The central government has made it mandatory for all hospitals, including government and private, and independent medical practitioners to notify suspected COVID-19 cases to the district authorities. The number of positive coronavirus cases in India rose to 137 on Tuesday, and one more death was reported, taking the toll to three.

“ shall be mandatory for all hospitals [Government and Private], Medical officers in Government health institutions and registered Private Medical Practitioners including AYUSH Practitioners, to notify such person(s) with COVID-19 affected person [as defined in the attached annexure] to concerned district surveillance unit,” the Centre’s notification read.

The circular said that all medical practitioners will also get the self-declaration forms for notifying those with a “travel history of COVID-19 affected countries as per extant guidelines”, and came under the “definition of COVID-19 (Suspect/Case)”. It added that if any person has contact history in the past 14 days and was symptomatic, they must be placed in isolation in a hospital and tested for coronavirus infection.

The government’s notification added helpline numbers for states and Union Territories, and included definitions for COVID-19 cases.

The novel coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19 and categorised as a pandemic, has infected at least 1,97,139 people, and killed 7,916 worldwide, according to an estimate from Johns Hopkins University, which is tracking cases reported by the World Health Organization and additional sources. China has the highest number of cases with 81,704, followed by Italy with 31,506.

The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said on Tuesday that guidelines for the management of persons infected with novel coronavirus have been formed, to define a set of protocols in handling such cases. Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan told the Rajya Sabha that 54,000 people across the country are being kept under community surveillance with the help of healthcare workers.

India also extended its ban on flights from foreign countries, adding Afghanistan, Philippines and Malaysia to the list. The ban will be in force till March 31. The order was issued a day after the Centre announced that passengers from all 27 European Union countries, all four European Free Trade Association member nations, Turkey and the United Kingdom cannot enter India between March 18 and March 31.

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