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State minister announces India's first coronavirus death

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New Delhi (AFP)

A 76-year-old man who recently died tested positive for the novel coronavirus, an Indian state health minister reported Thursday, marking the country's first fatality from the global pandemic.

The man "has been Confirmed for #COVID19. The necessary contact tracing, isolation & other measures as per protocol are being carried out," B Sriramulu, health minister for Karnataka state, wrote on Twitter.

The man, who recently returned from Saudi Arabia and had a history of hypertension, diabetes and asthma, died on Tuesday night, according to the Press Trust of India (PTI).

Sriramulu said the man was from the city of Kalburgi, in the country's south.

India's growing number of cases now totals 73, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

The announcement comes one day after the country of 1.3 billion suspended all tourist visas until April 15 and said it would quarantine travellers arriving from seven virus-hit countries.

The virus has so far infected more than 127,000 people globally and killed over 4,600, according to an AFP tally.

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