Lockdown may be extended in COVID-19-hit urban areas of Maharashtra 1

Lockdown may be extended in COVID-19-hit urban areas of Maharashtra

The administration needs more time to come up with solutions, hence it is highly unlikely to lift the lockdown restrictions May 3 onwards in all parts of the state, the official said. (IE photo)
The Maharashtra government may extend the lockdown in the coronavirus-hit urban areas of the state after May 3, an official said on Sunday. The state government is closely monitoring the situation in areas outside the cities of Mumbai, Pune, Nashik, Nagpur, Aurangabad and Amravati, a senior state official said.
“It is the cities where most of the COVID-19 cases are concentrated. If the state has to relax its current stringent lockdown measures, it would be in rural and least affected areas of the state. However, we are looking at the scenario as rural and urban areas are connected,” he said. Related News Despite minimum COVID-19 cases in rural areas of Pune district, the industries there have not resumed because most of their workforce live in cities, he said. We need to work out some plans for every city or district-wise to get things moving.
Also read: Check latest updates on Coronavirius
The administration needs more time to come up with solutions, hence it is highly unlikely to lift the lockdown restrictions May 3 onwards in all parts of the state, the official said. State Health Minister Rajesh Tope had on Saturday said the number of COVID-19 cases in the state is not coming down.
“The state is yet to reach a stage where the number of coronavirus cases would stabilisRead More…

Coronavirus Lockdown: Anxiety and angst as Indians mark one month of lockdown 2

Coronavirus Lockdown: Anxiety and angst as Indians mark one month of lockdown

No one was spared the anxiety of the lockdown, extended till May 3, that kept most of India behind closed doors.
It has been a month. Of life slowing to a crawl, of going back to the basics, of recalibrating equations with family, friends and colleagues and waking up, as if from a dream, to the vast inequalities and commonalities that underlie Indian society.
India went under a lockdown to stem the spread of coronavirus on March 25 after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement the evening before. In the days since, 1.3 billion Indians, wealthy and poor, in the heartland and in distant corners, have faced up to the fear of a pandemic spreading across the globe. Related News No one was spared the anxiety of the lockdown, extended till May 3, that kept most of India behind closed doors, not corporate biggies in gilded mansions, not the middle class inside their homes and not part-time domestic workers in claustrophobic tenements.
That was the equaliser, but the inequalities also hit home almost immediately. As India went quiet and millions snuck into their homes to wait out the lockdown, migrant workers and daily wagers, stranded miles away from home, stared at an uncertain future without money, food or jobs.
Most middle and upper class families found it challenging to spend so much time with their immediate families, and many isolated without them spiralled into depression. The journey of getting used to a new way of life without domestic help, without the necessitRead More…

Coronavirus vaccine: China approves third COVID-19 vaccine for clinical trials 3

Coronavirus vaccine: China approves third COVID-19 vaccine for clinical trials

The vaccine has shown good safety results so far and vaccine receivers are still under observation.
China has approved its third coronavirus vaccine for the second phase of clinical trials as it reported 12 new COVID-19 cases, taking the total number of infections in the country to 82,816.China has approved three coronavirus vaccines, including the one developed by Chinese military, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) for clinical trials.
An “inactivated” vaccine developed by Wuhan Institute of Biological Products under the China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm) and the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) started its clinical trials, state-run Xinhua news agency reported. Related News An “inactivated” vaccine consists of virus particles, bacteria, or other pathogens that have been grown in culture and then lose disease producing capacity. In contrast, live vaccines use pathogens that are still alive.
WIV has been in the eye of the storm in recent weeks as US President Donald Trump and top American officials alleged that the coronavirus may have escaped from there and demanded a probe into it. An official of the WIV denied it, terming the allegation “entirely based on speculation”.
A total of 96 persons in three age groups have received the vaccine in the first phase of clinical trial as of April 23. The vaccine has shown good safety results so far and vaccine receivers are still under observation, said the Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinopharm.
TRead More…

International passenger capacity for India reduced by 89 per cent in April due to COVID-19: UN 4

International passenger capacity for India reduced by 89 per cent in April due to COVID-19: UN

