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Coronavirus in China to make drugs expensive in India: Report

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New Delhi, Feb 17 : The prices of generic drugs in India are likely to go up due to the country’s excessive dependence on the imports of active ingredients from China, which has been hit by the novel coronavirus epidemic.

While noting that Indian imports are highly dependent on China, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in its report on the impact of ‘novel coronavirus in China’ has said that the supply chain disruption caused by the lockdown placed in four provinces and around 50 cities of China has “significant ramifications for Indian industry”.

43 per cent of India’s imports from the world coming from China.

India sources about 65-70 per cent of active pharmaceutical ingredients and close to 90 per cent of certain mobile phone parts from China.

The world’s largest manufacturer and exporter, China also accounts for 45 per cent of India’s total electronics imports, one-third of machinery and almost two-fifths of organic chemicals and over 25 per cent of automotive parts and fertilizers.

Though the overall impact on Indian economy so far is “moderate”, the CII has said that sectors like pharmaceuticals, shipping, automobiles, mobiles and electronics have already been or likely to be impacted.

The Indian pharma industry heavily relies on imports of bulk drugs (Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient and intermediates), with 70 per cent of API coming from China. Imports from China have been on a steady rise over the years due to the low-cost advantage Chinese manufacturers have. India imported around Rs. 249 billion worth of bulk drugs last year, accounting for around 40 per cent of overall domestic consumption. Last year, India imported Rs. 174 billion of API from China while exporting only Rs. 16 billion worth APIs. The value addition in India is mainly through formulation, packaging and distribution.

The coronavirus outbreak has disrupted supplies of pharmaceutical ingredients from China, resulting in shortages and potential price rise of generic drugs in India, the CII has said. “Indian pharmaceutical companies are now running close to exhausting their supply of APIs (usually have up to two months stock) and considering supply from other countries,” the report revealed, adding that the situation has not reached to any crisis yet as stocks and viable alternatives are still available.

Expressing concern about the delays in shipments between India and China, the CII has noted a sharp drop in the dry bulk cargo movement since last month.

“Realisation per day per vessel has declined by more than 75-80 per cent in dry bulk trade,” the report said.

If the shutdown in China persists, the CII predicts an eight to ten per cent contraction of Indian auto manufacturing in 2020.

“However, for the fledgling electric vehicle industry, the impact may be greater since India is dependent on Chinese battery supplies,” the CII said.

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India’s Covid-19 tally surges past 4,200; Maha leads with 748

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New Delhi, April 6 (IANS) The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in India is 4281, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said on Monday.

Of these, 3,851 are active cases, 318 individuals have recovered and discharged from the hospital, one person migrated to another country and 111 people succumbed to the disease, according to the data published by the Ministry in the evening.

Maharashtra remained the worst-hit state with a total number of positive cases rising to 748, followed by Tami Nadu which reported 571 cases, and then Delhi which has reported 523 cases, according to the Health Ministry data.

At least 314 people are affected in Kerala, 305 in Uttar Pradesh, while Rajasthan reported 274 cases, Telengana 321 cases, and Andhra Pradesh 226.

Madhya Pradesh has reported 165 cases, Jammu and Kashmir has 109, Punjab has 76 cases, West Bengal has 80, Gujarat 144, Haryana has 84 cases, Bihar 32, Chandigarh has 18, Assam 26, Ladakh has 14 coronavirus cases as per the data.

In Andaman and Nicobar Islands, there are at least 10 cases, Uttarakhand has also reported 26 cases, Arunachal Pradesh has 1, Goa has 7 cases, Chhattisgarh has 10, Himachal Pradesh 13, Jharkhand 4 and Manipur have 2 cases, Odisha has 21 cases and Puducherry 5.

Most number of fatalities been reported from Maharashtra – 45. Other states and UTs that have reported deaths are Andhra Pradesh (3), Bihar (1), Delhi (7), Gujarat (12), Haryana (1),Himachal Pradesh (1), J&k (2), Karnataka (4), Kerala (2), Madhya Pradesh (9), Punjab (6), Tamil Nadu (5), Telangana (7), Uttar Pradesh (3) and West Bengal (3).

