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India reports second coronavirus death

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New Delhi (AFP)

India on Friday reported its second coronavirus fatality, a 68-year-old woman in New Delhi who died one day after officials in the capital ordered schools, cinemas and theatres closed.

The government said that the woman, who suffered from diabetes and hypertension, as well as her son, had tested positive.

India with its 1.3 billion population and proximity to China has so far come through the global virus crisis relatively unscathed with just 81 reported cases.

However, the number marks a steep increase from only about 30 on Sunday, prompting growing concern.

India announced its first death Thursday, a 76-year-old man who had died two days previously in the southern state of Karnataka, which has also ordered schools, cinemas and theatres closed.

According to a statement from the government, the deceased woman's son had traveled to Switzerland and Italy in February, and went to hospital in New Delhi on March 7, with a fever and cough.

"As per protocol, the family was screened and since he and his mother had fever and cough, both were admitted," it said in a statement.

"All the precautionary measures as per protocol including screening, quarantine of the contacts is already taken up by the Ministry of Health, Government of Delhi and status is being monitored," it added.

The second death comes as India's suspension of incoming tourists went into effect, and just days after the country ordered the closure of most border points with neighbouring Bangladesh and Myanmar.

On Friday, the Indian Premier League, the world's most lucrative cricket competition, postponed the start of this year's tournament amid mounting anxiety.

Most of the foreign cricketers would not have been able to play in the IPL because of the visa restrictions, however.

Overall, the global death toll from coronavirus has jumped to more than 5,000, as the total number of cases topped 135,000, according to an AFP tally based on official sources.

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