A 76-year-old man who died in north Karnataka’s Kalaburagi district on Tuesday has tested positive for novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, Health Minister B Sriramulu said late Thursday night. This is the first case in India of a death linked to coronavirus. The victim had returned to India on February 29 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.
“The 76-year-old man from Kalaburagi who passed away and was a suspected COVID-19 patient has been confirmed for COVID-19. Contact tracing (of family members and others he came in contact with), isolation and other measures, as per protocol, are being carried out,” Mr Sriramulu tweeted.
On March 5, 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.
At this point, according to the government, the man’s family discharged him before test results and against medical advice. As per instructions of Kalaburagi 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, from where he was treated and discharged. He died while being brought back to the hospital in Kalaburagi.
Death of a 76-year-old male from Karnataka is confirmed to be caused due to co-morbidity and has also tested positive for COVID-19,” the Union Health Ministry said in a late-night statement.
In addition, a fifth confirmed case was reported from the state on Thursday. All infected individuals are in hospital and stable, the government has said.
The newest patient – 26-year-old man who had returned from Greece – has been placed in isolation at a Bengaluru hospital, Karnataka Health Minister B Sriramulu said.
“Primary contacts (of the 26-year old man) have been traced and are asymptomatic. Home quarantine has been advised and follow-up is being done,” he was quoted by news agency PTI.
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 stranded in Iran. On Tuesday an Air Force plane brought back 58 Indians from the Middle East country, with more expected to evacuated shortly.