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Covid spread not alarming despite relaxations, says KCR

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Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao on Wednesday said that people should not be scared or feel fearful about coronavirus, as the spread was not on an alarming scale despite relaxations in the lockdown. He, however, said people should be cautious and alert.

He said according to some estimates, positive cases may increase in the country in the next two to three months. “But people should not entertain any fear or anxiety. The government is ready to provide treatment to any number of cases in the state. The required PPE kits, test kits, masks, beds, ventilators, hospitals are all ready,” a statement from the Chief Minister’s Office quoted him as saying at a high-level meeting called by him to review Covid-19 situation.

Medical Officers, experts and state level committees examining the developments that are taking place on Covid-19 all over the world explained the present situation to the Chief Minister and Ministers.

“The developments world over point out that one should not be scared about the corona issue. According to the studies conducted all over the world and estimates by the World Health Organisation (WHO) despite spread of the virus, the symptoms are not appearing in a majority of people. About 80 per cent of those having the virus have no symptoms and they need no treatment.”

They pointed out that only 15 per cent of them have Influenza-like symptoms, cold, cough, and difficulty in breathing. People with this Influenza Like Symptoms (ILI) will recover fast. Only 5 per cent of them have the Severe Acute Respiratory Illness (SARI). More care should be taken about these patients. A majority of deaths happened in this category. The death rate in the country is 2.86 per cent and in Telangana state, it is 2.82 per cent. These patients had the history of other ailments.

It was also observed that though there was movement among the people after the relaxations, the virus did not spread rapidly. “This is a good development. In all, it is proved that nobody should entertain fear about Corona. Since there is no medicine and vaccine for Corona, people should be on alert. They should take personal precautions,” the medical officers and experts said.

KCR, as the Chief Minister is popularly known, urged people to take precautions though there was relaxation in the lockdown guidelines. He also asked the medical and health department to be alert. “People who got the virus were asymptomatic. Hence there is no room for any anxiety. But some are having symptoms. We have to provide good medical treatment to them. There is a need to take extra care about patients in serious health condition,” he said.

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No letup in coronavirus cases in Telangana

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There was no letup in new Covid-19 cases in Telangana on Tuesday as four more foreign evacuees and 12 migrants were among 71 people tested positive.

The state also reported a death due to Covid-19, pushing the death toll to 57 while the overall tally of cases mounted to 1,991.

For the fourth consecutive day, foreign returnees tested positive. The number of infections in this category rose to 32.

Four returnees from Kuwait had tested positive on 22. This was the first case in Telangana of Indian citizens repatriated under evacuation mission Vande Bharat being found infected by Covid-19.

However, the health officials have not revealed details of 28 foreign evacuees tested positive. They have not shared the information like the countries they had returned from and the districts they belong to.

Migrants continued to remain a big worry for the health authorities as the spike in cases continued. Twelve migrants tested positive taking the total number to 157. They are all the people from Telangana who returned home from other states following relaxation in lockdown norms.

Though 120 people were discharged from hospital on Tuesday, bringing down the number of active cases to 650, the efforts of the authorities to check the spread of virus received a setback with at least four districts reporting new cases after a gap of two to three weeks.

Greater Hyderabad continued to be the hotspot with 38 new cases. Thirteen cases were reported from Ranga Reddy and Medchal districts adjoining Greater Hyderabad.

Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao has been claiming that there are no Covid cases in Telangana except in few pockets of Greater Hyderabad.

Meanwhile, the Chief Minister is set to review Covid situation in the state at a high-level meeting on Wednesday.

According to the Chief Minister’s Office, there will be discussion on the measures taken for the containment of Covid and implementation of lockdown. The meeting is expected to take decisions on the next steps to be taken. A decision will also be taken whether to continue or to make any changes in the existing system of allowing shops in Hyderabad to remain open on an even-odd basis.

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Lockdown relaxation is the time to be extra cautious, say doctors

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With the increased movement of people on roads and other public places following relaxation of lockdown norms by the Central and state governments, one must be extra cautious to avoid being contracted by the deadly coronavirus, say doctors.

According to them, people need to be especially careful by taking all preventive measures while using public places.

“This is the time when one must stay extra cautious to ensure they do not contract the deadly coronavirus from carriers,” said Dr Arabind Panda, senior consultant urologist, KIMS Hospitals.

He believes that there is an added responsibility on the people who operate stores and public places to ensure the surroundings are disinfected on a continuous basis.

Office spaces, including conference rooms, should be cleaned every evening after office hours or early in the morning before the rooms are occupied. If the contact surface is visibly dirty, it should be cleaned with soap and water prior to disinfection.

