Coronavirus Outbreak LIVE Updates: Maharashtra govt may hand out anti-malarial drug in slums; Dharavi likely to be first to receive HCQ tablets

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    Coronavirus Outbreak LATEST Updates: Fearful of rising COVID-19 cases in Mumbai’s densely populated slums, the Maharashtra government is considering to give hydroxychloroquine sulphate (HCQS) tablets as a “preventive medicine” to slum residents at highest risk of the infection.

    Suspected patients kept in quarantine facilities in Dharavi were likely to be the first one to get the HCQ tablets.

    Confirming the move, Maharashtra health minister Rajesh Tope said, “HCQS is used to treat malaria and there have been instances of it being used in the US as a preventive medicine against Covid-19. We plan to use it in areas like Dharavi where the risk of infection is high.”

    Nagaland reported first case of the novel coronavirus on Monday after a man with COVID-like symptoms, who was admitted to a hospital in Assam’s Guwahati, tested positive, an official said.

    Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma also tweeted that a private hospital in Dimapur referred a patient to the Guwahati Medical College Hospital after he was found with symptoms of COVID-19.

    The total number of confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in Assam climbed to 30 on Monday after an individual from Dhubri tested positive for the respiratory disease, said state health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.

    Sarma further said that the fresh case was linked to the Tablighi Jamaat event in Delhi’s Nizamuddin Markaz​.

    With four fresh cases of the novel coronavirus reported in Dharavi, in south Mumbai, the COVID-19 tally in the densely populated slum areas climbed to 47 on Monday, ANI reported.

    One death was also reported, taking the toll to five  in the area.

    The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) declared Ganesh Gall in Mumbai’s Lalbaug area a ‘containment zone’ on Monday as the total number of the novel coronavirus cases in Maharashtra stood at 1,982.

    According to worldometer, the total number of novel coronavirus cases in India climbed to 9,205 on Monday while the death count has gone past 300.

    Globally, more than 109,000 people have succumbed to the respiratory disease and confirmed infections have topped 1.7 million.

    As many as 909 COVID-19 cases and 34 deaths have been reported in the last 24 hours, taking the total number of such cases to 8,356 and the death toll to 273 in the country, the Union Health Ministry said on Sunday. The ministry asserted that the government is “extra prepared” if there is an exponential rise in the number of coronavirus patients.

    Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary in the Union health ministry, said, “The good news is that 716 people have recovered and have been discharged so far. Seventy-four people have been cured since Saturday. The government is extra prepared if the number of cases rises exponentially.”

    Maharashtra continued to be the most affected by the disease, as the state reported 134 more cases, taking the total number of cases to 1,895.

    Of these, 113 have been found in Mumbai, four in Pune, seven in Mira Bhayandar, two each in Navi Mumbai, Thane and Vasai Virar and one each in Raigad, Amravati, Bhiwandi and Pimpri-Chinchwad.

    In Patiala, an officer’s hand was chopped off with a sword and two other Punjab policemen injured when a group of Nihangs attacked them after being asked to show curfew passes at a vegetable market.

     Coronavirus Outbreak LIVE Updates: Maharashtra govt may hand out anti-malarial drug in slums; Dharavi likely to be first to receive HCQ tablets

    Representational image. AP

    However, there was some reassuring news from the United Kingdom, where prime minister Boris Johnson was discharged from a hospital, a week after he was admitted there after being tested positive for COVID-19.

    State-wise figures

    Maharashtra on Saturday detected 221 new cases of coronavirus, taking the state tally to 1,982, said the state health department. There were 22 deaths in the state of Covid-19 patients, it said adding that 16 deaths were recorded in Mumbai, three in Pune, and two in Navi Mumbai and one in Solapur. 15 of the deceased belonged to the 40 to 60 age group, it said, adding that toll in the state now stood at 149.

    Eighty-five new COVID19 positive cases and five deaths were reported in Delhi, taking the total number of positive cases in the National Capital to 1,154, and the toll to 24, said the state health department. Of the 85 new cases, 26 had a history of foreign travel or had come into contact with a patient.

    The number of coronavirus positive cases in Gujarat rose to 516 with 48 more people testing positive for COVID-19, a state Health department official said. Further, two more coronavirus positive patients died in Ahmedabad, taking the total death toll in Gujarat to 24, a health department official said.

