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More than forty medics dead in Dagestan since the beginning of Covid-19 epidemic, according to local health ministry

More than forty medics dead in Dagestan since the beginning of Covid-19 epidemic, according to local health ministry
In Dagestan, more than 40 medical workers have died from complications associated with Covid-19. That’s according to local Health Minister Jamaludin Hajibragimov, speaking on Instagram to blogger Ruslan Kurbanov.

“According to colleagues, more than forty of them [have died],” he said, “this is really a tragedy.”

Prior to the minister’s interview, the southern republic had 3,280 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 27 deaths. Later, in an official press release, the Dagestan Ministry of Health explained that the deaths of medical workers were not all related to coronavirus.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, about 40 medical workers have died in Dagestan – not only doctors, but also middle and junior medical staff, and other employees. And, not all of them died from coronavirus and pneumonia – there were other diagnoses,” the ministry explained in a statement.

On Monday, in a conference call with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Dagestan’s Mufti Ahmad Abdullaev said the number of deceased medical personnel is actually around 50. In the Instagram interview, Hajibragimov described how more than 13,000 people in the region had received community-acquired pneumonia diagnoses, with 657 of those having passed away.

Dagestan maintains two separate sets of statistics on coronavirus and community-acquired pneumonia, but pneumonia patients receive almost the same treatment as those with Covid-19. On Monday afternoon, the situation in the republic was addressed by Anna Popova, the head of Russia’s health watchdog, Rospotrebnadzor. According to Popova, almost 60 percent of coronavirus patients there are severely ill with pneumonia. She also explained how the proportion of patients aged over 65 is double Russia’s overall average, and that the region’s testing coverage is two times lower than expected.

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Also on Monday, during a video conference with Dagestani representatives, President Putin explained that the republic’s large number of deaths were due to locals not seeking professional help early enough. “According to experts, the main reasons for the development of severe complications in the region’s residents are the late requests of patients for medical care, as well as self-treatment at home,” the president said.

These reasons are in addition to Hajibragimov’s suggestion that the mass infection was caused by residents ignoring the warnings of specialists and distrusting official information, and their non-compliance with self-isolation measures.

To slow the republic’s outbreak, Putin instructed the country’s Ministry of Emergencies and Ministry of Defense to organize a large-scale sanitization operation, and expedited the construction of a center for patients with coronavirus. The president also urged Dagestanis to observe the Muslim holiday Eid al-Fitr at home. Eid takes place at the end of Islam’s holy month of Ramadan and celebrates the end of a month-long fast. In 2020, it is expected to fall on May 24. Mikhail Murashko, Russia’s Minister of Health, said the region requires additional forces and funds to fight the virus.

According to the latest official data, Dagestan has the fifth-most confirmed infections in Russia, with 3,460, trailing behind Moscow (146,062), Moscow Region (28,290), St. Petersburg (10,887), and Nizhny Novgorod Region (6,692). Thus far, 29 deaths in the republic have officially been caused by Covid-19.

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