“Covid-19 virus is transmitted in most instances through respiratory droplets, direct contact with cases and also through contaminated surfaces/objects. Though the virus survives on environmental surfaces for a varied period, it gets inactivated by chemical disinfectants. All indoor areas to a shop or office such as entrance lobbies, corridors and staircases, escalators, elevators, security guard booths, office rooms, meeting rooms, cafeteria should be mopped with a disinfectant like sodium hypochlorite or 7% phenol twice daily,” he said.

Disinfectants with 70 per cent alcohol can be used to wipe down surfaces like metal where the use of sodium hypochlorite is not suitable. Benzalkonium Chloride or any other disinfectants found to be effective against coronavirus may be used as per manufacturer’s instructions.

The doctor said masks are effective if worn according to instructions and properly fitted. It is important not to touch the masks or the face. Disposable masks should be discarded if they become physically damaged or soaked. Reusable cloth masks should be washed daily with detergents and water and then dried thoroughly before being reused.

Dr. Saji Dsouza, Chairman & Managing Director, KSAC group of Hospitals, said with life slowly starting to fall back to rhythm with lockdown relaxation, a ‘new normal’ set of guidelines for everyone to follow has taken birth.

“Wash your hands for 20 seconds when and where possible. Face and its parts should be covered with appropriate masks and should not be touched frequently. Sanitise your hands before and after every contact. ‘Namaste’ is the best way to greet anyone, maintain physical distancing of at least one meter from the next fellow being,” he said.

Dr Saji is of the view that people should avoid any form of crowd. “Any purchases of fruits/ vegetables bought should be thoroughly washed with baking powder mixed in hot water or hot saline before consumption. Drink your own beverages from home to keep you hydrated.

“Eat dishes made of amla, ginger, garlic, black pepper, turmeric etc.”

Dr Nishanth Sinha, Consultant Pulmonologist, Continental Hospitals, too, feels that as lockdown is eased and people have started coming out, extra care must be taken at work place and while using public transport.

“Wear facemask all the time. Maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet. Don’t go shopping as a source of entertainment, do the shopping swiftly, and efficiently. Avoid using your finger tips to push a door or a button. Use your knuckles, knees, feet etc. Carry extra napkins, masks and disinfecting wipe if possible. Avoid giving lift to any unknown person in your car or bike.”

At workplaces, people should wear masks all the time, maintain social distancing and wash hands many times with soap and water.

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Telangana gets India’s first mobile ICU for Covid-19 patients

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A charity organisation has developed a mobile intensive care unit equipped with two ventilators and three beds in a bus for Covid-19 patients.

The MCICU, as the mobile Covid-19 ICU is called, has state-of-the-art facilities like ventilator, imaging, tele radiology, e-ICU, ultrasound and Artificial Intelligence-based risk stratification. Swab samples of the patients can also be collected in a contactless manner in this mobile ICU.

The MCICU, conceptualised by Grace Cancer Foundation and developed in partnership with others, can be positioned in areas of the greatest need.

The developers said it is aimed to save precious lives as it takes advanced critical care to mofussil and rural areas where such facilities are lacking.

They say the facility can be of great help in dealing with the Covid situation, especially considering the fact that there is a huge shortage of ventilator equipped beds in the country and the existing infrastructure is largely concentrated in metros and state capitals.

It also supplements the government capacity for testing and awareness building. It is one step ahead of mobile testing as it moves to therapeutic care as well. It can perhaps be a model for rapid scaling should that be needed, said Dr Chinnababu Sunkavalli, CEO, Grace Cancer Foundation.

“There is a great need to supplement the efforts of the governments to combat the disease spread effectively. Innovative solutions that are accessible and affordable and the involvement of NGOs can help mitigate the burden”, he said.

The unique initiative by the Foundation is supported by Liberty General Insurance and NATCO Pharma.

The International Institute of Information Technology (IIIT), Hyderabad is the data and technology partner of the facility.

According to the developers, the mobile ICU increases the capacity of ventilators where the shortage is likely to be critical, especially in the district and block level hospitals. Easy mobility enhances the usage potential of the ventilators in a hyper local environment. The cost of building the unit is up to 50 per cent lower than doing the same in a hospital context.

It can be expeditiously assembled and made functional in less than 10 days.

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Telangana HC allows Covid-19 tests in private hospitals

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The Telangana High Court on Wednesday directed the state government to allow private hospitals and diagnostic laboratories to conduct Covid-19 tests.

