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BENGALURU : The Karnataka government on Thursday confirmed that Mohammed Hussain Siddiq who died on Wednesday was first fatality in India due to novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

"The 76-year old man from Kalburgi who passed away and was a suspected COVID-19 patient has been confirmed for COVID-19," the Karnataka health department said in a statement late on Thursday.

Siddiq died on Tuesday night on his way back from Hyderabad to Kalaburagi, about 575 kms from Bengaluru.

The centre confirmed the cause of death as "co-morbidity" and also for testing positive for the virus.

The centre, in a statement late on Thursday, said that the deceased visited Saudi Arabia from 29th January 2020 to 29th February 2020.

After landing in Hyderabad, he went to Kalaburagi. The patient was known to have hypertension and asthma and had developed symptoms on 6 March.

"On 9th March 2020, the symptoms got aggravated and he was shifted to a private hospital in Kalaburgi. In this private hospital he was provisionally diagnosed as “mid zone Viral Pneumonia" and “suspected COVID-19."

Though his samples were taken only on 9 March, the hospital authorities discharged the patient on the insistence of the family and took him to Hyderbad.

The centre even stating that the family refused to listen to the Kalaburagi Deputy Commissioner and transferred the patient "without his knowledge."

The death of Siddiq has left several questions unanswered unanswered including indications of procedural lapses that let a heavily symptomatic patient leave one medical facility, go to Hyderabad and then be sent back in a day.

"The necessary contact tracing, isolation and other measures as per protocol are being carried out. Telangana government has also been informed since he went to a private hospital there," the health department said.

Siddiq was being treated at a hospital in Kalaburagi for showing symptoms like breathlessness, cold and cough after he returned from Saudi Arabia on 29 February.

Siddiq’s case adds to the fears around the COVID-19 and its rapid spread in India, that has so far infected at least 79 people in the country.

Siddiq’s positive test results takes the total number of cases in Karnataka to 6, and the first outside Bengaluru.

There are three other males, one woman and one 13 year old child who have been confirmed do far.

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday declared the outbreak of Covid-19 a pandemic. Since the outbreak, the virus has affected over 114 countries, whose effects are being felt in financial markets and businesses world over.

Covid-19 has infected at least 118000 people and taken 4291 deaths, according to a statement on Wednesday made by World Health Organisation’s director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

The Indian government on Wednesday suspended visas of all foreign nationals with effect from 13 March till 15 April.

The death of Siddiq has left several questions unanswered unanswered including indications of procedural lapses that let a heavily symptomatic patient leave one medical facility, go to Hyderabad and then be sent back in a day.

Health officials said that they would determine all angles in its investigation into the case and also said that the isolation of Siddiq could have been for other infections like H1N1, that continues to be a health hazard in Karnataka.

Siddiq also had pneumonia, hypertension and asthma among other ailments, officials said.

Officials said that Saudi Arabia does not have local transmission or that the infection could have occured in transit.

There are a total of four confirmed positive cases in Karnataka that includes a senior executive at a software firm, with a travel history from America and Dubai, his wife and daughter and one other unrelated person who is a software engineer with a travel history from USA to London and then to Bengaluru. The fifth patient has a travel history to Greece.

Information Technology and other companies in Bengaluru have been asked to stop travel to onsite locations to contain the spread of the virus. Health officials said that they will meet with IT companies on Thursday and ask them not to share information on the patients.

The school in which the daughter of the first positive patient in Bengaluru has recommended that all 28 classmates are under isolation and other students be under medical observation and report if they develop symptoms.

A total of 2666 people are being monitored for possibly coming in contact with the first patient that include a few hundred school students.

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