From Our Bureau
22nd APRIL 2020
A total of 19,984 confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the country and the death toll rose to 640 on Wednesday. The tally included 1,383 fresh cases and 50 new deaths reported in the last 24 hours. As many as 3,870 persons, that is, 19.36 percent of the total cases, have been cured/ discharged after recovery, according to the latest update from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
The Cabinet has recommended promulgating an Ordinance today to ensure the safety of the doctors under the Epidemic Disease Act, 1897.
The Government of India is taking several steps along with the States/Union Territories for prevention, containment and management of COVID-19. These are being regularly reviewed and monitored at the highest level.
Amit Shah, Union Minister for Home Affairs and Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare interacted with doctors and senior representatives of the Indian Medical Association (IMA), through a video conference. Allaying all concerns of the medical fraternity regarding their security in the fight against Corona Virus, the Home Minister has assured them that the government would leave no stone unturned in ensuring their wellbeing and security.
Also, recently the Ministry of Health has directed all Chief Secretaries of States/UTs in ensuring adequate measures towards the safety of health workers for COVID-19 Services. It was also added that their skill & service amongst all professionals places them in a unique position to save people in present times. States/UTs are advised to take up various measures including human resource & capacity building training, medical safety, staffing guideline and timely payments, psychological support, training of frontline workers & life insurance cover.
ICMR has forwarded a protocol for using Rapid Antibody Test to all States. It is reiterated that antibody rapid tests are largely to be used as a tool for surveillance. Globally also, utility of this test is evolving and it is currently being used for detecting the formation of antibodies in individuals. These test results are also dependent on field conditions. As noted by ICMR, these tests cannot replace the RT-PCR test to diagnose COVID-19 cases.
ICMR has assured assistance to collect data from various States to assess the scope and extent of utility of these rapid antibody tests in field conditions, and ICMR shall keep advising the States on a regular basis. States have also been advised to follow the prescribed protocol for these tests and use these for the purposes for which they are meant.
The Government of India will be conducting a Telephonic Survey where citizens shall be contacted through their mobile phone from the number 1921, through NIC. This is a genuine survey. All citizens are requested to participate to help get proper feedback on the prevalence and distribution of COVID-19 symptoms. Also, please be aware of any other calls by pranksters or calls from any other number in the guise of such a similar survey.
States/UTs are directed to inform the public about the survey through media in their States/UTs. They are also directed to inform people about the official nature of this exercise and create awareness of any other calls by pranksters or phishing/fishing attempts from any other number. They are also to host the information about this survey on the State Health Department’s home page and other Dept. homepage. (eom)