All about COVID-19 in India

Peoples Post Desk/IANS:

Data put out by the Union Health Ministry, out of the 285 cases, 22 were discharged and cured of the virus across India, four have died, while 231 people still remained active. The number of infections worldwide climbed in the last 24 hours by roughly 25,000 to 234,073. Fatalities increased by around 800 on Thursday to 9,840.

March 21 

Total coronavirus cases rise to 285 in India, 231 active

The Ministry of Health has said that the total number of novel coronavirus cases, on Saturday, rose to 285 in India.

As of 9 a.m., data put out by the Union Health Ministry, out of the 285 cases, 22 were discharged and cured of the virus across India, four have died, while 231 people still remained active.

Of the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, one is a migrated COVID-19 Patient, said the ministry.

Himachal Pradesh made it into the statistics of health ministry by confirming its first Coronavirus case. Maharashtra remained worst hit state with 52 confirmed cases and one casualty followed by Kerala which has 40 active cases. Delhi and Uttar Pradesh also have 26 and 24 cases respectively.

In addition to this, at least 14,59,993 passengers were screened at the airport, according to the Ministry of health.

Govt issues guidelines on social distancing

Asserting the measures taken by states and union territories are not uniform, the Central government on Saturday issued a slew of guidelines on social distancing in the wake of coronavirus outbreak.

An expert group constituted under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, through Health Secretary Preeti Sudan, asked the state and union territories to regulate work in government offices to reduce congestion and maintain hygiene.

The guidelines came after the number of coronavirus infected cases climbed up to 285 and claimed four lives. Among other measures, they have also been directed to regulate working hours except in essential services. “Private sector to consider work from home, wherever feasible,” the guidelines stated. Frequency of metros, railways, buses and airplanes should be decreased.

“Alternate seating to ensure social distancing; disinfection and crowd control in places like railway stations, metro stations, bus stands, airports, etc,” it further stated, adding that social distancing should be maintained even in small gatherings.

As per the guidelines, the educational institutions, theatres, museums, gyms and examination centres should remain closed. “Sporting events, competitions and religious gatherings to be postponed and maintain required social distancing even in smaller gatherings.” Barring public representatives, government servants and medical professionals, all senior citizens have been directed to remain indoors and avoid gatherings, except for medical reasons and need for essential services.

The guidelines added, “All children below ten years of age to remain at home and avoid going to public parks, picnics and other games requiring large number of participants.” All health establishments should avoid non-urgent hospitalisation and minimise elective surgeries, the guidelines stated.

In wake of black marketing, the government also tightened the screw on regulation of prices of masks, sanitizer and medicines and ensure their availability. “Sensitise on appropriate use of masks and good hygienic practices including washing hands with soap,” the government directed.

The state and union territories have been asked to motivate citizens, particularly the youth, to volunteer to support the the ongoing efforts in management of COVID-l9. The government also gave the state and union territories a free hand to invoke relevant provisions of law in larger public interest.

Sunday shutdown in Karnataka on Modi’s ‘Janata Curfew’ call

Karnataka is braced for a shutdown on Sunday following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s janata curfew (people’s curfew) call. Super markets, Indira canteens, shops, hotels, eateries, bakeries and others will remained closed.

Bengaluru Metro has suspended operations on Sunday while city bus service, Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) and the state road transport corporation have decided to operate minimal services. Bengaluru Metro will also not allow COVID-19 susceptible persons, such as people above 60 and children below 10 to travel.

Starting Saturday, all hotels and restaurants in municipal corporation limits have been directed by the state government to stop dining facility and only sell takeaways.

In the wake of Coronavirus pandemic, film production and shootings have been stopped for a week already and television production has also come to a halt. According to S.V. Shivakumar, Karnataka Television Association has decided to suspend production from March 22 to 31.

Bengaluru’s famous shopping promenade, Brigade Road, will also be shut on Sunday. Similarly, ride hailing platform Ola has suspended ride sharing services to encourage social distancing. “The temporary suspension of Ola share services is an attempt to encourage social distancing,” the company said in a statement.

All jewellery shops in Bengaluru will remain shut during the people’s curfew. The Srigeri Sharada Mutt is closed for devotees.

Courts in Bengaluru will function only for half a day on Saturday and Monday. The Karnataka High Court’s three benches in the city, Kalaburgi and Dharwad will operate from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Other Bengaluru courts will function from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Interestingly, a government official deployed at Tumkur railway station to thermal screen passenger was suspended for dereliction of duty. He was found to be sitting and talking on phone and casually screening the passengers.

