India Coronavirus Dispatch: Prison staff fear spurt with returning inmates

Student undergoes thermal screening before entering an examination centre to appear for National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) 2020 entrance papers, amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, at Sector 14, in Gurugram on Sunday.
No Covid tests for NHM workers? In Chandigarh, NHM workers allege that hospital authorities have been asking them to not get tested for Covid despite their symptoms. They say officials have been discouraging testing by citing the fact that they’re already short-staffed. The directive, they say, is an informal one. Further, workers have not been granted leaves despite exhibiting symptoms typical of a Covid case. The workers say they’re especially scared of the situation since they have to continue to deal with patients despite being symptomatic themselves. Further, requests to authorities to send teams to test family members have been turned down as well. What is especially worrying is that some of the staff members were handling children, including newborn babies. Read more here. 

Covid insurance claims: Claims under the central government’s Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana have been rejected for at least 77 employees of the BMC. This scheme provides Rs 50 lakh insurance for Covid warriors to get by. It provides cover to healthcare workers for loss of life due to Covid, and accidental death while on Covid-related duty. However, in what was a rude shock to many families, claims have been rejected when the civic worker who died was not dealing directly with a Covid-19 patient. In fact, over 60 per cent of 125 insurance claims forwarded by BMC have been rejected. Only 11 have been sanctioned so far, while 37 more are pending. 27 per cent of these employees were working in the BMC’s solid waste department. Read more here. 

Prison authorities fear spurt: Inmates of Delhi prisons — released on interim bail amid lockdowns — will now have to surrender. Prison authorities now fear this could lead to a hike in coronavirus cases. A prison official says that over 18,000 prisoners will be in Delhi prisons once undertrials surrender at regular intervals.The bench modifying the blanket extension of bail noted that there is no outbreak of Covid in prisons and the cases that have been identified have led to hospitalisation. The matter has come up in relation to bails granted to accused in cases related to the riots that rocked Northeast Delhi earlier this year. Prison officials, however, fear chaos and a new surge in cases. In Delhi prisons, a unique pattern has been noticed wherein prison staff have accounted for a greater number of infections than inmates. Read more here.

In Numbers

Mohali’s cases: Mohali has been seeing a dip in new Covid cases as well as deaths in the first 20 days of this month compared to the last one. September saw a huge spike in the number of cases. From 3,933 cases on September 1, the number went up to 8,362 by September 20. By October, the number stood at 10,535. As compared to the 4,429 cases reported between September 1 and 20, only 1,440 cases were recorded between October 1 and October 20. Further, the first 20 days of September saw 76 deaths. This number, too, came down to 30 for the same period in October. Authorities say that while the dip may be ‘significant’, it does not mean that people become complacent in the fight against the pandemic. Read more here. 


The other vaccine: This health expert had tested positive for Covid along with his entire family. The youngest member of the family is 65. Despite being in the ‘high-risk’ category, they all recovered from the virus. He says one of the reasons for this could be the fact that the family would take an annual Flu shot. This, he says, may have helped them tide over the infection. Earlier, experts had claimed that those have been administered with the influenza vaccine are more susceptible to Covid but this was quickly refuted by experts. Subsequent studies, however, have shown that flu shots can actually protect people from the infection. The jury on how exactly this happens is still out, though. But still, he says, get a flu shot this season to protect yourself not only from influenza but hopefully from Covid as well. Read more here. 

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