Coronavirus: Second death as toll rises to 84 and states order shutdowns of schools, malls3 min read . Updated: 14 Mar 2020, 01:07 AM IST
- In Kerala, 2 more cases were confirmed taking the total number of cases to 22, the highest for any Indian state
- Punjab, Haryana, Bihar, Kerala and Maharashtra closed down educational institutions and other public facilities
New Delhi: A 68-year-old woman in West Delhi became the second person in India to die from Covid-19, six days after being admitted to the city’s Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital with symptoms of the disease.
The woman contracted the disease from her son, who had a history of travel to Italy and Switzerland in February. She developed pneumonia on Monday after which she was put on ventilator support.
The death came as the total number of infections reached 84 in India.
Meanwhile, several states, including Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Odisha, went into battle mode on Friday to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic, shutting schools, colleges, cinema halls, gyms and even marriage receptions, .
The Board of Control for Cricket in India deferred the T20 cricket tournament, the Indian Premier League, till 15 April.
Punjab, Haryana, Bihar, Kerala and Maharashtra also closed down educational institutions and other public facilities either across the states, or in key cities.
Delhi, and Jammu and Kashmir had already announced a shut-down earlier this week.
Karnataka on Friday announced a lockdown of malls, cinemas, night clubs and educational institutions for a week after reporting the country’s first Covid-19 death—that of a 76-year-old man.
Chief minister B.S.Yediyurappa also ordered a stop on exhibitions, summer camps, conferences, fairs, sporting events, marriage receptions, engagements and birthday parties from Saturday.
In Odisha, chief minister Naveen Patnaik declared a public health emergency, closing schools, colleges, cinemas, swimming pools and gyms till 31 March, and authorized district authorities to regulate “social gatherings and assemblies such as religious functions, marriage receptions, and parties".
The chief minister and the state health ministry have asked district collectors and municipal commissioners to make emergency procurement of necessary drugs, consumables and equipment and services. District officials were also authorized to impose restrictions on assemblies and congregations. As a start, the state has earmarked ₹200 crore as a ‘Public Health Response Fund’ to combat Covid-19.
In Punjab, chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh said the state machinery is working round the clock to prevent an outbreak and asked people to avoid crowding at public places. He said he has “ordered closing down of all schools and colleges till March 31...ongoing school examinations will, however, continue."
In Maharashtra, the state administration declared the virus as an epidemic in five metropolitan cities—Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Nagpur, Pune, and Pimpri Chinchwad. It declared that like other states key public facilities will be closed down from Friday night onwards in these cities until 31 March. Chief minister Uddhav Thackeray informed the state assembly that his government was invoking the Epidemic Diseases Act of 1897 from midnight in the state where 17 people have so far tested positive for Covid-19.
Later, Maharashtra health minister Rajesh Tope issued a clarification, saying malls and theatres will remain open.
The Uttar Pradesh government said it has decided to close down educational institutions and public events till 22 March and the future course of action will be decided at a review meeting on 20 March.
The Bihar government while closing down schools on Friday said it will offer monetary support as part of its midday-meal scheme to government school students during this break.
Top educational institutions like Indian Institute of Technology Delhi have stopped academic activities and asked students to leave their hostels as a preventive measure.
Parliamentary affairs minister Pralhad Joshi told news agency PTI that there is “no question of curtailing the budget session."
In Kerala, two more coronavirus cases were confirmed on Friday taking the total number of positive cases to 22, the highest for any Indian state. But three of them have recovered.
In a positive development, an ITBP-run quarantine centre in new Delhi released 112 people, comprising 76 Indians and 36 foreigners, on Friday after they tested negative for Covid-19. They were evacuated last month from Wuhan in China and admitted on 27 February to the special centre of the border guarding force in Chhawla area of south-west Delhi, one of the biggest quarantine centres in the country set up to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Two tests were conducted on these inmates, the first one on the day they were brought here and the second on the fourteenth day. All the 112 samples have been found negative and hence it was decided to allow them to leave for their homes and other destinations," ITBP spokesperson Vivek Kumar Pandey told PTI.