Karnataka Health Minister B. Sriramulu shared the video of the official and said, “He has been suspended from service for being irresponsible and negligent. At this time, this officer’s irresponsible conduct is condemned.”

According to Sriramulu, Karnataka government is contemplating he adoption of thermal test closed circuit cameras in government office and key locations as a precautionary measure.

Amid COVID-19 scare, a female passenger with a quarantine stamp on her hand was observed and reported to the conductor. Another train passenger in Kalaburgi, suspected to be a Coronavirus patient was disembarked and checked for the virus turned out to be negative.

As many as 26 Indians arriving from Malaysia at the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) in the city were shifted to Akash Hospital for medical screening.

Meanwhile, a few apartments in the city suburb Whitefield have already executed the medical staff applaud call given by Modi. A few blocks of apartment residents on Friday clanked metal plates (thalis), appreciating the good work of doctors, nurses and medical staff across the country.

WHO Health Alert on WhatsApp to debunk COVID-19 myths

The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Saturday launched a Health Alert on WhatsApp where over 1.5 billion users can ask questions and they will be provided with reliable information about new coronavirus 24/7. This will also serve government decision-makers by providing the latest numbers and situation reports, WhatsApp said in a statement.

To contact the WHO Health Alert, save the number +41 79 893 1892 in phone contacts, and then simply text the word ‘Hi’ in a WhatsApp message to get started. The service responds to a series of prompts and will be updated daily with the latest information.

“You can also visit the WhatsApp Coronavirus Information Hub at,” and click on the WHO link on the homepage to open up a chat with the WHO Health Alert if you have WhatsApp installed,” said the micro-blogging platform.

The WHO Health Alert will provide official information on topics such as how to protect yourself from infection, travel advice, and debunking new coronavirus myths. The service is initially launching in English but will be available in all six languages within the coming weeks (English, Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish.)

“Digital technology gives us an unprecedented opportunity for vital health information to go viral and spread faster than the pandemic. We are proud to have partners like Facebook and WhatsApp, that are supporting us in reaching billions of people with important health information,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the WHO.

The WHO Health Alert is the latest official NGO or government helpline to become available on WhatsApp, joining the Singapore Government, The Israel Ministry of Health, the South Africa Department of Health, and KOMINFO Indonesia.

Earlier this week, WhatsApp, in partnership with the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and UNDP, launched the WhatsApp Coronavirus Information Hub. The hub offers general tips and resources for users around the world to reduce the spread of rumours and connect with accurate health information.

WhatsApp also announced a $1 million grant to the International Fact Checking Network to support fact-checking for the #CoronaVirusFacts Alliance.

Isolated: Announcements, door-to-door checks at Noida society

With one notice on Saturday morning, a bustling and one of the largest societies in terms of occupancy — Supertech Capetown — was enveloped into a disturbing silence as a resident tested positive for coronavirus.

The Uttar Pradesh administration officials drove through the 34-acre project announcing no one is allowed to step out of their flats, leave aside stepping out of the society. All cabs, maids and delivery boys are stopped from entering the society.

Those found to be violating the rule are forced to go back to their flats. Even access to the ATM situated inside the Capetown premises at Noida Sector 74 has been withheld as a precautionary measure.

Meanwhile, health officials from Uttar Pradesh visited each flat asking the number of occupants. There are roughly 5,000 units in the society. Meanwhile, security guards at the two gates are accompanied by police personnel to prevent any violation.

If a resident cites “unavoidable circumstances” for leaving the society, he has to call up a number of the health department control room where an official would decide if the resident must go out.

Gautam Buddha Nagar District Magistrate B.N. Singh in a letter addressed to Uttar Pradesh Chief Secretary, Principal Secretary and other officials, passed an order for sealing the housing society.

“Under Epidemic Diseases Act-1897 Section 2, the Supertech Capetown Group Housing sector 74 Noida has to be sealed with immediate effect,” it said. Earlier, the gym and swimming pool facilities were shut.

Meanwhile, many security guards who were caught inside are now stuck for the next two days. Moreover, the families who have failed to stock rations in the wake of panic buying are also concerned about a prolonged lockdown.

