Around 500 people self-isolated on Tuesday in the staff quarters of the Indian presidential palace when the coronavirus that spread through South Asia struck the hearts of governments in the region.
The alarm was raised at the residence of President Ram Nath Kovind in Delhi after the daughter-in-law of a sanitation worker living in employee rooms tested positive. Neither Kovind, 74, nor his aides would isolate themselves as they would not have come into contact with lower-level workers, authorities said. The president has a mainly ceremonial role.
Families of palace workers living in 114 apartments on the grounds were ordered to stay indoors, and seven members of the sanitation worker's family were quarantined.
The 1.3 billion people in India were ordered to stay indoors for 40 days under a national blockade to stop the spread of the virus.
Indian authorities have confirmed 18,984 cases of Covid-19, including 603 deaths, a low figure compared to Western countries with much smaller populations, although authorities say the lack of evidence may mean that many more cases have not been reported. .
An employee of the Indian parliament also tested positive but did not come to work, an official said. The administrative wing of the legislature reopened Monday as part of a staggered exit from the shutdown.
While the total number of confirmed infections is increasing, Indian health authorities said transmission speed was slowing down thanks to the blockade, in effect until May 3.
The "doubling rate," the number of days that infections are multiplied by two, has increased to 7.5 days, from 3.4 days before closing, said joint secretary of the Health Ministry, Lav Agarwal. "This is an extremely positive trend," he said.