COVID-19 updates (Updated daily): PM to address nation at 10 am tomorrow | Rapid testing kits from China delayed

NOVEL CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK IN INDIA (updated 13th April 2020)

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April 3, 2020 | Number of cases: 2301 | Number of deaths: 56

Shuriah Niazi writes from Indore:

Indore has suddenly become the new Corona hot zone in MP with a sudden increase in the total number of positive cases taking the count to 89, according to the state health department. Around 1600 people are being kept in isolation in the city.

Meanwhile, health workers who were attacked in Tatpatti Bakhal area of the city on April 1st, resumed their screening process, and even visited the same area the next day to collect data. Dr Zakiya Syed told Citizen Matters that they had been visiting the area for the past 3-4 days but had never felt that they would face such a reaction. “However, many people were apologetic when we visited the next day. I think only a handful of people were involved in the incident, but the whole area had to face the humiliation,” the doctor said.

The state government has invoked the draconian National Security Act (NSA) against those who were involved in the attack on health staff and has made a few arrests under this act.

The number of positive cases have reached 120 in the state. An IAS officer of the 2011-batch has tested positive. Besides the 89 affected from Indore, there are eight from Bhopal, six from Ujjain, two each in Morena, Shivpuri and Gwalior and one each in Khargone and Chhindwara, said an official statement. Eight corona patients have died in the state so far.

In news from other parts,  the Uttar Pradesh government has announced that the National Security Act (NSA) will be slapped against any person found assaulting the police or preventing them from carrying out their duty during the lockdown. The move comes in the wake of reports of violators of the lockdown getting into scuffles with the police. The NSA could lead to imprisonment for a year or longer. 

The health ministry is keeping a close watch on doctors and medical professionals who have tested positive for COVID-19. So far around 50 doctors and other medical staff have tested positive. Contact tracing is being carried out for such cases intensively to ascertain whether the medical personnel contracted the illness during their treatment of infected patients or by coming into contact with those with travel history outside the hospital setting. Many frontline health workers in coronavirus ravaged nations such as Italy and Iran have succumbed to the virus due to lack of proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). India has seen instances of protests by health workers over the lack of proper PPE.

The World Bank has sanctioned a fund of $1 billion to India for its fight against COVID-19. The fund will be used to improve health infrastructure, contact tracing, extensive testing and procurement of ventilators and PPE. The first tranche of funds sanctioned for 25 nations in total $1.9 billion of which the bulk of it has gone to India. The World Bank will extend funds to 40 other nations in the coming months. 

In a televised address to the nation Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked the nation to “dispel the darkness brought by the coronavirus” by lighting a lamp or a candle or flash the lights on their mobile phones for nine minutes at 9 pm on April 5th from their doorsteps and balconies. He urged the public to follow social distancing during this activity and not gather in large groups. He added though the nationwide lockdown has confined all citizens to their homes, they are not alone in battling the pandemic that is spreading across the country.

Last updated, April 3rd, 6:00 pm

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