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How the 'Bhilwara model' is a case study in fighting coronavirus in India

As the number of cases of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19 continue to rise in India, Rajasthan’s Bhilwara has had the enviable position of being the only city with a high number of cases to show a decline in new infections.

Bhilwara had become one of the hotspots of the outbreak, registering 27 positive cases and two deaths.The city has so far not reported any new case in the past 10 days, and the credit can go to the administration headed by Rajendra Bhatt and his team that comprises IAS officer Tina Dabi.

While the data is definitely something to write home about, Bhatt told The Print that it would be premature to celebrate. “I want to complete three cycles of isolation, testing and quarantining before we claim victory,” Bhatt said.

IAS officer Tina Dabi told News 18 in an interview that the situation in the state could ‘have easily gone the other way.’

Notably, Bhilwara had issued a total lockdown days before Prime Minister Narendra Modi issued the 21-day lockdown. On March 20, the district administration called for shutting of all shops, and asking people not to panic.

Dabi said that they realised that Bhilwara had the potential to become the next hotspot after several medical practitioners had tested positive in the city. Realising that they had come in contact with several people, and fearing that the disease would spread quickly, the administration acted fast and implemented a total lockdown.

Following this, an aggressive screening process was conducted, which began with the medical staff and their families, and eventually everyone in the city.

The Bhilwara model, Dabi feels, should be employed in other districts across the country as well to curb the spread of the virus.

Quarantine COVID-19 positive people at home, keep those testing negative in hospital, says MP's Health Department

Bhopal: The coronavirus has driven the health department up the wall after many of its officers and employees have fallen ill. Despite that, it is barely showing any sensitivity to the disease that has taken the world into its grip, consuming more than 1,00,000 people and afflicting two millions.

The strange orders the department has passed indicate that the department has not learnt anything during the past few days when the disease has burnt its way to the state.

In an order on March 27, director of health Mohan Singh said those who were tested positive for COVID19 should be quarantined in their homes. On the other hand, the chief medical and health officers across the state were directed to keep the patients tested negative in hospitals.


The health department has issued orders both for those who are mildly down with the disease and those afflicted with the virus. In those orders, the department has asked the officials to keep those patients in the hospital, who have shown the symptoms of the disease.

The patients have been divided into three categories – A, B and C. They have been directed to keep the people tested negative in isolation wards at district hospitals. Nevertheless, those who have been tested positive should be quarantined in their homes, the order said.


Coronavirus in Mumbai: State reserve police force to enforce Dharavi lockdown

Mumbai: With Dharavi emerging as a Covid-19 hotspot, the worried Maharashtra cabinet on Thursday decided to deploy the State Reserve Police Force (SRPF) in the area to ensure strict implementation of the nationwide lockdown.

The cabinet also decided to sanitise Dharavi daily with the help of the Fire Brigade and by using drones, and to start community kitchens to ensure doorstep delivery of food for the jobless and poor.

As many as 17 coronavirus cases, including three fatalities, have been reported in Dharavi. On Thursday, a 70- year-old woman from Kalyanwadi in Dharavi, who had tested positive, died.

Of the 17 cases, five, including a fatality, were reported from SRA buildings in Dr Baliga Nagar, where six members of the Tablighi Jamaat and their wives stayed after returning from the congregation at New Delhi.

Three cases have also been reported from the densely populated slums of Mulund Nagar. “Mumbai Municipal Commissioner Praveen Pardeshi made a power point presentation before the cabinet about the coronavirus outbreak in Mumbai, especially in Dharavi.

On Wednesday, cabinet ministers from Mumbai and I visited Dharavi and reviewed the ground situation. We shared our experiences in the cabinet meeting.

After this, the cabinet decided to deploy SRPF. Though the police department is doing a great job, we need SRPF for strict implementation of the lockdown, especially in the congested area of Dharavi,” said state public health minister Rajesh Tope. Drones will be used for surveillance in the area, in addition to the existing CCTV network.

We observed that there are very few toilets in Dharavi. A single public toilet seat is used by at least 200 persons in a single day. In such a situation, how can cleanliness be ensured? Therefore, we decide to use the Fire brigade and deploy drones to sanitise Dharavi.