Administration officials have told the residents that those who violate the norms will be charged under Section 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by a public servant) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

K’taka reports 3 news COVID-19 cases, total 18

Karnataka on Saturday recorded three new coronavirus cases, raising the total to 18, an official said. “Three new COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in the state, taking the total positive cases to 18,” Suresh Shastri, special officer in the Information, Education and Communication (IEC) wing of the Health Department told IANS. However, more details on the three new cases were awaited.

The state government has issued a new circular ordering all Health and Family Welfare Department officials to work on Sunday and general holidays till March 31, in the light of the outbreak. The Karnataka government has identified 48 government hospitals and 35 private hospitals as first respondent hospitals for management of coronavirus cases.

Aimed at instilling confidence in COVID-19 patients and suspects, the Health Department undertook 4,390 mental health counselling sessions at hospitals and homes.

Health Ministry revises strategy for testing coronavirus

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, on Saturday, issued a revised strategy of testing for COVID-19 infection.

According to the revised advisory, all asymptomatic individuals who have undertaken international travel in the last 14 days, should stay in home quarantine for at least 14 days. They should be tested only if they become symptomatic (fever, cough, difficulty in breathing). Besides, all family members living with a confirmed case should be home quarantined.

The revised strategy further stated that all symptomatic contacts of laboratory confirmed cases will be tested, all symptomatic health care workers will also be tested. All hospitalised patients with Severe Acute Respiratory Illness (fever and cough and/or shortness of breath) will also be tested for novel coronavirus.

“Asymptomatic direct and high-risk contacts of a confirmed case should be tested once between day 5 and day 14 of coming in his or her contact,” said the Ministry.

Direct and high-risk contact include those who live in the same household with a confirmed case and healthcare workers who examined a confirmed case without adequate protection as per WHO recommendations.

According to the Health Ministry there are at list 231 active coronavirus cases in India.

Currently, India has witnessed cases of COVID-19 mostly related to travel and local transmission from imported cases to their immediate contacts. Community transmission of the disease has not been documented till now. Once community transmission is documented, the above testing strategy will undergo changes to evolve into stage appropriate testing strategy.

6 more positive cases in Gujarat

Amid the scare of coronavirus, Gujarat recorded six more positive cases of the infection on Saturday.

Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, talking to a TV channel, said: “Six more cases of the coronavirus were found positive on Saturday, taking the total positive cases in the state to 13”.

An official of the Health and Family Welfare Department, said: “We had been awaiting the confirmation from the National Institute of Virology, Pune, which we received this morning and according to that six more positive cases of the coronavirus were registered on Saturday, apart from the seven cases reported till Friday”.

According to sources, there are four positive cases in Ahmedabad, one in Ahmedabad Rural, three in Vadodara, three in Surat, one in Rajkot and one in Gandhinagar.

Three more test positive in Punjab; total rises to six

Three more people in Punjab have tested positive for coronavirus, taking the total number of patients to six, an official said on Saturday.

The latest patients belonged to Mohali town, adjoining Chandigarh. Among the new cases is the sister of a 69-year-old woman who tested positive a day earlier. She has travel history of Britain. The second person is a 42-year-old resident who has recently returned from Britain. She has been admitted to a government hospital in Sector-16 in Chandigarh. The third patient came in contact with a 23-year-old Britain returned coronavirus patient who has been undergoing treatment in Chandigarh.

Expressing concern over the escalating COVID-19 crisis, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Friday asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a fiscal package to combat the crisis and for permission to get tests done at private hospitals and labs in the state.

Taking part in the deliberations during a video conference convened by the Prime Minister, Amarinder Singh said there was urgent need to scale up the testing for the coronavirus and the Centre should immediately allow reputed private medical colleges and super-specialty hospitals.

A total of 1,454 travellers have been home quarantined in the state, 47 government quarantined and 18 are in hospital isolation.

Goa imposes Section 144 to crackdown on circulation of rumors

The Goa government on Saturday imposed section 144 CrPC in both districts of the state to prohibit movement of more than four persons together, as a precautionary measure in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The orders issued by the District Magistrates of North Goa and South Goa district has also warned of action against against spreading of rumors related to the coronavirus “through mass and social media without its proper verification and also through instances of misreporting in the newspapers which has led to doubts and panic in society” potentially leading to incitement and violence.

