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Odishatv Bureau

New Delhi: Death toll due to coronavirus across the globe crossed 5,000 mark today.

As per data released by worldometers.info, total number of deaths across the world were recorded to be 5,082 out of 138,275 total cases.

While, a total of 3,177 deaths have been recorded in China, Italy recorded 1,016 deaths.

The first coronavirus death in India was reported on March 12

The COVID-19 has spread to almost 132 countries and territories around the world.

Decision To Give Anti-HIV Drugs To Coronavirus-Affected Italian Couple In Jaipur Taken Locally: ICMR

Health ministry officials said on Thursday the decision to administer a combination of anti-HIV drugs -- lopinavir and ritonavir -- on a coronavirus-infected elderly Italian couple at a Jaipur hospital was "initially taken locally".

The hospital has been asked to inform the health ministry and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) before administering the drug combination on COVID-19 patients in future, officials said.

It was the first time that a combination of the two drugs was used to treat Covid-19 patients amid mounting coronavirus cases in India. The Italian couple is currently undergoing treatment at SMS Hospital in Jaipur.

"The decision to administer lopinavir and ritonavir combination initially was taken locally as they thought it was a severe disease and started the medicine. But we should not draw more conclusions from the same because single patient experiments do not reveal the truth more often. We need to have a structured study,"

Raman R Gangakhedkar, the head of the Epidemiology and Communicable Diseases-I at ICMR, said.

"Until we have a large data that come from such experiments we won't be able to infer more. But since the drug was administered we have pressed into a study mode where the samples are being regularly collected in order to see if the drug was efficacious," he said.

Also Read: Coronavirus In India- Country Reports First Death

Dr S Meena, the medical superintendent of SMS Hospital, said the decision to administer the combination of lopinavir and ritonavir was taken after the Italian man and his wife had developed severe respiratory problems.

The Italian man, who himself is a doctor, is in ICU and on oxygen support, Meena said, adding his condition is stable.

"Even before he acquired the infection, he had some respiratory issues. Also, he is a chronic smoker. His condition had deteriorated and he developed severe respiratory problems after getting the coronavirus infection and thus was given these drugs. his condition is stable. His wife who also had tested positive and was shifted to a different hospital," Dr Meena said.

The Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) had approved the 'restricted' use of the combination of medications, lopinavir and ritonavir, which are second-line HIV drugs before they were administered to the elderly couple. The DCGI had given the approval after the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) had sought an emergency approval for using the drugs for treating COVID- 19.

The number of patients in the country has risen to 74. The figure includes 17 foreigners -- 16 Italian tourists and a Canadian. It also includes three patients from Kerala who were discharged last month following recovery.

In view of the rapid spread of the deadly virus in the country, Odisha government on Friday ordered that all cinema halls and educational institutions including schools and colleges will be closed till March 31, 2020. The government also announced shutting down of all the public swimming pools in the State till March 31 in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Following the State Cabinet meeting this morning, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik declared COVID-19 as a ‘disaster’ for the State under the provisions of Disaster Management Act, 2005 to adequately empower our public officials to combat the spread of COVID-19. An amount of Rs 200 crore has been earmarked to augment the Public Health Response Fund to combat the threat of the pandemic and for making the required expenditure.

Naveen has called for collective responsibility and assured urgent measures to combat the coronavirus situation. In his statement, the Chief Minister opined, “Very few times in the history of the world have human beings as a race faced challenges beyond their comprehension. With advances in science, this phenomenon has become a rarity. However, the last 45 days has seen human beings as a race facing one of the biggest challenges of the century.

We are faced with a threat that does not discriminate between developed countries and underdeveloped countries between democratic or non-democratic countries. Rich and Poor societies all are equally vulnerable.”

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