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India would’ve had 8.2 lakh cases without lockdown & containment measures: Health Ministry




Locals throng a grocery store after PM Modi’s announcement of 21 days of lockdown in wake of coronavirus, in Patna | PTI
Locals throng a Patna grocery store after PM Modi’s 24 March announcement of a 21-day lockdown to contain Covid-19 | Representational image | PTI

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New Delhi: There would be 8.2 lakh more cases of Covid-19 in India had the government not enforced a three-week national lockdown and containment measures, according to an analysis by the health ministry.

On 25 March, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had ordered a 21-day nationwide lockdown until April 15 to flatten the curve and stop the chain of coronavirus transmission.

“Without the lockdown and the containment plan, the cases would have increased by 41 per cent and we would have 8.2 lakh cases by April 15,” said Joint Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Lav Agarwal, citing mathematical analysis done by the ministry.

The model further showed that had India implemented containment measures but no lockdown, there would be a 28.9 per cent increase in coronavirus cases and India would have 1.2 lakh cases by April 15.

“Since India implemented both containment measures and lockdown, the number of cases today are 7,447,” said Agarwal.

Meanwhile with 1,035 new cases and 39 deaths in the last 24 hours, India recorded the highest per day increase in Covid-19 cases. The total number of confirmed cases is now at 7,447 with 239 deaths, while 642 patients have recovered until now.

Also read: Bhopal’s health dept, led by its IAS secy, becomes new corona hotspot, half city’s cases linked

Intense field exercise: First case

Talking about the contribution of frontline health workers in disease surveillance and containment efforts, Agarwal described the efforts that went into contact tracing during one of the first confirmed Covid-19 cases in Agra on 25 February.

The district team used the Smart City Control Room to coordinate the exercise, focusing on isolation and contact tracing. The team created a micro plan, delineated an area of 3 km around the case as the epicentre and an area of 5 km as the buffer zone, and used the urban health centre for planning their activities.

A team of 1,428 health workers screened more than 9 lakh residents and found 2,500 with flu-like symptoms, who were monitored. Multifunctional teams were created, which worked on different aspects of the exercise, while the district administration and the police worked on enforcing the lockdown, identifying other micro clusters and preparing the health system. While this was going on the administration also worked on supply chain management by house-to-house distribution of essential commodities such as food and medicines.

Also read: Modi’s lockdown has worked, but now India needs Sanjivani Booti, not Hanuman’s mountain


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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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