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Punjab govt orders detailed audit of Covid-19 deaths to understand high mortality rate




File image of Punjab CM Amarinder Singh | Photo: @capt_amarinder | Twitter
File image of Punjab CM Amarinder Singh | Photo: @capt_amarinder | Twitter

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Chandigarh: The Punjab government has ordered a detailed audit of every coronavirus death, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh told Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Thursday.

He said the detailed audit has been ordered to understand and check the high mortality rate in the state.

The government is also strengthening its pandemic containment measures under the guidance of an expert panel, he told the Congress president in a video conference.

The state has so far reported 16 deaths.

According to a statement, the chief minister said the mortality rate in the state was largely high due to co-morbidity (additional medical conditions) and a lack of health-seeking behavior (patients come late to a hospital).

The chief minister, however, said Punjab had to be compared with Kerala and Gujarat, which were states with high NRI population.

Punjab is doing significantly better than Gujarat, he said, adding that in terms of cases per 10 lakh population, the numbers were even lower than Kerala (nine/million in Punjab against 12/million in Kerala), he said.

Punjab currently has 257 positive cases, including 16 deaths and two critical patients, while 53 have been cured, said the CM.

Also read: Most Muslims in Punjab’s Malerkotla have Tablighi link. But that’s not their big Covid worry


Singh informed the party leadership that the state government was being guided by a group of experts, including former PGIMER Director K K Talwar, in handling the COVID-19 crisis.

In percentage terms, cases in Punjab have steadily declined from 2.57 per cent of the total cases in India (as of March 31) to 1.22 per cent in three weeks (till April 22), claimed the CM.

The CM also cited an example of SBS Nagar, which was formerly known as Nawanshahar, as a case of effective containment that has been “appreciated” by the Centre as well as the media.

In SBS Nagar, which was one of the first hotspots in the country, all 18 patients have recovered and discharged, he claimed, adding that no case has been reported in the district since March 26.

SBS Nagar had reported one fatality last month when a Germany-returned 70-year-old man died.

The chif minister said the state has three containment zones–Jawharapur in Mohali, Safabadi Gate in Patiala, and Budhlada– from where over 15 deaths have been reported.

Three districts of Ferozepur, Fazilka, Bathinda are green zones with no coronavirus case.

With respect to testing, the CM said 7,887 tests have been done so far.

At present, the testing rate in the state, at 248/million is slightly lower than the national average of 309/million (excluding rapid testing).

Regarding the rapid testing, the chief minister said 3,502 cases were tested before the Indian Council of Medical Research suspended such tests.

The state currently has 10,500 rapid testing kits supplied by the ICMR while 10,000 have been ordered by the state government, with deliveries in progress.

The government has also floated a tender for another 50,000 kits, he said.

Also read: Labour woes could push Punjab farmers to grow cotton instead of paddy


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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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