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100 to 500 cases in 9 days, focus now on medical infrastructure

100 to 500 cases in 9 days, focus now on medical infrastructure

In just nine days, the number of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) cases detected in India has jumped from 100 to over 500.

While it was 110 on March 15, the count stood at 519 on Tuesday, of which 39 have recovered. With one more death in Delhi, the toll is now 10. While the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare confirmed the death in Delhi, it did not give any details.

Compare this with the 45 days between the first case, in Kerala, on January 30 and the 100th on March 15. This may explain the sense of urgency in bolstering medical infrastructure and ensuring a lockdown—a shift from the focus over the last two months on travel advisories, and home and facility-based quarantine.

Several states, including Gujarat, Assam, Jharkhand, Goa and Madhya Pradesh, are setting up COVID-only hospitals.

The Centre has asked states to speed up procurement of ventilators and personal protective equipment.

A ventilator prototype by AIIMS is under consideration and the government is in talks with PSUs for manufacturing them.

"The central government has asked all the state governments to deploy fiscal resources for establishing additional medical facilities such as hospitals, clinical labs, isolation wards, expanding & upgrading existing facilities to combat the challenge posed by COVID-19. These facilities need to be well-equipped with ventilators, personal protective equipment, masks and drugs to treat the patients," the government said in a statement.

In a letter to state chief secretaries, Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba asked states to earmark hospitals for COVID patients, and ensure foolproof surveillance and contact tracing, the details of which are to be uploaded on the health online portal.

States have been asked to ensure that essential services and supplies remain open. These include hospitals, medical shops and establishments manufacturing of medicines, vaccines, sanitisers, masks and medical devices.

They have been asked to mobilise the civil machinery to supplement surveillance and strengthen rapid response teams at the field level, and to ensure that no suspected COVID-19 case or high-risk person is left out.

(Inputs from theindianexpress.com and Image from thehindu.com)

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