Number of confirmed cases of coronavirus rises to 52 in India
As the novel coronavirus spreads faster than expected in the country, 12 more people were tested positive for the COVID-19 on Tuesday, taking the total number of confirmed cases to 59 in India. Six people in Kerala and three each in Karnataka and Pune were tested positive with the deadly virus.
As the novel coronavirus spreads faster than expected in the country, 12 more people tested positive for the COVID-19 on Tuesday (March 10), taking the total number of confirmed cases to 52 in India.
Eight people in Kerala, three in Karnataka, and two in Pune tested positive with the deadly virus, state authorities said.
Amid the virus scare, in a first for the country, an elderly Italian couple were given a combination of two anti-HIV drugs for treatment at a Jaipur hospital.
The Drug Controller General of India has approved “restricted use” of the combination of medications lopinavir and ritonavir which are second-line HIV drugs, for treating those affected by novel coronavirus after the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) sought an emergency approval for the same.
SMS Hospital Medical Superintendent Dr DS Meena said the Italian man and his wife had developed severe respiratory problems following which a decision was taken to put them on the combination of lopinavir and ritonavir.
According to officials, the consent of the patients was taken before the drugs were administered.
This combination along with other drugs has been used in clinical trials in China, where coronavirus first emerged, and Thailand for treating COVID-19 patients.
In Karnataka, Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa said four persons have tested positive for the coronavirus totally since three new cases were confirmed on Tuesday (March 10).
On Monday, a Bengaluru-based techie who returned from the US on March 1 tested positive, becoming the first COVID-19 patient in the state.
According to health department officials, his wife and daughter too tested positive for the virus on Tuesday.
Another person, who had travelled from America via London and arrived in Bengaluru on March 8 also tested positive, they said.
State Health Minister Sriramulu said the family members of the four persons have been quarantined. Using a hashtag of #CoronaVirusOutBreak, the minister said, “I appeal to the people to make sure that this disease does not spread further.”
India to Iran and back
In the morning, 58 Indians were brought back home from coronavirus-hit Iran in a military transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF).
IAF spokesperson Group Captain Anupam Banerjee said the C-17 Globemaster aircraft evacuated 25 men, 31 women, and two children. It also brought swab samples of 529 Indians to carry out laboratory tests and check whether they have coronavirus infection and those who returned have been quarantined at a medical facility in Hindon.
Announcing the latest cases in Kerala at a media interaction in Thiruvananthapuram after a special cabinet meeting held to discuss the coronavirus situation, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said at least 1,116 people are under observation — 149 in isolation wards of various hospitals and 967 under home quarantine.
The fresh cases are friends and relatives of an Italy-returned couple and their son who had on Saturday tested positive for the deadly virus along with two other kin staying with them at their home in Rane in Pathanamthitta district, Health Minister KK Shailaja, who was also present there said the aged parents of the couple are among the six latest positive cases.
In the southern state, schools and colleges and cinemas will remain closed in the state till March 31. Classes 1 to 7 of all schools — state, CBSE and ICSE boards — will remain shut and examinations which have begun for them will be put on hold.
Examinations for class 10, class 12 and vocational higher secondary will, however, continue. Final examinations of class 8 and 9 also will proceed as usual.
Temple and church festivals, which witnesses mass gatherings should be avoided, but rituals can be held in a low key manner, Vijayan said.
As the hill temple Sabarimala will reopen on March 13, monthly pujas can be held, but at this juncture, devotees should avoid darshan, he said.
Two persons related to each other tested positive for novel coronavirus in Pune, the Maharashtra health department said. This takes the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the district as well as in Maharashtra to five.
One of them is related to the two confirmed coronavirus patients and had returned from Dubai with them, while the other is driver of the cab in which the family had travelled from the Mumbai airport to Pune, said district collector Naval Kishore Ram.
The condition of all of them was stable and they were undergoing treatment in the isolation ward of civic-run Naidu Hospital, he said.
After Mizoram, Manipur has shut its border with Myanmar indefinitely amid the novel coronavirus scare.
Neighbouring Mizoram had on Monday also sealed its borders with Myanmar and Bangladesh, and banned the entry of foreigners to prevent the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
An official order, issued by Special Secretary (Home) H Gyan Prakash, said the Indo-Myanmar border in the Manipur sector would remain shut until further orders.
Holi amidst COVID-19
The coronavirus threat also cast a shadow on Holi celebrations which were subdued across the country.
While many chose to skip the celebrations altogether, some preferred small gatherings of friends and relatives but without colours. Some, however, played Holi only with gulal (powder colours).
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal stayed away from Holi celebrations this year. He had earlier said that he would not play Holi this year due to the coronavirus threat and last month’s riots in northeast Delhi that claimed 53 lives.
“Happy Holi. Please take care of yourself while playing Holi. Please protect yourself from coronavirus,” the chief minister said in a tweet in Hindi.
(With inputs from agencies)