Fire brigade vehicles are equipped with power jet technology, which will be used for sanitisation and cleaning of toilets every one or two hours. The drones will spray sanitisers,” Tope added.

“We also discussed relief programmes for the poor and workers engaged in cottage and small-scale industries in Dharavi. Though they are getting cooked food from non-governmental organisations like ISKCON or Sri Ravishankar’s organisation, this food is not enough.


The cabinet directed the administration to start community kitchens by taking people’s representatives into confidence and ensuring doorstep delivery of cooked food for needy people,” the minister added. Schools for residents, tests for frontline medics: ‘

‘In Dhravi, 10 to 15 people share a single room. It is difficult to maintain social distancing in such a situation, even if they stay at home. Therefore, these people may come out on the road. The state government has decided to open up schools which are currently closed and make staying arrangements for these people in the schools, to ensure social distancing,” Tope said.

“Currently, doctors and medical workers are fighting against coronavirus as frontline workers. The BMC has placed an order for one lakh rapid testing kits. After delivery of these kits, testing of all frontline workers, including doctors, will be done first.

If anybody is found positive, they will not be engaged in this emergency service,” he added. Cluster screening by BMC: A day after suggesting that Dharvi should be completely locked down, MP Rahul Shewale has demanded door-to-door screening of all residents of Dharavi. In a meeting with the ward officer of G (North) ward on Thursday, Shewale raised his concerns.

Meanwhile, asst civic chief of G (North) ward Kiran Dighavkar told FPJ his team has already started cluster screening in Dahisar, including worst-hit Dr Baliga Nagar, Mukund Nagar.

“We are already screening residents as suggested by MP Shewale. We will not increase the number of teams for screening. All symptomatic people are being taken to the nearby Rajiv Gandhi Sports Complex, "Dighavkar said.


Gold prices today: Yellow metal hits all-time high; Rs 45,201 per 10 grams

On Thursday, gold futures surged as India entered the sixteenth day of a nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus.

The MCX gold futures rose as much as 0.86 per cent - or Rs 386 per 10 grams - to touch Rs 45,327 per 10 grams. According to the India Bullion and Jewellers Association (IBJA), a Mumbai-based industry body, the closing rate of gold stood at Rs 45,201 per 10 grams and silver at Rs 42,320 per kilogram.

#Gold and #Silver Closing #Rates for 09/04/2020#IBJA

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4:42 AM - Apr 9, 2020
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Spot gold markets remained shut on Thursday due to the lockdown to prevent spread of COVID-19, while the precious metal traded higher in international market. In the international market, gold was trading with gains at USD 1,660 per ounce and silver at USD 15.15 per ounce. It has risen more than 2.6 per cent this week. Spot gold was last seen trading up 0.9 per cent at $1,660.38 per ounce, having hit a four-week high of $1,671.40 on Tuesday. It has risen more than 2.6 per cent this week. Most markets will be closed for Good Friday on April 10.

On Thursday, the Indian Chamber of Commerce said in a statement that gems and jewellery industry, which contributes 7 per cent to the GDP, has come to a complete standstill and the demand is expected to fall by 30 per cent mainly driven by the nationwide lockdown imposed to curtail the spread of new coronavirus.

(Inputs from PTI)

Donald Trump thanks PM Modi for hydroxychloroquine; says 'extraordinary times call for closer cooperation between friends'

These are extraordinary times, said US President Donald Trump, adding that such times require even closer cooperation between friends.

In a tweet to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the people of India for supplying hydroxychloroquine to the United States.

"Extraordinary times require even closer cooperation between friends. Thank you India and the Indian people for the decision on HCQ. Will not be forgotten! Thank you Prime Minister @NarendraModi for your strong leadership in helping not just India, but humanity, in this fight!" the American President tweeted.

Donald J. Trump

Extraordinary times require even closer cooperation between friends. Thank you India and the Indian people for the decision on HCQ. Will not be forgotten! Thank you Prime Minister @NarendraModi for your strong leadership in helping not just India, but humanity, in this fight!

11:11 AM - Apr 8, 2020
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After Trump thanked Modi and India, Modi responded to Trump's tweet and said, "Fully agree with you President Donald Trump. Times like these bring friends closer. The India-US partnership is stronger than ever. India shall do everything possible to help humanity's fight against COVID-19. We shall win this together."

