Mumbai, March 5
An employee of Paytm, Gurugram (Haryana), who had recently returned from a vacation in Italy, tested positive for coronavirus on Wednesday taking the total number of infected persons in India to 29 (16 Italian tourists, 13 Indians). The employee has been admitted to the Safardarjung hospital.
Paytem announced that its offices in Gurugram and NOIDA (UP) will be shut down for two days to sanitise and fumigation. The company also advised all its employees to work from home for the next couple of days.
A Paytm spokesperson said, “One of our colleagues based out of Gurgaon office who recently returned from Italy post a vacation, has sadly been tested positive for Coronavirus. He is receiving appropriate treatment and we are extending complete support to his family. As a precautionary measure, we have suggested his team members to get health tests done immediately. However, there will not be any impact on our daily operations and Paytm services will continue as usual,” the company spokesperson added.
In a related development Gautam Nagar administration issued notices to over 1000 companies that they should get examined any employees returning to India after a trip abroad, regardless of which county he/she visits.
There has been sudden rise in the number of positive cases. They include : a) An employee working at DSM, Mindspace, Madhapur, Hyderabad, who returned from Dubai (admitted to Gandhi Hospital), b) A 69 year Italian and his wife admitted to Sawai Mansingh Hospital, Jaipur, Rajasthan, c) A 45 year old man, who recently returned from Italy (admitted to the Safdarjung Hospital, Delhi), d) 14 Italian nationals taken to the quarantine facility of Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) in Chhawla near Delhi, e) Three suspected cases found in Himachal Pradesh. Among the three cases, the two persons who returned from Italy ( now under observation in the Tanda Medical College in Kangra, Himachal Pradesh). The third person, came back from South Korea (now under observation in Indian Gandhi Medical college at Shimala. All the three confirmed cases in Kerala have recovered and been discharged from the hospital.
To ensure adequate supply of medicines, the Drug Controller General of India (DGCI) has granted approval to the Indian Council of Medical Research to use a combination of lopinavir and ritonavir in the event of the coronavirus disease in India turns into a public health emergency. Lopinavir and ritonavir have already been approved for the treatment of HIV.
The government is reviewing the availability of drugs to treat the coronavirus-infected in case the infections surge. A recent review has revealed that the available Active pharmaceutical ingredient (API), to manufacture drugs related to treatment would be sufficient for at least two months and up to three months. In order to maintain sufficient supply, the government is also considering to limit the export of 13 essential APIs and formulations made using them.
The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DFGT) has been instructed to restrict the export of 13 APIs and formulations, the majority of which are made in Hubei, China. According to the latest reports, many Chinese pharmaceutical companies have partially resumed production and expected to resume full production by the end of March. Logistics, however, have not resumed fully, which may delay the availability of APIs.
In the meanwhile the Maharashtra government hasissued a statement saying that except the medical staff treating the infection or those who have come in contact with patients, others need not use face masks. For those with other existing health conditions the use of a mask may create unintended complications, it added. ”General population can use folded cotton handkerchiefs for self-protection which can be reused by keeping in bleach solution or hot water for half hour followed by the thorough washing,” it said.