Coronavirus | Number of cases hit 34 in India

First cases confirmed from Tamil Nadu and Ladakh.

March 07, 2020 10:34 pm | Updated 10:37 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Safety cover:  People seen wearing masks due to the COVID-19 fear in Delhi on Saturday.

Safety cover: People seen wearing masks due to the COVID-19 fear in Delhi on Saturday.

Three more cases of COVID-19 were confirmed on Saturday — two from Ladakh and one from Tamil Nadu — taking the total number of cases in the country to 34.

“Two cases have been reported from Ladakh with travel history to Iran while one case has come in from Tamil Nadu with travel history to Oman. All the cases are stable,” said a Union Health Ministry release.

Coronavirus: March 7, 2020 updates | Full coverage

The Tamil Nadu patient, a 45-year-old man from Kancheepuram district, with a history of travel to Muscat in Oman, has been admitted to the isolation ward at the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital in Chennai. Senior State health officials said the man was advised home quarantine after he landed and reported symptoms. His samples were sent for testing and the results were received on Saturday.

His family is under home quarantine, and efforts are on to isolate anyone else the patient might have come into contact with.

The patient has become asymptomatic, according to Health Secretary Beela Rajesh.

The Union Health Ministry added that in the case of the two American nationals found positive in Bhutan with a travel history of various places in India, more than 150 of their contacts have been put under surveillance.

Also read | Assam on high alert after U.S. tourist tests positive for COVID-19 in Bhutan

Thirty-one cases are being treated in hospitals and are stable, a senior health official said.

“In addition, 108 samples have been received from Iran on Saturday morning,” the Health Ministry said.

“These samples are being tested at the laboratory in AIIMS. Also, six scientists from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) have been stationed in Iran. Equipment and reagents, worth approximately ₹10 crore have been dispatched to enable them to set up a lab,” the Ministry added.

Cases of suspected cases of COVID-19 have also been reported from Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab.

Also read | Two with travel history to coronavirus-hit countries flee from J&K hospital, brought back | Over 70 foreign tourists have “entered Kashmir without screening”

The J&K government on March 7 closed primary schools in six districts till March 31, as two persons were put in “isolation wards” in a Jammu hospital following novel coronavirus-like symptoms. “Both the patients are high viral load cases but are stable,” said officials.

The local administrations in other districts of the UT directed school authorities to avoid morning assemblies. All biometric attendance in J&K has been suspended.

Punjab Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu said the samples of two persons, who had returned from Italy to Punjab, have been been sent for further testing.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi held another review meeting on the coronavirus situation in the capital and asked the Health Ministry to immediately identify sufficient locations for quarantine and also for critical care provisioning in case the disease spread.

Mr. Modi has also asked people to avoid handshakes and start greeting others with the traditional namaste (palms together) once again. The Prime Minister was interacting with owners of Jan Aushadhi Kendras and beneficiaries of the Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojna (PMBJP) through video conference.

The Prime Minister has also instructed authorities to plan for early testing and evacuation of Indians from Iran. He also highlighted the need for advance and adequate planning and timely response critical for managing infectious disease from a public health perspective.

“During the review meeting, Department of Pharma informed that they have availability of sufficient stocks of medicines, Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API) and other consumables for use in India.,” the Health Ministry noted.

It added that the Prime Minister stressed the need for continued vigil at all airports, seaports and land border crossings, community level surveillance as per protocol, and ensuring availability of sufficient beds for isolation.

The Ministry added that a total of 7,26,122 persons from 7,108 flights have been screened at airports. Between Friday morning and Saturday, a total of 73,766 passengers from 573 flights were screened at airports.

“The need for effective coordination with States for timely response and increasing surge capacity for hospitalisation was also discussed,” the release added.

Meanwhile in order to spread awareness, special COVID-19 mobile phone caller tune was launched by all telecom operators with basic infection prevention messages played when a caller dials-out. Over 117.2 crore subscribers of BSNL, MTNL Reliance Jio, Airtel and Vodafone-Idea are being progressively reached out to through SMSs and Call Backs.

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