The 318 people who recovered from the disease are from Andhra Pradesh (1), Chhattisgarh (8), Delhi (19), Gujarat (22), Haryana (25), Himachal Pradesh (2), Jammu and Kashmir (4), Karnataka (12), Kerala (55), Ladakh (10), Maharashtra (56), Puducherry (1), Punjab (4), Rajasthan (21), Tamil Nadu (8), Telengana (34), Uttarakhand (4), Odisha (2),Uttar Pradesh (21) and West Bengal (10).

According to the Health Ministry, supply lines from abroad opened up on Monday with the receipt of 1.70 lakh Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) coveralls from China.

Along with domestic supplies of 20,000 coveralls, a total of 1.90 lakh coveralls will now be distributed to hospitals and will add to the 3,87,473 PPEs already available in the country as of now. A total of 2.94 lakh PPE coveralls have been arranged and supplied by the government.

“In addition to this, 2 lakh domestically produced N95 masks are also being sent to various hospitals. Including these, over 20 lakh N95 masks have been supplied by Government of India.

About 16 lakh N95 masks are presently available in the country, and this figure will increase with the fresh supply of 2 lakh masks”, said the ministry in a statement.

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Doctor drives 540 km in lockdown to reach poor patient home

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New Delhi, The milk of human kindness continues to flow from the heart despite the global gloom over the Covid-19 pandemic.

A doctor drove 540 km amidst the lockdown to reach a poverty-stricken family to their residence in a Birbhum district remote village.

Rajesh Baske, a daily labourer in a stone quarry, had come all the way to SSKM Hospital from the tribal dominated Shulunga village, about 270 km from Kolkata, along with his wife for the treatment of their eight-year old daughter Angela last month.

But they got stuck in the Covid 19 induced lockdown and were forced to spend two days in the hospital premises.

Bablu Sardar, a resident anaesthesiologist of the hospital, came to know of the family’s plight from another doctor.

In spite of repeated efforts, no ambulance or any other car was available for ferrying the Baskes. A couple of ambulance drivers demanded an astronomical amount, which was beyond the means of the poor family.

It was then that the 44-year old doctor decided to drive them home in his 12-year old car, despite knowing only a part of the route and Angela not being his patient.

He skipped dinner, and started off at 9 p.m. on March 25, and reached Sulunga near the Jharkhand border in the wee hours of March 26.

He dropped off the family, and then immediately began the long 270 km journey back. He was in time for the 10 a.m. at the hospital.

“The total journey consumed 30 litres of petrol, for which I paid from my pocket,” said a smiling Sardar. The incident has gone viral on the social media.

But Sardar looks unfazed. “I have done what one should do for another fellow being,” he said. Baske has no words to express his gratitude. “I will never forget in my life what he had done for our family without thinking about his own danger,” he said.

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Covid-19 claims 4 men in Mumbai, 57 new cases

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Mumbai, April 6 (IANS) Mumbai recorded four new Covid-19 deaths – all males – and the number of positive cases increased by 57, the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said here on Monday.

This has taken Mumbai’s total toll to 34, and the number of positive cases to 490 till date. While 150 suspected cases were admitted, five who are fully cured have been discharged from hospitals.

The four who passed away are aged 41, 52, 62 and 80, and had been admitted to various Mumbai hospitals.

They individually suffered from other diseases like bronchopneumonia, alcoholism, hypertension, epilepsy, paralysis, diabetes, etc. and tested Covid-19 positive.

As many as 3,990 persons who were in quarantine out of 10,968 completed their isolation period till Sunday and the BMC has declared 226 ‘containment zones’ in the city which are being updated regularly.

Health Minister Rajesh Tope hinted that the withdrawal of lockdown would depend on the situation in the state between April 10-15.

“It will entirely depend on how the situation develops then (April 10-15), and we will consider various factors, particularly for Mumbai-Pune, which have a large number of cases,” he said.

H said the call would be jointly taken by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Deputy CM Ajit Pawar besides him, who would consider how other countries have come out of lockdown and World Health Organisation guidelines besides the Centre’s directives.

“Whenever it happens, it is certain that in Mumbai and Pune, it cannot be at one go. We would have to exercise extreme precautions,” Tope said, dropping broad hints.

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