96 new swine flu cases in India, total 712

While Maharashtra alone reported 53 cases, two doctors also tested positive.

The 96 cases reported Friday were in Delhi (12), Gurgaon (6) Pune (37), Mumbai (16), Bangalore (10), Mangalore (3) Hyderabad (4), Chennai (4), Kolkata (3), and Calicut (1), the ministry added.

So far 3,223 people have been tested, of whom 712 are positive for influenza A(H1N). At least 511 have been discharged. A 14-year-old schoolgirl from Pune, Rida Shaikh, succumbed to the virus while the rest are still admitted to identified health facilities and are being treated.

With three doctors having been quarantined on being tested positive for swine flu, the Delhi government Friday issued a set of guidelines to schools, colleges and institutions to check the spread of the disease.

Under the guidelines, the institutions have been asked to keep a watchful eye on any student or staff member with persistent symptoms of cough, cold and fever and to report such cases to local health officers for monitoring.

"The instructions of the Ministry of Health with regard to influenza A(H1N1) have been issued to the schools, colleges and institutions for managing cases of infection," said Delhi Health Minister Kiran Walia.

"All hospitals under the Delhi government will screen and counsel swine flu patients, but whether they are to be quarantined will depend on the doctor," she said.

Meanwhile, a Class 6 student of the Sanskriti School in the capital, who was suspected to be down with swine flu Thursday evening, tested negative for the disease Friday after her samples were sent to the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD).

Anjali Bali, a teacher at Sanskriti, said the school decided to remain closed Friday as a precautionary measure, but since the student had tested negative, it would reopen Monday.

Of the 96 new swine flu cases Friday, Maharashtra alone reported 53 cases, the highest so far in the country. Of these, Pune saw 37 new cases, two of whom were doctors. Authorities said people coming out voluntarily to get themselves tested is the reason behind the spurt in the number of cases.

While a majority of the cases in Delhi are contact cases, in Gurgaon, one out of six new cases has travel history. In Pune, 36 of the 37 cases are contact cases. The 37th patient had returned from Thailand last week.

In Mumbai, a 12-year-old girl and her 14-year-old sister had travelled from the US. The rest of the 14 cases are contact cases. In Bangalore, all the 10 cases are contact cases. Of the three cases in Mangalore, two have travel history to Malaysia.

In Hyderabad, three of the four cases reported have foreign travel history. Of the four cases in Chennai, a 23-year-old man is a contact case. Two of the other three cases are from a family who travelled from the US, and the fourth patient had returned from Britain.

Of the three cases in Kolkata, two do not have any travel history. The third is a Japanese citizen. The single patient in Calicut had returned from Dubai.

Though the disease is spreading fast, Health Secretary Naresh Dayal said there was no need to panic as the government is taking all steps to control the virus.

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