NEW DELHI: The Centre on Wednesday has said that India has “sufficient” stock of anti-malaria drug Hydroxychloroquine, being used for COVID 19 patients in the country, but refused to share details of the stock. The drug along with antibiotic Azithromycin has been recommended for severely ill COVID-19 patients in India and healthcare workers and close contacts of those who are infected have also been advised to use the drug to prevent infection.
The Union government has drawn flak in last few days after it removed the export ban on the drug—reportedly under the US pressure—within two days of imposing the ban. “It is ensured that not only today even in future there will not be any lack of HCQ as and when needed,’’ Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary in the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said on Wednesday, announcing that the country has reported 773 cases and 32 deaths in 24 hours.
The cumulative count of the novel coronavirus cases in India now stands at 5,194 and 402 patients have also been declared as “cured” after treatment. The government on Wednesday complimented measures taken by some districts that have emerged as best practices. It includes Pune district which sealed the central region of Pune and Kondhwa area effectively and carried out a door-to-door survey of homes located across 35 sq km area. The teams there have also been checking on persons with co-morbidity such as diabetes and hypertension apart from travel history and contact tracing.
Another district that was mentioned in the daily briefing was Pathanamthitta in Kerala that ensured surveillance, gathering travel history, contact tracing, quarantine facilities and providing essential and psychological support to the needy. Agarwal maintained that as the number of COVID-19 cases is rising in the country, India’s response and preparedness is also intensifying accordingly. Adding that in hospitals, the main focus is on infection prevention and control measures so that health workers aren’t infected. The Centre also launched a training module for management of COVID-19 named “integrated govt Online training” portal on DIKSHA platform for the capacity building of frontline workers to handle the pandemic efficiently.