Coronavirus: First death confirmed in India

109

India has recorded its first death linked to the coronavirus, officials confirmed. The 76-year-old man, from the southern state of Karnataka, had returned from Saudi Arabia on 29 February after a month-long visit.

The state’s health minister said that the people who came in contact with the person were being traced and quarantined.

India has 73 confirmed cases of the virus, the health ministry says.

The man died on Tuesday but his test results were made public on Thursday.

Officials said he was screened at the airport when he arrived from Saudi Arabia, but showed no symptoms at the time.

He had breathing difficulties on 5 March and was subsequently taken to a hospital.

India has taken a number of steps to halt the spread of Covid-19.

The advisory, issued on Wednesday night, says that only diplomatic, official, employment and project visas will be exempt from the current restrictions, which take effect on Friday and will be reviewed again in a month.

However, it has said that even those allowed in could be subject to 14 days of quarantine and has warned against “non-essential travel”.

All schools, colleges and movie theatres in the capital, Delhi, will be shut until 31 March in a bid to help control the spread of the virus, the city’s Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Thursday.

Several departments of the government have been coordinating India’s response to the outbreak. In a media briefing on Thursday, officials said there was no need to panic.