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Andhra Pradesh imports 1 lakh Covid-19 rapid test kits from South Korea




Government hospital officials wear masks as precautionary
India is scaling up its capability to test more cases for coronavirus | ANI File Photo

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Amaravati: The Andhra Pradesh government on Friday imported one lakh rapid test kits (RTKs) from South Korea to step up Covid-19 testing in the state.

The AP government chartered a special flight to import the RTKs from Seoul directly to Vijayawada airport.

The kits, manufactured by SD Biosensor of South Korea, were presented to Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy at a high-level review meeting on Covid-19 at his camp office on Friday.

With the use of RTKs, the result could be obtained in just 10 minutes on whether or not a person carried the virus.

The state government placed an order for a total of one million RTKs and the first batch of one lakh kits was delivered on Friday.

The kits will be dispatched to all 13 districts in the next three days and doctors and other medical staff will be trained in their usage before they are put to actual use in a week.

With the arrival of one lakh RTKs, the government now seeks to ramp up testing of Corona cases to 17,000 per day by next week, Special Chief Secretary (Health) K S Jawahar Reddy said.

“We started with 90 tests per day on February 15, with just one lab in the state. Now, with seven VRDL facilities, the testing capacity has gone up to 3,000 per day.

With RTKs and TruNat machines, the testing capacity will increase to 17,000 a day in a week,” Reddy told reporters.

The Medical and Health Department is also going in for pooled sample testing, wherein one sample could determine the condition of five people.

“The ICMR has suggested this method where 100 tests will give the result of 500 people. We are initially doing the pooled sample testing in Vijayawada city,” the Special CS said.

As part of community surveillance measures, (blood) sample collection, tracking and results would all be monitored online through a new MIS module.

In the door-to-door ‘Syndromic Survey’ conducted by Asha workers and ANMs recently, over 32,000 people were found to have symptoms for Covid-19.

“In the next seven days, we will complete testing of all these 32,700 people,” Jawahar Reddy said.

Also read: Andhra Pradesh govt to distribute ration, cash relief at doorsteps through volunteers


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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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