The court found fault with the government’s order that Covid-19 tests should be conducted only at state-run hospitals and termed this as undemocratic.

A division bench of Justice M.S. Ramachandra Rao and Justice K. Lakshman ruled that getting Covid-19 tests and treatment done in private hospitals at their own cost is the right of people who can afford it.

Hearing a public interest litigation seeking direction to the government to allow private hospitals to conduct Covid-19 tests, the court observed that the government can’t compel citizens to undergo the tests only at Gandhi Hospital, NIMS hospitals and other hospitals designated by the government.

The court directed that private hospitals and labs should conduct the tests as per the guidelines of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). It said the hospitals and labs should apply to the ICMR for its nod to conduct the tests.

The court wondered how the government without partnership of the private sector would deal with a situation that may arise due to spurt in coronavirus cases.

The bench dismissed the government’s argument that if private hospitals are allowed to conduct the tests, they could misuse it and hide the facts. It questioned how private hospitals can function if the government has no trust in them and wondered how they are empanelled for treatment under the government’s Arogyasri health scheme.

The high court order came as a blow to the state government which is already under fire from several quarters for not conducting enough tests.

Earlier, the court had pulled up the government for discrepancies in the number of tests conducted in the state and for not testing the samples collected from people who died of Covid-19 symptoms.

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Covid 19: 4 deaths, 42 new cases in Telangana

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Four more persons died of Covid-19 in Telangana on Tuesday, taking the death toll in the state to 38.

This is one of the highest single fatalities in the state in over one-and-half months.

The state Health Department has not disclosed the details of the four deceased.

The state continued to see a surge in Covid-19 cases with 42 people testing positive on Tuesday, taking the total number of cases to 1,634.

Greater Hyderabad accounted for 34 cases. Eight migrants also tested positive. With this, the number of migrants tested positive so far rose to 77.

Nine persons were discharged from hospital up on their recovery on Tuesday, taking the total number of recoveries to 1,011.

Number of active cases now stands at 585.

According to a media bulletin by the Director of Public Health and Family Welfare, 25 out of 33 districts have not recorded a single positive case for 14 days. Three districts have not reported a single case so far.

Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao has said except in four zones in Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC), there are no Covid-19 cases in the state.

On Monday, the Chief Minister declared the entire state except the containment areas in the state capital as a green zone and announced relaxations in the lockdown while extending it till May 31.

Barring the containment areas, the government has permitted economic activity in rest of the state. It allowed re-opening of shops, government and private offices, industries and factories.

Buses of Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) also resumed plying across the state. However, city bus services in Hyderabad and inter-state services remained suspended.

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No approved treatments yet for COVID-19: WHO

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The World Health Organization (WHO) said that a number of treatments are under clinical trials for the treatment of COVID-19, but none of those were yet approved.

“There are hundreds of clinical trials that are underway, and the reason we need to wait for the results of these studies is because they are evaluating how these medicines, how these drugs work, in terms of either preventing infection, preventing someone from progressing to severe disease, preventing death and how safe they are, do they have any side effects,” Maria Van Kerkhove, technical lead for the WHO’s Health Emergencies Program, said on Friday in a press conference in Geneva, Xinhua news agency reported.

“Right now, WHO has launched the ‘Solidarity Trial’ which is a clinical trial focusing on some drugs, some therapeutics, to look at whether or not these are safe and effective for COVID-19. There are more than 2,500 patients enrolled in this multi-site clinical trial,” she said.

“And it will take some time before we have full answers to which treatments work, but right now we don’t have any approved treatments for COVID-19.” she added.

Michael Ryan, executive director of the WHO Health Emergencies Program, stressed the importance of proper process to ensure safety.

“And there’s a very very well tested process of doing this, so it’s really important that we encourage innovation, we encourage people to be looking for solutions, but then as those solutions potentially become available, we need to put them through the proper process in the interest of safety, in the interest of efficacy and in order to make sure that we first do no harm,” he said.

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Telangana stares at third wave of infections from returning migrants

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Initially it was foreign returnees, then came the second wave with the return of attendees of the Tablighi Jamaat congregation in Delhi and now with the arrival of thousands of migrants, Telangana stares at a third wave of Covid-19 infections.

With at least 35 migrants testing positive for Covid-19 during the last five days, the state government has sounded an alert and stepped up surveillance at the entry points to check the spread of the virus.

It was on March 2 that Telangana had recorded its first coronavirus case and every time the government thought the worst was over, it faced a new challenge.

Late last month, both Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao and Health Minister Eatala Rajender had exuded confidence that with the decline in the number of new cases and higher rate of recovery, the state would be largely free from the disease by May 8. However, the spike in the number of cases during the last few days dashed their hopes.

