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National - 17 March, 2020

Third Coronavirus-linked death In India, 126 people Infected

A 64-year-old man died in Mumbai Tuesday, taking the number of coronavirus-linked deaths in the country to three. As the total number of infected people reached 126, the government has stopped... #ThirdcoronadeathinIndia

New Delhi: A 64-year-old man died in Mumbai Tuesday, taking the number of coronavirus-linked deaths in the country to three. As the total number of infected people reached 126, the government has stopped incoming travel from a number of nations, including the European Union, Malaysia, Philippines and Afghanistan. As the questions over the lack of mass testing grows louder, the Indian Council of Medical Research said they are working on the inclusion of private laboratories in the testing process and considering the possibility of testing people who have no travel history.

Among the patients who are currently positive, are 22 foreigners in Haryana. Maharashtra is still the state which has the highest number of patients - the figure is still 39.

The man who died in Mumbai today came back from Dubai on March 5. He did not disclose his travel history and went to a private hospital, where he was tested for respiratory problems, the authorities said, adding that the cause of his death is still being ascertained. The man's wife has also been found COVID-19 positive but is stable.

Two more people, residents of Noida near Delhi, tested positive for the disease.  In Ladakh, three more people have tested positive for COVID-19, taking the total number of cases to six, Ladakh Commissioner Secretary Rigzin Sampheal was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

Dr Balram Bhargava, Director General of ICMR told NDTV that they are working on the inclusion of private laboratories in the testing process and considering the possibility of testing cases of people who do not have a travel history.

Currently, possible patients who do not have a travel history but are showing symptoms of the disease are not being tested, in view of the limited facilities. But such testing is essential to figure out the level of the contagion and the next step to control it. Aggressive mass testing is how South Korea had controlled the spread of the disease.

"We are not averse to private labs. Discussions are on regarding the safeguards. Once it is done, we will get into action," ICMR Director, Dr Raman R Gangakhedkar, has told reporters.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi today warned of an "economic devastation" in the next six months, saying "people of the country are going to go through unimaginable pain" if India doesn't prepare itself amid coronavirus outbreak.

In a bid to contain the spread of coronavirus or COVID-19 virus across the state, the Kerala government has launched a mass hand washing campaign named ''break the chain''. The campaign aims to educate people about the importance of public and personal hygiene. On Monday, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told the media that three new cases of coronavirus had been reported in the state, taking the total to 24.

The World Health Organisation has praised India's commitment to combat the novel coronavirus, which has infected more than 168,000 people and killed over 6,600 across the world.

 "I think the commitment of the Indian government from the top level -- the Prime Minister's office himself -- has been enormous, very impressive. This is one of the reasons why India is doing very well," said Henk Bekedam, the WHO Representative to India.

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