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India lost seven times more doctors than soldiers in 2020



At least 734 doctors died in their line of duty while 106 personnel of the security forces made supreme sacrifices in the last year.

The bigger battle in the year 2020 was fought in hospitals, where several frontline health workers lost their lives in the line of duty during the coronavirus pandemic. The lives lost by the Indian doctors were seven times more than the casualties in the Indian armed forces in 2020. At least 734 doctors died in their line of duty while 106 personnel of the security forces made supreme sacrifices in the last year.

“Covid-19 was a novel virus and a new evolving science; the doctors did not know how to tackle it. In addition, the unavailability of adequate number of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits made the doctors over-exposed to the infection, leading to a higher number of deaths,” Dr Harjit Singh Bhatti, former President of AIIMS Resident Doctors’ Association (RDA), told the Data Intelligence Unit (DIU) of India Today.

At the beginning of the pandemic, doctors in India had to work for 14 days in the Covid ward, and later they were quarantined for the next 14 days, for their risk assessment and early diagnosis. However, this rule was gradually overlooked as the caseload surged, and the doctors got tested only after acquiring significant symptoms, Dr Bhatti added, who is the National President of Progressive Medicos & Scientists Forum (PMSF).

While the infrastructure and policy gaps contributed to the misery of doctors, their own lifestyle diseases also made them more vulnerable to the novel virus.

Co-morbidity is one of the major reasons behind the high number of doctors’ deaths due to Covid-19, said Dr. Binay Sharma, Additional Chief Medical Officer, Muzaffarpur. Despite all the precautions, lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and so on, made doctors more vulnerable to infections, he added.

In the war against Covid-19, doctors and other healthcare workers were the most vulnerable to the virus as they had to attend different patients with different scale of infections.

However, their efforts have made India reach a decent position globally in terms of the number of active cases India had a little over two lakh active cases as on Monday. Meanwhile, India has a doctor-population ratio of 1:1343 as per current population estimate of 135 crores, against the World Health Organization norms of 1:1000, the parliament papers revealed. The deaths of 734 doctors leave behind nearly 10 lakh unattended patients in the country.


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Cardinal: Was there any link between passage of 20A and Easter Sunday probe outcome?



… stands by his claim of foreign involvement

By Norman Palihawadana

Archbishop of Colombo Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith yesterday said that there could be a connection between the outcome of the probe into the Easter Sunday attacks and the enlisting of Muslim MPs’ support for the passage of the 20th Amendment.

The Cardinal said: “The leader of a Muslim political party voted against the 2Oth Amendment. But his MPs voted for it. The brother of Rishad Bathiudeen too was released around the same time. These are questionable developments. These events could be part of a deal.”

The Cardinal reiterated that international forces were behind the Easter Sunday attacks and that he did not believe that there had been any local political group directly involved in the Easter attacks.

Addressing the media yesterday, the Cardinal said that the remarks he made on Sunday had been misunderstood. He stood by his claim that international forces had been behind the attacks, he said.

“However, some people claim that I said a local political group was behind the attack. I have always maintained that there are international forces that use religious and ethnic extremists such as Wahabists to create conflicts. I was referring to such groups.”

The Cardinal added that only a small group of Muslims was involved in extremism.

The Archbishop also said that former President Maithripala Sirisena believed that taking action against extremists like NTJ leader Zahran Hashim would create unnecessary issues.

“Something along these lines is also in the PCoI on Easter Sunday attacks. The report also implies that the then Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was lenient in dealing with growing extremism in Sri Lanka.”

The Cardinal urged the government to protect the country and ensure that there would be no repeats of incidents like the Easter Sunday attacks.

The Archbishop of Colombo requested all religious leaders to work on rebuilding trust among all communities.



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AG appeals to Supreme Court against granting of bail to Ravi, others



The Attorney General yesterday appealed to the Supreme Court against bail for former Minister Ravi Karunanayake and seven others indicted in the bond case by the Colombo Special High Court Trial-at-Bar.

The eight accused were arrested and remanded over the bond scams. Later, they were released on bail.

The court warned that if the accused attempted to exert influence on the witnesses, by any means, bail would be revoked and they would be placed on remand until the end of the trial.



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26 more coronavirus cases detected in Jaffna Tirunelveli market area



Another 26 COVID-19 cases had been detected on Sunday, from the Tirunelveli Market in Jaffna, which was the epicentre of the recent outbreak in the town, Dr. A. Kethiswaran, Regional Director Health Services told the media yesterday.

The market and its surroundings had been reopened on April 11 following a 19-day lockdown. However, 378 PCR tests were conducted after the Sinhala and Tamil New Year and 26 of them proved positive.

Dr. Kethiswaran warned last week that there might be a spike in COVID-19 cases in Jaffna after the New Year celebrations.

A large number of COVID-19 cases had been reported in Jaffna in the past few weeks. Thus, the people should adhere to health guidelines. If people did not follow the guidelines, there would be a spike in cases and then some places would have to be lockdown, he warned.

“It’s too early to say whether we have to close the area down. We are monitoring the situation,” DR. Kethiswaran said.

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