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12 more coronavirus cases in Kerala, Karnataka and Pune

PTI | Updated on March 10, 2020 Published on March 10, 2020

Twelve more people have tested positive for coronavirus -- six in Kerala and three each in Karnataka and Pune, state authorities said on Tuesday as the total cases went up to 59 and amid COVID-19 scare, a combination of two anti-HIV drugs was used for the first time in India in the treatment of two patients.

The health ministry said the total number of confirmed cases has risen to 50, adding the rest are being retested for confirmation. Once the fresh cases declared by the state governments are taken into account, the figure will go up to 59.

In Karnataka, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa said four persons have been confirmed for coronavirus, including three new cases. In Pune also, three persons tested positive, a day after two cases were reported.

In the morning, 58 Indians were brought back home from coronavirus-hit Iran in a military transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF).

IAF spokesperson Group Captain Anupam Banerjee said the C-17 Globemaster aircraft evacuated 25 men, 31 women and two children. It also brought swab samples of 529 Indians to carry out laboratory tests and check whether they have coronavirus infection.

Those who returned have been quarantined at a medical facility in Hindon.

Announcing the latest cases in Kerala at a media interaction in Thiruvananthapuram after a special cabinet meeting held to discuss the coronavirus situation, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said at least 1,116 people are under observation -- 149 in isolation wards of various hospitals and 967 under home quarantine.

The fresh cases are friends and relatives of an Italy-returned couple and their son who had on Saturday tested positive for the deadly virus along with two other kin staying with them at their home in Rane in Pathanamthitta district, Health Minister K K Shailaja, who was also present, said.

The aged parents of the couple are among the six latest positive cases, she said.

In Jaipur, the combination of lopinavir and ritonavir, both second-line HIV drugs, was administered was administered on an elderly Italian couple undergoing treatment for Covid-19 at the SMS Hospital.

The Drug Controller General of India approved “restricted use” of these medications for treating those affected by novel coronavirus after the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) sought their emergency approval.

SMS Hospital Medical Superintendent Dr D S Meena said the Italian man and his wife had developed severe respiratory problems following which a decision was taken to put them on the combination of lopinavir and ritonavir.

According to officials, consent of the patients was taken before the drugs were administered.

This combination along with other drugs has been used in clinical trials in China, where coronavirus first emerged, and Thailand for treating Covid-19 patients.

In Karnataka, a software engineer who returned from the US on March 1 tested positive on Monday, becoming the first COVID-19 patient in the state.

According to health department officials, his wife and daughter too tested positive for the virus on Tuesday.

Another person, who had travelled from America via London and arrived in Bengaluru on March 8, also tested positive, they said.

State Health Minister Sriramulu said the family members of the four persons have been quarantined. Using a hashtag of #CoronaVirusOutBreak, the minister said, “I appeal to the people to make sure that this disease does not spread further.”

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Published on March 10, 2020
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