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Even as the nation goes into lockdown, Rohtak medical college students say they are being forced to attend classes


A day after Pt BD Sharma PG Institute of Medical Sciences (PGIMS) was in the news after a doctor tweeted the lack of safety for doctors, which was debated over its genuineness, a video shared by news agency ANI added to the woes the doctors are going through over there.

In the video, students are seen attending lectures, claiming that despite the lockdown they have been forced to attend class. “College authorities are not agreeing to grant us leave; we are being exposed to a lot of infection,” says one of the students.


ANI

@ANI
#WATCH Video received from one of the students at Pt. BD Sharma PG Institute of Medical Sciences at Rohtak who was forced to attend lectures despite lockdown due to Coronavirus-"College authorities are not agreeing to grant us leave; we are being exposed to lot of infections."

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Incidentally, of the students seen in the video, only two can be seen wearing what appears to be N-95 masks – the recommended masks to wear at the time of the coronavirus pandemic. The rest appear to be wearing flimsy surgical masks.

Also, the people in the first bench speaking to the camera have not engaged in social distancing, which is one of the guidelines that is required to manage the spread of this pandemic.

On Tuesday, former Congress President Rahul Gandhi put out a tweet quoting a doctor from Rohtak Haryana, who had alleged that the hospital did not have proper facilities available for medical staff treating people with the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. “I am feeling sad, because this was completely avoidable. We had time to prepare. We should have taken this treat much more seriously, and have been much better prepared,” Gandhi quoted the tweet, which was shared by Dr Kamna Kakkar.

However, since Rahul Gandhi’s tweet went out, several individuals offered to help, but did not receive any response from Dr Kakkar. It was then revealed that the Twitter handle was created a day before, angering people on Twitter.

Alt News founder Pratik Sinha, who was one of the people who retweeted Dr Kakkar’s tweet, admitted to his mistake and later issued a clarification that it was not Dr Kakkar, but her brother who had created the handle.

“I spoke with the sister (Dr Kakkar) and she said that the tweet was sent out without her knowledge, but the issue is genuine,” he tweeted.




Time to rise above partisan interests to fight coronavirus: Sonia Gandhi writes to PM Narendra Modi


Acting Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Thursday wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to address the coronavirus issue.

Telling him that it was a time to look beyond petty politics, it was time for all leaders across the country to stand together to tackle this issue that has resulted in India facing a 21-day lockdown.


Congress

@INCIndia
Congress President & CPP Chairperson Smt. Sonia Gandhi writes a letter to PM Modi with suggestions that the govt should immediately undertake in this lockdown period.

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While speaking of the concern regarding medical staff, Sonia Gandhi said that with the Rs 15,000 crore budget allocated by the central government, it was time for the staff members to be equipped with hazardous suits and N-95 masks.

 

She even addressed the issue of farmers in the letter, saying that despite the lockdown, it was the best time to harvest and procure crops and sell them at MSP.

She also requested the prime minister to speak to banks to defer all EMIs for a six-month period so that the salaried class does not suffer.

 
 

Sonia's letter comes at a time when her son Rahul has been critical of the way the centre has tackled the coronavirus. On Saturday, he tweeted, "Coronavirus is a strong blow on our fragile economy" Gandhi wrote on Twitter.

He sited the problems faced by small and medium businessmen and by daily wage workers.

 
 

"Clapping will not help them," Gandhi wrote, taking a jibe at the Prime Minister.

The need of the hour,Gandhi said, was for cash aid, tax breaks and a halt on loan repayment. He advocated for a a "major economic package" and urged the government to take quick steps.

 
 
 



Coronavirus shaming? Karnataka government publishes list revealing addresses of quarantined


The Karnataka government has released a list revealing the addresses of all those who have quarantined themselves, The News Minute reported.

The list, which is segregated district-wise, reveals the addresses of 20,000 people who have been quarantined. Naturally, it was downloaded and circulated on social media.

While the government has said the move is intentional, residents have started panicking after seeing the list, fearing that they will contract the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.

The Karnataka government isn’t the first one to conduct this exercise. The Gujarat government has decided to reveal the names of the persons who have tested positive for coronavirus in the state so far, so that those who came in their contact can get themselves tested, Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel said on Sunday.

However, the Maharashtra government has been more strict about revealing names, and authorities in Pune even warned penal action against those who reveal the identity of patients testing positive for coronavirus

 
 
 



Now, Tamil Nadu doctors allege lack of masks, protective gear while treating patients amid coronavirus outbreak


Several doctors and medical staff in Tamil Nadu, who are closely working with patients suffering from the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, have alleged the lack of protective gear such as proper N-95 masks, The News Minute reported.

