NEW DELHI, March 10 - Twelve more people have tested positive for coronavirus � six in Kerala and three each in Karnataka and Pune, state authorities said on Tuesday as the total cases went up to 59 and amid COVID-19 scare, a combination of two anti-HIV drugs was used for the first time in India in the treatment of two patients.
The health ministry said the total number of confirmed cases has risen to 50, adding that the rest are being retested for confirmation. Once the fresh cases declared by the state governments are taken into account, the figure will go up to 59.
In Karnataka, Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa said four persons have been confirmed for coronavirus, including three new cases. In Pune also, three persons tested positive, a day after two cases were reported.
In the morning, 58 Indians were brought back home from coronavirus-hit Iran in a military transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF). They have been quarantined at a medical facility in Hindon.
IAF spokesperson Group Captain Anupam Banerjee said the C-17 Globemaster aircraft evacuated 25 men, 31 women and two children. It also brought swab samples of 529 Indians to carry out laboratory tests and check whether they have coronavirus infection.
Announcing the latest cases in Kerala at a media interaction in Thiruvananthapuram after a special cabinet meeting held to discuss the coronavirus situation, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said at least 1,116 people are under observation � 149 in isolation wards of various hospitals and 967 under home quarantine.
In Jaipur, the combination of lopinavir and ritonavir, both second-line HIV drugs, was administered on an elderly Italian couple undergoing treatment for COVID-19 at the SMS Hospital.
The Drug Controller General of India approved �restricted use� of these medications for treating those affected by novel coronavirus after the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) sought their emergency approval.
SMS Hospital medical superintendent Dr DS Meena said the Italian man and his wife had developed severe respiratory problems following which a decision was taken to put them on the combination of lopinavir and ritonavir.
In Karnataka, a software engineer who returned from the US on March 1 tested positive on Monday, becoming the first COVID-19 patient in the state. According to health department officials, his wife and daughter too tested positive for the virus on Tuesday.
After Mizoram, Manipur has shut its border with Myanmar indefinitely amid the novel coronavirus scare. Mizoram had on Monday sealed its borders with Myanmar and Bangladesh, and banned the entry of foreigners to prevent the spread of the deadly coronavirus. � PTI