Unlike the foreign returnees and Tablighi meet attendees and their contacts who could all be traced and screened, the authorities are finding it tough to keep track of all migrants returning home from other states.

Officials admit that the movement of a large number of people by different modes of transport following the relaxations in lockdown restrictions poses a challenge as many have already reached their villages.

So far 41,805 migrants have reached Telangana by road while 239 have arrived by train. The number of those arriving by special aircraft from other countries stands at 798.

What is causing concern to health authorities is that the majority of the migrants are from Maharashtra, the worst affected state in the country with nearly 26,000 cases including 975 deaths.

Health Minister Eatala Rajender admitted that the state faces the threat of a surge in the number of cases with the return of migrants.

With the increase in the number of travellers to the state following relaxations in the lockdown, Chief Minister Chandrashekhar Rao alerted the health department.

The evacuees from other countries reaching Hyderabad by special flights are being quarantined in hotels for 14 days. Those arriving by trains are being screened by the health personnel at the railway stations and all such people are being stamped ‘home quarantined’ on the hands.

The people entering the state by road are being examined by medical teams at the entry points. The asymptomatic are being quarantined at home or in government quarantine facilities while the symptomatic migrants are being isolated for testing.

To screen the migrants entering the state, 275 health teams have been deployed at 87 check posts in the border districts. About 1000 health personnel are working in these teams.

However, it is believed that before a proper screening system could be put in place at inter-state check posts, many people had already entered the state and reached their villages.

This was evident from the case of three migrants who returned from Mumbai. They voluntarily approached Gandhi Hospital in Hyderabad due to suspected symptoms and were found Covid-19 positive.

The health department has urged the general public to inform the local authorities in case they identify new persons or migrants who have arrived in the towns and villages.

Officials say all newly arrived people in every village are being identified and screened. ASHA workers are ensuring that they don’t step out of their houses for 14 days. Those with suspected symptoms are being immediately sent to hospitals for Covid-19 testing.

In the daily medical bulletin released by the health department, a new category ‘migrants’ has been added to the list of 33 districts. This was apparently done to ensure that the districts with zero cases so far and those with no cases for the last two-three weeks are not added to the category of red zone districts by the Centre.

Most of the migrants who tested positive belong to one of three districts which had not reported a single case so far. Many also hail from some of the 26 districts which saw no new case for the last two weeks.

The state recorded two deaths on Wednesday, taking the death toll to 34. Both the deaths were reported from Hyderabad, the worst affected district.

The state also reported 41 new infections, which took the state’s tally to 1367 cases. Ten of those who tested positive were migrants.

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Active cases below 1,000 but Chennai link haunts AP

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A day after registering its lowest ever single day tally of 33 cases, Andhra Pradesh reported a rise in the number of COVID-19 cases on Wednesday. The state nodal officer reported that 48 positive cases were detected from the tests conducted in the 24 hours ending 10 a.m., Wednesday. Seven of these cases were observed to have a travel history to Chennai’s Koyambedu market.

Guntur district reported the highest incidence of covid-19 cases, with 12 cases detected here in the preceding 24 hours. This is followed by the Chittoor district, with 11 cases reported from here. However, three of the cases detected here have a travel history to Chennai, which has emerged as one of the major southern hotspots for COVID-19. In East Godavari district, all the four cases that tested positive were found to have a travel history to Chennai.

Krishna and Anantapur districts reported three cases each, while seven districts did not report a single case over the past 24 hours. The past 24 hours saw Andhra Pradesh conduct 9,284 tests in comparison to the 10,730 samples tested during the preceding one-day cycle.

Kurnool district continues to lead with a cumulative tally of 591 cases, although with 297 persons cured and discharged, there are only 277 active cases here. This is followed by Guntur and Krishna districts with cumulative tallies of 399 and 349 cases respectively.

One death was reported from Kurnool district, taking the death toll further up to 47. Wednesday, with 86 persons declared cured, saw high numbers of people discharged from hospitals.

At the state level, the cumulative tally in the state touched 2,137 cases on Wednesday. However, the active cases tally is constantly on the decline and stands at 948. Of the active cases, nearly 73 cases pertain to people returning from Maharashtra, Gujarat, Odisha, and Karnataka.

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43 COVID-19 cases on Saturday, active count below 1000 in Andhra

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With just 43 cases reported on Saturday, Andhra Pradesh reported it’s lowest daily tally of COVID-19 cases in weeks. A steady decline in the number of positive cases over the past one week, combined with increasing numbers of people getting cured, has resulted in the state’s active cases dipping below the 1000 mark.

