Morning digest: India to increase focus on high disease burden areas, Opposition parties say lockdown was ill-planned, and more

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

March 29, 2020 04:30 am | Updated 07:40 am IST

People wait to board buses at Kaushambi on the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border on March 28, 2020 after the U.P. government started plying buses to evacuate those stranded in the national capital following the 21-day lockdown.

People wait to board buses at Kaushambi on the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border on March 28, 2020 after the U.P. government started plying buses to evacuate those stranded in the national capital following the 21-day lockdown.

Coronavirus | With over 180 fresh cases in 24 hours, India shifts focus to hotspots

With 185 new cases and two deaths due to  COVID-19  reported in the last 24 hours, the Union Health Ministry on March 28 announced a change in strategy with increased focus on high-disease burden hotspots across India. Working with the State governments, there will be intensified efforts to strengthen community surveillance, contact tracking and containment strategy, officials said. There, however, is no change in testing strategy, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said.

Coronavirus | Lockdown was ill-planned, say Opposition parties

Congress and CPI(M) slammed the Narendra Modi government for the ill-planned nationwide lockdown and general unpreparedness in tackling the novel coronavirus outbreak. Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi in a series of tweets said the government was responsible for the “alarming” situation.

Experts speak | COVID-19’s gut connection

In the wake of the present the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a much-needed increase in awareness among the general public of the importance of handwashing, social distancing and observing cough and sneeze etiquette. Observing a healthy ‘toilet hygiene’ must also be stressed, in view of the fact that COVID-19 affects the gastrointestinal tract too.

Coronavirus | Amid the exodus, a plea for food, medicine, transport

Feeding centres, medical care and sanitised transport services are needed to provide immediate relief to the lakhs of migrant workers stranded on roads,  said an appeal to the Central government signed by 200 academics, economists, social activists, lawyers, retired bureaucrats and concerned citizens . The sudden imposition of a 21-day lockdown, with just four hours notice, has had horrific consequences leading to a humanitarian crisis, it said.

Study shows good results with plasma treatment for COVID-19

As the debate rages about the viability of convalescent plasma (plasma extracted from those who are recovering from  coronavirus  ( COVID-19 ), a paper published in the  Journal of American Medical Association  has hit a home run for a possible treatment methodology. At a time when the world is grasping at straws for treatment methods, every positive outcome raises hope.

Coronavirus | Countries report less than 20% of symptomatic cases, says U.K. epidemiologist

Professor Adam Kucharski, who is an Associate Professor and the Sir Henry Dale Fellow at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, specialises in the mathematical analysis of infectious disease outbreaks. He spoke to  The Hindu  about the global  coronavirus  pandemic, specifically on what nations can learn from models of infectious outbreaks, and even of fake news.

Coronavirus | Deaths in U.S. surge past 2,000

Deaths from new coronavirus in the United States surged past 2,000 Saturday, doubling in just three days, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. The number of deaths late Saturday was 2,010, about a quarter of them in New York City, the country's hardest hit region, Johns Hopkins reported. That is fewer than the 10,023 in Italy, Spain’s 5,812, China’s 3,299 or the  2,314 in France , the tally showed.

Coronavirus | NY delays Presidential Primary; Trump eyes a quarantine

As novel coronavirus cases kept rising in the national epicenter of New York, President Donald Trump said Saturday he is considering a quarantine affecting residents of the State, neighbouring New Jersey and Connecticut. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Saturday he wasn’t sure what the President meant but didn’t “like the sound of it.” Meanwhile, Mr. Cuomo postponed New York’s Presidential Primary from April to June, and nurses made anguished pleas for more protective equipment and rebuffed officials’ claims that supplies are adequate.

Coronavirus | Over 1,000 deaths recorded in U.K.

The number of coronavirus deaths in Britain jumped by 260 in one day to pass 1,000, official data showed Saturday, the day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson himself tested positive. The death toll was 1,019 on Friday, up from 759 at the same time on Thursday, the most recent Health Ministry figures showed. More than 17,000 people have also tested positive for COVID-19, including Johnson and his health minister, Matt Hancock, who are both now self-isolating with “mild” symptoms.

Coronavirus | Italy’s toll tops 10,000, becomes highest in world

Italy’s death toll from the novel coronavirus shot past 10,000 on Saturday with 889 new deaths, the country’s Civil Protection Service said. The toll in Italy, which has suffered more deaths than any other country, now stands at 10,023. An additional 5,974 infections brought to 92,472 the number of people who have officially tested positive for COVID-19 in Italy since the crisis began last month.

Coronavirus | Sri Lanka terms Chennai COVID-19 ‘high-risk zone’

Sri Lanka on Saturday reported its first COVID-19 death, of a 65-year-old patient, who had diabetes and renal health complications, Health Ministry officials said. The island nation has 113 confirmed  coronavirus  patients so far. Sri Lanka’s health officials have also detected four COVID-19 positive cases in people who recently returned from Chennai, prompting authorities to term Chennai a “high-risk” zone.

Saudi forces intercept missile over Riyadh: State media

The Saudi-led military coalition intercepted a missile over Riyadh late Saturday, State media said, after  AFP  reporters heard three explosions in the capital. “A ballistic missile was intercepted and destroyed over Riyadh,” State-run Al-Ekhbariya television reported. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, but Yemen’s Iran-aligned Huthi rebels have previously launched missiles, rockets and drones on the Saudi capital and other cities.

BCCI donates ₹51 crore for PM-CARES

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has announced that it will contribute ₹51 crore to the Prime Minister Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations (PM-CARES) Fund. According to a statement issued by the BCCI, president Sourav Ganguly and secretary Jay Shah discussed the issue with other office-bearers and State associations before announcing this decision.

Postponed Olympic qualifiers will take place, says Narinder Batra

The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president Narinder Batra on Saturday said the Tokyo Olympics qualification events, postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will be held once the health crisis is resolved and asked the National Sports Federations (NSFs) to prepare a list of such tournaments in their respective sports.

Former LaLiga winger dons the white coat

Journeyman footballer Toni Dovale put his football boots to one side and slipped into a pharmacist’s white coat in the front line struggle against coronavirus in Spain. The 29-year-old pharmacy graduate and former top-level sportsman had been playing football for a Thai club, but was visiting his family in Spain when the COVID-19 pandemic took hold.


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