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Parliament security personnel conduct thermal scanning of Vice-President of India M. Venkaiah Naidu in the wake of the coronavirus threat at the Parliament House, in New Delhi on Wednesday. Image Credit: ANI

Dubai: A 34-year-old soldier in the Indian army has tested positive for the coronavirus in Leh, army sources said on Wednesday as the total number of cases in India rose to 151.

The total tally of 151 includes 25 foreign nationals and the three people who died after getting the infection.

The soldier, a resident of Chuhot village in Leh, came in contact with his father, who had returned from a pilgrimage in Iran by an Air India flight on February 20 and tested positive for COVID-19, PTI reported. He has been in quarantine at the Ladakh Heart Foundation since February 29. Before being quarantined, the soldier’s father had met family members.

The soldier was on leave from February 25 and rejoined duty on March 2, sources said, adding he was quarantined on March 7 and tested positive on March 16.

Even the soldier’s brother has tested positive, sources said. The soldier has been isolated at the Sonam Nurboo Memorial (SNM) Hospital. His sister, wife and two children are also quarantined at SNM Heart Foundation.

“Even though the soldier had rejoined duty, he was helping his family during his father’s quarantine period and stayed at Chuchot village for some time,” they said. Those who came in contact with the soldier have been quaratined.

Health officials said the total number of novel coronavirus cases in the country rose to 147 with 10 fresh cases reported from various parts of the country.

The cases include 25 foreign nationals and the three persons who died in Delhi, Karnataka and Maharashtra, officials.

Meanwhile, in a written reply in Lok Sabha, Minister of State for External Affairs, V Muraleedharan, said the total number of Indians infected by coronavirus abroad is 276, including 255 in Iran.

Incidentally, Muraleedharan on Tuesday announced that he has quarantined himself at his residence in the national capital as a precautionary measure after a medical institute he had visited recently in south India reported a COVID-19 case. He has tested negative for the infection.

MPs go through thermal scanning at Parliament

Ministers as well as MPs have to go through thermal scanning before getting entry into Parliament premises on Wednesday for the first time as a precautionary measure to contain the spread of coronavirus.

The thermal screening began in Parliament as the government decided to continue the session till April 3 unlike various state assemblies which have adjourned their proceedings.

The precautionary measures began in Parliament on Monday with visitors going through the process before entering its premises after the COVID-19 was declared pandemic by the World Health Organisation. Besides, small containers of hand sanitisers were also placed by the side of the security personnel, near the 12 entry gates. The visitor passes were also banned on Monday.

Japan returnee IIT-R student tests negative

An IIT-Roorkee student (IIT-R) student who returned from Japan earlier this month has tested negative for the novel coronavirus. The student, a research scholar in the Physics Department, had returned on March 3, IANS reported. Meanwhile, four of the eight students quarantined earlier have been released whereas the remaining four are still in isolation since their virus-free status is not yet known, the IIT-R said in a statement on Wednesday.

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The institute has taken measures in view of an increase in coronavirus cases in the country, including suspension of classes, conferences, seminars, and workshops till March 31.

One more tests positive in Telangana

The number of COVID-19 positive cases in Telangana rose to six as a man with travel history to United Kingdom tested positive on Wednesday. The person was admitted to government-run Gandhi Hospital here, health officials said. His condition is stated to be stable. The state has been reporting a positive case every day since Saturday. An Indonesian citizen was tested positive on Tuesday. He was part of the 10-member group from Indonesia, which had come to Karimnagar town for a religious meet. A techie, who was tested positive on March 2, was discharged on March 13. Four others are also undergoing treatment at Gandhi Hospital.

Uttar Pradesh plans cash handouts

The northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, with a population of about 200 million, is planning to provide cash transfers to labourers earning wages daily to shield workers without formal jobs as the coronavirus outbreak slows economic activity.

The state has formed a panel to study the proposal for transferring cash directly to bank accounts of labourers. A report will be submitted within three days.

“The state government has decided to provide a set amount in bank accounts of labourers so that their families don’t suffer from the side effects of coronavirus,” Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said via a Twitter message on Tuesday, without giving details of how much is being planned as payouts.

Students till Grade 8 to be promoted without exams in UP

The Uttar Pradesh government, has decided that all students up to Grade 8 would be promoted to the next class without examinations. Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma, who holds the education portfolio, said that the decision had been taken in view of the closure of schools. “The students will be promoted on the basis of the performance all year round.” The state government has also postponed the evaluation of answer sheets for the 2020 high school and intermediate examinations till April 2.

- with inputs from agencies