The State Nodal Officer has reported that of the 8,388 samples tested, 43 cases were detected in the 24 hours ending 10 a.m. on Saturday. However, the death toll increased further, with two persons reported dead in Krishna district and one in Kurnool district.

The state’s top COVID-19 hotspot of Kurnool district continued to register very low positive cases. Only six cases were reported from here, while Krishna district reported the highest daily tally of 16 cases. Visakhapatnam reported five cases, while Anantapur and Chittoor districts reported three and two cases respectively.

In a reversal of sorts, a decrease in the number of positive cases over the past week has been observed in Andhra Pradesh. 54 cases were detected on Friday, while the 24-hour tally on Thursday was 56. The daily tally was 60 cases on Wednesday. Similarly the tally on Tuesday and Monday was 67.

Prior to this, the daily tally of positive cases used to range between 70 and the highest single-day tally of 81.

On an average, the state tests around 7,500 samples per day and has the country’s highest test ratio of 3,091 tests conducted per million population. So far, the state has conducted 1,65,069 tests. The state’s positivity rate stands at 1.17 per cent, while the Covid mortality rate is 2.28 per cent. The death toll on Saturday increased to 43, with three deaths reported in the past 24 hours.

Two people had died in Krishna district while one death was reported from Kurnool district. By Saturday, Andhra Pradesh’s cumulative tally of COVID-19 cases touched 1,930 but thanks largely to the high number of people being cured and discharged, the tally of active cases dipped to 999, just below the 1000-mark. The past 24 hours saw 45 persons discharged, taking the overall tally of discharged persons in the state to 887.

Despite the reduction in daily numbers, Kurnool district’s cumulative tally tops the state list at 553, followed by Guntur and Krishna districts with 376 and 338 cases respectively. Seven of the state’s 13 districts did not report any new cases in the last 24 hours.

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54 new cases, 3 more deaths due to Covid in AP

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The daily COVID-19 tally continued to drop for the fifth consecutive day in Andhra Pradesh, as the state reported 54 cases on Friday morning. The state nodal officer reported that of the 7,320 samples tested in the past 24 hours ending 10 a.m. Friday, 54 samples tested positive.

The bad news, however, is that the death toll continues to rise, with 3 more deaths reported during this period.

With 16 cases, Anantapuram district reported the highest number of Covid cases over the past 24 hours, followed by Visakhapatnam with 11, and West Godavari district with 9 cases. Top Covid hotspots Kurnool and Krishna reported 7 and 6 cases respectively, while Guntur reported only one case. Chittoor reported 3 cases.

Meanwhile, Vizianagaram district which had reported cases for the first time on Thursday, reported one more case on Friday too. With this, the district’s tally stands at 4.

The past week has witnessed decreasing number of positive cases in Andhra Pradesh, even as it has raised the test sample numbers. On Thursday, 56 positive cases were detected while on Wednesday, the tally was 60 cases. Similarly, the tally on Tuesday and Monday was 67.

On average, the state tests around 7000 samples per day and has the country’s highest test ratio of 2,934 tests conducted per million population. So far, the state has conducted 1,56,681 tests.

The death toll has, however, increased to 41, with 3 deaths reported in the past 24 hours. Two people died in Kurnool district while one death was reported from Visakhapatnam district.

Even as the cumulative tally of COVID-19 cases touched 1,887 on Friday morning, the number of people declared cured and discharged from hospital has been on the rise in Andhra Pradesh.

The past 24 hours saw 62 persons discharged, taking the overall tally of discharged persons in the state to 842. With this, the active number of cases stands at 1,004, down from 1,015 on Thursday.

With the latest update, Kurnool district’s cumulative tally stands at 547, followed by Guntur and Krishna districts with 374 and 322 cases respectively. Five of the state’s 13 districts did not report any new cases in the last 24 hours.

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COVID-19: Daily count drops in AP; Vizianagaram reports first three cases

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With 56 cases detected in the last 24 hours, Andhra Pradesh, on Thursday, reported the lowest daily tally in many weeks. However, Vizianagaram district which has not reported a single count of COVID-19 till date, registered three cases for the first time.

Over the past few weeks, the state has been witnessing progressively lower COVID-19 cases every day even as it has ramped up the number of tests conducted daily.

The state nodal officer reported that of the 8087 samples tested, 56 positive cases were detected in the 24 hours ending Thursday. On Wednesday, the state had reported 60 cases, while on Tuesday and Monday, the daily tally was 67.

