Bangalore Reports First Fatality, H1N1 Death Toll 20

A 26-year-old woman on Thursday became the first to fall prey to the deadly A/H1N1 influenza in the silicon city of Bangalore, even as deaths of a male infant and a 75 year old woman were reported from Mimbai and Pune taking the death toll in the fast expanding epidemic to 20.

The infant, 11 month old Rutwik Kamle, underwent treatment at a private hospital in Pune, before being referred to the government-run Sassoon Hospital last evening, he died early on Thursday morning.

Bharti Goyal, who was suffering from the viral infection, died in KEM Hospital in the commercial capital of Mumbai, where schools, college and cinema halls remain closed in a bid to contain the ghastly virus.

While schools and colleges have been shut down for a week, cinema halls taking a severe thrashing in the midst of the festive season have decided to close down for three days.

Authorities maintain that the closure was forced by public pressure and should not be construed as a reason for panic.

Speaking to a television channel Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan described the shut down as a preventive measure.

The release of a number of films scheduled for Friday was deferred due to the cinema hall closure in Mumbai, which serves as home to India’s booming film industry.

In a never before move, the famous Dahi Handi celebrations have been cancelled by many of the Mumbai Gokulotsav Samitis, celebrating the birth of Lord Krishna on Friday.

In Gujarat, ten people were tested positive for swine flu on Wednesday night, the identification rakes the total number of confirmed cases in the country to above 1200 and with scores of suspected cases awaiting results from the laboratories the number may well be expected to swell over the next few days.

With the spread of the disease beginning to trigger a psychosis, Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad on Thursday apprised the Union Cabinet of the swine flu situation in the country.

Azad, according to reports, also spoke of possible preventive measures that could be taen to contain the virus spread.

Speaking to the media, he said the Government is monitoring the situation and taking all possible steps to contain the pandemic.

While advising against panic, he urged people to employ all measures to restrict the pandemic.

Reacting to media reports of a shortage of facial masks, Azad said, not everyone, but those with flu symptoms were to wear masks to ensure that they did not pass on the possible infection of the dreaded A/H1N1 influenza, the first pandemic to hit the world in over four decades.

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