Coronavirus cases climb to 93 in country

New Delhi, Mar 15 (PTI) The number of novel coronavirus cases in the country rose to 93 on Sunday, which includes two persons who died in Delhi and Karnataka, the Union Health Ministry said.

While a 76-year-old man from Kalaburagi who had recently returned from Saudi Arabia died on Thursday, a 68-year-old woman in Delhi who had tested positive for coronavirus passed away at the Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) Hospital on Friday night.

Delhi has reported seven positive cases and Uttar Pradesh 11 so far. Karnataka has six coronavirus patients while Maharashtra 19, Ladakh three and Jammu and Kashmir 2.

Besides, Rajasthan also reported two cases. Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Punjab have reported one case each.

Kerala has recorded 22 cases, including three patients who were discharged last month after they recovered from the contagious infection with flu-like symptoms.

The total number of 93 confirmed cases includes 17 foreigners -- 16 Italian tourists and a Canadian, the ministry officials said.

Amid rising coronavirus cases in India, the government has asked people not to panic, saying no community transmission of the virus has been observed and there has only been a few cases of local transmission so far and that it is 'not a health emergency' in India at present.

With the World Health Organisation (WHO) declaring COVID-19 a pandemic, a Health Ministry official said over 4,000 people who had come in contact with the 93 positive cases have been identified through contact tracing and were being tracked while 42,000 people across the country are under community surveillance.

He said all essential facilities like community surveillance, quarantine, isolation wards, adequate personal protective equipment (PPEs), trained manpower, rapid response teams are being strengthened further in all states and union territories.

The Centre as part of its measures to contain the spread of the disease on Friday announced that people will be allowed to travel through 19 of 37 land border checkposts from Saturday midnight and services of the Indo-Bangladesh cross border passenger trains and buses will continue to remain suspended till April 15.

Only four Indo-Nepal border checkposts will remain operational, and for citizens of Bhutan and Nepal visa-free entry to the country will continue, the official said.

The government on Wednesday suspended all visas, barring a few categories like diplomatic and employment, in an attempt to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

It has asked Indian nationals to avoid all non-essential travel abroad.

All incoming international passengers returning to India should self-monitor their health and follow the required do's and dont's as detailed by the government. PTI PLB DV DV DV