QBullet: Railways to Begin Passenger Trains; Maha Toll Touches 832
The top news headlines of the day, curated just for you.
1. Indian Railways to Gradually Begin Passenger Trains From 12 May
The Railways Ministry has announced that passenger services will gradually begin from Tuesday, 12 May. Fifteen trains will initially make round trips from Delhi to other parts of the country.
Bookings for these trains will begin at 4 pm on Monday and tickets will only be available on the website of the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC). Ticket counters will continue to remain closed.
Railways has further added that it will be mandatory for passengers to wear face covers and undergo screening at departure, and only asymptomatic passengers will be allowed on trains.
2. ICMR Develops Test Kit to Detect COVID Antibodies
The National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune developed the first indigenous test kit to detect COVID-19 antibodies, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan announced. The ‘COVID Kavach ELISA’ kit was developed to detect Immunoglobulin G (IgG), the most common antibody in the blood and other body fluids.
“NIV’s competent scientific team successfully isolated the Sars-CoV-2 virus from laboratory-confirmed patients in India. This, in turn, has paved the way for the development of indigenous diagnostics for Sars-CoV-2,” said Harsh Vardhan.
The test was validated at two sites in Mumbai and has been found to have high sensitivity and specificity, reported Hindustan Times.
3. Maharashtra Toll Jumps to 832; 22,171 People Test COVID-19 Positive
With COVID-19 cases steadily increasing on a daily basis in Maharashtra, the death toll in the state stands at 832 as of Sunday, 10 May. Fifty-three people in Maharashtra died due to the infection on Sunday.
After remaining free from the coronavirus for about two months, Wardha registered its first case after an asthma patient, who died on 8 May, tested positive for the virus, reported The Indian Express.
The state tally for COVID-19 patients now stands at 22,171, with Mumbai recording the highest number of cases at 13,739.
4. Five Air India Pilots Test Positive for Coronavirus
Priority testing of Air India pilots ahead of overseas repatriation operations found 5 pilots of the carrier to be COVID-19 positive and asymptomatic, reported The Indian Express.
The five Mumbai-based pilots had reportedly flown to China in April. An official of the carrier told The Indian Express that the pilots who fly Boeing 787 aircraft, had operated cargo flights to China before 20 April.
5. First Naval Ship Brings Back Nearly 700 Stranded Indians From Maldives
The first Naval ship, ‘INS Jalashwa’, brought 698 Indians stranded in the Maldives, back to India on Sunday, 10 May. The vessel reached the Cochin Port as another naval ship, INS Magar, arrived in Male to evacuate more Indians.
Among the passengers were 14 children below 10 years of age and 19 pregnant women. 440 people who were on board the ship were from Kerala.
6. Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Admitted to AIIMS in Delhi
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was admitted to AIIMS Hospital in Delhi after complaining of chest pain on Sunday night. He was taken to the cardio-thoracic ward of the hospital at 8:45 pm and is under observation reported news agency PTI.
The former Prime Minister had reportedly suffered a fall shortly before Parliament was adjourned in March amid the coronavirus outbreak. At the time his doctors had advised complete bedrest, reported NDTV.
Wishes poured in from senior political leaders who wished him speedy recovery soon after he was admitted to the hospital.
7. Indian and Chinese Troops Clash in Sikkim, Ladakh
Tensions rekindled between Indian and Chinese troops in the border state of Sikkim, after soldiers of the two troops reportedly clashed near the Naku La sector. At least 7 Chinese and 4 Indian troops were injured in the clash, reported BBC.
The clashes have reportedly prompted India and China to send in additional troop reinforcements to the border area. The army, however, downplayed the incidents by stating that they were temporary and short duration face-offs that were resolved by local commanders, reported The Times of India.
8. UP CM Yogi Adityanath Looks to MSMEs to Create 90 Lakh New Jobs
The Yogi Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government is counting on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to revive the state economy, reported PTI. Adityanath reportedly said that 90 lakh people can be employed if each of the 90 lakh MSME units in the state recruited one person to their workforce.
The UP CM on Sunday, 10 May, reportedly asked officials to prepare a detailed action plan to motivate entrepreneurs to set up new MSME units.
Some of the measures that are likely to be implemented to encourage entrepreneurs include simplification of NOCs and environment norms.
9. About 70% Micro Loan Borrowers Want Moratorium
About 70 percent of borrowers in the microfinance sector seek moratorium as the COVID-19 lockdown has cost many people their jobs and forced them to dip into their savings.
The Economic Times reported that till that first week of April, about 30 percent of micro-loan borrowers sought the moratorium that was announced by the RBI. A month later, however, this number has reportedly jumped to 70-75 percent.
Sa-Dhan, an industry association of Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs) has reportedly appealed to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to energise banks so that they can disburse loans.
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