Punjab reports first COVID-19 death

70-year-old man, who arrived at Delhi airport on March 7 from Germany via Italy, dies in Banga town

March 19, 2020 04:48 pm | Updated 04:49 pm IST - CHANDIGARH

Punjab police personnel wearing protective masks in the wake of the novel coronavirus scare in Bathinda on March 13, 2020.

Punjab police personnel wearing protective masks in the wake of the novel coronavirus scare in Bathinda on March 13, 2020.

Punjab has reported its first case COVID-19 death, after a 70-year-old man died at a civil hospital in the Banga town of Shahid Bhagat Singh Nagar district.

The deceased had arrived from Germany via Italy at Delhi airport on March 7, and proceeded to the State on the same day. He was known to have diabetes and hypertension, and was confirmed positive for the coronavirus on March 18, an official statement said on Thursday.

‘Allow private testing’

Warning of a worsening COVID-19 crisis in the country, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh asked the Central government to allow private hospitals and labs to conduct tests in order to ensure access to all people, making it clear that he did not agree with the current policy of the Centre in this regard.

He said he would take up the issue of testing by private hospitals and labs with the Prime Minister on Friday during the latter’s proposed video conference with all Chief Ministers, stressing that the Centre has to consider reviewing its policy in this regard.

“Given the fact that Punjab has private labs in all the major cities, it was not logical for a person suspected to have the coronavirus to have to travel to Chandigarh or some other place to get himself tested from a government facility only,” he said, adding that only in the case of doubt should such a person be required to go elsewhere for a second test.

The CM was speaking at an event here.

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