Chennai / New Delhi, Mar 17: The number of novel coronavirus cases in the country rose to 125 today after fresh cases were reported from several States.
The cases include 22 foreign nationals and two persons who died in Delhi and Karnataka. A coronavirus patient died in Maharashtra today, and toll has touched three in India. Delhi has so far reported seven positive cases while Uttar Pradesh has recorded 13 cases including one foreigner.
Karnataka has eight coronavirus patients while Maharashtra 39 including three foreigners. Ladakh has reported four cases while Jammu and Kashmir three. Telangana has reported four cases. Rajasthan has also reported four cases including that of two foreigners. Tamilnadu, Andhra Pradesh and Punjab have reported one case each. Odhisha reported its first case on Monday. In Haryana all the fourteen infected with the virus are foreigners while Uttarakhand has reported one case.
Kerala has recorded 24 cases including two foreign nationals. The number also includes three patients who were discharged last month after they recovered from the contagious infection with flu-like symptoms.
According to the Ministry’s data, 13 people have been discharged so far, including the three Kerala patients. Two persons infected with the virus have died so far. While a 76-year-old man from Kalaburagi who returned from Saudi Arabia died on Tuesday last, a 68-year-old woman in Delhi who had tested positive for coronavirus passed away at the Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) Hospital on Friday night.
Amid rising coronavirus cases in India, the government has said no community transmission of the virus has been observed and there have only been a few cases of local transmission so far.
With the World Health Organisation (WHO) declaring COVID-19 a pandemic, a Health Ministry official said over 52 000 people who had come in contact with the 125 positive cases have been identified through contact tracing and were under vigorous surveillance.
He said all essential facilities like community surveillance, quarantine, isolation wards, adequate personal protective equipment (PPEs), trained manpower, rapid response teams are being strengthened further in all states and union territories. With the positive cases of COVID-19 showing an increase, the government has proposed a set of social distancing measures to be in force till 31 March.
”Travel of passengers from member countries of the European Union, the European Free Trade Association, Turkey and United Kingdom to India is prohibited with effect from 18 March,” Lav Aggarwal, the Joint Secretary in the Ministry said on Monday.
”No airline shall board a passenger from these nations to India with effect from 1200 GMT on 18th March 2020. The airline shall enforce this at the port of initial departure,” he had said.
Both these instructions are temporary measures and shall be in force till March 31 2020 and will be reviewed subsequently, he had said.
The government today banned the entry of passengers from Afghanistan, Philippines and Malaysia to India with immediate effect, according to an additional travel advisory.
In continuation of the travel advisory issued on March 11 and March 16, the following additional advisory has been issued.
”Travel of passengers from Afghanistan, Philippines and Malaysia to India is prohibited with immediate effect,” it said.
No flight shall take off from these countries to India after 1500 hours Indian Standard Time (IST). The airline shall enforce this at the port of initial departure, according to the advisory. This instruction is a temporary measure and shall be in force till 31 March and will be reviewed subsequently.
With coronavirus cases swelling in the country, the government banned the entry of passengers from EU countries, Turkey and the UK from March 18 till March 31 on Monday.
In Tamilnadu, schools, colleges, cinema halls, malls, zoo, amusement parks, resorts etc., are shut from today following a government directive.
Unveiling a series of major precautionary measures to check the spread of coronavirus in Tamilnadu, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Monday evening ordered closure of all educational institutions, malls, cinemas, amusement parks, gyms, zoos, swimming pools (including in apartments) and museums in the state till 31 March.
However, ”Board exams for Class 10, 11 and 12 and examinations in colleges and practical examinations and entrance examinations would be held as scheduled. Until the exams are completed, hostels for students and residential schools would continue to function,” an official release said.
Government offices, medical and related educational institutions functioned as usual. The main opposition DMK has called off its general council meet and all party events till the end of this month.