The death toll however increased to 38, with 2 deaths reported in the past 24 hours.

In a relief of sorts for theAgovernment, the number of cases declined in Kurnool, with only seven cases reported from the district. Krishna district with 16 cases, and Guntur district with 10 cases dominated the medical bulletin on Thursday. Kurnool and Visakhapatnam reported seven cases each, Kadapa reported six cases, while Anantapur and Vizianagaram districts reported three cases each.

This is the first time that COVID-19 cases have been detected in Vizianagaram district.

While the cumulative tally of COVID-19 cases touched 1,833 on Thursday morning, Andhra Pradesh has been witnessing a rise in the numbers of people cured and discharged from hospitals. The active number of cases stands at 1,015 on Thursday.

Meanwhile, with 2 deaths reported, the death toll rose to 38 by Thursday.

With the latest update, Kurnool district’s cumulative tally stands at 540, followed by Guntur and Krishna districts with 373 and 316 cases respectively. Five of the state’s 13 districts did not report any new cases in the last 24 hours.

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Telangana reports 11 new cases, all from Hyderabad

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Telangana on Wednesday reported 11 new cases of Covid-19, taking the state’s tally to 1,107, officials said.

All 11 cases were reported from Greater Hyderabad, the worst affected among 33 districts of the state.

According to the Director of Public Health and Family Welfare, no deaths occurred on Wednesday. The death toll remains at 29.

Twenty people were discharged from hospitals following their recovery. This took the number of discharged so far to 648. The number of active cases now stands at 430.

The number of districts with no new positive cases for the last 14 days rose to 22 from 17 districts on Monday. Three districts have not reported any positive case till date.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao, who held a review meeting with top officials on Wednesday, asked officials to ensure implementation of strict regulations in Hyderabad and its surrounding places where there is more spread of coronavirus.

KCR, as Rao is popularly known, said that the situation in the state is under control except in Hyderabad and its surrounding districts. “The spread is less in other districts. All the new cases being reported are from Hyderabad, Medchal, Rangareddy and Vikarabad districts. Hence the officials should put more focus on Hyderabad,” he said.

The Chief Minister said whoever is having symptoms should be given treatment and all those who came in contact with the positive cases should be quarantined. “Ensure strict measures so that nobody from Hyderabad should go out nor outsiders enter into Hyderabad. Appoint sharp police, IAS and Medical and Health officers as the Special Officers. Round off the entire Hyderabad and eradicate the virus,” the CM said.

He also asked officials to be on alert at villages bordering Kurnool and Guntur districts of neighbouring Andhra Pradesh.

“Coronavirus spread is rampant in the neighbouring Kurnool and Guntur districts of AP. Appoint special officers in these border districts and see to it that nobody enters the state nor leave it. The virus not originated from here. It came from outside and spread. Hence, the more effectively we control movement of people, the Virus can be controlled substantially,” the CM said.

The meeting was attended by Medical and Health Minister E. Rajender, Government’s Chief Advisor Rajiv Sharma, Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar, DGP Mahender Reddy, Special Chief Secretary (Health) Shanta Kumari, Principal Secretaries Narsing Rao, Ramakrishna Rao and others.

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AP reports marginal dip as Covid tally touches 1583

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In a positive development of sorts, only five of the 13 districts in Andhra Pradesh reported new COVID-19 cases by Sunday morning. Giving more cheer to the authorities, are the dipping numbers of cases over the past three days. The state nodal officer reported 58 cases from the tests conducted during the 24 hours ending 10 a.m. on Sunday.

Even as the state has ramped up testing, the number of positive cases has been declining over the past few days. On Saturday, 62 cases were reported from the state, while 61 cases were reported on Friday. The state had reported the highest number of new cases in a single day on April 26.

Kurnool continued to be the top coronavirus hotspot in the state, with 30 cases reported from the district. With this, the district tally of coronavirus cases stands at 466. The prevalence of coronavirus in the district has been causing concern as the highest number of deaths has also been reported from here. Of the 33 deaths so far, 10 cases have been reported from Kurnool district alone.

Meanwhile, Krishna and Guntur districts reported 8, and 7 cases respectively while Chittoor and Nellore reported one case each. Even as the state’s cumulative tally is 1583, the combined tally of these four districts stands at 757.

Overall, 7 districts reported no fresh cases, of which Vizianagaram is the only district to remain unaffected till date.

On the recovery front too, AP is witnessing positive developments. By Sunday morning, 47 persons were discharged from hospital taking the Aoverall tally of cured persons in the state to 488. The death toll in the state has remained 33 as no further death has been reported since Friday.

