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These 10 cities have over half of India’s Covid-19 cases. Ahmedabad, Indore among top 5

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Few vehicles are seen on a deserted road of Marine Drive during the nationwide lockdown on 15 April 2020 | Shashank Parade | PTI
Few vehicles are seen on a deserted road of Marine Drive during the nationwide lockdown on 15 April 2020 | Shashank Parade | PTI


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New Delhi: More than half of India’s 17,265 cases of Covid-19 as of Monday morning are located in 10 major cities.

ThePrint’s analysis shows Mumbai (2,724), New Delhi (2,003), Ahmedabad (1,109), Indore (890), Pune (591), Jaipur (535), Hyderabad (337), Chennai (285), Surat (242) and Agra (242) together account for 8,958 cases in the country.

Among the 170 districts identified as hotspots, or red zones, across the country, most are part of Mumbai, Delhi, Pune, Bengaluru and Hyderabad cities.

The high numbers in these areas are primarily because of the high concentration of those with foreign travel history, and more testing facilities.

However, despite better testing, the challenge for these civic administrations is in containing the spread of Covid-19, as the strategies that have worked in smaller districts may not work in large and crowded cosmopolitan cities, especially in slum pockets.

As India’s case load goes up, albeit at a slower pace now, ThePrint looks at these 10 cities that have the highest number of cases, and their efforts to contain the disease.


Also read: AIIMS, Safdarjung Hospital begin testing bodies for Covid-19 before conducting autopsies


Mumbai

Maharashtra’s capital remains the worst affected city in the country, which has reported 2,724 cases out of the state’s 4,200. The rapid spread of the virus in the city has led the state to conduct more than 35,085 tests (as on 16 April). Mumbai has recorded 132 out of the state’s 223 deaths, exposing the gaps in the city’s public health infrastructure.

In half of the cases, delays in testing and admission led to the deaths.

With more than 100 cases found in Dharavi, one of Asia’s biggest slums, and in other slum clusters like near the city’s dumping grounds, the trend of rising cases may continue.

Mumbai’s Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has demarcated 438 neighbourhoods as containment zones — the highest in the country. Facing increased scrutiny and criticism, the city’s civic corporation on 12 April decided to not test asymptomatic contacts of the confirmed cases, going against national guidelines.

The administration cited the reason that the existing testing kits were not utilised fully. It also decided that no death will be recorded as a Covid-death without an audit.

New Delhi

The national capital has the second highest number of coronavirus cases in the country with 2,003 cases and 45 deaths — only the second Indian city to record over 2,000 cases. However, the city has conducted only 18,784 tests (as of 16 April) — half of Mumbai’s number.

Close to 63 per cent of the cases in Delhi are linked to the Tablighi Jamaat religious congregation at Nizammudin held in mid-March, according to the Union health ministry.

Considering the large number of Covid-19 cases found in Delhi, 76 areas in the city have been declared as containment zones. On Saturday, Delhi received 42,000 new rapid testing kits that will be used in the containment zones, said Delhi Health Minister Satyendra Jain.

Ahmedabad

The number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in the Gujarat capital is at 1,109, out of the state’s tally of 1,743 and 29 deaths. More than 140 new cases were detected Sunday — mostly from the congested slums of the old city area, which has left the authorities worried.

Even 16 police officers have tested positive in Ahmedabad. Meanwhile, the city’s SVP Hospital has received a nod from the Indian Council of Medical Research to conduct convalescent plasma therapy — where plasma from recovered patients is transfused in sick coronavirus patients. The hospital claims to have got consent from a recovered patient for the procedure.


Also read: ‘At least Modi is feeding us’ — migrants, poor say lockdown is tough but give PM a thumbs up


Indore

The ‘cleanest city’ in the country has also emerged as a Covid-19 hotspot, accounting for 890 cases, or 64 per cent of the total 1,400 reported in Madhya Pradesh, and 42 deaths. These numbers are considerably high given Indore’s population (3.2 million) is one-fifth of Delhi’s (16 million) and it still has almost half of Delhi’s Covid-19 figure.

ThePrint had earlier reported how Indore launched a mammoth case-finding exercise to seek more cases after the city reported its first death. Most of the cases in Indore don’t have a travel history and have been reported from the city’s low-income pockets.

In order to keep up with the samples collected, Indore revamped its swine flu testing lab by adding more RT-PCR machines and increased its capacity from conducting 1 to over 350 tests a day.

Pune

The second worst affected city in Maharashtra after Mumbai is Pune, reporting 591 cases and 51 deaths. The first case in the city was recorded when a couple returned from Dubai and tested positive for Covid-19 on 9 March. Within days of cases emerging, Maharashtra invoked the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 in Pune and others to give the state more powers to control the spread. On Sunday, the entire metropolitan areas of Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad, with a population of 7.5 million, were declared a containment zone to be entirely locked down until 27 April.

Jaipur

The number of confirmed cases in the Rajasthan capital stood at 535, accounting for 40 per cent of the state’s total. Of these, 321 cases came from Jaipur’s Ramganj locality. Most of them can be traced to a 45-year-old male who came from Oman and met his relatives and acquaintances in the locality. The area has now been sealed and divided into 30 clusters where door-to-door screening was conducted and most of his contacts sent to quarantine.


Also read: How state govts are crowding out cash-strapped companies from debt market


Hyderabad

The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC), which includes Hyderabad, has reported 337 out of the 791 confirmed cases in Telangana. Most of the cases detected in Hyderabad are related to the Tablighi Jamaat congregation in Delhi and located in the old city area, according to the state authorities. Out of the 221 containment clusters in Telangana, 139 are in Hyderabad. Considering the number of cases, a senior medical officer along with municipal, police and revenue officers have been assigned to each of GHMC’s 30 circles.

Chennai

The Tamil Nadu capital is the worst hit with 285 confirmed cases out of the state’s total of 1,477. Officials have deployed 16,000 health workers to detect patients with influenza-like illnesses through door-to-door screening and sealed 80 hotspots as containment zones.

Surat

The Gujarat city has reported 242 of the state’s 1,743 cases, and eight deaths. The virus is now moving from its earlier hotspot in the city, Rander, to central and Limbayat zones now, according to a report. Nearly 2.91 lakh people have been kept under containment zones in the city.

Agra

Agra has reported 242 confirmed cases out of Uttar Pradesh’s 1,094. The first confirmed cases were reported in late February and since then 9 lakh people have been screened for Covid-19 by 1,200 teams going door to door. The containment measures taken by the district administration were initially lauded, but the number of cases has seen a spike since.


Also read: Modi govt bans air-lifting of patients as some lockdown curbs intensify


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

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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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