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Coronavirus: India’s count touches 170; restrictions mount

The total number of confirmed novel coronavirus cases in the country has reached 170 after eight more were tested positive for Covid-19 in Telangana. All seven new cases are Indonesian nationals. Section 144 was imposed in Davangere in Karnataka, Noida in Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases climbed by 28 on Wednesday.
 
In Maharashtra, which has the highest number of positive coronavirus cases so far, three more persons, including a woman, tested positive for the Covid-19, taking the number of infections in the state to 45. Pune district's count touched 19 after a 22-year-old man with travel history to the Philippines tested positive for the coronavirus in Pimpri-Chinchwad.
 
In addition, Andhra Pradesh reported the second case of coronavirus. The patient had a travel history to London and had returned to India on March 15. After showing symptoms of the coronavirus such as cold, cough and fever, the man was admitted to a hospital in Ongole where he was kept in isolation.
 
Meanwhile, a suspected coronavirus patient has committed suicide at Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi, soon after he was admitted to the facility by airport authorities. The man was brought by the airport authorities as a coronavirus suspect and was immediately put in the isolation ward. He forced open the isolation ward and jumped off the seventh floor of the building, the hospital authorities said.
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the nation on Thursday evening on the situation arising out of coronavirus outbreak and the efforts to combat it, the Prime Minister's Office said on Wednesday. “PM Shri @narendramodi will address the nation on 19th March 2020 at 8 PM, during which he will talk about issues relating to COVID-19 and the efforts to combat it,” the PMO tweeted. In another tweet, the PMO said Modi chaired a high-level meeting to review the ongoing efforts to contain the spread of coronavirus.
 
Kashmir recorded its first case of coronavirus, mayor of Srinagar Municipal Corporation Junaid Azim Mattu said. As the count in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) reached four, with one new case reported in Kashmir, the state government appealed foreigners not to visit the Union Territory and warned that all visitors, including those coming from Ladakh, would be quarantined.
 
“We appeal foreigners not to visit Jammu and Kashmir. All foreign tourists or visitors arriving in J&K will be quarantined, besides 100 per cent quarantine will also be enforced on all travellers coming from the Union Territory of Ladakh,” Kansal, who is also the government spokesperson, told reporters in Srinagar.
 
In West Bengal, the family members of the lone Covid-19 patient tested negative to novel coronavirus on Wednesday but were quarantined for 14 days, a senior health official said. The 18-year-old youth, who recently returned to Kolkata from the United Kingdom, tested positive for the disease on Tuesday, making it the first such case in the state. He had gone to the UK for higher studies and returned on Sunday.
 
Delhi has so far reported 10 positive cases, which includes one foreigner. By Tuesday night, the cases in Delhi stood at eight; two more cases were reported on Wednesday.
 
The Haridwar district administration on Wednesday prohibited the participation of people in the daily Ganga Arti at Har ki Pairi in the wake of coronavirus outbreak. The daily Arti at Har Ki Pairi will continue to be held but the participation of public will be prohibited from March 19 to March 31. The arti will, however, be live-streamed for the devotees.
 
In Tamil Nadu, a 20-year old man who travelled by train from Delhi to Chennai tested positive for coronavirus on Wednesday, becoming the state's second Covid-19 patient, over ten days after the first case surfaced in the state.
 
Sabarmati Ashram shuts
 
Meanwhile, Sai Baba temple in Malleshwaram in Bengaluru, Karnataka and Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad, Gujarat will remain closed in view of the sharply increasing coronavirus cases in the country. The historic Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad will remain closed for visitors from March 19 till March 29.
 
A day after banning the entry of foreign tourists to the Valley, Jammu and Kashmir administration on Wednesday suspended the Vaishno Devi pilgrimage and all interstate bus services to the Union territory in a bid to stem the spread of coronavirus.
 
Maharashtra’s cases rise, 4 test positive
 
Four Covid-19 suspects were deboarded from Garib Rath train in Palghar in Maharashtra after some of their co-passengers alerted the travelling ticket examiners (TTEs) after seeing isolation stamps on their hands.
 
The four passengers, with a travel history to Germany, were attempting to travel to Surat in Gujarat, despite their home quarantine stamps. They had undergone a mandatory check-up for coronavirus at the airport and were stamped for home isolation for 14 days. The passengers were immediately deboarded at Mumbai's Bandra Terminus.
 
In Gurugram, a 44-year-old tested positive for coronavirus. In Haryana, there are 17 cases, which include 14 foreigners, according to Union health ministry data.
 
The Covid-19 cases reached 14 in Karnataka with three more people testing positive in the state. Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa convened an emergency cabinet meeting to discuss the impact of Covid-19 and further measures to tackle the outbreak.
 
The cabinet decided to earmark Rs 200 crore as “immediate expenses” to contain the spread, and constitute a taskforce comprising four Ministers for monitoring the situation on a daily basis, and review measures. The state government had announced lockdown of malls, cinema theatres, pubs and night clubs for a week, with effect from last Saturday.
 
195 Indians brought back from Corona-hit Iran in quarantine
 
A batch of 195 Indians stranded in the coronavirus-hit Iran was brought back by a special plane on Wednesday evening, an official said in Jaisalmer. They landed at Rajasthan's Jaisalmer airport and were shifted to an Army's wellness facility after screening, defence spokesperson Col Sombit Ghosh said.
 
With the arrival of the fresh batch, the number of quarantined people at the Army facility in the Jaisalmer Military Station increased to 484, he said.
 
Meanwhile, Former Union minister and BJP MP Suresh Prabhu has self quarantined himself at his residence for the next 14 days, as a precautionary measure following his return from Saudi Arabia to attend a meeting on March 10. Sources said though Suresh Prabhu has tested negative for the coronavirus, he, however, has decided to stay in isolation as a precaution.
 
Earlier, Union Minister of State V. Muraleedharan too self-quarantined himself at his residence in the national capital as a precautionary measure after a medical institute he had visited recently had reported a Covid-19 case. He, too, had tested negative.

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