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A sea of gratitude for frontline warriors in Vizag

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Elaborate arrangements made across the Vizag coast for the Indian Air Force aerial fly-pasts, light up ships at sea and shower flower petals on several Covid-19 hospitals including KGH and Chest Hospitals on Sunday to express gratitude to thousands of doctors, paramedics, sanitation staff and other front-line workers engaged in fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

Indian Navy helicopters would shower petals on hospitals treating coronavirus patients at Vizag between 10 am to 10:30 am. The Eastern Naval Command will illuminate two ships at anchorage from 7:30 pm to midnight at Visakhapatnam coast
while military bands will play “patriotic tunes” outside the hospitals treating coronavirus patients to express gratitude to doctors, nurses and paramedics. The army will also display formations at the sea. Further, the Indian army will also lay wreathe at the police memorials on May 3 to honour the police personnel who died in the fight against covid-19.

On Friday, Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat expessed his gratitude to the medical staff, “On behalf of armed forces, we want to thank all Covid-19 warriors. Doctors, nurses, sanitation workers, police, home guards, delivery boys & media which has been reaching out with the message of government on how to carry on with lives in difficult times.

The Indian Navy had recently set up a quarantine camp at INS Vishwakarma in Eastern Naval Command-ENC for Indian nationals being evacuated from Covid-19 affected countries.

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At 1525 cases, AP Covid effect most pronounced in 5 districts

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While Andhra Pradesh continues to report COVID-19 cases, the good news is that the numbers are showing a slight dip over the past few days. On Saturday, the state nodal officer reported 62 new cases which were detected from the samples tested in the last 24 hours ending at 10 a.m. on Saturday.

On Friday too, the state reported 61 cases, which is in marked contrast to the high of 82 cases witnessed last Sunday.

Kurnool remains Andhra Pradesh’s weak spot as the district reported 25 cases on Saturday. The district, with 436 cases, has the highest tally of coronavirus cases in the state. Krishna district also reported 12 cases while Nellore reported 6 cases. Anantapur, Kadapa, and Visakhapatnam districts reported 4 cases each, and East Godavari reported 3 cases while 2 cases were detected in Guntur district. Prakasam and West Godavari districts reported 1 case each. In all, 3 districts reported no fresh cases, of which Vizianagaram is the only district to remain unaffected till date.

Meanwhile, recovery rates in the state are on the rise. By Saturday morning, 38 persons were discharged, taking the overall tally of discharged people in Andhra Pradesh to 441. Earlier, by Friday morning too, 82 persons were discharged.

The death toll in the state has remained 33 as no further casualty was reported. While the cumulative tally stands at 1525, presently, there are 1051 active COVID-19 cases in Andhra Pradesh.

After almost 40 days since the first cases were detected in the state, the pandemic’s presence has been most felt in the five districts of Kurnool (436), Guntur (308), Krishna (258), Nellore (90) and Kadapa (83).

Even as it has relaxed lockdown conditions to facilitate agricultural activities, the state government has intensified containment measures in red zones.

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Army fly past, to shower flowers on covid-19 hospitals

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As an expression of gratitude to the frontline corona warriors, especailly doctors, nurses and paramedics, the Indian Army will conduct a fly past across the nation on May 3 and shower flowers and petals on the hospital buildings from the sky.

Further, the Indian army will also lay wreathe at the police memorials on May 3 to honour the police personnel who died in the fight against covid-19. The army will also display formations at the sea. This was announced by Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh, Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane and IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria at a press briefing.

Talking to the media, Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat said, “Our nation has shown resilience to overcome such crisis. The Army on its part will conduct mountain band displays along some of the Covid hospitals in almost every district of our country. The armed forces will also lay wreathe at the police memorial on May 3 in support of our police forces: There are some special activities that nation will get to witness. Air Force to conduct flypast from Srinagar to Trivandrum & another one starting from Dibrugarh in Assam to Kutch in Gujarat. It’ll include both transport & fighter aircraft.On behalf of armed forces, we want to thank all Covid-19 warriors. Doctors, nurses, sanitation workers, police, home guards, delivery boys & media which has been reaching out with the message of government on how to carry on with lives in difficult times,” Rawat said.

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Inter-Ministerial Central Team to visit Andhra Pradesh to review corona situation

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After Telangana, the central government has decided to send an Inter-Ministerial Central Team (IMCT) to Andhra Pradesh to take stock of the corona virus situation as the number of positive cases climbed to 1,400 in the state. The central team will monitor the lockdown process in the state and the overall situation in the state. The central team is visiting the state in accordance with the Disaster Management Act.

