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Coronavirus: Total count in Maha reaches at 26; malls, schools to be closed till March 31


Mumbai, Mar 14: With new cases being detected in Mumbai, Nagpur and Yavatmal, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Maharashtra rose to 26 on Saturday.

Health minister Rajesh Tope on Saturday evening announced that shopping malls across the state will remain closed till month-end. Grocery stores which sell commodities of daily need will remain open, he said.

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The state government also issued a directive that all schools and colleges in areas of municipal corporations, municipalities and nagar panchayats shall remain closed till March 31.

Tope also said that examinations of classes one to nine will be postponed if they are being held currently, only the std 10th and 12th board exams will take place as per the schedule. Four new patients of coronavirus were confirmed in Mumbai on Saturday, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said.

Of the new patients confirmed in Mumbai, one is resident of the city while others are from Kamothe, Vashi and Kalyan, all peripheral towns.

All are admitted to Kasturba Hospital here and their condition is stable, BMC deputy director, health, Daksha Shah said. Earlier in the day, two persons who had recently returned from Dubai were confirmed to have contracted the coronavirus in Maharashtra's Yavatmal city.

Thus, so far across the state, ten coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Pune, eight in Mumbai, four in Nagpur, two in Yavatmal and one each in Thane and Ahmednagar.

Some of the persons who tested positive have history of traveling to the United States, Dubai, France, the Philippines and Qatar, a health department statement said.

A 71-year-old man, who had returned from Saudi Arabia and was suspected to have coronavirus infection, died during treatment in Buldhana district on Saturday afternoon.

He was suffering from diabetes and high blood pressure. Minister Tope said it was not yet confirmed if the deceased was infected by the coronavirus.

Sixteen of the confirmed Covid-19 patients had returned from Dubai, four from USA, one each from France and the Phillipineswhile four had no foreign travel history but had come in contact with other infected persons, he said.

Till now, 949 individuals have returned to Maharashtra from coronavirus-hit countries, a government statement said. At present, 72 persons are under observation in isolation wards in Mumbai, 17 in Pune, 16 in Nagpur, nine in Yavatmal and three in Pimpri-Chinchwad.

The Mumbai-resident who was found to have the infection on Saturday is a close relative of another confirmed patient who was shifted to government hospital from a private hospital in the city.

Eight "high-risk" contacts, who were isolated at the private hospital when one of the patients was confirmed to have the infection, have tested negative, deputy director Shah said.

A total of 55 samples were tested in Mumbai on Saturday, of which four samples were found positive. Out of four who tested positive, three had travel history to foreign countries.

The BMC is setting up a laboratory at KEM Hospital in Parel in addition to the one at the Kasturba hospital for testing samples of suspected coronavirus patients, Shah said.

"There is no need to panic, but if you have returned from abroad and have symptoms, then immediately visit the Kasturba Hospital for tests," Shah said, adding that a traveller who does not have any symptoms too should isolate himself or herself at home for 14 days.

In Nagpur, four persons, quarantined at a government-run hospital for suspected coronavirus infection, returned home without permission. However, they all later returned to hospital, and tested negative for the virus.

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