Number of cases rise to 143; Centre bans entry of passengers from Afghanistan, Philippines, Malaysia.
India reported its third death from the COVID-19 pandemic on Tuesday, with the Union Health Ministry putting the number of positive cases at 137. However data from States puts the number at 143.
The deceased person had a history of travel to Dubai and was being treated in Mumbai, Joint Secretary in the Union Health Ministry Lav Agarwal said at a press conference.
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Earlier, a 76-year-old man from Kalaburagi in Karnataka with a travel history to Saudi Arabia and a 68-year-old woman in Delhi, whose son had tested positive, died from the infection.
Fourteen of those who had tested positive have been “cured/discharged” and 24 of those who had tested positive in India were foreigners, the Ministry said. With 23 fresh cases reported across the country in the last 24 hours, Maharashtra continues to top the list at 36, followed by Kerala with 24, Uttar Pradesh at 14 and Karnataka at 11.
However reports from States put the number of positive cases at 142, including 41 from Maharashtra.
Travel curbs extended
Extending travel curbs, the Centre has prohibited the entry of passengers from Afghanistan, Philippines and Malaysia from 3 p.m. on Tuesday and advised the closing of all educational institutions, gyms, museums, cultural and social centres, and theatres. Students were advised to stay at home.
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Thirty Additional Secretaries and Joint Secretaries have been deputed to assist State governments in the managing the outbreak. All Ministries and Central departments were advised to take measures such as installing thermal scanners at the entry of buildings.
Mr. Agarwal said the government was increasing the number of bed and health care facilities across States and emphasised that there was as yet no “community transmission”, or instances of the virus being found in people who had no travel history abroad since March or links with those who did.
All Ministries and Central government departments were advised to take measures, such as installing thermal scanners at the entry of government buildings and compulsorily placing hand sanitisers at the entrance. Visitors to government buildings ought to be “discouraged to the maximum extent” and meetings conducted through videoconferencing, the Ministry said.
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With reports of 250 Indians in Iran potentially affected by the virus, Ravi Dammu, a senior official in the Ministry of External Affairs, said he was not in a position to confirm the number. “But it is likely that some of them may have tested positive,” he said in response to questions by reporters.
The Directorate-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Tuesday asked airlines to disinfect and deep-clean each aircraft at least once in 24 hours and place hand sanitizers in lavatories and galleys of each aircraft.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, speaking at the BJP parliamentary party meeting, made it clear that the Budget Session of Parliament would not be curtailed. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi told reporters that Mr. Modi had praised doctors and other medical staff as well as airline crews and others involved in tackling the crisis.
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