The WHO has asked people across the globe to follow the health guidelines issued to stay safe during this crisis. Photo: PTI file

10 points: India reports third COVID death, pvt labs to begin testing

The death toll due to the coronavirus infection rose to three in India on Tuesday after a 63-year-old person’s death in Mumbai, according to the Union health ministry. Meanwhile, the total number of cases in the country now stands at 137 with fresh cases being reported in multiple states.

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The death toll due to the coronavirus infection rose to three in India on Tuesday (March 17) after a 63-year-old person’s death in Mumbai, according to the Union health ministry. Meanwhile, the total number of cases in the country now stands at 147 (as of Wednesday) with fresh cases being reported in multiple states.

Here are the latest updates from the day:

New cases and third death in India

The 147 new cases, have been reported from 15 states and union territories. The number includes 24 foreign nationals. Among the new cases are two people each from Noida and Maharashtra. In Bengaluru, two more persons tested positive for COVID-19 late Monday night. The third casualty of the virus was a 64-year-old man who died in Mumbai on Tuesday. He had a travel history to Dubai.

No entry for passengers from three more countries

India on Tuesday banned the entry of passengers from Afghanistan, Philippines, and Malaysia to the country with immediate effect, according to an additional travel advisory. A day earlier, the government had banned entry of passengers from European Union countries, Turkey and the United Kingdom from March 18 till March 31.

Interactive: Know the coronavirus stats here

Private labs to begin COVID-19 tests: ICMR

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said its 72 functional laboratories are conducting tests for coronavirus and private NABL-accredited labs will soon be operationalised across the country for this purpose. ICMR Director General Balram Bhargava also appealed to all private laboratories to offer COVID-19 diagnosis free of cost. India is currently in the stage-2 or local transmission of the virus, he said.

No community transmission: Govt

Amid rising coronavirus cases, the government said no community transmission of the virus has been observed and there have only been a few cases of local transmission so far. Meanwhile, a health ministry official said over 5,700 people who had come in contact with the positive cases have been identified through contact tracing and are under vigorous surveillance.

Cancellation of trains, GoAir suspends international operations

The Central Railway on Tuesday cancelled 23 outstation trains while Western railway cancelled five trains till April 1, citing the coronavirus threat as well as non-occupancy as reasons. Meanwhile, the DGCA instructed airlines to ensure all aircraft are deep-cleaned and disinfected at least once in 24 hours. GoAir announced it will suspend its international operations and offered leave without pay for its staff on a rotational basis amid the sharp decline in air travel.

Panic, fear grips society

As consternation mounted, public events and even weddings were called off or pushed indefinitely. People queued up to stock up on essential provisions in the eventuality of a lockdown of their neighbourhoods. Educational institutes, cinema halls as well as residential neighbourhoods curtailed the number of visitors as did offices that asked many of their people to work from home.

Uttar Pradesh postpones exams till April 2

The Uttar Pradesh government announced the closure of all educational institutions in the state till April 2. Competitive and other examinations have been postponed till April 2 and tourist places in the city shut, said minister Shrikant Sharma. All cinemas and multiplexes will also remain closed till April 2, he said.

CIC limits hearing to only urgent matters

The Central Information Commission has limited hearings to urgent matters and only through video and audio conferences till March 31 in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The Supreme Court also had decided last week it will take up only urgent matters for hearing. It further said no persons except concerned lawyers will be allowed in its courtrooms.

SECs defer local body polls

As a precautionary measure to check the spread of the novel coronavirus, the Maharashtra State Election Commission on Tuesday deferred the upcoming elections to local bodies in the state till further orders. Earlier, the State Election Commission in West Bengal had also deferred the civic body elections in the state in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

Global toll crosses 7,000

The global toll due to the coronavirus pandemic crossed the 7,000 mark on Tuesday after Italy announced a new surge in fatalities. According to the latest reports, China has the highest number of fatalities at 3,213, followed by Italy with 2,158 deaths and almost 28,000 cases. Meanwhile, US health official said the country has already conducted its first human trial of a vaccine to treat the coronavirus.

Related news: Fewer COVID-19 cases not always true indicator of epidemic: WHO expert

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