The passenger capacity reduction was about 2 per cent for India in February. (Representational image)
International passenger capacity for India plunged by a whopping 89 per cent so far in April due to the COVID-19 pandemic as compared to a “business-as-usual” scenario, according to the latest projections from the International Civil Aviation Organisation.
The Montreal-based ICAO, the specialised agency of the United Nations, said that by September, the world could have 1.2 billion fewer international air travellers, compared to regular originally planned or business-as-usual. Estimates by the organisation show a dramatic reduction in international passenger capacity for countries across the world between January and April, as the COVID-19 pandemic spread globally. Related News In February 2020, international passenger capacity reduced by 13 per cent, mainly related to traffic from/to States experiencing an early outbreak and States deeply interconnected to China.
By March, global international passenger capacity reduced by 49 per cent, with significant reduction not only in States experiencing an early outbreak but also worldwide. In April 2020, global international passenger capacity so far experienced by unprecedented 91 per cent reduction.
For India, the international passenger capacity has reduced by 89 per cent so far in April or a negative 6,263,030 capacity change from originally planned or in a business as usual scenario. In January, there was zero reRead More…

Coronavirus Treatment: Gene therapy, select antivirals most promising for defeating COVID-19, says study 5

Coronavirus Treatment: Gene therapy, select antivirals most promising for defeating COVID-19, says study

The researchers noted that because of the rapid turnover of cells here, risks of toxicity are minimal. (Representational image: Reuters photo)
Gene therapy and selected antivirals such as remdesivir are the most promising approaches in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic, according to a review of studies. The study, published in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology, analysed approaches for not only SARS-CoV-2 and its relatives such as SARS-Cov that causes Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and MERS-Cov that causes the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), but also as yet unknown strains which will inevitably emerge in the future.
“Coronaviruses represent a true threat to human health and the global economy,” said Ralph Baric, a professor at the University of North Carolina in the US. “We must first consider novel countermeasures to control the SARS-Cov-2 pandemic virus and then the vast array of high-threat zoonotic viruses that are poised for human emergence in the future,” Baric said. Related News To help focus the global search for a treatment, the researchers aim to provide a comprehensive resource of possible lines of attack against SARS-Cov-2 and related coronaviruses. They said first, and most effective approach is using vaccines.
In the present case, the most successful are likely to carry the receptor binding domain of the virus’s S-protein, which allows it to bind to and fuse with host cells, the researchers said. Besides the traditional lRead More…

Asymptomatic Coronavirus: Can a person without symptoms spread COVID-19 infection? Find out here 6

Asymptomatic Coronavirus: Can a person without symptoms spread COVID-19 infection? Find out here

As per a study from China, 44% of those who had contracted the novel Coronavirus disease had caught it from an asymptomatic person.
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) gave two recent figures, on separate days, about people without symptoms testing positive for COVID-19. This has created fear asymptomatic coronavirus patients suddenly falling very sick and infecting other people. Dr. R R Gangakhedkar, ICMR’s head of epidemiology and infectious diseases, on April 20, said that 80% of people have the infection without symptoms. These people will be asymptomatic but if their medical tests are conducted, there is a possibility that they will be positive. He further said that only after a person is symptomatic, the RT-PCR test comes positive and people take time to be symptomatic. The next day, he clarified that in India, 69% of those who had tested COVID-19 positive are asymptomatic. The 80% people that he had mentioned the previous day is based on just one study, Gangakhedkar was quoted saying in an IE report.
As per a study from China, 44% of those who had contracted the novel Coronavirus disease had caught it from an asymptomatic person. The study estimates that the viral shedding, which is the stage when an individual infects the other person, starts happening 2-3 days before the onset of symptoms. According to the researchers, the highest viral load in throat swabs has been observed at the time of symptom onset and concluded that infectiousness peaked on or Read More…

COVID-19:’Well said!’ Ajay Devgn’s video on Aarogya Setu app goes viral; here’s PM Modi’s response 7

COVID-19:’Well said!’ Ajay Devgn’s video on Aarogya Setu app goes viral; here’s PM Modi’s response

Prime Minister Narendra Modi who has also promoted the extensive use of the mobile app took note of Devgn’s effort and shared his video from his official twitter account. Coronavirus pandemic: PM Narendra Modi responds to Bollywood actor Ajay Devgn’s video on Twitter! Helping the government in its outreach programme for Aarogya Setu app, Bollywood actor Ajay Devgn has released a video on Twitter encouraging people to download the mobile app on their smartphone to fight effectively against Coronavirus. Prime Minister Narendra Modi who has also promoted the extensive use of the mobile app took note of Devgn’s effort and shared his video from his official twitter account. Patting the back of the actor, PM Modi wrote, “Well said Devgn, the app protects us, our family and the whole country.” Modi also urged people to download the app to strengthen the fight against Covid-19. Related News Instead of promoting the Coronavirus protection app in a formal promotion setup, Devgn went for an over one minute long video which makes it an interesting watch. Using Indian cinema’s time and tested double-role trope, on one hand Devgn plays his usual self working out in the gym when Setu- the bodyguard, also played by Devgn, enters the scene. Setu requests Devgn to appoint him as his body guard and a series of question-answer follows which spreads awareness about the utility of the Aarogya Setu app. To bring the point home, Devgn asks people to download the mobile appliRead More…

