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COVID-19 death? Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope says ascertaining exact cause

Tope’s statement came after it was widely reported this morning that a man from suburban Ghatkopar in Mumbai having a travel history to Dubai has become the first victim of novel coronavirus infection in Maharashtra.

COVID-19 death? Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope says ascertaining exact cause
"We are yet to ascertain whether the 63-year-old man who had returned from Dubai died due to COVID-19 infection or because of pre-existing ailments," Tope told reporters. (Twitter image)

Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope on Tuesday said the exact cause behind the death of a 63-year-old man from Mumbai, who is suspected to have died of COVID-19, is being ascertained as the deceased was also suffering from various ailments. Tope’s statement came after it was widely reported this morning that a man from suburban Ghatkopar in Mumbai having a travel history to Dubai has become the first victim of novel coronavirus infection in Maharashtra.

“We are yet to ascertain whether the 63-year-old man who had returned from Dubai died due to COVID-19 infection or because of pre-existing ailments,” Tope told reporters.

The minister said the man had returned to Mumbai on March 5, and was admitted to a private hospital after he complained of ill health. “He was having difficulty in breathing, prompting Health officials to shift him to the civic-run Kasturba Hospital,” the minister said. The hospital is a nodal facility with dedicated staff for admitting suspected novel coronavirus patients. “The man was responding well to medication but died around 7 am,” Tope said.

Meanwhile, a statement issued by the Public Health department of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said the “patient who was tested positive for Covid-19 had high blood pressure, pneumonia and inflammation of hearth muscles”. “Increased heart rate led to his death,” it stated.

The 63-year-old was admitted in Kasturba Hospital on March 12, it added. Earlier, confirming the death, BMC Commissioner Praveen Pardeshi had said, “The patient had hypertension and severe pneumonia. Suddenly, his heart rate went very high before he died”. Pardeshi also added that it would be incorrect to say that the deceased died solely because of COVID-19 infection. As on Monday, Maharashtra reported the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the country at 39.

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First published on: 17-03-2020 at 14:39 IST