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On 28th March in Guwahati, Assam, after consuming anti malarial drug hydroxychloroquine, a doctor at a private hospital died of heart failure. The drug is being used for treating COVID-19 affected patients. Sources say that the doctor Utpaljit Barman, a 44-year-old senior anesthetist, consumed the drug at his own accord as a precaution against coronavirus.
It is not confirmed as of now if the drug was the reason for the heart attack, but, sources say, he had sent a WhatsApp text to his colleague about feeling not well and uneasy after taking the medicine.
The top government medical body, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has suggested the drug for doctors, health workers and family members exposed to the COVID-19 patients. Since there is no coronavirus patient in Assam yet, Dr. Barman, however, was not working against the COVID-19.
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has additionally warned that the drug hydroxychloroquine should not be taken as self-medication to prevent or cure COVID-19.
As per the report of Monday evening, the total number of COVID-19 cases has crossed 1200, leaving only six states that have not recorded any coronavirus' positive case yet.
One of these is the province of Assam, where, widespread confusion over the spread of the virus and Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 21-day "Total Lockdown" notwithstanding, the state government responded quickly in the initial days and has prepared thoroughly since for an outbreak within its borders.
"With the lockdown, our focus has been on tests and preparation; these are two vital factors recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO). Though we don't have a positive case, we are focusing on screening, testing, and surveillance," Samir Sinha, the state's Health Secretary, told on Sunday.
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