telangana government has also been informed of the development.
Karnataka Health Department’s joint director for Communicable Diseases said all the protocols are being followed with regard to the safe disposal of the man’s body.
India Tally Rises To 74
Andhra Pradesh Thursday reported its first confirmed coronavirus case, taking the total number of cases in India to 74. As cases continue to rise, the health ministry Thursday asked people not to panic, saying the focus is on preventive approach and there are adequate facilities available for testing. In a press briefing in the national capital today, the health ministry said, “India’s efforts to deal with coronavirus are in consonance with WHO and the focus is on preventive approach. Over 1,500 people are under observation for coming in contact with 74 positive cases of coronavirus.” It also said there is no instance of any community transmission, adding there have been only local transmission. As of Thursday, the ministry on its website said that the total number of passengers screened at airports was 10,57,506. The ministry gave a state-wise breakup for the cases: Delhi reported six positive cases and Uttar Pradesh 10. Karnataka has four cases, Maharashtra 11 and Ladakh three. Besides, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Jammu and Kashmir, and Punjab have reported one case each. Kerala has recorded 17 cases, including three patients who were discharged last month after they recovered from the infection declared a global pandemic.
On Wednesday, in a big announcement, the World Health Organisation declared coronavirus as a pandemic. Before this, questions had been raised about why, despite the massive spread of COVID19, the WHO had continued to call it an ‘outbreak’, and not a pandemic.
‘Vaccines will take 1.5 to 2 years to develop’
In a media briefing, the Union Health Ministry’s joint secretary Luv Aggarwal debunked several myths, while allaying fears and relayed precautionary measures to be undertaken while asserting that there was no instance of any community transmission. “We have managed to isolate the coronavirus, we have 11 such isolates. Vaccines will take a minimum of 1.5 to 2 years,” PTI quoted the Health Ministry as saying.
GoM constituted on directions of PMO to monitor, evaluate preparedness
In a media briefing today, the health ministry also said that the government of India has evacuated 900 citizens along with 48 belonging to other nationalities like Maldives, Myanmar, Bangladesh, China, US, Madagascar, Sri Lanka, Nepal, South Africa, and Peru. In addition, 83 evacuees from Italy who arrived yesterday have been housed at Manesar facility for quarantine, the ministry added.
“On the directions of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), a GoM was constituted to continuously monitor the situation and evaluate preparedness and formulate measures regarding the management of coronavirus in the country. The GoM has met 6 times so far, guiding, reviewing and monitoring the situation,” said Luv Aggarwal, Joint Secretary, Health Ministry.
Mask not always necessary, if a person maintains effective social distance
Reassuring that there’s no need to panic, the health ministry said mask is not always necessary if a person maintains effective social distance. The ministry also said that they have around 1 lakh testing kits available, additional testing kits have already been ordered and they are also in procurement. “Right now, luckily for India we do not have any community transmission. We have only a few cases that have come from outside & they have primarily affected their close family members. 52 testing facilities are located across the country. There are a total of 56 sample collection centers,” said Aggarwal.