The man had returned from Saudi Arabia on February 29
A 76-year-old man who recently died tested positive for the novel coronavirus, the health minister of Kanataka state reported Thursday, marking India’s first fatality from what the World Health Organization has characterized a global pandemic.
The man "has been Confirmed for #COVID19. The necessary contact tracing, isolation & other measures as per protocol are being carried out," B Sriramulu wrote on Twitter, reports AFP.
The announcement comes one day after the country of 1.3 billion suspended all tourist visas until April 15 and said it would quarantine travellers arriving from seven virus-hit countries.
India's growing number of Covid-19 cases now totals 73, according to the union health ministry.
So far, more than 133,000 people have been infected globally with over 4,900 deaths, according to worldometer, since the Covid-19 outbreak started in China's Wuhan city in late December last year.
The 76-year-old victim, who recently returned from Saudi Arabia and had a history of hypertension, diabetes and asthma, died on Tuesday night, according to the Press Trust of India (PTI).
Sriramulu said the man was from Kalburgi district on Karnataka, situated in the country's south.
He arrived from Saudi Arabia on February 29 and was screened on arrival at Hyderabad airport, but showed no symptoms at that time, said government officials in Karnataka's Kalburgi district, reports NDTV.
On March 5, he had gone to a private hospital in the district and was admitted the next day with asthma and hypertension. Hospital staff tested him for Covid-19.
Three days later, he was moved to a hospital in Hyderabad. From there, his family checked him out the same day and were taking him home when he died around 10:30pm, said the NDTV report.
Soon after, authorities placed his family members under surveillance and were monitoring them for Covid-19-related symptoms.
It is, however, unclear why the hospital allowed a possible coronavirus patient to leave their care.
On Thursday evening, the Delhi government also announced that schools, colleges and cinema halls would remain shut till March 31 — a day after the Kerala government, which is on high alert, made the same move.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's administration had shut the primary schools earlier this month; while secondary schools were left open in view of exams, NDTV reported.
Kerala, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh are among the worst-affected states, with 17, 11 and 10 confirmed cases, respectively, reported so far, according to the Union Health Ministry.
Kerala is, so far, the only state in which infected patients — the first three — have been cured.