Alarm as Maha COVID-19 cases shoot up to 63

In a major health concern, the total number of coronavirus cases in Maharashtra shot up to 63 on Saturday, with 11 new cases detected overnight among several foreign-returned persons, Health Minister Rajesh Tope said here. While one case is from Pune, 10 are detected in Mumbai, including three who are ‘first contact’ afflictions with no history of foreign travel, sending alarm bells ringing among the health authorities.

As the state continued to lead in the number of active cases, Tope again warned of the axe falling on Mumbai’s lifelines – the suburban trains and buses – and reiterated that people strictly remain indoors as ‘isolation’ is the key to battling the COVID-19 virus. “If the people don’t heed and continue to use public transport unnecessarily, we have to think otherwise. Even the rush of the working class to the railway stations to return to their native states is concerning,” Tope told mediapersons.

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray – who slapped a total ban on private offices, slashing attendance in government offices to 25 percent and statewide cancellation of Class I-VIII exams – will tour some railway stations before taking a final decision to shut down public transport.

“A rise from 52 to 63 in a day is big. People’s cooperation is needed to fight this calamity. We are in Phase II and maybe headed for Phase III. The spread is mostly ‘imported’ through people who came from abroad,” Tope said.

With Thackeray and Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar in regular touch with the Centre, he said the state has sought clearance to allow private labs to conduct tests within stringent norms.

Among the ongoing measures, the government has postponed all planned surgeries in civic, public health and medical college hospitals to divert all medical resources to fighting Coronavirus, 7000 quarantine beds added in the state besides 250 isolated beds. He assured that there would be no shortage of funds to tackle the ‘war against viru’ in the state.

On Friday, the government had slapped a total ban on all non-essential services in Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur as a measure to reduce crowds.

Tope said the state has completely banned all flights from worst-hit 12 countries besides exercising extreme precautions for flights from all other nations at the three international airports in Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur since the past over a month. Tope advised people to respond to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call and observe the ‘Janata Curfew’ on Sunday, March 22, by remaining indoors.

Last Tuesday (March 17), COVID-19 claimed its first victim in the state after a 63-year-old man who returned from Dubai, passed away in Mumbai’s Kasturba Hospital. However, his wife and son who also tested positive are currently under treatment in the same hospital.

J&K warns of strict action for not declaring travel history

The Jammu and Kashmir adminstration has said that strict action will be taken against those who fail to self declare their travel history at the Srinagar Airport. This after reports of some medical students returning from Bangladesh protesting and refusing to be taken into quarantine after arriving in Srinagar and producing fake ID cards to escape the laid out procedure.

Divisional Commissioner Kashmir P.K. Pole told IANS that the administration will not tolerate any violations of the procedures. “Strict action will be taken against those who do not follow the rules,” he said.

He, however, said after initial reports of some refusal by some students to comply with procedures the medical students returning from Bangladesh were cooperating with the administration.

Dispelling reports of lack of facilities for the medical students in quarantine, the Divisional Commissioner said there is a difference between quarantine and isolation. “All those who have a travel history of coming from foreign countries have been kept under watch in quarantine, it is not isolation, medical experts do regular health check ups of those in quarantine,” he said.

Coronavirus cases in Haryana rise to six

The number of positive coronavirus cases in Haryana has risen to six with two more persons — one each from Faridabad and Panipat testing positive for the virus.

A 21-year-old youth in Panipat who returned from the UK has tested positive for the novel coronavirus while in Faridabad, a 52-year-old-man who came back from Spain was also found positive. Besides, four other persons were tested positive in Gurugram. All of them returned to India after traveling abroad.

The Health Department said that as a precautionary measure, the relatives of those found positive for the virus are being kept in isolation. So far, 64 people have been admitted to different hospitals in Haryana. Thirty-two people have already been discharged from hospitals after they recovered.

In Haryana, 6,076 people have been placed on surveillance. A large number of people have been advised to remain isolated at home.

According to the Haryana government, 6,012 persons are at homes in a state of isolation. So far, samples of a total of 156 people have been sent for examination. Out of the samples sent for investigation, 87 samples have been found to be negative, six persons have been found to be suffering from corona, while the investigation report of 65 persons is yet to come.

In Gurugram, all gyms, swimming pools, night clubs have been shut down. Besides, the state government has also prohibited the gathering of more than five persons at one place. Haryana Health Minister Anil Vij said that cinema halls, schools, gyms, swimming pools, night clubs will be closed in the state till March 31.

Also, a gathering of more than 20 people has been banned in social, political, cultural, educational, sports competitions and family events. Section 144 has been implemented in the entire state — no more than 20 people can gather in any public place.

