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250 Indians test positive for Covid-19 in Singapore: Indian High Commission




Marina Bay in Singapore | Flickr
Marina Bay in Singapore | Flickr

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Singapore: About 250 Indians, with nearly half of them staying in close contact in the dormitories for foreign workers, have tested positive for the coronavirus in Singapore, the Indian High Commission here said on Friday.

Indian High Commissioner Jawed Ashraf told PTI that almost all of the Indians who have the disease are mostly stable or improving.

He said that the about 250 Indian nationals, who are suffering from the disease, include some permanent residents.

Of the infected Indians, nearly 50 per cent are from dormitories for foreign workers, which have emerged as the disease spreading points in the country.

The first cases from the dormitories were reported on March 29, but the number of infections has climbed to 460, of which about 200 were confirmed on Thursday.

As the country has ramped up aggressive testing in the dormitories, the numbers are expected to climb in the next few days.

Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong, who co-chairs the COVID-19 task force, said coronavirus cases in the foreign worker dormitories will continue to rise in the coming days and perhaps even in the coming weeks or so.

“But we do have a comprehensive strategy and measures are in place, and the agencies are now working round the clock to execute and implement them,” The Straits Times quoted the Minister as saying on Friday.

Noting that foreign workers will still be providing public services such as cleaning, Wong urged people not to be prejudiced against them.

“It’s not because of a foreign worker being inherently of higher risk – the risk of infection for the rest of us in the population is the same, regardless of nationality, regardless of race,” he stressed.

Singapore authorities are working to improve the living conditions in dormitories and relocating workers in other accommodations, including empty Housing Development Board flats and Army facilities, according to local media reports.

Meanwhile, Indian High Commissioner Ashraf said that the post-mortem report of a 32-year-old Indian man, who died on April 8, confirmed that he passed away because of a heart condition and not due to the COVID-19 as reported earlier.

The deceased was advised to stay at home after he underwent the coronavirus test on April 7.

As the international flights are suspended due to the lockdown in India, it would be difficult to immediately send back the deceased’s body, an informed source said, adding Singapore authorities are expected to speak to the deceased’s family.

Singapore reported 287 cases of coronavirus on Thursday, taking the total of 1,910. So far, the country has reported only 6 deaths.

Also read: 104 of 5,911 respiratory illness cases have Covid, 40 with no travel, contact history: ICMR


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Andhra doctor, suspended for alleging PPE shortage, now beaten by cops for ‘creating nuisance’




doctor with a stethoscope
A doctor with a stethoscope (Representative image) | Pixabay

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Bengaluru: A doctor with a government hospital in Andhra Pradesh, who was suspended for questioning the shortage of PPE kits, was admitted to a mental health facility Sunday, a day after he was allegedly manhandled by the police and arrested for creating nuisance in Visakhapatnam.

Dr Sudhakar Rao, a government civil surgeon, was beaten, his hands tied behind his back and dragged by police officers Sunday. During the incident, Sudhakar allegedly verbally abused the Jagan Mohan Reddy government in an inebriated state. Videos of the incident have since been widely shared online.

“The police control room received a call about a person creating nuisance on Beach Road Hospital in Visakhapatnam. The Fourth Town police was rushed there and found that the person was the suspended doctor, Sudhakar.

“When the police tried to control him, he snatched the mobile phone of an officer and threw it away. He is suffering from mental disorder and he was drunk. He was sent for a medical examination,” Vishakapatnam Police Commissioner R.K. Meena told the media Sunday.

Sudhakar was admitted to a mental hospital Sunday after doctors at the King George Hospital in Vishakapatnam said he suffered from anxiety.

“Since the doctor is in anxiety and talking irrelevant things, I have referred him to a mental care hospital in Visakhapatnam,” said Dr Radha Rani, medical superintendent, King George Hospital.

A statement released by the hospital said: “Dr Sudhakar was brought to the KGH casualty ward at 6.30 pm. From the smell, it was found that he was in a drunk condition. Under the influence of alcohol, he did not cooperate with anybody there and kept abusing all. Still, his pulse, BP were checked. Pulse was 98, BP 140/100. Blood samples were sent to forensic lab to ascertain alcohol content in his blood.”

Also read: 6 toilets for 20 houses, inadequate testing: Why Mumbai’s Worli chawls are a Covid hotspot

‘Treatment towards Sudhakar was inhuman’

Sudhakar, who spent more than 10 years at the Narsipatnam Government Hospital in Andhra Pradesh, was suspended from his duties in March after he openly criticised the Reddy government for failing to provide PPE kits and N95 masks to doctors treating Covid-19 patients.

He had alleged that the state government was giving N95 masks and PPE kits meant for doctors to politicians and the police.

A video of Sudhakar criticising the government was also shared widely. In the clip, he can be heard saying: “We are putting our lives at risk here. We are asked to use the same mask for 15 days and a fresh mask will be provided only twice a month.”

Speaking to ThePrint, Dr P. Gangadhar Rao, member of the National COVID Committee of the Indian Medical Association, said the manner in which Sudhakar was manhandled by the police was “inhuman” and “violated” human rights.

“We strongly condemn the way he was taken into custody. He was not carrying a weapon, he was alone, the number of policemen outnumbered him. Why treat him like that? We also saw a video where a policeman beats him with a lathi,” said Dr Gangadhar.

He added that Rao was one of the most experienced anaesthetists the Andhra Pradesh government had.

“Our next step of action is to get Sudhakar to write an unconditional apology for having used filthy language, abusing the chief minister and the government. We will then take our appeal to the CM seeking that he be reinstated,” Gangadhar said.

Also read: Face shields, gowns, masks — the new attire for cabin crew post lockdown


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