(Photo by NOAH SEELAM / AFP)

Mumbai: A 68-year-old citizen of Philippines, who had tested positive for coronavirus before showing signs of recovery and testing negative, was declared dead at a private hospital in Mumbai late on Sunday night.

The Union Health Ministry, however, said it “is not a Covid-19 death”, and that the man had underlying kidney problems and died due to renal failure. Meanwhile, Maharashtra has recorded the largest single-day jump in coronavirus cases, with 23 new cases being reported in a 24-hour period.

The number of patients who have tested positive in Maharashtra has now mounted to 97. Of the new cases reported on Monday, 13 were in Mumbai, four in Sangli, three in Thane, and one each in Vasai, Pune and Satara.

Around 53 cases have been reported in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region till date, which has also seen the deaths of two patients who had tested positive for coronavirus. While 10 of the new cases are of people who are ‘close contacts’ of those who have tested positive for coronavirus earlier, the other seven are those with travel history to Sydney, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Nigeria or Peru.

The state government maintains that the increase is not due to community transmission of the disease. Speaking earlier in the day, State Health Minister Rajesh Tope said the new cases reported were either of patients who had travel history to other countries, or those who met friends or family members who had tested positive for coronavirus.

“This should not be termed as community spread," Tope said, appealing to people not to panic. He said only two patients were in ICU, and many of the others who had tested positive did not have symptoms. "The corona affected patients are recovering. Therefore, there is no need to be panic. What is needed is strict adherence to social distancing," he stressed.

According to the health department of the BMC, the 68- year-old Philippines citizen was admitted to Kasturba Hospital on March 13 and was under treatment for COVID-19 but was later moved to a private hospital.

Health officials said the patient's swab test was negative for coronavirus before he died, but due to comorbidities, his condition had deteriorated. "We cannot say he was cured. Until a person completes 14 days of treatment in an isolation ward, we cannot say so. But his pre-existing health conditions affected his recovery,” a health official said.

The patient had a medical history of diabetes mellitus and asthma. During treatment, he developed acute renal failure with respiratory distress. “As the patient had tested negative for the virus, the death review committee will verify his medical reports.

Only after this can we declare whether he died of coronavirus or due to comorbidities,” said Dr Daksha Shah, deputy executive health officer, BMC. Earlier, health minister Tope announced, “Testing labs will start in all hospitals attached to medical colleges from March 27. All testing facilities will work for 24 hours."

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Free Press Journal