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540 new coronavirus cases, 17 deaths in the last 24 hours as govt announces emergency package

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540 new coronavirus cases, 17 deaths in the last 24 hours as govt announces emergency package

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The number of positive coronavirus cases in India has climbed to 5,734 after 540 cases were recorded in the last 24 hours, while 166 people have lost their lives to COVID-19 in the country, Lav Agarwal, joint secretary, health ministry said in a press conference on Thursday.

540 new coronavirus cases, 17 deaths in the last 24 hours as govt announces emergency package
The number of positive coronavirus cases in India has climbed to 5,734 after 540 cases were recorded in the last 24 hours, while 166 people have lost their lives to COVID-19 in the country, Lav Agarwal, joint secretary, health ministry said in a press conference on Thursday.
In the past 24 hours 17 people have succumbed to the deadly infection, while 13,143 samples have been tested in that period. The total of tests in the country stands at 130,000.
Further, the union government has approved a COVID-19 emergency package worth Rs 15,000 crore for states. It has been named India COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health System Preparedness Package.
Nearly Rs 7,774 crore will be utilised for immediate COVID-19 response and the rest of the funds will be used for support over a period of 1-4 years.
On March 24, PM Narendra Modi had announced that the government has made a provision of Rs 15,000 to fight the virus.
In other measures to contain the spread of the contagion, ten teams have been sent to ten states, including Bihar, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, among others, while Indian Railways has deployed over 37,000 doctors, paramedic staff for management of COVID-19.
Additionally, the Railways has converted 3,500 coaches into quarantine facilities to isolate those infected with the virus.
Agarwal revealed that the Union government’s group of ministers have held discussions with regards to dedicated COVID-19 hospitals to deal with coronavirus cases. They have also discussed the availability of personal protective equipment (PPE), N95 masks and ventilators required to help the medical professionals fight the pandemic.
Twenty PPE makers in the country have been identified and an order for 1.7 crore PPEs has been made. Additionally, an order to procure 49,000 ventilators has been placed, he added.
Agarwal also expounded on the need to use the N95 masks judiciously. Each mask can be used for eight hours.
Agarwal said that hydroxychloroquine should be used as per the norms as it can be harmful if administered to the patients with cardiac ailments. He also revealed that the anti-malarial drug, which has been touted as being effective for COVID-19 treatment, is available in sufficient quantities in the country.
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said that convalescent plasma therapy protocol, a possible treatment for coronavirus, is in final stage but has not currently been prescribed for all.
The approval of the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) will be needed before human trials could begin. Currently, it will be used for clinical trials only.
Other countries have found it to be useful in limited clinical trial, the ICMR revealed.
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