Narendra Modi

Fully agree with you President @realDonaldTrump. Times like these bring friends closer. The India-US partnership is stronger than ever.

India shall do everything possible to help humanity's fight against COVID-19. 

We shall win this together. …

Donald J. Trump

Extraordinary times require even closer cooperation between friends. Thank you India and the Indian people for the decision on HCQ. Will not be forgotten! Thank you Prime Minister @NarendraModi for your strong leadership in helping not just India, but humanity, in this fight!

9:46 PM - Apr 8, 2020
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In a March 22 story done by The Print, it was reported that the US had placed large orders of the drug that both India and US are using in the treatment of COVID-19. Three days later, India notified a ban on export of HCQ.

On April 4, President Trump spoke to PM Modi, about the order, and admitted that ‘India also needs a lot’.

The following day, Trump said he had another conversation with Modi.


On Tuesday, India media went into a frenzy when Trump announced that there would be ‘retaliation’ from the US if India did not supply the hydroxychloroquine. The same day, the Ministry of External Affairs announced that it would be supplying sufficient amounts of the drug to neighbouring countries that depended on India. However, mainstream media assumed that India had buckled to US pressure, but this was not the case. Also, if you read the entire transcript of Trump’s speech, this is what he had to say.

Trump said: “I don’t like that decision. I didn’t hear that that was his decision. I know that he stopped it for other countries. I spoke to him yesterday. We had a very good talk and we’ll see whether or not that is. I would be surprised if he would because India does very well with the United States. For many years they’ve been taken advantage of the United States on trade. So I would be surprised if that were his decision. He’d have to tell me that. I spoke to him Sunday morning, called him, and I said, we’d appreciate your allowing our supply to come out. If he doesn’t allow it to come out, that would be okay. But of course there may be retaliation. Why wouldn’t there be? Yeah.


Lives before economy: Why Rajiv Bajaj's idea to lift the lockdown is a terrible idea

Rajiv Bajaj, the MD of Bajaj auto believes that the lockdown will make India weaker rather than stronger in combating the epidemic.

In a piece he wrote for The Economic Times, Bajaj feels that India “should have only kept the vulnerable at home, closed all public spaces, an allowed the young and healthy to keep turning wheels of the economy – with due precautions with respect to hygiene, masks, distancing, etc.”

“I don’t buy the condescending argument that all Indians are a bunch of illiterate, ignorant, indisciplined morons who need cattle-like shepherding,” Bajaj wrote.


Countries like the United States and the United Kingdom have employed Bajaj’s model. Work from home is optional, people maintain social distancing (which they always did in public spaces). Yet, there has been a spread of the virus, and the COVID-19 pandemic in New York and London is example of what happens if a strict lockdown is not implemented.

In an alternate universe, Bajaj’s piece may make sense, but two incidents have proved that Indians can be anything but disciplined.


First is when Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the Janta Curfew. During that time, the prime minister requested people to stand at their balconies and clap for the doctors and nurses who have worked tirelessly to treat the COVID-19 patients. Instead of adhering to the request, people came out of their home, burst firecrackers made a ruckus for nearly 45 minutes.

The second incident is the 9 Baje 9 Minute event where people came out of their societies to light diyas; some burst fireworks, while others started fires. A BJP MLA from Telangana – Tiger Raja Singh –brandished a flame torch as if he was going to battle the Night King from Game of Thrones, as his supporters gathered in large numbers to yell, “China virus go.”


The third incident include a multitude of religious gatherings starting with the Tablighi Jamaat gathering at Nizamuddin. There are other gatherings: the one at Ajmer, the Telangana MLAs celebrating Ram Navami, and the gathering at Rajasthan a day after Ram Navami, as well as temple gatherings on Hanuman Jayanti.


As Mr Bajaj should realise, religious zeal will always overtake whatever guidelines are issued to lockdown a nation, irrespective of whether it is a fight against a virus for which there is no vaccine or whether it is a war between two nations.

Let’s say Bajaj’s idea is implemented: there will be a massive influx of daily wage workers for starters, secondly, public transport will be back to normal. If you live in Mumbai or New Delhi, you probably understand this better than anyone that this means it will be crazy. Finally, it would have lost the purpose of the 21-day lockdown that has been implemented.


