Mumbai hospital shut after surge in coronavirus cases among staff

Indian health workers carry a man suspected of coronavirus to shift him to a hospital at Shahu Nagar in Dharavi, one of Asia’s largest slums, in Mumbai on April 2, 2020. (Reuters)
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Updated 06 April 2020

Mumbai hospital shut after surge in coronavirus cases among staff

  • Wockhardt Hospital has been declared a ‘containment zone’ after the cases were confirmed
  • Mumbai, home to 12.5 million people according to the 2011 census, has so far confirmed 458 cases

MUMBAI: A major private hospital in Mumbai was shut to new patients and declared a coronavirus containment zone on Monday after 26 nurses and three doctors tested positive, an official said.
Since the virus hit India — which has been under lockdown since March 25 with 109 deaths so far — medical workers have complained about not being given adequate protective gear.
Mumbai city authority spokesman Vijay Khabale-Patil said that the Wockhardt Hospital has been declared a “containment zone” after the cases were confirmed.
“Three hundred staffers have been quarantined and the hospital is shut,” he said.
The United Nurses Association (UNA) in Mumbai accused hospital management of failing to protect staff by refusing to let them wear appropriate safety gear.
“They told the medical staffers to wear simple (surgical) masks... and attend to the patient,” said Akash S. Pillai, UNA general secretary for Maharashtra state, of which Mumbai is the capital.
“They were thinking that if the staff wore protective gear, family members of COVID-19 patients would get scared,” he said.
“Many well-known hospitals in Mumbai and Pune are putting their staffers through the same risks,” he said.
He added that Wockhardt waited too long to carry out tests on its staff, thereby increasing the possibility for infections to spread.
India has so far recorded over 4,000 coronavirus cases.
But experts caution the real numbers are likely to be far higher, with the country carrying out little testing of its 1.3 billion population compared to many other countries.
Mumbai, home to 12.5 million people according to the 2011 census, has so far confirmed 458 cases, including five in the Dharavi area, home to one of Asia’s biggest slums, and 30 deaths.


UK PM Boris Johnson locks down England as COVID-19 cases pass 1 million

Updated 31 October 2020

UK PM Boris Johnson locks down England as COVID-19 cases pass 1 million

  • Lockdown starts just after midnight on Thursday morning
  • United Kingdom has the biggest official death toll in Europe from COVID-19

LONDON: Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered England back into a national lockdown after the United Kingdom passed the milestone of one million COVID-19 cases and a second wave of infections threatened to overwhelm the health service.
The United Kingdom, which has the biggest official death toll in Europe from COVID-19, is grappling with more than 20,000 new coronavirus cases a day and scientists have warned the “worst case” scenario of 80,000 dead could be exceeded.
Johnson, at a hastily convened news conference in Downing Street after news of a lockdown leaked to local media, said that the one-month lockdown across England would kick in at a minute past midnight on Thursday morning and last until Dec. 2.
In some of the most onerous restrictions in Britain’s peacetime history, people will only be allowed to leave home for specific reasons such as education, work, exercise, shopping for essentials and medicines or caring for the vulnerable.
“Now is the time to take action because there is no alternative,” Johnson said, flanked by his chief medical officer, Chris Whitty, and his chief scientific adviser, Patrick Vallance.
The government will revive its emergency coronavirus wage subsidy scheme to ensure workers who are temporarily laid off during a new England-wide lockdown receive 80% of their pay.
Essential shops, schools, and universities will remain open, Johnson said. Pubs and restaurants will be shut apart from for takeaways. All non-essential retail will close.
Johnson’s imposition of stricter curbs came after scientists warned the outbreak was going in the wrong direction and that action was needed to halt the spread of the virus if families were to have any hope of gathering at Christmas.
Johnson was criticized by political opponents for moving too slowly into the first national lockdown, which stretched from March 23 to July 4. He fell ill with COVID in late March and was hospitalized in early April.
The measures bring England into alignment with France and Germany by imposing nationwide restrictions almost as severe as the ones that drove the global economy this year into its deepest recession in generations.
So far the United Kingdom has reported 46,555 COVID-19 deaths — defined as those dying within 28 days of a positive test. A broader death measure of those with COVID-19 on their death certificates gives the toll as 58,925.
The United Kingdom has the world’s fifth largest official death toll, after the United States, Brazil, India and Mexico, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally.