Mumbai panicked as six more persons in Maharashtra -- five in Pune and one in Nasik -- died of swine flu related complications over the past 24 hours. Delhi geared up, expecting the worst.
Pune’s toll is now 10, and India’s, 17.
<b1>Union health secretary Naresh Dayal, meanwhile, chose to attend a meeting in Atlanta in the United States, after which he will be away on anticipatory sick leave till August 25.
Mumbai, India’s commercial Capital, shut down colleges, schools, multiplexes and asked people to go slow with the Parsi New Year, Janmashtami and Independence Day celebrations.
Nearly 1,600 schools, including 1,100 run by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, have been temporarily closed to check the spread of H1N1, while most dahi handi celebrations for janmashtmi have been cancelled.
In New Delhi, the government gave its nod to three private labs — Apollo Hospitals, Dr Lal Pathlabs and Dr Dang’s Medical Diagnostic Centre — to test for the H1N1 virus.
All private hospitals have been asked to create 10-bedded isolation wards to treat H1N1 patients. “It’s now mandatory for all the private hospitals with over 200 beds to treat H1N1 patients, and if needed, we will invoked the Epidemic Disease Act to ensure it is done,” said Delhi health minister Kiran Walia.
Wednesday saw Pune's highest death toll since the first death – that of 14-year-old Rida Shaikh at Jahangir Hospital – was reported on August 3. Six persons continue to be “very critical” at Sassoon’s ICU ward.