India's total number of coronavirus cases rose to 62 after eight tested positive for the virus in Kerala, five in Maharashtra, four in Karnataka and one from Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday.
In Pune, a couple, their daughter, one of their co-travellers, and the cab driver who drove the family from Mumbai to Pune on March 1 tested positive for the virus. The family was part of a group of 40 who had been on a trip to Dubai.
On Tuesday evening, the parents of the three-year-old boy, who had earlier tested positive in Kerala's Ernakulam district also tested positive. Earlier in the day, six others had tested positive.
Globally, there are over 117,800 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and over 4,200 have died. In China, over 3,100 people have died from the virus, and there are over 80,700 confirmed cases.
Outside China, Italy and Iran surpassed South Korea to have the highest number of positive cases of the virus with over 10,100 infections in Italy and over 8,000 in Iran. While Italy has reported at least 631 deaths, Iran has reported at least 291. Meanwhile, South Korea has over 7,700 infections and at least 60 deaths.
Kerala Declares Health Emergency In 4 Districts
With eight more people testing positive for the novel coronavirus in the southern state on Tuesday, Kerala has declared a health emergency in four districts. At present, 14 people have tested positive for the virus.
Earlier, three medical students from Wuhan, who had tested positive, have recovered and left isolation wards. It was after an NRI family from Italy visited the state on February 29 and avoided screening at Kochi airport that the infection resurfaced in the state.
The state has stepped up the vigil and has shut down schools, cinema halls, banned public meetings, festivals, and requested the public to observe restraints in conducting family celebrations to curb further spread of the virus.
At present, 1,495 persons are kept under surveillance in the state. Among them, 1,236 are under home quarantine and 259 in isolation wards in hospitals across the state. Meanwhile, the state health officials have said that the health condition of an 85-year old woman being treated for the virus the government medical college hospital in Kerala is serious.
'Negative' COVID-19 Certificate Mandatory
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has said that people travelling from or having visited Italy and South Korea will now have to mandatorily submit a certificate of having tested negative for COVID-19 from laboratories authorised by the health authorities of their countries.
According to a health ministry advisory, this temporary measure came into effect from March 10. India had already suspended visas granted to the nationals of Italy, Iran, South Korea, Japan and China. It further temporarily suspended all the visas and e-visas granted on or before March 11 to France, Germany and Spain as well.
Meanwhile, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his intervention to withdraw the circular issued by the DGCA.
"How can we say that an Indian citizen cannot come back to India just because he is infected? Barring our citizens from coming to the country is an uncivilised attitude," Vijayan said in the assembly.
In his letter to the PM, Vijayan said that as the foreign authorities were already overloaded with patients, they were not ready to test people without symptoms. He added that the stranded Indians could be brought back to the country and can be kept in quarantine in case they test positive on arrival.
"While there is no difference of opinion that enough safeguards should be taken so that the disease does not spread, undue hardships to Indians abroad wanting to come home in an hour of crisis is totally unwarranted. They can be tested on arrival and kept in quarantine if necessary. There are necessary facilities in our country," Vijayan wrote in the letter.Also Read: 'Will Take Strict Action Against Those Hiding Symptoms, Travel History': Kerala In Wake Of Coronavirus Outbreak