India takes first COVID-19 toll as 76-year-old dies in Karnataka
13 March 2020
India recorded its first COVID-19 toll with a 76-year-old man who died in north Karnataka's Kalaburagi district on Tuesday testing positive for novel coronavirus, even as the state reported a fifth case of novel coronavirus with a 26-year-old man who had travelled to Greece also testing positive for the virus.
"The 76-year-old man from Kalburgi who passed away and was a suspected COVID-19 patient and has since been confirmed for COVID-19, state health minister B Sriramulu said. Adding that health authorities are in the process of contact tracing of family members and others he came in contact with, isolation and other measures, as per protocol.
The victim, Siddiq, had returned to India on 29 February after a month-long stay in Saudi Arabia and had been screened on arrival at Hyderabad airport. He had displayed no symptoms at that time.
On 5 March the man went to a private hospital in the district and was admitted the following day with fever and cough. He had other health issues as well, including asthma and hypertension. Three days later he was shifted to a hospital in Hyderabad, where his samples were sent for testing.
But, on 9 March, the symptoms got aggravated and he was shifted to a private hospital in Kalaburgi. In this private hospital he was provisionally diagnosed with “mid zone Viral Pneumonia" and “suspected COVID-19."
Though his samples were taken only on 9 March, the hospital authorities discharged the patient on the insistence of the family and took him to Hyderabad.
According to the government, the man's family got him discharged before receiving test results and against medical advice. As per instructions of Kalaburgi Deputy Commissioner, health officers tried to persuade them to admit the patient to an isolation ward at the Gulbarga Institute of Medical Sciences.
The family refused and transferred him to another hospital, where he was treated and discharged. He died while being brought back to the hospital in Gulbarga.
All other patients who have been admitted to various hospitals in the state are stable, the government has said
Meanwhile, several people from the state are among the hundreds of Indians stranded at airports in Italy, one of the worst-hit countries in the world.
Thousands more are also stranded in Iran. On Tuesday an Air Force plane brought back 58 Indians from Iran, with more expected to evacuated soon.