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Fourth Zika virus case confirmed in South Korea

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Seoul, May 7 : South Korean authorities confirmed the fourth Zika virus case in the country in a woman who recently returned from a trip to Vietnam, the Korea Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said.

The 25-year-old woman worked in Ho Chi Minh City from April 10 to April 30 and entered South Korea on May 1, said the KCDC.

She visited a hospital in the western port city of Incheon on May 4 to treat a chronic thyroid gland problem after having rash and joint pain and was diagnosed with the mosquito-borne virus, Xinhua news agency reported.

The KCDC suspected that she might have been bitten by a mosquito while in the Southeast Asian nation, noting that the patient is currently in stable condition.

Health authorities are also examining a person who met with the woman in Vietnam between April 13 to April 17 for potential transmission of the virus.

The latest case raises the number of confirmed infections in South Korea to four.

The first South Korean Zika case was found from a 43-year-old man on March 22.

The other two Zika cases were confirmed on April 27 and April 29 respectively, from two brothers who had travelled to the Philippines together.

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The Lalit turns into quarantine facility for doctors

It is also catering to food and basic needs of transgenders, one of the worst-hit communities, during the lockdown.

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Lalit Suri Hospitality Group

New Delhi, March 30 : The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group has converted its hotel on Barakhamba Road, here, into a quarantine facility for doctors of Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Hospital and G.B. Pant Hospital.

“The Group has extended its support through the hotel to be turned into a quarantine space for the Covid-19 warriors. The doctors serving in the LNJP Hospital and Pant Hospital will be housed at The Lalit New Delhi. The hotel is ensuring proper sanitisation and health checkups for staff,” the hospitality giant said in a statement.

“These are extraordinary times. Covid-19 is one of the toughest crisis faced by the humanity. Everyone must do their bit to fight this pandemic. The need of the hour is to stand together and take care of the affected. Together we can and we will overcome this,” said Jyotsna Suri, Chairperson & Managing Director of the Group.

It is also catering to food and basic needs of transgenders, one of the worst-hit communities, during the lockdown.

“Under the banner of Keshav Suri Foundation, we are reaching out to support the extremely marginalised and probably the worst affected transgender people through different NGOs, such as Kinnar Maa Trust in Mumbai, Sangama in Bangalore and Saksham Trust in Chandigarh. Through these NGOs, we are providing them over 500 kg of flour, groceries, fruits and vegetable,” it said.

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IIT Hyderabad moots bag valve mask as alternative to ventilators

They estimate that it can be manufactured for less than Rs 5000, or one-hundredth the cost of a conventional machine.

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Hyderabad, March 30 : Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad Director Prof. B.S. Murty has mooted the idea of using a ‘bag valve mask’ as an alternative to ventilators to meet any surge in demand, both in India and other countries, to treat COVID-19 patients.

While the conventional ventilators are expensive, hard to produce, and not portable, bag valve masks are small devices, which are used to deliver breathing support in emergency situations that are inexpensive, easy to produce and portable, said Prof. B.S. Murty, Director, IIT Hyderabad and Prof. V. Eswaran, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, IIT Hyderabad.

A bag valve mask, often called ‘Ambu Bag’ is used for resuscitation in emergency situations.

The professors note that while ‘bag valve masks’ are currently hand-powered and therefore not suitable for continuous use as a ventilator, it would be easy to design a similar device powered by an electrical source, which could be a car battery, apart from the conventional power supply. It could be made portable, and therefore adopted in villages and other areas without power supply and be inexpensive enough to manufacture in bulk.

They estimate that it can be manufactured for less than Rs 5000, or one-hundredth the cost of a conventional machine.

“The cost of manufacturing 6 million of these devices will be probably less than that of the inadequate number of 60,000 conventional machines. The cost is so low that it can be considered a single-use device that will be given over to single patient, and never used again. It needs to be manufactured, however, on an industrial scale, in millions, within a short time of a few months. There have been several designs proposed within India itself, with IIT Hyderabad having at least one proposed design,” they said.

They proposed that the government constitute a task force, which will carry out the tasks needed to start the production of low-cost ventilators within a maximum time-frame of two months.

The most sophisticated computer-controlled ventilators cost around Rs. 40 lakh while more modest foreign-made ones cost around Rs. 15 lakh with Indian-made ventilators costing around Rs. 6 lakh.

It is estimated that there are around 40,000 ventilators in India at present, mostly in the private hospitals. The Indian industry has a maximum manufacturing capacity of approximately 6,000 units per month, but even the Indian-made devices use a lot of foreign-made parts whose availability would now be uncertain, when every country would be maximizing their own ventilator production.

The professors said that assuming a low 6 per cent infection rate, in case COVID-19 continues to spread in India, in the Indian population of 1.3 billion, that would mean that around 80 million people would get affected. “Of these 80 million, at least 5 per cent (4 million patients) would require ventilators. Each of these 4 million patients would need the ventilators for around 21 days, thereby blocking that machine for at least that amount of time.”

Further, the machines are not portable and are found only in high-end hospitals in large cities, so patients from villages would need to be transported to these cities, which would be a logistics problem of unimaginable complexity. It is quite clear that even a mild 6 per cent Stage-3 would overwhelm the country’s capacity to a devastating degree. Even if the Indian industry was at peak production, it could manufacture only another 60,000 machines in the next 10 months, at a cost of Rs. 3,600 crore.

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Centre asks auto cos to manufacture ventilators

“Over 14,000 existing ?#ventilators earmarked for ?#Covid_19? patients in various hospitals in the country,” the ministry tweeted.

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New Delhi, March 30 : The Centre has asked automobile companies to manufacture ventilators to tide over any shortages in treating COVID-19 patients.

Accordingly, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare tweeted that these companies are working towards producing ventilators.

Earlier, the government had asked several leading automobile players such as Maruti and Mahindra to look into the possibility of manufacturing of ventilators.

At present engineers of Mahindra Group are working on manufacturing prototypes of ventilators, while Maruti Suzuki India has entered into an arrangement with AgVa Healthcare to scale up the production of ventilators.

In the US, companies such as Ford Motor and GM have been roped in for manufacturing the life saving medical equipment.

Besides, the ministry tweeted that Bharat Electronics has been asked to manufacture 30,000 ventilators in the next two months in collaboration with local manufacturers.

“Over 14,000 existing ?#ventilators earmarked for ?#Covid_19? patients in various hospitals in the country,” the ministry tweeted.

Furthermore, the ministry tweeted that AgVa Healthcare, Noida has been given an order to manufacture 10,000 ventilators with a month.

The supplies from AgVa Healthcare are expected to commence in the second week of April.

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