According to that report, which is further strengthened by a photograph, there is a notice board that has the message, “Everyone should wear their own face mask due to non-availability at government supply.”

Despite these messages, Tamil Nadu health minister Dr C Vijaybhaskar has said that there is false information circulating on social media about the lack of masks and protective gear.


Dr C Vijayabaskar

@Vijayabaskarofl
#UPDATE: there’s a false information on social media that few govt hospitals are running short of masks, gloves,PPE etc. #TNHealth has more than sufficient stock in hand that can comfortably run for the coming days. Strict action will be taken for spreading rumours. #CVB

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Dr C Vijayabaskar

@Vijayabaskarofl
#update: at Stanley with the Dean,RMO & team.The hospital has a 24x7 fever clinic, medical team is available round the clock. Appreciation goes beyond words, that’s the commitment shown by these professionals. Big salute!!#TN_Together_AgainstCorona @MoHFW_INDIA @CMOTamilNadu

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Notably, the Tamil Nadu doctors are the second in the country who have addressed the lack of protective gear. The brother of a Haryana-based doctor created a Twitter profile in her name, and alleged that the Rohtak Hospital did not have sufficient protective gear while working with COVID-19 patients. While the Twitter profile was deleted a day later, there were two reports about the doctor actually clarifying her stance. In the first case, she admitted to Alt News founder Pratik Sinha that there werent’ sufficient masks, but a screenshot of a tweet later did the rounds, where she apologized for her behavior, adding that the facilities at the hospital were sufficient for the staff.

Earlier, On Tuesday, while announcing the 21-day lockdown, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a Rs 15,000 crore budget for the healthcare sector.




Want to be tested for coronavirus at home in Mumbai? Call BMC at 022- 47085085. Details inside


The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has issued directives to make life easy for those in the city.

Taking to Twitter, the BMC asked those who have pneumonia-like symptoms to get in touch with the BMC on 022-47085085 from 10 am to 7 pm.


माझी Mumbai, आपली BMC

@mybmc
Have pneumonia like symptoms or cough-cold-fever-breathlessness, & want to be tested for Coronavirus?

Call BMC @ 022-47085085 (10am to 7pm)

Speak with our Doctors to get right advise, from home! We will connect you with approved labs to collect samples from home!#NaToCorona https://twitter.com/mybmc/status/1242426577247301634 …

माझी Mumbai, आपली BMC

@mybmc
#CoronavirusUpdates
As on 24-March, 4:00pm#NaToCorona https://twitter.com/mybmc/status/1242413864450326530 …

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“Speak with our Doctors to get right advise, from home! We will connect you with approved labs to collect samples from home!” the BMC tweeted.

The BMC’s tweet comes hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi issued a 21-day nationwide lockdown in the country to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.


Dipti Singh
@diptivsingh
.@mybmc starts home testing. Those with symptoms like cold,fever, cough n breathlessness n want to get tested for coronavirus can avail this facility.The helpline is not meant for trivial issues please  @fpjindia@mumbaimatterz @RoadsOfMumbai @RidlrMUM @MNCDFbombay @ashokepandit https://twitter.com/mybmc/status/1242645113597317123 …

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माझी Mumbai, आपली BMC

@mybmc
Have pneumonia like symptoms or cough-cold-fever-breathlessness, & want to be tested for Coronavirus?

Call BMC @ 022-47085085 (10am to 7pm)

Speak with our Doctors to get right advise, from home! We will connect you with approved labs to collect samples from home!#NaToCorona https://twitter.com/mybmc/status/1242426577247301634 …

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On Tuesday evening, PM Modi urged people not to step out of their homes during these trying times.

It is like a curfew, tougher than the Janata Curfew," the Prime Minister said in his address to the nation.

He urged Indians to forget what stepping out feels like; otherwise, the entire country will go back 21 years, he warned. "There will be a total ban on venturing out of your homes," Modi said and announced an emergency financial package of Rs 15,000 crore for healthcare.

The announcement comes close on the heels of more than 500 country-wide coronavirus cases and ten deaths. Giving the rationale for the lockdown, he pointed out how most capable nations like the United States had become helpless despite having the best health services.




Maharashtra CMO sets up hotline to battle coronavirus. WhatsApp it on +91-2026127394 to know more





Ghar-bandi for 21 days; nationwide lockdown from midnight until April 14 to break chain of coronavirus


Mumbai: Amidst increasing threat of local and community transmission of coronavirus spread, Prime Minister Modi on Tuesday announced a nationwide lockdown from midnight for the next 21 days. "

From midnight, there will be a total lockdown in the entire country. It is like a curfew, tougher than the Janata Curfew," the Prime Minister said in his address to the nation.

