HYDERABAD: Andhra Pradesh on Friday reported its first death of a 55-year-old man due to the novel coronavirus (covid-19). His samples tested positive for the virus after his death. The state government today reported 12 new cases, with the total now at 161.
According to a media bulletin from the Andhra Pradesh government, the deceased’s son had returned to Vijayawada from New Delhi, after attending the religions congregation at Markaz Nizamuddin, on 17 March. On 31 March, the son had tested positive for covid-19. It is likely that the dead was infected with the virus by his son. The state has quarantined 29 contacts of the father-son duo, who come from Kummaripalem in Vijayawada.
The Andhra Pradesh government has informed the Centre of the flight in which the son of the dead had travelled. “All precautions have been taken as per the covid-19 protocol. Though the deceased had other health problems, so initially it was difficult to know whether he died due to those or covid-19. But now it has been ascertained that he died of the virus,” said the bulletin.
Another statement from the state government said of the total positive cases so far, 140 are linked to the religious congregation conducted by the Tablighi Jamaat, a sect of Sunni islam, at Delhi’s Markaz Nizamuddin in March.
On Thursday, the total number of positive covid-19 cases was at 149. So far, the state has identified 1,085 people who are either from or are linked to the Tablighi Jamaat members. The statement also said 613 people who were tested for covid-19 are those, and their family members, who attended the congregation.
Andhra Pradesh had reported 32 new covid-19 cases on Thursday, and a day prior to that, 68 positive cases–all linked to the Tablighi Jamat congregation–were reported.
Chief minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy said the state will get two more testing centres at Guntur and Kakinada.
In the neighbouring state of Telangana, 27 new positive cases were reported on Thursday, with the total reaching 154. So far, nine have died in the state due to the virus. Around 300-400 people are believed to have attended the congregation from Telangana.
Last month, both states had announced pay cuts in salaries of government employees and elected representatives. In Andhra Pradesh, the government passed an order to defer 100% payment of salaries of the chief minister, the state’s MLAs, MLCs, all elected members of local bodies and people holding equivalent positions and members of all state corporations.
The decision was made given all revenue streams of Andhra Pradesh have dried up due to the 21-day nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of the virus. In a statement, Reddy said the state’s expenditure has “highly increased” while income has drastically reduced and thanked the (state) employees as they gave their consent on the postponement of payments.
According to the state’s order, the salaries of IAS/IPS/IFS officers will also be deferred by 60%, while all the government employees, except class-four employees including work-charged employees and persons engaged through a third party, will also have their salaries/wages/remuneration slashed by 50%. Class-four employees will see a reduction by 10% in their salaries.
In Telangana, anticipating a tough economic climate ahead, chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao has announced a salary-cut of 75% for himself, the state’s MLAs, MLCs, state corporation chairpersons and representatives of other local bodies. He, however, said it won’t apply to doctors and police officers and that they will also receive incentives for their service.
The pay-cut in Telangana has also been extended to IAS/IPS/IFS and other such central government services officers who will see their salaries slashed by 60%, while all other category of employees will see their salaries halved.