Fresh cobalt source found in Delhi

The fresh source containing radioactive cobalt 60 was found when the police scanned the area on Tuesday. “The source was discovered and isolated by expert teams. The area is secure and there was no need to cordon off the area,” Delhi Police spokesman Rajan Bhagat said.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (west Delhi) Sharad Aggarwal said the fresh source was found 400 metres from the shop where it was detected earlier. “It could not be traced earlier. It was only found when further searches were carried out”.

He said the new source was “mild and smaller in size”. Police checked the area again after a seventh victim exposed to radiation was hospitalised a day earlier.

Aggarwal said the scan and search for radioactive Cobalt 60 would continue for the next few days. Sources in the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) said material found on Tuesday was different than the initial cobalt 60. This was of a different variety with difference in shape and size. Meanwhile, the radiation victims in a hospital here will be discharged in the next few days, doctors said.

All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) medical superintendent D K Sharma said the seventh victim and four others exposed to cobalt 60 were improving and will be discharged in the next three days from hospital. However, two people continue to be in critical condition.

“Babulal, the seventh victim of radiation exposure, is improving. His blood counts are normal. He was admitted with complaints of nausea and headache. Now, he seems to be stable. He will be under observation for the next two days and will be discharged by April 17,” Sharma said.

Five victims - Gaurav, Rajendra Prasad, Ramjee Yadav, Ram Kalap and Himanshu Jain - were admitted to the AIIMS last week. “The five victims are recouping in our hospital. Rajendra is still serious. The health condition of the other four radiation victims is improving and they will be discharged in two days,” he said.

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