He urged Indians to forget what stepping out feels like; otherwise, the entire country will go back 21 years, he warned. "There will be a total ban on venturing out of your homes," Modi said and announced an emergency financial package of Rs 15,000 crore for healthcare.

The announcement comes close on the heels of more than 500 country-wide coronavirus cases and ten deaths. Giving the rationale for the lockdown, he pointed out how most capable nations like the United States had become helpless despite having the best health services.

Their two months of experience showed that the only solution to the pandemic is social distancing, which alone can break the cycle of this dreaded disease.

He warned that a little carelessness on the part of the people would put the entire country and their own families into a catastrophic situation for which India will have to pay a very heavy price.

At the same time, Modi tried to dispel fears and tweeted ‘‘No need to panic, essential items, medicines to be available.’’ But he did not elaborate except saying that the Centre and various state governments will work in close coordination to ensure this.

‘‘Together, we will fight COVID-19 and create a healthier India," he noted. Modi said India was at a critical stage where even a single misstep could lead to the deadly virus spreading like wildfire.

"Some think social distancing is only for patients. That's not correct. Social distancing is the only way to fight the virus. It is for every citizen, every family, every member, even for the Prime Minister," he noted.

To substantiate his argument, Modi displayed a poster with a sketch which said: ‘Corona means 'Koi Road Par Na Nikle’ (No one should come out on roads)".

"I am confident that every citizen in this time of crisis will follow the directions of the government and local administration. 21 days of lockdown is a long time but this is important for your safety and the safety of your family," said Modi.

"Experts also say that if a person is infected today, it takes many days for them to display symptoms, they unknowingly infect all who come in contact with them in this period. A single infected person can infect hundreds in weeks, it spreads like fire," the PM noted. However, Modi warned people against rumours.

"Friends, you should be cautious as knowingly or annoyingly many times rumours are also spread. I appeal to you not to believe in such rumours and superstitions as it is necessary that the suggestions and directions given by the central government, the state government and the medical fraternity are followed," he said.

Modi hailed the private sector and asked it to work shoulder to shoulder and stand with the people of this country in this time of crisis and pandemic.

Private hospitals and private labs are coming forward to work with the government in these challenging times, he added. "A number of people are coming forward to help them.

We are making efforts to not only give priority to what is required for daily life but also what is required for protecting everyone's life. The government has taken decisions on the advice and suggestions of the WHO, the medical and scientific institutes and health experts," said PM Modi.




Hours after PM Modi's call for 21-day lockdown, UP CM Yogi Adityanath seen offering prayers in Ayodhya Temple


Hours after PM Modi announced that there would be a lockdown on the midnight of March 25, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath shared a series of images where he is seen in a crowded temple in Ayodhya offering prayers to shift the idol of Lord Ram from a tin shed inside the said birthplace (Ram Janmabhoomi) to a temporary structure that is made from fibre.


Yogi Adityanath

@myogiadityanath
अयोध्या करती है आह्वान...

भव्य राम मंदिर के निर्माण का पहला चरण आज सम्पन्न हुआ, मर्यादा पुरुषोत्तम प्रभु श्री राम त्रिपाल से नए आसन पर विराजमान...

मानस भवन के पास एक अस्थायी ढांचे में 'रामलला' की मूर्ति को स्थानांतरित किया।

भव्य मंदिर के निर्माण हेतु ₹11 लाख का चेक भेंट किया।

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Adityanath tweeted the images early Wednesday morning calling it the first day of ‘Navratri.

According to an NDTV report, the ceremony could have been shifted to a later later date, but Adityanah chose to continue with it.

Senior officials were also present at the event.

Adityanath's actions have made people question if he is above the law when it comes to the lockdown. Reports of Uttar Pradesh police allegedly assaulting people seen on the streets did the rounds on social media.

Earlier, Prime Minister Modi on Tuesday announced a nationwide lockdown from midnight for the next 21 days. "

From midnight, there will be a total lockdown in the entire country. It is like a curfew, tougher than the Janata Curfew," the Prime Minister said in his address to the nation.

He urged Indians to forget what stepping out feels like; otherwise, the entire country will go back 21 years, he warned. "There will be a total ban on venturing out of your homes," Modi said and announced an emergency financial package of Rs 15,000 crore for healthcare.

The announcement comes close on the heels of more than 500 country-wide coronavirus cases and ten deaths. Giving the rationale for the lockdown, he pointed out how most capable nations like the United States had become helpless despite having the best health services.




