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Centre announces Rs 50 lakh insurance cover for doctors, paramedics treating COVID-19 patients


NEW DELHI: The Centre on Thursday announced Rs 50 lakh insurance cover for doctors and other healthcare professionals treating COVID-19 patients in the country.

The government also announced that an online orientation of all doctors will be carried out by a team of experts at AIIMS, Delhi, to train them on infection control and case management.

“The country is fully geared up to take the big challenge even if our efforts are on to contain the spread of the virus,” said Lav Agarwal, joint secretary in the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

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Union health minister Harsh Vardhan in a review meeting with states urged states for effective community surveillance with specific focus on international travelers to India since in last one month. He also advised them for random verification of home quarantine and action against defaulters.

States were also asked train ambulance drivers, call centre personnel and emergency medical response team members and to update district-wise ambulance details on the COVID-19 portal. The government has also asked states to start a helpline for those already in quarantine in order to offer psychological counselling.

The minister urged states to arrange for the transportation of health workers so that there is no shortage of doctors, nurses and other health staff in medical facilities. In addition, he asked the states to ensure that the pharmacies perform doorstep delivery of drugs. 

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Meanwhile, the number infected people in the country neared 700 with 18 of those positive cases dead. At 125, the highest infections are reported from Maharashtra. More reports emerged about people who have tested positive for the infection without any travel or contact history with infected people. Central authorities however dismissed the concern of community transmission.

“Sporadic cases cannot be the basis to conclude that we have reached the third stage of infection,” said Dr R R Gangakhedkar, chief epidemiologist with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). “In many cases, patients do not remember their contact history,” he said suggesting that some confirmed patients may have picked the infection from other positive persons unknowingly.

Officials also informed that 17 states so far have initiated the process of earmarking dedicated hospitals for COVID-19 patients.