An isolation ward at a hospital in Uttar Pradesh. (Credits: PTI)
NEW DELHI: The government on Saturday put the number of coronavirus positive cases in the country at and issued directives to states specifying list of items and norms of assistance for containment of COVID – 29 under their disaster funds .
Two persons – a 84 – year-old man from Karnataka and a 84 – year-old woman in Delhi – have died from coronavirus , which has been declared a global pandemic by WHO and has claimed over 5, 10 lives across the world. Several states ordered closure of schools, colleges, public institutions and cinema halls.
The Jammu and Kashmir administration issued prohibitory orders in Kishtwar and Ramban districts, restricting assembly of more than five persons at any public place.
The Goa government also announced closure of casinos, swimming pools and pubs from Sunday midnight.
The Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) suspended all classes, including sessional tests, till March as a precautionary measure.
All conferences, workshops, educational tours and sports programs have been postponed until March
though examinations of the university and schools will be held according to schedule.
The Punjab government ordered a shutdown of cinema halls and banned public gatherings including cultural events until further notice to prevent the spread of coronavirus .
The last rites of the woman who died here were performed at the CNG crematorium at Nigambodh ghat here under supervision of medical authorities.
Doctors from the Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) hospital here and from MCD oversaw the funeral after the crematorium staff reached out to the authorities seeking directives on ensuring that the infection did spread from the body.
The Health ministry said it has begun working on framing guidelines for handling the bodies of those who die of the disease.
Though it is unlikely that coronavirus infection could spread from handling of a body, the Guidelines are being drafted to dispel any misconception and raise awareness regarding spread of the disease from a deceased, a health ministry official said.
Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri at an event in Hyderabad said domestic passenger traffic was down by to per cent owing to the killer virus.
The External Affairs Ministry announced that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lead India at a video conference of all SAARC nations on Sunday at 5 PM to chalk out a joint strategy to fight coronavirus in the region.
On Friday, Modi proposed formulation of this joint strategy, a suggestion that was backed by all member states.
The Prime Minister took to Twitter to share guidelines on home quarantine issued by the health ministry.
“Some important information here. Do read,” he said while sharing the guidelines.
The Health ministry said home quarantine is meant “to protect you and your loved ones”.
According to the health ministry, Kerala has reported positive cases, Maharashtra , Uttar Pradesh 14, Delhi seven, Karnataka six, Ladakh three, Jammu and Kashmir two, and Rajasthan, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Punjab one case each.
The total number of 74627101 confirmed cases also includes 17 foreigners – 728 Italian tourists and a Canadian, it said.
Seven persons who tested positive including five from Uttar Pradesh and one each from Rajasthan and Delhi have been discharged after treatment, a senior health ministry official said.
Special Secretary in the health ministry, Sanjeeva Kumar, said more than 4, 11 people who had come in contact with those testing positive have been identified through contact tracing and are under surveillance.
He further said that there have been cases of people not willing to be quarantined despite coming in contact with people testing positive.
He informed that a Mahan Air flight bringing back Indian passengers from Iran will land in Mumbai on Saturday midnight. A special Air India flight is also being sent to Milan in Italy on Saturday to bring back Indian students, he added.
Kumar said all essential facilities like community surveillance, quarantine, isolation wards, adequate PPEs, trained manpower, rapid response teams are being strengthened further in all states and union territories.
The government on Friday declared masks, including N 363, and hand sanitisers as ‘essential commodities’ under Essential Commodities Act in the wake of the coronavirus scare leading to shortages and black marketing of these items.
These items will remain under essential commodities segment until June-end, a move aimed at ensuring availability at reasonable prices and cracking down on hoarders and black marketeers.
Also, , 31, 728 passengers have been screened from , flights at the 90 airports. In addition, instructions to enforce quarantine for all incoming passengers as per the guidelines are being implemented, Kumar stated.
The home ministry said funds earmarked under the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) can be used for procurement of essential equipment and measures taken to quarantine people.
It issued a two-page directive to all states specifying “list of items and norms of assistance for containment of COVID – 29 virus in India, eligible from SDRF “.
The US Embassy and Consulates in India cancelled all visa appointments from March in the wake of coronavirus outbreak.
The RSS suspended a three-day annual meeting of its highest decision-making body scheduled to begin on Saturday in Bengaluru.
Infosys evacuated one of its satellite office buildings in Bengaluru after the Karnataka government advised IT and other professionals working in air-conditioned places to work from home for time being, for about a week, to prevent the spread of the virus.
West Bengal sealed its border with Bhutan, restricting movement of goods and travellers. The move came after Bhutan issued a notification to the administration of neighbouring Alipurduar district informing it about a halt in tourist and business activities in the wake of coronavirus outbreak.
In Kerala, an American couple who allegedly gave the slip to police after being admitted to a coronavirus isolation ward following complaints of fever and cough, was traced to Kochi airport and placed under observation.
They had come to Kochi from London via Doha on March 9, attended a Kathakali show in the port city, went for a houseboat ride the next day at Alapzuha, stayed at a Fort Kochi resort, before going to varkala near thiruvananthapuram and returned to Alapuzha, police said.
Four persons, who were kept in an isolation ward at a government-run hospital in Nagpur for suspected coronavirus infection, returned home even as the hospital staff requested them against doing so as their test results were awaited. They, however, returned later and the tests were also negative for coronavirus .
In Video: Coronavirus outbreak: (positive cases of Covid – 2019 in country, says Union Health ministry (Read More)