Morning digest: Officials of Tablighi Jamaat charged with defying restrictions, U.S. coronavirus death toll surpasses China's, and more

A select list of stories to read before you start your day

April 01, 2020 08:17 am | Updated 08:17 am IST

Under watch: People being evacuated from the Tablighi Jamaat centre in the Nizamuddin area of Delhi on March 31, 2020.

Under watch: People being evacuated from the Tablighi Jamaat centre in the Nizamuddin area of Delhi on March 31, 2020.

Coronavirus | Officials of Tablighi Jamaat charged with defying restrictions

With at least 24 of its occupants testing positive for the  novel coronavirus , an  Islamic centre in the national capital  has turned out to be the latest hotspot of COVID-19. More than 400 people with symptoms were admitted to different hospitals and over 1,100 shifted to government-run quarantine facilities in Delhi alone over March 30 and 31, officials said. Hundreds of others who returned home after staying at the centre over the last fortnight might have carried the virus to several States, authorities fear.

Coronavirus | Supreme Court upholds right to discuss COVID-19

The Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld the right to free discussion about COVID-19, even as it directed the media to refer to and publish the official version of the developments in order to avoid inaccuracies and large-scale panic. It ordered the government to start a daily bulletin on COVID-19 developments through all media avenues in the next 24 hours.

Coronavirus | Three quasi-subspecies of virus in circulation in India, says ICMR

A mixture of three quasi-subspecies of  SARS-CoV-2  is in circulation in India, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said on Tuesday. These imported variants showed no differences from how they behaved in the place of origin. Scientists are yet to classify a SARS-Cov-2 variant as an Indian strain.

Coronavirus | 57 more test positive in Tamil Nadu; highest single-day rise

Tamil Nadu recorded its highest ever single-day rise in the number of persons testing positive for  COVID-19  on Tuesday: a total of 57 persons tested positive, taking the total tally to 124. Of them, 50 — all men — had  travelled to Nizamuddin in Delhi to take part in a conference  in March. Twenty-two of them were from Tirunelveli; 18 from Namakkal district (12 from Namakkal, one from Paramathi Velur and five from Rasipuram); three from Villupuram; two from Madurai; four from Kanniyakumari and one from Thoothukudi.

Experts speak | Step up checking virus in patients, says virologist Jacob John

At a time when hotspot containment measures are among the focus areas for prevention and control of the  coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19) , renowned virologist T. Jacob John has called for a shift in strategy — chasing the virus should be phased down and checking the virus in infected persons should be stepped up. “This is not a hotspot transmitting virus but it is a virus that transmits everywhere… Containment measures have to continue. But now, containment measures should have 30% priority, and healthcare testing 70% priority. Healthcare checking is another way of containment measure as we will be finding infected people who had no travel history,” said Dr. John, retired professor of virology, Christian Medical College, Vellore.

Coronavirus | Doctors suspect community transmission in Indore

As most COVID-19 patients in Indore, where 17 persons tested positive on Tuesday, have no contact or travel history, health workers are grappling to identify the source, indicating the most populous and largest city of Madhya Pradesh may already be  witnessing the community transmission stage. “We are not able to detect the source as such, because there is no person with international travel history who’s tested positive,” said Salil Sakalle, Professor, Community Medicine, Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Medical College, Indore, the only facility testing for the illness in west Madhya Pradesh.

Coronavirus | Plea in Supreme Court seeks free COVID-19 testing

A petition was filed on Tuesday in the Supreme Court seeking a direction to the government to provide free  COVID-19  testing in all laboratories, including private ones. The plea, filed by Delhi resident Shashank Deo Sudhi, challenged the legality of a March 17 advisory that caps the price for  Coronavirus testing  at ₹4500. Mr. Sudhi said the advisory was both discriminatory and a violation of the fundamental right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution.

Coronavirus | Panel formed for co-ordinated research and development activity

A Science and Technology Empowered Committee for COVID-19 response has been constituted chaired by Prof. Vinod Paul, member, NITI Aayog and Prof. K Vijay Raghavan, Principal Scientific adviser to the government, said a release issued by the Health Ministry on Tuesday. It said this committee would coordinate among science agencies, scientists, industries and regulatory bodies.

