Press Trust of india

Coronavirus cases cross 600, 1st death in TN

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New Delhi/Shimla, Mar 25 :  Coronavirus cases in the country crossed 600 on Wednesday as authorities beefed up preparedness to fight the pandemic with a chain of hospitals of the Army ordnance factories and central paramilitary forces earmarking over 2,000 beds for isolation and treatment of people affected by COVID-19.

In addition, the Hamirpur district administration in Himachal Pradesh took over all the ten hostels with 2,000 rooms of the National Institute of Technology (NIT) for creating an isolation centre, an official said in Shimla.

A 2,200-bed state-run hospital in Kolkata has stopped admitting new patients who are suffering from other diseases and was discharging patients whose condition had improved as part of efforts to create a dedicated isolation centre, another official said in Kolkata.

Addressing people of his constituency in Varanasi via a video link, Prime Minister Narendra Modi reiterated that social distancing and staying indoors were the only way out and the best option to deal with coronavirus.

"Around one lakh people infected with coronavirus are recovering, this also needs to be highlighted," he said.

"People should focus on how deadly this virus is. This disease doesn't discriminate between rich and poor."

Authorities were augmenting the preparedness to deal with the pandemic at a time when an international team of scientists projected that India could face over one lakh confirmed cases of coronavirus by mid-May if the current trend in spike continues.

The report, compiled by COV-IND-19 Study Group, an interdisciplinary team of researchers, said while India seems to have done well in controlling the number of confirmed cases compared to other countries like the US and Italy in the early phase of the pandemic, the country is critically missing a key component in this assessment -- the number of truly affected cases.

According to the latest Union Health ministry data released in the evening, coronavirus cases crossed 100 in Maharashtra(116) and Kerala(109). Of the 612 confirmed cases, 562 were active while 40 had recovered.

The coronavirus death toll stood at 10 as per the data which included the first casualty reported in Tamil Nadu on Wednesday.

The all India tally did not take into account the third death in Maharashtra which was reported by a Mumbai civic body on Tuesday. It also showed that the second death in Delhi reported by the ministry yesterday was not from the viral infection.

In a heartwarming gesture, a Pune-based couple, the first COVID-19 patients in Maharashtra, received an emotional welcome from the members of their housing society when they reached their homes on Wednesday afternoon after being discharged from a hospital following recovery.

Residents of the housing society, located on Sinhgad Road in Pune, came out in their balconies and clapped and clanged their utensils to greet the 51-year-old man and his 43-year-old wife.

A chain of 32 paramilitary force hospitals across the country, with a total capacity of about 1,900 beds, has been taken over by the government for isolation and treatment of COVID-19 affected patients, officials said in Delhi.

The "urgent" decision to use the ''composite hospitals'' of these forces, also called as the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs), was taken after a high-level meeting of the Union home ministry that was chaired by the secretary of border management.

An order issued by the medical establishment of these forces has been reviewed by PTI and it said these hospitals have been designated and earmarked for the "purpose of isolation cum treatment of COVID-19 patients as and when they arrive".

These 32 hospitals are operated by forces like the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Border Security Force (BSF), Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) and are located at places like Greater Noida, Hyderabad, Guwahati, Jammu, Tekanpur (Gwalior), Dimapur, Imphal, Nagpur, Silchar, Bhopal, Avadi, Jodhpur, Kolkata, Pune and Bengaluru, among others.

The total capacity of these 32 earmarked hospitals is 1,890 beds, a senior official said.

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