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Coronavirus cases in Delhi climb to 1,510, task force set up to identify suspected cases




A deserted street in Paharganj during the nationwide lockdown | Photo: Suraj Singh Bisht | ThePrint
A deserted street in Paharganj, Delhi, during the nationwide Covid-19 lockdown | Photo: Suraj Singh Bisht | ThePrint

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New Delhi: The number of coronavirus cases in Delhi rose to 1,510 on Monday and four deaths were reported within 24 hours, as the Delhi government set up a task force to identify suspected coronavirus cases in all districts of the city.

With the number of COVID-19 containment zones in the city rising to 47 on Monday, a massive sanitisation drive has begun in those areas to prevent further spread of the disease.

According to a Delhi government health department bulletin, 356 fresh cases were reported on Monday — the highest spike in a day so far. The death toll also rose to 28.

On Sunday, the number of COVID-19 cases stood at 1154.

More cases of medical and para-medical personnel being tested novel coronavirus positive were reported.

A doctor, a nurse and a non-medical staff at Max Hospital in south Delhi’s Saket have tested positive for the virus.

In Sir Ganga Ram Hospital in central Delhi, COVID-19 tests were conducted on all 115 healthcare workers who were quarantined two weeks ago and only three of them have tested positive.

The three who tested positive for the pathogen are an endoscopy technician and two nurses, hospital authorities said.

Amid the rising number of cases, a ‘Corona Foot Warriors Containment and Surveillance Force’ has been constituted at every booth level by Chief Secretary Vijay Dev, a Delhi government official told PTI.

Each team of the force will have five members including a booth-level officer, civil defence volunteer, police constable, sanitation and anganwadi worker, the official said.

According to him, 13,750 such teams will also advise people to maintain social distancing and wear masks when going outdoors.

The teams will recommend suspected cases for testing to the district health authorities, the official said, adding anganwadi workers will be trained by the health department.

The government launched a massive sanitisation drive in those areas declared as red zones, and high-risk zones identified by the colour orange to prevent the spread of the disease.

“Massive sanitisation drive underway in Delhi. Sixty machines, including 10 hi-tech Japanese machines, have been deployed,” Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted.

The administration ran a pilot disinfection drive using the hi-tech Japanese spray machines at Rajinder Nagar Assembly constituency.

“The key target of the Delhi government is to focus on containment zones. Therefore, the disinfection drive will start with the red zones. In Rajinder Nagar Vidhan Sabha, we have started a pilot project with three such machines in presence of experts to analyse the performance and results thereof,” local MLA Raghav Chadha said.

“We sanitised the whole area and studied all the necessary parameters. After a careful consultation with the experts, it has been decided that this is a fully equipped technology, and the disinfection drive should immediately start at the containment zones,” he said.

This is the first time in India that such advanced Japanese technology is being used to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, he claimed, adding the length of the machine is adjustable and as such it can enter narrow lanes.

The chemical composition used for the disinfection drive adheres to WHO guidelines. These machines spray disinfectants in a way that can kill germs and virus on any solid surface, according to a statement.

Meanwhile, in order to ensure strict compliance of social distancing norms, the Delhi government will implement odd-even rules in all wholesale markets of the city. Traders will sell vegetables on alternate days, Delhi Development Minister Gopal Rai told PTI.

He said the government has also decided to stagger the timings for sale of vegetables and fruits in these ‘mandis’ to ensure social distancing.

“Vegetables will be sold from 6 am to 11 am and fruits from 2 pm to 6 pm in all wholesale markets in Delhi,” Rai said, adding that the decisions were taken at a meeting chaired by him.

There are five major wholesale vegetable and fruit markets in the national capital, including the Azadpur mandi, the Ghazipur mandi and the Okhla mandi. Also, there two wholesale ‘anaj mandis’ (wheat markets) in Najafgarh and Narela.

As per the odd-even rule, sheds, under which traders sell vegetables, will be allowed to operate on alternate days according to their numbers, Rai said.

Also read: Delhi govt to implement odd-even rules in wholesale markets in view of coronavirus crisis


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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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