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149 new cases since Friday, 17 states working on dedicated COVID-19 hospitals

New Delhi, March 28 (IANS) Health ministry officials on Saturday said 149 new coronavirus cases, which includes two deaths, have been reported since Friday. With this, the total positive cases in the country have hit 873.

Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary in the Health Ministry, said the Centre is working with state governments on health infrastructure preparedness, which involves focussing to build dedicated COVID hospitals and blocks and isolation beds and other logistics. He added the Centre is also focussing on high disease-burden hotspots and closely coordinating with the states to implement contact-tracing, surveillance and containment strategies. “17 states so far have started working on setting up dedicated COVID-19 hospitals”, said Agarwal.

R. Gangakhedkar, the Head of Epidemiology and Communicable diseases at Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said a reduction in the viral-load was observed in COVID-19 patients who were administered hydroxychloroquine drug, and people should not worry about testing for the coronavirus amid the ongoing public health crisis.

He added 44 private laboratories have been given approval to test for COVID-19. “No research on developing a vaccine for COVID-19 has reached the human trial stage anywhere in the world. All patients having severe acute respiratory illness are being tested for COVID-19a,” added Gangakhedkar.

The health ministry said that doctors across the country are being trained on management of COVID-19 patients with the help of AIIMS, and round-the-clock tele-consultation for doctors and medical students has been set up at AIIMS.

Gangakhedkar said currently ICMR is utilising 30 per cent of its testing capacity. He added that serological test procurement has been revised from 10 lakh to 5 lakh, and the process is ongoing to validate Abbott’s Point-of-Care testing kit.

A Ministry of Home Affairs official also present at the press conference said state governments have been asked to utilise the disaster fund to implement relief measures for migrant workers. “States can set up camps as temporary shelters, where people could also be tested for COVID-19,” said the official.




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