The government has ensured that there is no shortage of anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine in the country at present as well as in the future, Union Health Ministry Joint Secretary Lav Aggarwal said on Wednesday. "It is ensured that not only today even in future there will not be any lack of HCQ (hydroxychloroquine) as and when needed," the official said during his daily press briefing.
In an abrupt reversal of policy, the government on Tuesday temporarily licensed the export of paracetamol and hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) in appropriate quantities to some countries, which have been badly affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The drug is being used to treat critical patients of the disease and has shown encouraging results in several cases, prompting a surge in demand worldwide.
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has recommended HCQ only to those asymptomatic healthcare workers involved in the care of suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 and asymptomatic household contacts of laboratory-confirmed cases.
The Health Ministry informed that 80% of COVID-19 patients show little to mild symptoms of the disease, for whom the government plans to expand clinical infrastructure.
"Avenues like hotels, hostels, halls to be converted into 'COVID CARE Centres' to treat less or mildly symptomatic patients, who are 80% of the cases. Infrastructure to be expanded for critical cases with State cooperation," Lav Aggarwal said. He also said that the Air Force has helped in supplying essential medical gear and personnel in far-flung areas of North East and Ladakh.
The joint secretary said, "Till date, a total of 402 people have been discharged and 5194 positive confirmed cases have been reported. In the last one day, 773 positive cases were reported. Total of 149 deaths have been reported and around 32 people have died yesterday."
"A total of 1,21,271 tests for COVID-19 have been done so far. Yesterday, 13,345 tests have been done. 2267 tests done on private labs. 65 new private labs given the permit to conduct tests," an ICMR official said.
To monitor COVID-19 cases, the Human Resource Development Ministry has launched a platform — Integrated Government Online Training Portal — for health workers including doctors, nurses, paramedics, ANMs, technicians as well as state civil defense personnel, NCC cadets, NSS, Red Cross Society will be provided necessary resources, the Health Ministry informed.
A training module will also be launched for physicians to look after pregnant ladies suspected or confirmed with coronavirus infection.
The Union Mone Ministry informed that in 31 States/UTs, cash benefits of Rs.1000 to Rs. 6000 have been announced for registered construction workers under Building and Other Construction Workers' Welfare Cess Fund. Rs. 3000 crores have been given to 2 crore registered construction workers till now.