India declares COVID-19 as 'notified disaster'
New Delhi: In view of the rising Coronavirus cases in India and across the globe, the Government of India has decided to treat COVID-19 as a 'notified disaster' for the purpose of providing assistance under the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF). Meanwhile, several state governments have announced measures to enforce social distancing. The US Embassy and Consulates in India on Saturday also cancelled the immigrant and non-immigrant Visa appointments from March 16 onward. More than 1,32,000 cases of the virus have been reported in 123 countries.
The total number of active cases in India has reached 84, including 17 foreigners. Till now, 10 positive cases have been cured, while two, who were tested positive, have succumbed to the disease.
As per the letter issued by Union Home Ministry to all states, the Centre has stated that the cost of hospitalisation for managing COVID-19 patients would be at the rates fixed by the state governments.
"The state executive committee will decide the number of quarantine camps, their duration and the number of persons in such camps. The period can be extended by the committee beyond the prescribed limit subject to the condition that expenditure on this account should not exceed 25 per cent of SDRF allocation for the year," the Centre said in its notification.
The cost of consumables for sample collection would be taken from the funds which can be sued to support for checking, screening and contact tracing.
"Seven persons, who tested positive, including five from Uttar Pradesh and one each from Rajasthan and Delhi, have been discharged after treatment," a Health ministry official said, adding that so far, two deaths due to the lethal infection have been reported in the country.
As of now, Delhi has six positive cases and Uttar Pradesh has 11, while Karnataka has six Coronavirus patients, Maharashtra 14, Ladakh three and Jammu and Kashmir reported two cases. Besides, Rajasthan, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Punjab have reported one case each.
"The number of coronavirus positive cases in India has risen to 84," Health Ministry's Special Secretary Sanjeeva Kumar said, adding that more than 4,000 people who had come in contact with those testing positive have been identified through contact tracing and are under surveillance.
He further informed that a Mahan Air flight bringing back Indian passengers from Iran will land in Mumbai on Saturday midnight. A special Air India flight is also being sent to Milan in Italy on Saturday to bring back Indian students, he added.
In view of the COVID-19 outbreak, all malls across Maharashtra will remain closed.
Meanwhile, six benches of the Supreme Court will take up only 12 urgent matters each on March 16 to avoid overcrowding.
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