Two days after the death of a 76-year-old man in Kalaburagi in the Hyderabad-Karnataka region, the state government has announced the closure of shopping malls, schools, colleges, pubs and dine-in restaurants across the state for a week and banned weddings and large gatherings. Health Minister B Sriramulu had on Wednesday said that the patient, who had returned from Saudi Arabia on February 29 and was suspected to have contracted COVID-19, could have died of co-morbidities. On Thursday night, however, the Health and Family Welfare Department of Karnataka, after reviewing his test results, confirmed that the senior citizen died of COVID-19. His body has been buried as per procedure, it added.
Speaking to Open, Sriramulu said on Friday that there have been six confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Karnataka so far, out of which five are from Bangalore. “All of them have been kept under isolation at their homes,” he said. “Out of the 600-plus people who are under observation across the state, 294 have recovered fully,” he added. The Health Ministry will closely monitor any new cases, especially at IT companies in Bangalore, and ensure contact tracing and isolation measures are followed, he said. The Government is trying to equip and certify more centres–there are five in Karnataka now–to test for COVID-19, he added.
“As the knowledge capital of India, we want to ensure we take no chances. The (lockdown) announcement was made as a precautionary measure. I am in constant touch with the Union Health Minister, and every day, we are improving our preparedness to deal with the outbreak with diligent screening and by adding quarantine capacity (over 3,000 beds, according to the government),” Sriramulu said. The state Government has advised quarantining for 28 days.