Valley News Desk

Total cases of COVID-19 in India touch 169; global figure crosses 2,00,000.
With 255 Indians testing positive for novel coronavirus in Iran and another 21 in other countries, the total number of Indian nationals afflicted by the COVID-19 pandemic rose to 413. The cases within the country touched 169, on March 18.

Globally, the number of cases crossed 2,00,000.

The Ministry of External Affairs confirmed in the Lok Sabha that as many as 255 pilgrims visiting Iran from Kashmir and Ladakh had been affected.

The Iranian government sent officials for inspection of the hotels where the Indian nationals were staying without maintaining quarantine conditions, Asghar Ali, one of the group leaders in Qom, told The Hindu.

“More people with COVID-19 positive status will be shifted but the hotel cannot accommodate all the patients. Many patients have been unwell over the last eight days and have had no arrangement for necessary medical care,” said Mr. Ali over phone.

Nadeem Bhat, a group leader from Kashmir, calling on the Centre to intervene, said, “We will have no option but to sit on the road as the hotels will have to be evacuated and we have nowhere to go.”

A third batch of 195 Indians from Iran were brought to Jaisalmer by an Air India aircraft on March 18 evening.

After being screened at the airport, they were shifted to the Army wellness facility at the Jaisalmer military station, defence officials said. It was not immediately clear from which Iranian city these Indians had been airlifted to Jaisalmer.

“With the arrival of this batch of evacuees, the total number of quarantined people housed at the Army wellness facility in Jaisalmer rose to 484,” an Army statement said.

Cases in India
According to reports from the States, 19 new COVID-19 cases were reported within the country, while 14 persons had been discharged. The number of active cases is now 145.

Over 5,700 people, who had come in contact with positive cases, continue to be under rigorous surveillance, the government said.

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), which tested 1,040 samples of patients, said 500 samples were negative but is yet to release the results of the remaining 540.

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