Coronavirus cases in India rise to 73: Health Ministry


PTI, Mar 12, 2020, 2:48 PM IST

New Delhi: The number of coronavirus patients in the country has risen to 73 with 13 fresh cases, including nine from Maharashtra and one each from Delhi, Ladakh and Uttar Pradesh as well as one foreign national, the Union Health Ministry said on Thursday.

Giving a state-wise breakup, the ministry said Delhi reported six positive cases and Uttar Pradesh 10. Karnataka has four cases, Maharashtra 11 and Ladakh three.

Besides, Rajasthan, 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.

The total number of 73 confirmed cases includes 17 foreigners, 16 Italian tourists and one more foreigner whose nationality cannot be immediately ascertained, the ministry said.

As the contagious disease with flu-like symptoms spreads across the globe, the cabinet secretary has said states and Union Territories should invoke provisions of Section 2 of the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 so all advisories issued by the Union health ministry and state governments are enforceable.

An Indian team of doctors will leave for Italy on Thursday to collect and bring swab samples of Indian students stranded there so that they can be tested before being brought back to the country, Health Ministry officials had said on Wednesday.

It also said the government is undertaking measures to ensure safety and security of its citizens in Iran after it became clear that the country was facing a COVID-19 outbreak.

Indian nationals in Iran include pilgrims, students and fishermen, the ministry said.

On March 7, 108 samples were received from Iran. These samples are being tested at the AIIMS laboratory. Also, six scientists from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) are stationed in Iran and have so far have collected swab samples of over 400 Indians stranded there.

“The first batch of 58 evacuees from Iran has arrived on March 10 with 25 men, 31 women and 2 children on board. All evacuees are asymptomatic at present,” the ministry said.

India has evacuated 948 passengers from COVID-19 affected countries. Of these, 900 are Indian citizens and 48 from different nationalities, including from Maldives, Myanmar, Bangladesh, China, USA, Madagascar, Sri Lanka, Nepal, South Africa and Peru, it said.

India has also suspended all visas, except a few categories such as diplomatic and employment, till April 15 in a bid to contain the coronavirus spread, according to a revised travel advisory.

The suspension will come into effect from 1200 GMT on March 13 at the port of departure.

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