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BENGALURU: One person tested positive for COVID-19 in Karnataka on Thursday, taking the tally of confirmed cases in the state to 15.

Health minister B.Sriramulu, in a post on Twitter said, the state's 15th patient is from Kodagu district, about 225 km from Bengaluru, and had history of travel to Saudi Arabia.

"Today, a person from Kodagu has tested positive for COVID-19. This person had returned from Saudi Arabia. This person has been placed in isolation at a medical facility and under observation. This is Karnataka’s 15th case," Sriramulu posted in Kannada on Twitter.

Cases in Karnataka were so far limited to Bengaluru, home to scores of information technology companies, and Kalaburagi.

The state government has extended its order on closure of malls, theatres and night clubs as well as other places of mass gatherings till the end of the month.

In a move criticised by many, it has also decided to stamp the hands of people who have returned from international destinations.

Some passengers placed under home quarantine were not following instructions and "Therefore, it has been decided to stamp the back of palm of left hand of such passengers with a specially designed stamp which will indicate the last day of quarantine. This will be done using indelible ink," the Karnataka government said in a statement.

The state government has set aside 200 crore to battle the outbreak.

According to information available until Wednesday, about 2,935 people in the state were enrolled for observation and 570 have completed the 28-day observation period. A total of 2,281 are in home quarantine and 80 are in medical facilities.

About 1,068 people have been tested in the state so far, of which 869 have tested negative. The government said that it was trying to set up testing labs in Mangaluru and Hubbali, and some other places where there are government medical colleges.

Adding to the problem are cases of bird flu and monkey fever as well.

Mysuru, about 125 kms from Bengaluru, has reported a few cases of bird flu and so far around 6,000 birds have been culled, according to the district administration.

India's count of positive cases has touched 151, with three deaths and 14 recoveries. World over, the number of infected has surged to 218,814, with death toll at 8,810.

Global markets have crumbled after the World Health Organization last week declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic and investors shed riskier assets worried about the economic fallout of the disease. Many countries, including the US, have announced sweeping measures — closing their borders and imposing restrictions on movement of people besides advising shopping complexes to down shutters in a bid to contain the spread of the disease.

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