NEW DELHI: “Do not equate Bhilwara with Italy; the situation is under control here,” Rajasthan health minister Raghu Sharma said on Thursday, objecting to the local media coverage of the town of about 400,000 people which has been characterised as the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak in the state.

Bhilwara town has been under curfew for a week now and the figures from Bhilwara have raised concerns at the Centre. Eighteen positive Covid-19 cases have been detected in Bhilwara, including five in the past two days, out of the 41 total confirmed cases across the state.

A 73-year-old kidney patient Narayan Singh, who had tested for Covid-19 on Wednesday, passed away on Thursday in Bhilwara’s Mahatma Gandhi Hospital, but the state government said the death could not be attributed to Covid-19 since he suffered from kidney failure and brain haemorrhage.

However, Singh’s case had a connection with at least 15 out of the 20 cases reported in Bhilwara –the Bangar Hospital, where Singh was admitted for treatment for 10 days earlier this month. Fifteen others who tested positive in Bhilwara are all staff members of this private hospital, including doctors, nurses and clerical staff. All of them are now undergoing treatment at the state-run Mahatma Gandhi Hospital.

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