Under Section 144 imposed in Gurgaon and Faridabad, only 5 persons can gather at one place in each turn. If more people gather at a public place police action can be taken against them.

A 22-year-old girl who returned from London on March 14, has complained of sore throat and cough. On March 16, her samples were taken for examination at the Civil Hospital in Gurgaon. Later, she was found to be suffering from coronavirus.

Besides, a 42-year-old man who returned from London on March 7 man was admitted to Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi tow days later. It was later confirmed that he was suffering from the coronavirus and eight other persons had also come in contact with him.

Vij has appealed to the people not to shake hands and greet people by joining hands, “don’t bring disease like corona home”. “Save yourself and family,” he said.

Goa Church cancels Sunday mass in view of ‘Janata Curfew’ call

The Roman Catholic Church in Goa has cancelled mass prayer services in the state’s Churches on Sunday, in view of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call for ‘Janata Curfew’ for 14-hours, according to a circular issued by the Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrao’s office to all parish priests in the state.

The top Catholic religious figure in the state, has also urged priests to adopt modern means of technology, to ensure that prayer services are broadcast online in order to avoid congregations in times of the coronavirus pandemic. “In view of the nationwide ‘janata curfew’ proposed by the Government for the March 22, I am instructed by the Archbishop to convey to you that no mass with congregation should be celebrated in our places of worship on Sunday, the March 22,” the circular issued on Saturday said.

“However, priests are urged to celebrate their Mass without a congregation, for the intentions of their flock. This Mass could be made to reach the faithful, by using the modern means of communication at our disposal,” it also said, adding that India may emerge as a safer nation at the end of the self-imposed curfew exercise.

The Goa Church has already absolved Catholics from the Canonical law requiring their presence at prayer services every Sunday and has urged children, senior citizens as well as those are unwell — particularly with symptoms matching those generated by the viral disease.

Those in home quarantine in Chandigarh to be stamped

In order to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, the Chandigarh Administration has started labeling the houses of those who have been home quarantined to alert the visitors.

Also, the list of such persons will be uploaded on the Administration’s website, “There is apprehension that some people in home quarantine will not adhere to the guidelines. Any breach of this order will invite action under Section 188 of the IPC,” Chandigarh Adviser Manoj Parida said.

Also, a stamp would be put on the right hand of the suspected patients to reveal their quarantined timeframe.

A team of 43 sanitization teams were deputed on Saturday to disinfect public places and buildings, a spokesperson for the Administration said.

Four more persons in Chandigarh and one from neighboring Mohali tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday, taking the total number of cases in the tri-city comprising Panchkula to six.

A total of 37 samples have been collected, of which 30 were found negative and the reports of four samples are awaited.

Third COVID-19 case in Bengal

The number of confirmed Coronavirus cases in West Bengal has risen to three with a young woman from Habra in North 24 Parganas district testing positive for the infection, officials said on Saturday.

The woman, in her early 20s, returned from Scotland on March 15. She is now admitted at the special isolation ward of the state’s primary referral hospital for infectious diseases ID Hospital Beliaghata. State Health department sources said her family members have been asked to remain in home quarantine. According to the woman’s family, she was in home isolation since returning from Scotland. However, she developed a cough and fever and was admitted to ID Hospital on Thursday. Her samples were sent to the virology laboratory of National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases (NICED) here on Friday. The test reports confirmed she was afflicted with Novel Coronavirus.

Earlier, two males – a teenager and a youth – who came back from United Kingdom recently, tested positive for the disease. They are both admitted at ID Hospital and stated to be stable. Both are residents of South Kolkata.

You are not invincible against COVID-19: WHO tells youth

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), warned young people that they were “not invincible” against the coronavirus pandemic. “Today I have a message for young people: You are not invincible,” the WHO chief said at a live-streamed press conference on Friday in Geneva, hours before the organization reported that the number of infections worldwide climbed in the last 24 hours by roughly 25,000 to 234,073. Fatalities increased by around 800 on Thursday to 9,840.

“This virus could put you in the hospital for weeks or even kill you,” Ghebreyesus said.

“Even if you don’t get sick, the choices you make about where you go could be the difference between life and death for someone else.” Ghebreyesus said that self-restraint could save lives. “Solidarity is the key to defeating COVID-19. Solidarity between countries but also between age groups,” he added.