    The deceased included a 60-year-old woman and a 75-year-old man.

    Jammu and Kashmir Principal Secretary (Planning) Rohit Kansal said that 21 new cases were detected in the state on Sunday – 17 from Kashmir Division and 4 from Jammu Division. Total number of positive cases has now reached 245, he said.

    Delhi govt launches sanitation drive

    The Delhi government will launch a massive sanitisation drive in the city’s COVID-19 containment areas, declared as red zones and high-risk zones, identified as orange zones from Monday onwards, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said.

    The chief minister said areas where positive COVID-19 cases are being found, will be declared as containment zones. Till Sunday afternoon, 34 hotspots in the national capital were identified as COVID-19 containment zones.

    Addressing an online briefing, Kejriwal said, “We have declared COVID-19 containment zones as red zones and high-risk zones as orange zones. We have identified more containment zones in the national capital.”

    The chief minister said he was concerned about the increasing number of coronavirus cases in the city. However, he assured that steps were being taken to contain the spread of the deadly virus.

    Talking about the sanitisation drive, Kejriwal said 10 technologically-advanced machines from Japan along with 50 Delhi Jal Board sanitisation machines will be used as part of ‘Operation SHIELD’.

    According to the chief minister, the operation launched by the Aam Aadmi Party government has been successful in Dilshad Garden which was a hotspot area until now.

    Follow LIVE updates on the coronavirus outbreak here

    “No new case of COVID-19 has been reported in Dilshad Garden in the last 10 days due to Operation SHIELD,” he said.

    Focus on primary medical infrastructure, says Centre

    Listing out the preparatory measures taken by the Union government, Lav Agarwal said the focus is on increasing the capacity of the primary medical infrastructure, which includes dedicated hospitals, isolation beds, ICU beds and quarantine facilities.

    “As of Sunday, while the requirement of beds for 8,356 cases is estimated to be 1,671 for 20 per cent of the confirmed cases with moderate to severe or critical clinical symptoms, the present availability of beds is 1,05,980 in 601 dedicated COVID-19 hospitals across the country. The number of isolation beds in these hospitals is being further augmented.

    “Dedicated hospitals for management of COVID-19 patients have increasingly been set up across the country. Along with government hospitals, various private hospitals, public sector units, military hospitals and the Indian Railways are contributing to these efforts,” he said.

    According to ICMR officials, a total of 1,86,906 samples have so far been tested across the country, of which 7,953 have been found to be positive for COVID-19.

    “In the last five days, on an average, 15,747 samples were tested per day and 584 of those were found to be positive per day,” Dr Manoj Murhekar of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) official said at a press briefing.

    The ICMR official also said that while there is no vaccine against the virus as of now, 40 vaccines are under development.

    Punjab politicians condemn attack on police

    Political leaders cutting across party lines condemned the brutal attack on police by a group of Nihangs in Punjab’s Patiala and sought strict action against perpetrators of the crime.

    Seven people, including five attackers, were arrested hours later after an exchange of fire at a gurdwara where the group fled after the 6.15 am incident in Sanaur town.

    Reacting to the incident, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh asked police to take strict action against law-breakers.

    “Police Party on Naka duty was attacked today in which one ASI’s hand was cut off & 6 were injured. Police cornered the culprits and have taken them into custody. Have given instructions to the @PunjabPoliceInd to deal with anyone breaking the law in strictest possible manner,” the CM tweeted.

    Akali stalwart and former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal too condemned the attack.

    “There is no place for violence in a civilised society,” Badal said in a statement. He said police throughout the country have been performing a difficult task most selflessly.

    Aam Aadmi Party state unit chief and Sangrur MP Bhagwant Mann demanded “strictest action” against the accused.

    Boris Johnson discharged from hospital

    UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been discharged from hospital and will continue his recovery from COVID-19 at Chequers, his official country residence, his Downing Street office said in a statement on Sunday.

    Johnson, 55, was taken to St Thomas’ Hospital in central London on 5 April, suffering from persistent symptoms of the disease caused by the new coronavirus. On 6 April he was moved into intensive care, where he remained until 9 April.

    “On the advice of his medical team, the PM will not be immediately returning to work. He wishes to thank everybody at St Thomas’ for the brilliant care he has received,” an official statement said.

    With inputs from agencies

    Updated Date: Apr 13, 2020 12:11:41 IST

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