- If the tests of a 76-year-old man come out to be positive, it would mark the country’s first fatality due to the deadly virus
- The patient was admitted in a private hospital in Kalaburagi and kept in isolation till he was allowed to leave for Hyderabad
A 76-year-old man, who was being treated as a suspect to have contracted novel coronavirus (COVID-19), has died. If the tests come out to be positive, it would mark the country’s first fatality due to the deadly virus.
Mohammed Hussain Siddiq was being treated at a hospital in Kalaburagi, Karnataka, for showing symptoms like breathlessness, cold and cough after he returned from Saudi Arabia on 29 February.
Health department officials were quick to say that it was “false” to say that the death was due to COVID-19.
“His sample for Covid -19 has been collected and sent for testing. The media is requested to help the government in creating awareness and not creating panic,” according to a statement by a senior official at the Karnataka health department.
B.Sriramulu, Karnataka’s health minister said that samples were sent to the labs and the test results were awaited to confirm if the deceased was indeed COVID-19 positive.
The patient was admitted in a private hospital in Kalaburagi, about 575 kms from Bengaluru on 5 March, kept in isolation from the next day till he was allowed to leave with family to Hyderabad for treatment on 9 March. He died while returning to Kalaburagi the following day and died around 11.30 pm on Tuesday, officials said.
It remains unclear why he was allowed to leave or why he returned from Hyderabad. Health officials said that they would determine all angles in its investigation into the case.
Senior health officials said that people can be kept in isolation wards for suspecting reasons other than COVID-19. They added that the patient had pneumonia, hypertension and asthma among other ailments and was being treated as a suspect for possible infection of H1N1.
Incidentally, the state government on Wednesday formalised regulations, outlining guidelines in the The Karnataka Epidemic Diseases, COVID-19 Regulations 2020, that will determine powers of health officials, public and patients to mitigate and tackle the growing threat novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the state.
The deceased had returned from Saudi Arabia on 29 February and was admitted for being unwell on 5 March in a private hospital in Kalaburagi, about 575 kms from Bengaluru.
Officials said that Saudi Arabia does not have local transmission or that the infection could have occured in transit.
“His sample for Covid -19 has been collected & sent for testing,” senior health officials said on Wednesday. They categorically said that it is yet to be ascertained if the person had died due to COVID-19.
There are a total of four confirmed positive cases in Karnataka that includes a senior executive at a software firm, with a travel history from America and Dubai, his wife and daughter and one other unrelated person who is a software engineer with a travel history from USA to London and then to Bengaluru.
Information Technology and other companies in Bengaluru have been asked to stop travel to onsite locations to contain the spread of the virus. Health officials said that they will meet with IT companies on Thursday and ask them not to share information on the patients.
The school in which the daughter of the first positive patient in Bengaluru has recommended that all 28 classmates are under isolation and other students be under medical observation and report if they develop symptoms.
A total of 2,666 people are being monitored for possibly coming in contact with the first patient that include a few hundred school students.
“Isolation is for all the close contacts like classmates. All her classmates are isolated . Others are under medical observation. They have to report if they develop symptoms,” said a senior health department official, requesting not to be named.