The case of the doctor quote-tweeted by Rahul Gandhi about shortage of masks at a Haryana hospital


On Tuesday, former Congress President Rahul Gandhi put out a tweet quoting a doctor from Rohtak Haryana, who had alleged that the hospital did not have proper facilities available for medical staff treating people with the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. “I am feeling sad, because this was completely avoidable. We had time to prepare. We should have taken this treat much more seriously, and have been much better prepared,” Gandhi quoted the tweet, which was shared by Dr Kamna Kakkar.


Rahul Gandhi

@RahulGandhi
I am feeling sad, because this was completely avoidable. We had time to prepare. We should have taken this threat much more seriously and have been much better prepared.  #CoronavirusPandemic https://twitter.com/drkamnakakkar/status/1242152326833434624 …

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However, since Rahul Gandhi’s tweet went out, several individuals offered to help, but did not receive any response from Dr Kakkar. It was then revealed that the Twitter handle was created a day before, angering people on Twitter.

Alt News founder Pratik Sinha, who was one of the people who retweeted Dr Kakkar’s tweet, admitted to his mistake and later issued a clarification that it was not Dr Kakkar, but her brother who had created the handle.


Pratik Sinha

@free_thinker
You can troll me all you like, but here's the truth:

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“I spoke with the sister (Dr Kakkar) and she said that the tweet was sent out without her knowledge, but the issue is genuine,” he tweeted.

However, others weren't so forgiving and several people on Twitter went on to call the doctor a 'fake'.


Rahul Gandhi

@RahulGandhi
 · 22h
I am feeling sad, because this was completely avoidable. We had time to prepare. We should have taken this threat much more seriously and have been much better prepared.  #CoronavirusPandemic https://twitter.com/drkamnakakkar/status/1242152326833434624 …


Nigam
@nigam_acharya
1. Create an account today.
2. Make it viral by using bots.
3. Quote that tweet and blame the govt.
Rahul Gandhi ki coronalogy samajhiye.

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Amit Malviya

@amitmalviya
So a fake handle in the name of @drkamnakakkar is created, usual suspects like Shekhar Gupta & Barkha Dutt follow it in no time, tweets unverified stuff, Rahul Gandhi quotes the account and targets the government. The account is deleted, soon after.

Do you see the sinister plot?

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Ishita Yadav

@IshitaYadav
This “doctor” created a Twitter account to spread panic about a shortage/lack of N95 masks. @RahulGandhi used her retweets to spread wider panic. Now she has apologised and deleted her account. When will Rahul do the same?

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Meanwhile, a report in the Tribune newspaper on March 10 also highlited the issue of the lack of masks. “Doctors and other employees catering to the heavy rush of patients at the PGIMS OPDs complain that they have not been getting protective masks for several days despite repeated requests made to the authorities concerned,” the report said.

Quoting Dr Dhruva Choudhary, head of the Department of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine (PCCM), the report added that the hospital authorities requisitioned 3.6 lakh masks, but the supply of masks was limited owing to the increased demand.

A few days later, the same newspaper reported that the government also released Rs 4.50 crore for Rohtak-PGIMS today for the purchase of more ventilators and other equipment required at the intensive-care facilities in order to strengthen COVID-19 preparedness.

Another report in Hindustan Times, dated March 23, also highlighted that there were only 40,000 ventilators for the patients. While this number seems normal, given the number of cases that have been reported out of India, PM Modi during his speech on Tuesday cautioned that the number of COVID-19-infected patients was likely to increase if Indians did not strictly adhere to a lockdown. While speaking to that daily Dr Choudhary, added that the ventilators were mainy distributed in government-run facilities.

And while the daily Twitter users shared pictures of Dhaink Bhaskar showing hospital staff at Rohtak Hospital wearing protective gear, it does need to be acknowledged that the hospital staff across India are putting their lives on the line to ensure the infection does not spread.




New WHO recommendations to prevent tuberculosis aim to save millions of lives


Geneva –  New World Health Organization (WHO) guidance will help countries accelerate efforts to stop people with tuberculosis (TB) infection becoming sick with TB by giving them preventive treatment.

A quarter of the world‘s population is estimated to be infected with TB bacteria. These people are neither sick nor contagious. However, they are at greater risk of developing TB disease, especially those with weakened immunity. Offering them TB preventive treatment will not only protect them from becoming sick but also cut down on the risk of transmission in the community.  

As we mark World TB Day 2020, the disease remains the world’s top infectious killer. In 2018, 10 million people fell ill with TB worldwide and 1.5 million people lost their lives to this disease.