COVID-19: Sikkim not to host Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, border trade through Nathula Pass 8

COVID-19: Sikkim not to host Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, border trade through Nathula Pass

The border trade through Nathula Pass was scheduled to begin in May while the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra through the route was slated to commence in June. File photo: IE photo) The Kailash Mansarovar Yatra and border trade between India and China through the Nathula pass will not take place this year due to the coronavirus outbreak, Sikkim Tourism Minister B S Panth said. The border trade through Nathula Pass was scheduled to begin in May while the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra through the route was slated to commence in June. The Ministry of External Affairs organises the yatra from June-September each year through two different routes — Lipulekh Pass (Uttarakhand) and Nathu La Pass (Sikkim). Kailash Mansoravar is in Tibet. The yatra is undertaken by hundreds of people every year. Panth told reporters on Wednesday that the state government has communicated its decision to the Centre. Related News The Nathula border trade between India and China resumed in 2006 after a gap of more than four decades while the annual Kailash Mansarovar Yatra through the pass had begun two years ago. “Sikkim’s tourism sector has been severely hit due to the coronavirus outbreak, with the state government losing out revenue of more than Rs 10 crore,” the minister said. The loss of revenue is due to the ban on entry of domestic and foreign tourists to the state since the first week of March in view of the coronavirus outbreak, he said. The state government is assessing the losses inRead More…

When will coronavirus pandemic end? WHO chief says this now 9

When will coronavirus pandemic end? WHO chief says this now

The viral infection appears to be declining or stabilising in some areas of Western Europe. The novel Coronavirus outbreak has left many countries worried. After four months, when people may start expecting some decline in the number of positive COVID-19 cases, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Chief for the World Health Organisation has made a statement that Coronavirus will stay for a long long time and asked countries to make no mistake, Reuters reported. According to the report, the WHO Chief mentioned that there are many countries who are still in an early stage for Coronavirus outbreak. He added that the countries who were affected earlier are witnessing some resurgence in the COVID-19 cases. However, he noted that the viral infection appears to be declining or stabilising in some areas of Western Europe, the report said. Ghebreyesus further announced that the WHO is hoping the United States will support the WHO’s work in order to save lives. It is to note the US President Donald Trump had earlier said he will be withdrawing the states’ funding to the UN agency over its handling of the pandemic. However, according to the report, WHO is still hoping for continuation in funding as it will not only help others but the US as well. In fact, the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that US believes China’s government failed to report the outbreak to the WHO in time, which further led to this situation. Related News Meanwhile, a top emergency expert at the WHO DRead More…

Coronavirus pandemic: When positivity can backfire 10

Coronavirus pandemic: When positivity can backfire

Individuals may inflict toxic positivity on others or themselves. By Aruna Sankaranarayanan COVID-19: “I can’t understand the fuss over Corona-sharona virus. It’s just a flu.” “Indians won’t succumb to Covid-19. We are hardy and resilient.” “Stop worrying. This is just a phase. We’ll be partying soon.” While you probably heard such flippant statements before our nationwide lockdown, you are now bombarded with news and views that portend gloom and doom. But, even now, when we seem to be living out a dystopian movie, some people cannot but help dismiss any concerns or worries relating to the virus. I am not alluding to people allaying each other’s fears or panic-stricken thoughts. Instead, I am referring to a cognitive bias wherein people avoid confronting painful emotions. Related News Popularized by psychotherapist Whitney Goodman, “dismissive” or “toxic positivity” entails a kneejerk reaction to negative tidings wherein a person rushes in with positive comments without processing their emotions or leaving “space for validation/understanding.” Individuals may inflict toxic positivity on others or themselves. In many situations, the person means well, but because they have a very low threshold for tolerating uncomfortable emotions, be it guilt, grief, frustration or angst, they prefer to evade the vexing issue. Goodman maintains that having “space to process your emotions” is a vital component of self-growth. Unless we allowRead More…