Shripad Naik is the union minister in charge of the Ayush ministry (File)
Union Minister Shripad Naik has tested positive for the novel coronavirus. In a tweet posted Wednesday evening Mr Naik said he was asymptomatic, that his vitals were "within normal limits" and that he had opted for home isolation.
Mr Naik, who heads the Ayush (Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy) Ministry, also asked all those who had come in contact with him over the past few days to get themselves tested as well.
"I underwent COVID-19 test today and it has turned out asymptomatically positive. My vitals are within normal limits and I have opted for home isolation. Those who have come in contact with me in the last few days are advised to get tested and take required precautions," he wrote.
I underwent Covid-19 test today & it has turned out assymptomaically positive. My vitals are within normal limits and I have opted for home isolation.
Those who have came in contact with me in last few days are advised to get tested for themselves and take required precautions.
In June Mr Naik's ministry made headlines after yoga teacher Baba Ramdev said his company, Patanjali Ayurved, would launch two medicines that it claimed could cure COVID-19 patients within seven days.
The ministry stopped Patanjali from advertising the medicines and asked for data from clinical trials that Ramdev claimed were "100 per cent" successful.
Days later "Coronil and Swasari" was rebranded as a COVID-19 "management" kit. News agency Press Trust of India said the Ayush ministry had confirmed Patanjali could sell it, but not as a cure for COVID-19
There is no scientific evidence of any alternative cure for COVID-19, even as vaccines are being tested by many countries; Russia, yesterday, claimed to have developed the first to offer "sustainable immunity".
The WHO (World Health Organisation) has also cautioned against such claims.
Mr Naik is now the fifth union minister to test Covid positive. The President of the Uttar Pradesh unit of the BJP, Swatantra Dev Singh, has also tested positive.
Last week petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan said his test had returned positive and that he had admitted himself to the Medanta Hospital in Haryana's Gurgaon (near Delhi), on the advice of his doctors.
Earlier this month Home Minister Amit Shah also tested positive.
In addition to Mr Shah and Mr Pradahan, two Ministers of State have also tested positive - Arjun Ram Meghwal (MoS for Heavy Industries and Parliamentary Affairs) and Kailash Chaudhary (MoS for Agriculture and Farmer Welfare) also tested positive.
The Chief Ministers of Karnataka, BS Yediyurappa, and Madhya Pradesh, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, have also tested positive. Mr Yediyurappa was discharged from hospital this week after being treated, while Mr Chouhan remains under medical care.
This morning India passed the 23 lakh-mark in confirmed coronavirus cases, with over 60,000 new cases detected in the past 24 hours. Of the 23.29 lakh cases recorded so far, over 46,000 are deaths linked to the virus and nearly 6.44 lakh are active cases.
With input from PTI