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Nationwide tally of confirmed Covid-19 cases crosses 7,000

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Deserted view of Connaught place on Tuesday | Photo: Suraj Singh Bisht | ThePrint
Deserted view of Connaught place on Tuesday | Photo: Suraj Singh Bisht | ThePrint


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New Delhi: The nationwide tally of confirmed COVID-19 cases crossed 7,000 on Friday with at least 236 deaths as several places including Delhi and Mumbai reported further spread of the deadly virus and Punjab became the second state to extend the lockdown till April 30, a day before Prime Minister Narendra Modi meets chief ministers to take stock of the situation.

The Union Home Ministry also sought views of state governments on the 21-day lockdown including whether more categories of people and services need to be exempted, officials said on Friday, amidst indications of a possible two-week extension of the nationwide restrictions to curb the spread of coronavirus.

The Health Ministry in the meantime maintained that no community transmission is taking place as yet in India, while the World Health Organisation also put the country in a category named ‘cluster of cases’ — a notch below the community transmission stage and a classification used by the global body for cases “clustered in time, geographic location and/or by common exposures”.

While several states including Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Jammu & Kashmir and Uttar Pradesh reported rising number of cases, the Union Health Ministry said the rate of people testing positive was only 0.2 per cent on Thursday when more than 16,000 samples were tested. Cumulatively close to 1.5 lakh samples have been tested so far across India.

 

A PTI tally of numbers reported by various states as on 7 PM showed a total of 7,049 having been affected by the virus nationwide so far with at least 236 deaths. More than 650 have been cured and discharged.

However, the evening update from the Union Health Ministry put the number of confirmed infections at 6,761 and the death toll at 206.

Maharashtra has reported the maximum 1,385 cases, including close to 1,000 in Mumbai itself, while at least 97 people have died in the state. Tamil Nadu has over 900 caes, Delhi has more than 700 cases and Rajasthan has over 500, while Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh have reported more than 400 positive cases each.


Also read: What if coronavirus crisis had hit India under Manmohan Singh, not Modi


Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, however, said most of the 27 positive cases reported in his state on Thursday — the maximum daily increase for the state — were those of secondary transmission and expressed apprehension that the state may be entering the community transmission stage of the outbreak.

A day after Odisha decided to extend the lockdown till April 30, Punjab also did the same on Friday, while a decision by the central government on the nationwide lockdown, which entered its 17th day, is expected after Modi’s interaction with all chief ministers on Saturday.

In Tamil Nadu, an expert committee recommended to Chief Minister K Palaniswami that the lockdown be extended by two weeks beyond April 14 considering the rise in number of cases.

A review meeting was also held by the Prime Minister’s Office during the day on various efforts to check the coronavirus spread, which also discussed ramping up of production of personal protective equipments (PPEs) among other issues.

The Home Ministry, separately, has sought views of state governments on the 21-day lockdown, scheduled to end on April 14, including whether more categories of people and services need to be exempted, officials said on Friday.

Some of the suggestions made by state governments include allowing construction-related activities in rural areas.

The central government, while imposing the lockdown, had announced that shops dealing in essential commodities, including the online platforms, will remain open, besides services like health, sanitation, police, media, agriculture and banking. Movements of essential and non-essential cargos were also allowed by the government, but there have been reports about disruptions in the supply chain due to lack of labourers and trucks, among other issues.

There have also been reports of depleting levels of essential goods from various parts of the country.

Some states such as Kerala have suggested phased opening of the lockdown, while other suggestions from various states include allowing liquor sale to shore up the revenues and to allow private vehicles on an odd-even basis. However, most states have suggested keeping the public road transport, rail and airline services suspended for more time. Many have also recommended keeping state borders sealed, except for goods movement.

A few states have also suggested area-specific lockdown with stricter restrictions, which are as such being followed in the places identified as hotspots of the virus spread.

In the meantime, more states including Odisha and Telangana made it mandatory for people to wear masks or face covers at public places, while enforcement was beefed up for action against those violating the lockdown conditions.

The Centre also asked states not to allow religious gatherings and processions.

Government officials also said that a decision on bringing Indians from abroad will be taken at a later stage after reviewing the COVID-19 situation.

Globally, more than 16 lakh have tested positive for this deadly virus ever since it was first noticed in China last December, while the worldwide death toll has crossed 96,000. While more than 15,000 have died in the US alone, France has also reported over 12,000 deaths.


Also read: In fight against coronavirus, India has age on its side. Numbers show


 

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India

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

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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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