Another thing Bajaj has missed out is the lockdown has mainly been implemented because of the lack of testing available in India. Lockdown or self-quarantine means that you can stay at home and only step out for essentials. True, it hurts the economy, but what will India do, if the number of COVID-19 positive people suddenly spikes because of Bajaj’s suggestion?

Finally, in his article, Bajaj talks about the Ayush ministry in detail, stressing in the need to consider alternative medicine and homeopathy to treat coronavirus. While his argument comes from the fact that he is a follower of homeopathic medicine, there is no scientific proof to prove that these can cure coronavirus.

Currently, scientists are still struggling to find a vaccine, and by the looks of it, it’s still going to be some time before a solution is delivered.


Ujjain Div chief orders probe on anomalies in treatment of COVID-19 patient, wants report in 2 days

Indore: Taking cognizance of Free Press report on anomalies in treatment of COVID-19 suspect patient in Ujjain, divisional commissioner Anand Kumar Sharma has directed regional director, health services to conduct a probe into the case.

Free Press in its April 5, 2020 issue had published a report 'Slack attitude, missing basic facilities pull the plug on her' highlighting the plight of 55- year-old Laxmibai Chouhan of Dhanigate.

She fell victim to Government Madhav Nagar Hospital and RD Gardi Medical College Hospital staff's non-serious attitude. Lapses on part of doctors on duty and management concerned led to her death while waiting for treatment. Her sample report later confirmed that she was COVID-19 positive.


Taking the news seriously, divisional commissioner ordered the regional director, health services to conduct a probe into the matter. Accordingly, regional director Dr Laxmi Baghel has formed a four-member panel under the chairmanship of district health officer Dr Anita Bhilwar to look into the case. The panel has been asked to submit the report within two days.

Government Madhav Nagar Hospital in charge superintendent Dr Bhojraj Sharma and district TB officer and COVID-19 nodal officer Dr Sunita Parmar has been made probe officer while CMHO office’s clerk Amber Jain is a panel member.

The committee has been asked to investigate all the facts mentioned in the Free Press story an submit the proper report within two days.


'Selectively leaking the content...': PMO lashes out at opposition politician for leaking Modi's meeting clip to press

On Wednesday Prime Minister Modi met with political representatives of parties who have four or more members in the Parliament via video conference.

Addressing the MPs the Prime Minister said that the current situation in the country was akin to a ‘social emergency’. A 21-day lockdown had been declared in the country and Prime Minister Modi indicated that as things currently stand, it would be difficult to remove the pan-India lockdown on April 14th at one go.

According to reports, Modi told floor leaders of political parties that are represented in Parliament that it may not be possible to lift the lockdown by the 14th.

"I will discuss this with the Chief Minister of various states and other offcials, but based on the tune that is being heard right now, removing the lockdown will not be very simple," the Prime Minister can be heard saying.


Many of the leaders who attended the meeting later spoke to the press or revealed details about the same to media organisations.

"Prime Minister Modi made it clear that lockdown is not being lifted and also that the life pre-corona and post-corona will not be same," Biju Janata Dal leader Pinaki Misra told PTI.

Trinamool Congress MP Sudip Bandyopadhyay however appears to have gone a step further. A clip from Modi's meeting, shows Bandhopadhyay listening to Modi, reportedly from the Party's headquarters in Kolkata.

Megha Prasad

BIG BREAKING : PM tells opposition leaders that #Lockdown cannot be lifted all at once. Listen to PM in this video released by @AITCofficial #PMModiOnCorona #CoronavirusOutbreakindia

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The Prime Minister and his team is not too happy with this development. According to a report by The Hindu, the PMO in a statement said selectively leaking such information was "avoidable"'.

The Prime Minister's office said that Modi has been consulting many leaders as the nation seeks to address and counter the crisis posed by the novel coronavirus.

"Selectively leaking the content of such consultations, as seen today, runs counter to their spirit and objectives and is avoidable," the report quoted the PMO statement as saying.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced a 21-day lockdown towards the end of March in a bid to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. That lockdown is in place till April 14. Many states have requested that the lockdown be extended.

