Testing at BJMC from today: Tope

ST CORRESPONDENT
Thursday, 19 March 2020

“As per guidelines from the Centre, they have allowed private hospitals to test for COVID-19 at their own cost. Such facilities will be tested by ICMR and NIV before they start their operation." Rajesh Tope said.

PUNE: Health Minister Rajesh Tope on Wednesday said in eight days, seven more laboratories will come up across the state for testing cases of COVID-19 taking the total number of such labs to 10 as currently three labs have the facility to test for COVID-19. The minister was addressing media on Wednesday evening following his visit to National Institute of Virology (NIV). 

“Currently we have testing facility in Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur. We are starting testing facility at KEM, JJ Hospital and BJ Medical College (BJMC) from Thursday and the two facilities at Haffkine will start soon. The centres will be equipped with testing 160 to 250 samples in a day.” 

“As per guidelines from the Centre, they have allowed private hospitals to test for COVID-19 at their own cost. Such facilities will be tested by ICMR and NIV before they start their operation. To address the issue of shortage of testing kits, the Centre will procure 10 lakh kits for tests,” added Tope who thanked all the staff and state machinery working round the clock to combat COVID-19. 

On Wednesday, four more positive cases were reported including a person with travel history of Netherlands, a person from Ratnagiri with travel history of Dubai, another one with travel history of Philippines, Singapore and Colombo and a woman working for a positive person with travel history of USA. 

Speaking about a positive case detected in Pune of a person with travel history of France and Netherland, Tope said, “The person had returned from Netherlands and it has come to notice that she had also travelled to France and hence, we will ask the authorities to check 15-day travel history of such persons so that they are able to track such persons at airport.” he added. The minister said that currently, India is in stage II phase of COVID-19 and to avoid stage III situation, there is a need to restrict mass gatherings.

“In government offices, we are asking only 50 percent staff to operate. Similarly IT companies can opt for work from home,” Tope added. 

The minister said that of the 45 COVID-19 positive persons in the state, 9 persons tested positive after they came in contact with infected persons. 

Speaking about the health of 45 affected persons, the authorities said that their condition is stable and after taking opinion of ICMR, three of the 45 persons were administered with two anti-HIV drugs. 

Speaking on the move of government to stamp left hand of those in home quarantine, Tope said, “People should take this positively as they are fighting against coronavirus. If such persons are spotted outside quarantine, it should be reported to the district collector and the person should restrict himself to the quarantine facility.” 

FINE ON SPITTING
Tope has welcomed the move of BMC imposing fines on those who spit in public places. “It should be replicated by other civic bodies as spitting can spread diseases,” he added.

RESTRICTIONS BY DISTRICT COLLECTOR
Collector Naval Kishore Ram said more than four persons cannot come together at public and private places including functions, sports events and others. Similarly, organising trips, workshops, camps, training, processions, protest, tours with more than four persons is banned until further notice. 

Places like shops, shopping complexes, super markets, theatres, schools, colleges, sports centres, swimming pools, gyms, gardens, video parlours, permit rooms, bars and lottery centres will be shut until further notice. He said that employees should opt for work for home option. 

The restrictions are not applicable for essential services like grocery, milk, vegetables, pharmacy, medical clinics, blood test centres, bus stands, railway stations, airport, rickshaw stands, people involved in managing school and college exam process, people working on critical national and international infrastructure projects, media houses and other essential items. “Action will be taken against people violating the norms under section 188 of the Indian Penal Code,” he added. 

PUNE WOMAN TESTS POSITIVE
- A 28-year-old woman from Pune with a travel history to France and the Netherlands has tested positive for COVID-19, a senior official said on Wednesday.
- Confirming the case, District Collector Naval Kishore Ram said, “The woman returned India on March 15. She was admitted to hospitalhere on March 17”.
- The tehsildar of Jalna has sought help from the police to persuade five persons who returned from Thailand recently to go in quarantine, an official said. PTI

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