Kerala on Saturday reported the first casualty due to novel coronavirus. The 69-year old infected person died at Kochi Medical College today while receiving treatment for COVID-19, said Ernakulam District Medical Officer Dr NK Kuttappan. The man, hailing from Ernakulam, was admitted to the isolation ward on March 22 after his return from Dubai, the government hospital said in a statement. He was admitted with symptoms of pneumonia but later tested positive for coronavirus, it said. He was also suffering from heart disease and high blood pressure and had undergone a bypass surgery earlier, the statement said. He breathed his last at 8 AM. The body has been handed over to the relatives.
Kerala had reported 39 fresh cases of coronavirus on Friday, taking the total number of people under treatment to 164, the highest in the country, as Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan described the situation as "serious". The government also took a stern view of Kollam Sub Collector Anupam Mishra defying quarantine and fleeing the state after returning from his honeymoon abroad and suspended him, pending an enquiry.
Of the 39 cases, 34 were from the worst affected northernmost district of Kasaragod, two from Kannur and one each from Thrissur, Kozhikode and Kollam, Vijayan told reporters after a COVID-19 review meeting.
The number of COVID-19 cases climbed to 873 in India on Saturday with the death toll rising to 19, according to the Union Health Ministry. In its updated figures at 9.30 am, the ministry mentioned two fresh deaths -- one each in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.
Thus, deaths have so far been reported from Maharashtra (5), Gujarat (3), Karnataka (2), Madhya Pradesh (2) and one each from Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Punjab, Delhi, West Bengal, Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh.
According to the data, the number of active COVID-19 cases in the country stood at 775, while 78 people were either cured or discharged and one had migrated.
The total number of 873 cases in the country included 47 foreigners, the data stated.
Meanwhile, brushing aside the allegations that the 21-day nationwide lockdown was announced without any planning, the government on Saturday said India's response to COVID-19 has been "pre-emptive, pro-active and graded."
The government said it had already put in place a "comprehensive response system" at its borders much before the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the coronavirus as a public health emergency of international concern on January 30.
The government has come in for criticism that the lockdown was done without planning and also for the fact that migrant labourers are stranded across the country without resources.