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Bolsonaro recommends chloroquine for people with mild COVID-19 symptoms

Bolsonaro’s obsession with the medication has led to the downfall of two Brazilian health ministers in less than a month.

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Jair Bolsonaro

Brasilia, May 21 : Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro recommended that chloroquine can be used to treat patients with mild symptoms of COVID-19, which has infected a total of 291,579 people in the country with 18,859 fatalities.

The Health Ministry on Wednesday published a new protocol on treating coronavirus patients that includes the potential use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine when the symptoms are mild, despite the fact that the efficacy of these two anti-malarial drugs has not been proven in the fight against the virus, reports Efe news.

“It’s a hopeful sign, as related by many who have used it,” said Bolsonaro on Wednesday, a day after his US counterpart, Donald Trump, announced that he will continue taking hydroxychloroquine because he is “curious” about its effects.

The new protocol published in Brazil comes a day after major medical associations refused to advise the use of chloroquine and its derivatives, saying that the evidence about its efficacy in treating COVID-19 was “weak” and that, in addition, its use can result in severe side effects, including possibly fatal cardiac arrhythmias.

Despite the recommendations of medical experts, Bolsonaro said that the “war” being fought against the coronavirus in Brazil, the country with the third largest number of cases in the world, justified his administration’s decision to authorize use of the drug.

“There still exists no scientific proof, but it’s being experimented with and used in Brazil and all over the world. In any case: we’re in a war … (and) even worse than being defeated is the shame of not having fought at all,” he said on his Twitter.

Bolsonaro’s obsession with the medication has led to the downfall of two Brazilian health ministers in less than a month.

First, Luiz Henrique Mandetta was fired after several harsh confrontations with the president and then his successor, Nelson Teich, presented his resignation 28 days after taking over the post.

Teich was replaced on an interim basis by Gen. Eduardo Pazuello, a professional soldier with a solid resume but without any experience in the health sector and who on Wednesday signed the new protocol regarding the use of chloroquine, which has been used for decades to treat malaria.

Apart from promoting the use of chloroquine, the Brazilian government continues to lack a clearly enunciated strategy to combat the coronavirus, the peak of which in Brazil is expected in July.

Bolsonaro, meanwhile, continues to downplay the seriousness of the disease and is exerting pressure to reopen the country and resume economic activities of all sorts, this at a time when the country may be en route to surpassing the US as the world epicentre of the pandemic.

The Brazilian states, which have the autonomy to decide on measures such as social distancing, have adopted a number of approaches to deal with the crisis, but so far these have been insufficient to halt the spread of the virus in the South American giant.

Disaster

Union Minister who endorsed ‘papad’ to boost immunity against Covid-19 tests positive

A video of the minister endorsing ‘Bhabhiji papad’, which he called a health supplement, had gone viral on social media.

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Arjun Ram Meghwal

New Delhi, Aug 8 : Union minister Arjun Ram Meghwal, who had recently endorsed an indigenous “papad” brand claiming that eating the “papad” will help fight the deadly coronavirus, on Saturday tested positive for Covid-19.

“Meghwal was admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) at around 10 a.m. after he complained of difficulty in breathing,” a doctor told IANS.

However, his condition is said to be stable now. He is receiving treatment under Neeraj Nishchal, who is a professor at the department of Medicine at AIIMS, as per sources.

Meghwal, who is the Junior Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises, recently made headlines after he claimed that a particular brand of the ubiquitous Indian snack, ‘papad’, had a role in boosting the immunity and antibodies that could help cure COVID-19.

A video of the minister endorsing ‘Bhabhiji papad’, which he called a health supplement, had gone viral on social media.

–IANS

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Maharashtra sees new daily Covid high, tally crosses half mn mark

Of the eight divisions, only Latur and Akola remain in the sub-10,000 cases bracket, though the numbers of new infectees continue to mount steadily.

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Patients infected with the novel coronavirus

Mumbai, Aug 8 : With a new high of 12,822 cases, Maharashtra’s Covid-19 tally on Saturday shot past the half-million mark, while the state saw 275 more deaths, health officials said.

Saturday’s tally surpasses the previous peak of 11,514 cases on Thursday.

The total number of cases now stands at 503,084, and the death toll at 17,367 – both highest in the country. The Health Department said that of the total cases, 147,048 are active.

According to Saturday’s figures, there was one death roughly every 5 minutes and a staggering 534 new cases every hour.

However, the state recovery rate rose to 67.26 per cent, while the current mortality rate stood at 3.45 per cent.

On Saturday, 11,081 recovered patients returned home, taking the total number of discharged patients to 338,262.

Of Saturday’s fatalities, Pune again notched the highest deaths, at 67, followed by Mumbai’s 58, and Thane’s 48 deaths.

Mumbai’s deaths — again in the 50-plus range — took its toll to 6,751, while the number of cases increased by 1,304 to 122,316.

There were also 17 deaths in Raigad, 14 in Palghar, nine in Kolhapur, eight each in Nashik, Dhule, and Sangli, seven in Solapur, six each in Jalna and Nagpur, four in Ratnagiri, three in Beed, two each in Ahmednagar, Jalgaon, Aurangabad, and Yavatmal, and one each in Satara, Latur, Osmanabad, and Akola.

The MMR (Thane division) saw its toll shooting up sharply by 137 to 10,629, while 3,744 new cases took its tally to 263,619.

Pune district’s total cases have now reached 109,988, with the death toll increasing to 2,633, while Thane district had 103,642 cases with 2,961 fatalities, as on Saturday.

With 75 more fatalities, the Pune division’s death toll has reached 3,367 and the case tally zoomed up with 3,409 new cases to 126,715.

Nashik division has recorded 1,400 fatalities and 47,076 cases, followed by Aurangabad division with 668 deaths and 20,077 cases, Kolhapur division with 405 fatalities and 15,297 cases, Latur division with 327 fatalities and 9,822 cases, Akola division with 312 fatalities and 9,734 cases, and Nagpur division with 205 deaths and 10,243 cases.

Of the eight divisions, only Latur and Akola remain in the sub-10,000 cases bracket, though the numbers of new infectees continue to mount steadily.

Meanwhile, the number of people sent to home quarantine now stands at 989,612, while those in institutional quarantine total 35,625.

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Disaster

Covid-19 tally nears 21 lakh, with over 42,000 deaths

Coronavirus (Covid-19) India Latest News Live Updates: With 933 deaths being reported on Friday, the death toll touched 42,518.

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Coronavirus India PTI

India reported 61,537 coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, taking its total caseload to 20,88,612, including 6,19,088 active cases and 14,27,006 recoveries, data from the Union Health Ministry showed. With 933 deaths being reported on Friday, the death toll touched 42,518.

Saturday marks the tenth day in a row that Covid-19 cases have risen by over 50,000.

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said that a cumulative total of 2,33,87,171 samples have been tested so far, with 5,98,778 samples being tested on Friday.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Friday held a meeting with his counterparts from the US, Australia, Israel, Brazil and South Korea and discussed challenges related to the coronavirus.

Jaishankar said in a tweet that he had a “useful meeting” with Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne, South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha, Brazilian Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo, Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Over 19.3 million cases of coronavirus and 7.19 lakh deaths have been reported across the world.

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