coronavirus india: India-wide Corona infections touch 100, Maharashtra has most cases 31

NEW DELHI: The count of those infected by the novel coronavirus countrywide touched 100, according to reports from the states, though the Union home ministry put the official infection number at 84. The upward spike was primarily the result of Maharashtra turning into the new hot zone, the leap in its infection count from 19 to 31 in a day making it the state with the most cases. Kerala is at 22.

Besides Maharashtra, there was one new positive case each in Rajasthan, Telangana and Kerala. The number of those confirmed infected includes 10 people who were cured and two who died.

The Centre announced, meanwhile, that it would treat the spreading of Covid-19 as a “notified disaster” for the purpose of providing assistance for medical facilities under the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF).

The rising number of infections spurred five more states to order shutdowns on Saturday. West Bengal, Punjab, Telangana, Himachal Pradesh and Goa closed schools, colleges, cinema halls, auditoriums, pubs, gyms and public swimming pools for varying periods. They also imposed bans on social gatherings, including weddings, birthday parties and conventions. The move came a day after Kerala, Bihar, UP, Rajasthan, MP, Chhattisgarh, Haryana and Manipur took similar measures.

Of the 12 fresh cases that emerged in Maharashtra on Saturday, five were in Pimpri-Chinchwad, two in Yavatmal and one each in Mumbai, Vashi (Navi Mumbai), Kamothe, Kalyan and Nagpur. The numbers rose even as Maharashtra decided to shutter all air-conditioned malls, schools, colleges, technical institutions and coaching classes across the state till March 31.

A 71-year-old man who returned from Saudi Arabia and was suspected to have coronavirus infection died in Buldhana. However, Maharashtra health minister Rajesh Tope said his was a suspected case and since he had not tested positive, it would be wrong to term it a coronavirus death.

Mumbai reported its fifth case on Saturday, with the son of the 64-year-old man with a travel history to Dubai and brief treatment at PD Hinduja Hospital testing positive. On Friday, the senior citizen’s 63-year-old wife too had tested positive. Besides the son, three more individuals — from Vashi, Kamothe and Kalyan — tested positive. The Mumbai Metropolitan Region now has nine cases.

Of the five new cases in Pimpri-Chinchwad, four were of those who had come into contact with the group of 40 which had travelled to Dubai — and whose members had tested positive earlier — while one person had returned from Thailand. The 59-year-old man found positive in Vashi had come from the Philippines, the Kamothe resident had travelled to Dubai with the group of 40, and the Kalyan patient, a 37-year-old, had travelled to France and the US. Civic officials said all of them were undergoing symptomatic treatment at Mumbai’s Kasturba Hospital.

Across Maharashtra, there are in all 15 cases in Pune/Pimpri-Chinchwad, 5 in Mumbai, 4 in Nagpur, 2 in Yavatmal and one each in Panvel (Kamothe), Navi Mumbai, Kalyan, Ahmednagar and Thane.

On Saturday, the Punjab government decided to close cinema halls, swimming pools and gymnasiums from Saturday midnight “till further orders”. Himachal Pradesh decided to ask educational institutions and cinema halls to remain shut till March 31. However, board exams will be held as per schedule. The Punjab government order also banned public gatherings, including sports events, conferences, cultural events, fairs and exhibitions, till further orders from March 14 midnight.

West Bengal shut all educational institutions from March 16 to 31. IIT-Kharagpur students living off campus have been asked to stay at home and use online facilities for classroom courses. IIM-Calcutta has postponed its April 4 convocation.

The Goa government directed the closure of schools, colleges, pubs, movie halls, public swimming pools, spas, boat cruises and casinos till March 31. The shutdown order comes into effect from Sunday midnight. Malls, restaurants and hotels will, however, remain open, Goa CM Pramod Sawant said, adding that the directions for closure were meant only for places where people gather in closed premises. The CM also urged tourists to not visit Goa as a precautionary measure.

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