The state health authorities reported 14 new novel coronavirus (COVID-2019) cases on Tuesday — eight in Kerala, three each in Karnataka and Maharashtra. While the Union Health Ministry said a total of 50 cases had been detected so far (including three who were discharged in Kerala last month), the state reports put the figure at 61.
“A total of 50 confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the country till now. After the 44 positive cases declared yesterday, 3 positive cases were reported from Bengaluru (with travel history from the US via Dubai); 1 more from Bengaluru with travel history from US via Heathrow; and 2 positive cases from Pune (travel history from Dubai),” the Health Ministry said in a statement.
“Three of the total cases (from Kerala) have been discharged. Of these 50 cases, 34 are Indian nationals and 16 are Italians. In addition, the two deaths reported from Murshidabad and Ladakh… were both found to be negative for COVID-19,” it said.
In Kerala, officials said six new cases are primary contacts of the Italy-returned couple and their son who tested positive on Sunday; the other two are parents of a 3-year-old boy who tested positive on Monday — they had also returned from Italy.
In Karnataka, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa said four persons had tested positive in the state so far — a 46-year-old software engineer who tested positive on Monday, over a week after he returned from the US via Dubai; his wife and daughter; and a 50-year-old man who returned from the US via London.
In Maharashtra, a day after district officials said a couple, who had returned from Dubai earlier this month, tested positive in Pune, three other cases were reported on Tuesday: their daughter, the driver of the taxi they travelled in from Mumbai to Pune, and a co-passenger.
Meanwhile, 58 Indians who were stranded in coronavirus-hit Iran were airlifted on Tuesday morning. “Delighted to inform that on the auspicious occasion of Holi, the first batch of 58 Indians stranded in Iran have been brought back to Indian soil. C-17 which took off from Iran at 0459 hours has landed with 25 men, 31 women, 2 children & 529 samples on board. All 58 evacuated Indians who have landed at Hindon on IAF’s C-17 Globemaster flight from Iran have tested negative… They shall now be quarantined for 14 days,” tweeted Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan.
He also spoke to COVID-19 patients recovering in various hospitals over video call. “A Holi well spent. Heartening to see that coronavirus patients admitted in various hospitals are recovering well,” he tweeted.
An advisory has been issued asking passengers with travel history to China, Hong Kong, Republic of Korea, Japan, Italy, Thailand, Singapore, Iran, Malaysia, France, Spain and Germany to undergo self-imposed quarantine for 14 days from the date of their arrival, and their employers to facilitate work-from-home for such employees during this period.
The cabinet secretary held a high-level meeting to review the status, action, preparedness and management of COVID-19 cases in the country.
India has decided to suspend all regular and e-visas granted to nationals of France, Germany and Spain on or before March 11, provided they haven’t entered India yet. Visas granted to all foreign nationals who have travel history to these countries on or after February 1 and who have not yet entered India have also been suspended. Indian citizens have been “strongly advised” to refrain from travelling to France, Spain and Germany.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation, meanwhile, has asked all airlines operating international flights to ensure availability of enough self-declaration forms, to be filled in duplicate before passengers leave the flight. They have also been asked to ensure in-flight announcements.
More than 1,400 contacts of those who have tested so far have been put under surveillance. A total of 404 Indian contacts of the US citizen who tested positive for COVID-19 in Bhutan have been identified and put under surveillance in Assam.
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