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COVID-19 cases hit 82, second patient dies

Back home:Indians, who were stuck in the Iranian city of Qom, being brought to Mumbai on Friday.Vijay BateThe Hindu

Back home:Indians, who were stuck in the Iranian city of Qom, being brought to Mumbai on Friday.Vijay BateThe Hindu   | Photo Credit: Vijay Bate

68-year-old woman succumbs in Delhi; several States start containment efforts

With the second death and 81 positive cases of COVID-19, India has launched a containment lockdown mode, according to experts, with several States closing schools, colleges and theatres and cancelling public events. India, which is in the second stage of transmission, has recorded the second fatality in the national capital. Senior health officials confirmed that the 69-year old woman, resident of Delhi, who came in contact with her COVID-19 positive son, died at RML hospital on Friday night.

“The lockdown that India is currently under is absolutely necessary. India has a 30-day window to halt the beginning of community transmission of COVID-19 cases. The time to act is now. While there is no cause for panic and aggressive measures can also reverse community transmission, if it happens. It’s time that we all worked together to make use of the opportunity that we have right now,” said Balram Bhargava, Director-General, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

On Friday, cases were reported from Delhi, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Kerala. Three persons in Thiruvananthapuram tested positive, taking the total number in the second wave of infection to 19 in Kerala. Delhi-NCR reported yet another positive case, of a 46-year-old man. He is from Greater Noida, with travel history to Italy and Switzerland. More than 700 people working in his leather company have been put under surveillance, Gautam Buddh Nagar Chief Medical Officer Anurag Bhargava told reporters. “When the man, who lives in Delhi, returned home, he felt weakness and consulted doctors... He tested positive. However, he kept visiting the company since returning from abroad, hence all 707 employees have been put under surveillance,” he said.

“His family members and children are already under surveillance,” he said. The company premises are being sanitised. Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi University and Jamia Millia Islamia in New Delhi have suspended classes, and other universities, like Jindal University in Sonepat in Haryana, announced they would be open but there would be no classes till March 29.

The Directorate-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has asked international airlines to consider waiving ticket cancellation and reschedule charges, or providing any other incentives.

The Union Health Ministry has said of the 81 positive cases, three from Kerala were treated and discharged and seven more from Safdarjung have recovered. Of these confirmed cases, 64 cases are of Indian nationals, 16 Italian nationals and one Canadian. Contract tracing of these cases is being pursued. So far, this has led to the identification of more than 4,000 contacts who have been put under surveillance.

A man who returned from Italy on 11 March and who was at a quarantine facility of the Army in Manesar has tested positive. The individual was working in one of the restaurants in Italy for the past 14 years. He has been shifted to an isolation facility at Safdarjung Hospital.

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