Each team will have six members including a senior public health specialist and a senior officer of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA). These teams will monitor hotspot areas, assess health infrastructure, disaster management and provide additional assistance to states. The task force team will review the hospitalisation facilities in the state, preparation of the state in terms of available beds, ramping up the number of hospitals and care centres dedicated to Covid-19 management.

The team will monitor hotspots in the state, mainly Kurnool, Guntur and Krishna districts where high number of positive cases were reported. The state government confirmed 71 new coronavirus infections on Thursday, taking the total in the state to 1,403 and 31 deaths. Kurnool continues to have highest number of cases at 386, followed by Guntur and Krishna with 287 and 240 cases respectively

The central team will review the medical facilities at various hospitals and facilities in the state, assess the level of testing, availability of PPE and masks for health professionals, availability of oxygen beds, ICUs, number of surveillance teams. The team will submit a detailed report on the situation in the state following which a central plan of action will be suggested to further contain the virus. After the assessment, the team will issue necessary directions to the Telangana government for redressal.

The central government has already sent inter-ministerial teams to monitor certain hotspot districts in several states including, Telangana, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal.

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Take stringent action against anyone who obstructs cremation or burial of Covid-19 victims: Jagan

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Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy has directed authorities to take stringent action against anyone who obstructs the cremation or burial of Covid-19 victims in the state.

The direction came after a 70-year-old covid-19 patient from Kurnool, was buried a day after his death amid protests and denial of permission by residents and a crematorium. Locals gathered in large numbers and prevented the officials from performing the last rites there as they feared the body might contaminate the area.

On Thursday, Jagan held a high-level meeting at his Tadepalli office to discuss the Kurnool incident. He told the officials that it is inhumane to subject corona positive patients or those who die of Covid-19 to social discrimination. He said the virus can affect anyone and therefore it is not correct to attach a stigma to it as anyone is vulnerable to it. “Coronavirus need not be seen as untouchable or people need not feel everything is ruined with it. It’s just like an ordinary fever. And don’t show any discrimination towards the affected persons. It can be treated with medicines. The government will take action against anyone who spreads misinformation,” he warned.

Considering the seriousness of the issue, he said any individual or managements of cremation or burial grounds obstruct the cremation or burial of the covid-19 victims will have to be dealt with in accordance with law and cases be registered under appropriate provisions of law.

He also directed the officials to sensitize people, especially where the cremation or burial grounds are situated, to avoid repeat of the unfortunate incident in Kurnool.

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COVID-19: At-home testing options

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Medlife recently announced partnering with the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) accredited labs to provide users with the option of testing for COVID-19, at home.

In accordance with government guidelines, users must display COVID-19 symptoms and have a prescription from a registered physician to avail COVID-19 testing at home.

Users meeting these conditions and seeking to get tested can do so by raising a call-back request through Medlife. The price of the test is set at INR 4,500 and is conducted by labs authorised by ICMR to perform COVID-19 testing using Real Time PCR methodology.

“We are partnering with ICMR-authorised labs to aid in the rapid scaling up of COVID-19 testing in India, an essential measure to check the spread of the virus in the country. As we play our part in the nation’s fight against the pandemic, we are determined to ensure that regular and chronic patients continue to receive quality healthcare services. The launch of our e-consultation service is aimed at encouraging vulnerable and at-risk patients, especially ones with chronic diseases, to direct their concerns to our highly-trained doctors from the safety and comfort of their homes,” said, Ananth Narayanan, Co-founder and CEO Medlife.

Samples will be collected by Medlife’s partner labs, who will send phlebotomists in Personal Protective Equipment Kit, to ensure safety of all persons involved.

Reports from the COVID-19 tests, which require a simple nose or throat swab sample, would be available within 24 to 48 hours from the set appointment time. The COVID-19 testing service is currently available in Mumbai, Delhi, Noida, Ghaziabad and Faridabad, with Gurgaon and Pune to be added shortly.

Medlife also announced the launch of its e-consultation services and has empanelled 1,500 doctors across India for the same. E-consultation services will be provided in areas such as, Diabetology, Cardiology, Oncology, Neurology, Gynaecology, Paediatrics, Orthopaedic, Pulmonology, Dermatology, GP and ENT.

E-consultation fees range from INR 199 to INR 599 and are currently available on Medlife’s Android app with an attractive launch offer of up to 50 percent off on the consultation fee. The e-consultation services are currently enabled through a call, with video and chat feature to be added soon.

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