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COVID crisis: Curfew extended in Bhopal, Indore; crematoriums see massive rush

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INDORE: The administration in Madhya Pradesh's Indore district has extended the partial lockdown it had imposed in light of the COVID-19 spread till April 23, an official said on Saturday.

The partial lockdown has been in effect in the district since April 12. District collector Manish Singh in an order said the "corona curfew" in the limits of the urban bodies' in the district has been extended till April 23 due to the high rate of infection.

According to the order, people will be allowed to buy every day essentials during the lockdown. Despite the provision of 7,000 beds in local hospitals, the district is falling short of providing beds to COVID-19, the order stated.

According to the health department, the district has recorded 87,625 COVID-19 cases, including 1,040 casualties so far. The district currently has 9,848 active cases.

The 'corona curfew' imposed in Bhopal to tackle the surge in COVID-19 cases has similarly been extended till April 26, an official said on Saturday. Bhopal on Saturday recorded 1,669 COVID-19 cases, taking the toll here to 66,891.

Bhopal's corona curfew, the state government's term for the restrictions short of a lockdown imposed in several cities, was set to end on April 19. It has been extended in Bhopal and Berasia till 6am on April 26, an order by Collector Avinash Lavaniya said.

Essential services will be exempted from the corona curfew and people arriving in the city or leaving by rail, bus etc will not be inconvenienced, officials said.

Meanwhile, some private hospitals have handed over their establishments and staff to the administration in Madhya Pradesh's Gwalior district to make arrangements for additional beds for infected patients, an official said on Saturday.

At least 12 private hospitals and institutions have handed over their establishments and paramedical staff to the administration to provide free care for coronavirus patients, district collector Kaushlendra Vikram Singh said.

COVID-19 care centres have already been set up at six hospitals and others will be started soon, the official said, adding that the move will provide additional 500 beds to infected persons.

The district administration has appointed nodal officers to provide better treatment to coronavirus patients as per the protocol, he said.

A referral system is also being developed so that patients can be admitted to super-specialty hospitals if their condition deteriorates, he said.

There are around 2,000 beds for COVID-19 patients in city hospitals, it was stated.

Gwalior on Friday recorded 692 fresh cases, taking the tally of infections in the district 22,848.

Madhya Pradesh on Saturday recorded 11,269 COVID-19 cases, the state's highest single-day spike, taking its tally to 3,95,832, while the day also saw 66 deaths and 6,497 people getting discharged, an official said.

The toll in MP stands at 4,491 and the recovery count is 3,27,452, leaving it with an active caseload of 63,889, he added.

The state has recorded 1,00,321 cases and 505 deaths in April so far, the official pointed out.

"Indore's caseload rose by 1,659 to touch 87,625, including 1,040 deaths, seven of which took place on Saturday. The tally in Bhopal is 66,891 after it added 1,669 cases. Bhopal's toll rose by one to touch 671. The active cases in Indore and Bhopal is 10,605 and 8,539 respectively," the official said.

With 52,568 samples being examined on Saturday, the number of tests in MP crossed 70.23 lakh.

Coronavirus figures in MP are as follows: Total cases 3,95,832, new cases 11,269, death toll 4,491, recovered 3,27,452, active cases 63,889, number of tests so far 70,23,077.

there is also an increase in the number of the urns containing ashes of the dead being kept at the Bhopal's only crematorium where the last rites of COVID-19 patients are allowed, an office-bearer of the crematorium said on Saturday.

Bhadbhada Vishramghat's management committee secretary Mamtesh Sharma told PTI that more than 150 urns containing ashes are currently kept in the lockers at the crematorium even as the number of lockers is being increased to create the space for the storage of at least 500 urns.

Bhadbhada Vishramghat is the only Hindu crematorium in Bhopal where cremation of COVID-19 victims is allowed.

However, people are also going to other crematoriums because of the rise in COVID-19 deaths, he said.

"More than 150 urns are currently kept in lockers here. On average, 10 to 15 urns are currently being kept in the lockers here every day due to the rising number of deaths. This is for the first time when such a large number of urns are being kept in the lockers," Sharma said.

He said the renovation of the Bhadbhada Vishramghat was halted due to the pandemic.

"We are now creating the space for 500 lockers to keep the urns containing ashes. An additional locker room is also being constructed to deal with the situation," Sharma added.

He said at least a dozen urns kept inside the lockers contained ashes of those people who had died "during the first wave of COVID-19", but their kin never turned up to collect them.

Sharma claimed approximately 1,100 bodies have been cremated at the Vishramghat so far this month.

"Of them, around 800 bodies were cremated with the COVID-19 protocol," Sharma said.

He caimed that 81 bodies were cremated at the Vishramghat on April 16.

"Of these 81 bodies, 69 were cremated as per the COVID-19 protocol. Of these 69 bodies, 46 bodies were from Bhopal while the rest 23 were from other parts of Madhya Pradesh," Sharma said.

On the other hand, the state government put the number of COVID-19 fatalities in Bhopal on Friday at 4 out of the total 60 reported across the state.

In April so far, Bhopal recorded 38 deaths (from April 1 to April 16), as per the state government's health bulletin.

Explaining the difference between the official data on COVID-19 fatalities and the actual number of bodies being brought at crematoriums in the state, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had said that the last rites of the suspected coronavirus positive patients were also performed as per the COVID-19 protocols.

"People are dying due to other causes also," he had said.

Minister for Medical Education Vishvas Sarang told reporters that patients from several other districts are coming to Bhopal for the treatment of coronavirus infection, among other things.

"This is getting reflected in the situation at the crematoriums," he said.

Bhopal's COVID-19 death toll till Friday night stood at 670 while the case count was 65,222.

(THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)

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