Coronavirus | No place for quibbling in this hour of crisis, says Venkaiah Naidu

Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu said on Tuesday that there was no space for quibbling “over some issues” at a time the country was facing a crisis. The situation, he said in a statement, called for presenting a united front. “I urge the intellectuals and others to hold back issues, if any, till we overcome the crisis, while exercising their right to seek answers. I call upon them to come forward with suggestions for effectively tackling the menace,” Mr. Naidu said.

Coronavirus | Russian doctor who met Vladimir Putin last week tests positive

A doctor who gave Russian President Vladimir Putin a tour of Moscow's main  coronavirus  hospital last week said on March 31 he had himself been diagnosed with the virus. Mr. Putin visited the Kommunarka hospital on March 24 where he chatted with the doctor, Denis Protsenko. Neither of them were wearing protective equipment during their conversation, TV footage from the visit showed.

Coronavirus | 13-year-old boy from the United Kingdom dies

A 13-year-old British boy has died days after testing positive for  COVID-19 , hospital officials and his family said on Tuesday, with relatives saying he had no underlying illnesses. The boy, who died Monday, is believed to be Britain’s youngest confirmed death in the coronavirus pandemic. A  12-year-old girl, whose death was confirmed earlier on Tuesday in Belgium,  is thought to be Europe’s youngest victim.

Study shows middle-age COVID-19 mortality risk

Middle-aged people, and not just the elderly, have a dramatically higher risk of dying or developing serious illness from  coronavirus  ( COVID-19 ), says a study published in  The Lancet Infectious Diseases  journal. Researchers from Britain analysed more than 3,600 confirmed COVID-19 cases as well as data from hundreds of passengers repatriated from Wuhan. They found that age was a key determining factor in serious infections, with nearly one in five over-80s requiring hospitalisation, compared to around 1% among people under 30.

Coronavirus | Deadliest day for Europe hotspots, as U.S. toll tops 3,600

Deaths from the  coronavirus  spiked in Europe on Tuesday with  SpainFrance  and Britain reporting their highest daily tolls to date, as field hospitals shot up across New York, the epicentre of the U.S. outbreak bracing for dark times ahead. With more than 40,000 killed by the disease barrelling around the globe, the United States, already home to the largest number of confirmed infections, hit a bleak milestone as its national death toll surpassed China’s.

Have to educate people and save lives: Yuvraj Singh

As the world strives to cope with the COVID-19 virus, Yuvraj Singh, having been through spells of fear and dreadful solitude, speaks to  The Hindu  on how to stay positive and the need to be extremely disciplined.

COVID-19 lockdown | Sania Mirza joins hands with NGO to help daily wagers

Tennis star Sania Mirza, winner of six Grand Slam titles, is donning a different role — saviour to the needy in these troubled times. Sania, who has just completed the mandatory 14-day self-quarantine on her return from the U.S., has joined hands with an NGO — Safa Society — to help daily wage-earners who have been badly hit by the 21-day lockdown imposed in the wake of the  COVID-19 pandemic .

Bindra suggests revision of Olympic selection policy

Indian shooting was primed to finalise the team for Tokyo Olympics before the Games was postponed to 2021 due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Can the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) afford to select the team, when the situation settles down, more than a year in advance? “It may not help to announce the team, and hope that they all would be in prime form when the Olympics comes around. A year is a long time, especially in a sport like shooting,” said former World and Olympic champion Abhinav Bindra.

The Dharamshala International Film Festival comes home to viewers

“Bringing independent cinema to the mountains” has been the catchline of the Dharamshala International Film Festival (DIFF). Now, it’s unspooling the indies on a computer, laptop, mobile or tablet near you. In a unique attempt in the Indian film festival circuit, DIFF set up an online Viewing Room on its website on Tuesday, where it will be streaming its alumni’s films, free of cost to viewers across the world. DIFF will be showcasing a set of four to six films every couple of weeks.

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