“COVID-19 is highlighting just how vulnerable people with lung diseases and weakened immune systems can be,“ said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “The world committed to end TB by 2030; improving prevention is key to making this happen. Millions of people need to be able to take TB preventive treatment to stop the onset of disease, avert suffering and save lives".

Dr Tedros highlighted the importance to continue efforts to tackle longstanding health problems, including TB during global outbreaks such as COVID-19. At the same time, programmes already in place to combat TB and other major infectious diseases can be leveraged to make the response to COVID-19 more effective and rapid.

Although some progress has been made towards targets set at the UN high-level Meeting on TB in 2018, TB preventive treatment has been largely neglected. Global leaders committed to ensuring access to TB preventive treatment to at least 24 million contacts of people with active TB and 6 million people living with HIV by 2022.  To date only a fraction of that target has been reached, with countries putting less than 430,000 contacts and 1.8 million people on TB preventive treatment in 2018.

TB remains the top cause of death among people with HIV. TB preventive treatment works synergistically with antiretroviral therapy to prevent TB and save lives. Reinvigorated efforts by governments, health services, partners, donors and civil society will be needed to increase access to TB preventive treatment to the levels targeted.

The new consolidated guidelines recommend a range of innovative approaches to scale up access to TB preventive treatment:

WHO recommends a scale-up of TB preventive treatment among populations at highest risk including household contacts of TB patients, people living with HIV and other people at risk with lowered” immunity or living in crowded settings.
WHO recommends an integration of TB preventive treatment services into ongoing case finding efforts for active TB. All household contacts of TB patients and people living with HIV are recommended to be screened for active TB. If active TB is ruled out, they should be initiated on TB preventive treatment.
WHO recommends that either a tuberculin skin test  or interferon-gamma release assay (IGRA) be used to test for TB infection. Both tests are helpful to find people more likely to benefit from TB preventive treatment but should not become a barrier to scale-up access. Testing for TB infection is not required before starting TB preventive treatment in people living with HIV, and children under 5 years who are contacts of people with active TB.
WHO recommends new shorter options for preventive treatment in addition to the widely used 6 months of daily isoniazid. The shorter options that are now recommended range from a 1 month daily regimen of rifapentine plus isoniazid to 3 months weekly rifapentine plus isoniazid, 3 months daily rifampicin plus isoniazid, or 4 months of daily rifampicin alone.
“As people around the globe come together to commemorate World TB Day, WHO is calling on governments, affected communities, civil society organizations, health-care providers, donors, partners and the industry to unite forces and step up the TB response - notably for TB preventive treatment - to ensure no one is left behind,” said Dr Tereza Kasaeva, Director of WHO’s Global TB Programme. “The new WHO guidance shows the way forward for millions to rapidly access new tools and shorter, safer options for preventive treatment. The time for action is now.”

TB preventive treatment is an affordable intervention that can prevent families from sliding into poverty and preserve the health and economy of whole communities. WHO anticipates that as new and safer drugs come onto the markets, and as prices fall, it will become a highly-cost effective way to save millions of lives.

 

NOTES FOR EDITORS:

WORK BY WHO AND PARTNERS

WHO works closely with Member States including the US Government and technical and funding partners such as UNITAID to enhance access to shorter TB preventive treatment regimens. UNITAID-supported projects such as IMPAACT4TB and Cap-TB projects enabled by WHO with partners in Brazil, Cambodia, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania and Zimbabwe are leading the way. The new treatment options are also now more affordable, thanks to the significant price drop of rifapentine - a key drug - facilitated recently by UNITAID, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and global biopharmaceutical company Sanofi, along with forthcoming arrangements underway with generic manufacturers.

MORE ABOUT THE GUIDELINES

The new consolidated WHO guidelines come with an operational handbook to help guide countries step-by-step as they take TB preventive treatment to scale. This includes guidance on how to prioritize and invest from demand creation for TB prevention to supervision and monitoring of the programme.

The guidelines and operational handbook are also accompanied by an innovative mobile application – Prevent TB –to help health-care workers manage TB preventive treatment in their communities. Its online dashboard allows programme managers to visualize and monitor data in real time. The application can be customized by countries to suit their specific settings and is currently being adopted in India and Philippines.

WORLD TB DAY

The new guidelines and tools are being released ahead of World TB Day. World TB Day is observed on March 24 each year to raise public awareness and understanding about the world’s deadliest infectious killer – TB and its devastating health, social and economic impact on people around the world. Under the theme “It’s Time”, the spotlight this year is on urgently accelerating the TB response to save lives and end suffering.





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