India has recorded over 5,200 cases, as per government data. 149 people have passed away.


Coronavirus in Mumbai: Hinduja, Bhatia, Breach Candy Hospitals report cases; exposed staffers quarantined

Mumbai: As many as 20 staff, including nurses and doctors, have been put under quarantine at Hinduja Healthcare Hospital in Khar, after an admitted patient tested positive for COVID-19.

While the staff of the boutique hospital has been quarantined after they came in direct contact with the patient, the BMC has not sealed the hospital premises.

According to officials, the patient was asymptomatic for Covid 19 before admission to the hospital and is still asymptomatic despite having tested positive for the disease.

"On Monday, a 76-year-old woman was admitted to the hospital for treatment of convulsions. She neither had fever nor cold, or any other Covid-19 like symptoms.

Still, as a precautionary measure on Tuesday, hospital staff sent the woman's swab samples for testing, and to everybody's shock, the patient tested positive on Wednesday,"

Assistant Municipal Commissioner of H (West) ward, Vinayak Vispute, told the Free Press Journal. Vispute added, "We have not sealed the premises, but over 20 people – the hospital staff -- have been put under routine quarantine for now. Their swab samples have been collected and sent for lab testing. We are now tracing contacts of the 76-year-old patient."

H (west) ward, which comprises areas such as Khar and Bandra West, has reported 18 positive coronavirus cases so far. Meanwhile, emergency services at Bhatia Hospital in Tardeo are shut for the last two days. The hospital was sealed after three of its patients tested positive.


According to the hospital administration, there were three emergency patients at Bhatia Hospital; their swab samples were sent to Kasturba Hospital and were detected to be positive. “At the time of admission of the patients, Covid-19 protocol was strictly adhered to.

On suspicion, during initial analysis, one of the patients among the three was immediately admitted to isolated ICU followed by the admission of the remaining two, post initial analysis,” said a hospital spokesperson.

As a precautionary measure, BMC has taken swab samples of around 70 staff at Bhatia Hospital. The test results of the staff are still awaited. Earlier, on Tuesday, a technician tested positive for coronavirus at Breach Candy Hospital, and samples of hospital staffers were sent for testing.

Nearly 47 medical and nonmedical staffers of the King Edward Memorial (KEM) and Bhabha hospitals have been quarantined after they came in contact with infected coronavirus patients at their hospitals. A 50-year-old class-4 employee at KEM hospital tested positive for coronavirus after she came in contact with infected persons.

“The female employee showed mild symptoms of coronavirus, as a result of which she has been isolated, following which 17 others have been quarantined and their samples have been sent for testing,” said Dr Hemant Deshmukh, Dean, KEM hospital.

Dr Pradeep Jadhav, medical superintendent, Bhabha Hospital, Bandra, said a patient who had chest congestion was admitted to the hospital and tested positive for coronavirus.

The hospital then took a decision to quarantine the staff who were in close contact with the patient. “Nearly 40 staffers from the hospital have been quarantined and their samples have been sent to Kasturba for testing,” he said.


Coronavirus update: Shops in Thane, Kalyan, Navi Mumbai, Mira Bhyanader to remain shut after 5 pm

After coronavirus cases in Thane rose to 114, Thane collector Rajesh Narvekar on Tuesday all shops in Thane to remain at 5 pm everyday.

According to a report by Mumbai Mirror, the collector has ordered that all shop, in Thane, Kalyan, Navi Mumbai and Mira Bhyanader, barring pharmacies to remain shut after 5 pm. Shops can open at 5 am said an official from collector’s office told the leading daily.


To check the spread of coronavirus, the administration has already sealed off Kalwa township in view of people defying the lockdown orders. "Citizens seem to be not taking the ongoing lockdown seriously. People are seen moving on streets in some areas and even using their vehicles for non-essential purposes. Some people are seen moving in groups and assembling at traffic junctions on roads, which will not be tolerated," he said in a message.

The COVID-19 count in Thane district in Maharashtra reached 114 on Tuesday after eight more people tested positive, health officials said. While Kalyan-Dombivali account for 35 cases, the number of COVID-19 patients in Thane municipal limits is 25, while that in Navi Mumbai is 28, and 22 in Mira Bhayander, they said.