“Every loss of life is a tragedy. It is also a motivation to double down and do everything we can to stop transmission and save lives.”

The head of the WHO acknowledged that the drop in coronavirus cases in China was good news for all countries.

“Yesterday, Wuhan reported no new cases for the first time since the outbreak started. Wuhan provides hope for the rest of the world,” he added.

“Of course we must exercise caution. The situation can reverse but the experience of cities and countries that have pushed back this virus gives hope and courage.”

During his speech, Ghebreyesus said health authorities were learning more about the virus day by day. “One of the things we are learning is that although older people are the hardest-hit and younger people are not spared,” he added.

He continued that the experience of many countries had proved that many patients under 50 who are infected “required hospitalization”. Ghebreyesus recommended anyone under lockdown to maintain healthy habits, such as not smoking, doing exercise and, if they are still allowed to go out, taking walks while keeping a distance with others. He added that citizens must only trust reliable information regarding coronavirus figures and possible treatments.

“COVID-19 is taking so much from us, but it’s also giving us something special: the opportunity to come together as one humanity, to work together, to learn together and to grow together,” he said.

No bus from Haryana to enter Delhi during Janata Curfew

No bus from Haryana including Gurugram will enter the national capital during ‘Janata Curfew’ — called by the Central government to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus, on Sunday. At least four persons have tested positive for the virus in the Millennium City so far.

The Haryana government has directed the state transport corporation not to ply buses during the Janata Curfew.  “No bus will ply between 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday,” Haryana Transport Minister Mool Chand Sharma said.

Besides, all driving training centres have also been asked to shut down. “The state government is taking all possible measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus. That’s why we have decided to stop movement of buses on March 22 so that few people come in contact with one another,” Sharma said.

The Minister has asked the officials to ensure proper sanitisation of all bus depots and workshops. He also instructed the authorities to provide face masks to all drivers and other staffers.

The Haryana government will put into force Section 144 throughout the state during the Janata Curfew. No gathering of 20 or more people would be allowed at any place. The number has been restricted to five in Gurugram and Faridabad.

3 more test positive, Ladakh has now 10 COVID-19 patients

Three more persons tested positive for coronavirus in Ladakh union territory on Saturday raising the number of infected patients to 13.

Rigzin Samphel, secretary/commissioner, Ladakh affairs told reporters that the results of three patients for coronavirus infection have tested positive on Saturday, taking the number of infected persons in the union territory to 13. The number of persons testing positive for the dreaded virus in Ladakh is alarming given the fact that the total population of the region comprising Leh and Kargil districts is only 2.7 lakh.

Authorities have closed all educational institutions, hotels, restaurants in Ladakh and ordered compulsory screening of all passengers undergoing air travel from Leh to other parts of the county. The two surface links of Srinagar-Leh and Leh-Manali highway connecting the cold desert region with the rest of the country remain closed due to heavy snowfall on these roads during the winter months.

6 new cases in Rajasthan, total rises to 23

Rajasthan on Saturday witnessed six new positive cases of coronavirus out of which five belonged to Bhilwara and one was from Jaipur. These fresh cases took the total tally to 23 in the state from 17 registered on Friday, confirmed health officials.

Bhilwara which registered six new cases on Friday, witnessed five fresh cases on Saturday taking its total tally to 11. Out of this, nine are admitted in Mahatma Gandhi Hospital in Bhilwara while two are in Jaipur situated SMS hospital. All five new Bhilwara cases comprise the hospital staff where the doctor, who tested positive on Friday, was working, said Rohit Kumar Singh, the Additional Chief Secretary. This hospital has over 200 staff members who are being screened.

Overall, total samples collected till Saturday morning are 658 out of which 23 have tested positive (three cured). 593 have tested negative while 42 are underprocess, said Singh.

Over total 34,034 passengers from 242 flights were screened at Jaipur situated Sanganer International Airport till Friday.

Health bulletin issued by the state health department said that the cumulative number of passengers from China under observation as on Friday was 2,202, while 1,828 went under home isolation to the date. Also, 279 people were admitted to isolation wards. These apart, 242 symptomatic passengers were admitted in hospitals and a total of 38 passengers were quarantined.

Kolkata: Patients wear masks as a precautionary measure against COVID-19 amid coronavirus pandemic, as they queue up outside the Beleghata ID hospital in Kolkata on March 20, 2020. (Photo: Kuntal Chakrabarty/IANS)







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