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Coronavirus updates March 10: 14 more cases reported from Kerala, Karnataka, Pune; 58 Indians brought back from Iran

The first batch of 58 Indians was brought back from Iran, one of the countries worst-hit by the coronavirus outbreak, where the death toll surged to 237 on Tuesday.

Written by Abantika Ghosh , Vishnu Varma , Ralph Alex Arakal , Atikh Rashid | Bengaluru, Kochi, New Delhi, Pune |
Updated: March 10, 2020 8:58:12 pm
Nursing students at Gandhi Hospital in Hyderabad. (AP)

The Kerala health department Tuesday confirmed eight new positive cases of coronavirus, taking the total number of cases to 14 in the state, while neighbouring Karnataka also reported three more infections. Three more people in Pune have also tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

The Union Health Ministry is yet to confirm these new cases. If confirmed, the total number of cases will rise to 61.

As per the latest update by the Union Health Ministry, the total number of confirmed cases across India stood at 47, including three in Kerala who were discharged last month. On Monday, eight cases, including a three-year-old boy in Kerala, were reported. The other cases were reported from Jammu, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Pune, Karnataka, and Punjab.

Across the world, the death toll surpassed 4,000 on Tuesday even as the Italian government, in an unprecedented move, extended restrictions on personal movement and public events to the entire country to stem the coronavirus outbreak. Italy has recorded more than 9,000 coronavirus infections and 463 deaths while the confirmed infections in the US surpassed 700 cases. Follow LIVE Updates

Coronavirus Live Updates: Kerala confirms six new cases, Karnataka reports three more Women devotees wear masks as a precaution against coronavirus after making their offerings during the annual Pongala festival at the Attukal temple in Thiruvananthapuram (AP Photo)

Eight fresh cases reported in Kerala; 4 held for spreading fake news

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, addressing a press conference, confirmed six more cases of coronavirus in Kerala. While four of the six patients, who reported positive for the virus today, are admitted to the isolation ward at the Medical College in Kottayam, two others are at the taluk hospital in Kozhenchery in Pathanamthitta district.

Later in the day, Health Minister KK Shailaja informed that two more people have been tested positive for the virus in Kerala, taking the total infected cases in the state to 14.

The two patients in Kozhenchery are direct contacts of the family of five who had returned from Italy and tested positive for the virus. At present, 1,116 people are under observation, out of which 965 are in home quarantine and 149 others in isolation wards at hospitals.

CBSE, ICSE and state board schools for Classes 1 to 7 will be closed throughout March. Colleges will also be shut in March. CM Vijayan asked the public to cooperate with health department officials and not to hide their travel or medical history.

Youngsters celebrate Holi amid Coronavirus scare in Pune. (Express photo by Ashish Kale)

Meanwhile, the Kerala Police have arrested four people and registered eight cases so far in connection with the spread of fake news on coronavirus. The cases have been registered in Ernakulam central PS (2), Kunnamkulam (1), Pariyaram (1), Harippad (1), Kaliyar (1), Kakkur (1) and Vellamunda (1) police stations.

Separately, the Kerala Catholic Bishops Council (KCBC) has issued a circular, with strict instructions for clergy and laymen to follow the protocol for coronavirus and take precautions. The circular discourages people from kissing the cross on Good Friday and during church festivals. “Before distribution of holy communion, the priest should purify hands in a bowl of water/sanitiser,” the circular says.

Karnataka coronavirus cases rise to four

Three fresh positive cases of COVID-19 was reported in Karnataka on Tuesday, taking the total number of people affected by novel coronavirus to four in the state. A release from the Indian Council of Medical Research mentioned that “3 positive cases from Bengaluru, Karnataka” was confirmed on Tuesday.

Among the three new cases are a 50-yr-old man who visited the US and London recently and the wife and daughter of the software engineer who tested positive on Monday. The techie, who returned from a visit to the United States on March 1, was the first person to be diagnosed with the infection in Karnataka.

“Four cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed positive in Karnataka. Their family members have been kept in isolation and health officials are keeping a close watch on all of their health conditions. I request the citizens to take safety and preventive measures to avoid the spread of the viral infection,” Health Minister B Sriramulu tweeted.

Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa held an emergency meeting with top officials of the state government, including Health Minister Sriramulu and Medical Education Minister Sudhakar, in Vidhana Soudha. “Coronavirus oversight committees are being set up across all districts. The government is equipped to contain the situation,” Yediyurappa said.

All primary schools (till Class 5) in Bengaluru (aided, unaided, private) will remain closed till further orders from March 10. The Karnataka government had on Sunday announced the closure of pre-primary schools from March 9.

IAF brings back 58 Indians from coronavirus-hit Iran

Meanwhile, the first batch of 58 Indians was brought back from Iran, one of the countries worst-hit by the coronavirus outbreak, where the death toll surged to 237 on Tuesday. An IAF aircraft, carrying mostly pilgrims and students, landed at Ghaziabad’s Hindon airbase at 10 am. The evacuees will spend at least 14 days at a quarantine facility set up in Hindon, before being allowed to travel to their respective states.

IAF’s C-17 Globemaster military aircraft left for Iran from the Hindon airbase on at 8.30 pm Monday. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar thanked Iran authorities, the Iranian Embassy and the IAF for their efforts.

“Thanks to the efforts of our Embassy in Iran and the Indian medical team there, operating under challenging conditions. Thank you Indian Air Force. We appreciate the cooperation of Iranian authorities. We are working on the return of other Indians stranded there,” Jaishankar tweeted.

Two more test positive in Pune, cases rise to 4

The two people who tested positive for the novel coronavirus in Pune are the daughter of the couple who had returned from Dubai earlier this month and the driver of the taxi they travelled in from Mumbai to Pune, the district administration said.

“We now have four patients of Coronavirus in the city…The samples of all the contacts of the couple had been sent for testing at the National Institute of Virology. The sample of their daughter and the driver of their taxi has come out to be positive,” a statement from the office of Pune Divisional Commissioner Deepak Mhaisekar said.

In Pune, where a 53-year-old man and his 45-year-old wife tested positive for the novel coronavirus, the district administration said the couple were part of a 40-member group that had visited United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the last week of February. Officials said they had obtained the list of all other travellers — from various districts of Maharashtra — who went to Dubai with the couple and would screen them for the infection.

Tourists wear protective masks in wake of the novel coronavirus outbreak at Taj Mahal. (File)

“Since UAE is not named in the list of coronavirus-affected countries issued by the Government of India, the couple were not isolated when they returned to India from Dubai on March 1. We have collected information about all the individuals and places these two persons visited since. All the family members, friends as well as colleagues at their workplaces will be tested. So far, we have collected and sent samples of three of the relatives to the lab,” said Deepak Mhaisekar, Divisional Commissioner for Pune.

Mhaisekar said that the couple had travelled in a cab from Mumbai International Airport to Pune on March 1 and the driver has also been admitted to Naidu Hospital.

Manipur seals two Indo-Myanmar border gates

In the northeast, the Manipur home department has sealed Indo-Myanmar gate number one and two at Moreh border town in Tengnoupal district in the wake of the increased number of coronavirus cases in the country. The border gates will remain sealed until further orders.

The state government, while prohibiting the movement of people across the international border, has asked the forces to strengthen patrolling of border areas to check infiltration. Manipur shares 398 km of its border with Myanmar. Manipur imports a huge quantity of goods from Myanmar, including Chinese goods through the Moreh border.

Meanwhile, an Assamese man who was admitted at RIMS isolation ward with fever has been discharged after his tests came negative.

(With inputs from Jimmy Leivon)

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