QBullet: 5 L Testing Kits Arrive; Govt Readying Economic Package

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Published17 Apr 2020, 02:11 AM IST
India
7 min read

1. COVID-19: Testing Ramped Up, 5 Lakh Kits Arrive From China

China has dispatched coronavirus medical kits to India. (Image for representation)
China has dispatched coronavirus medical kits to India. (Image for representation)
(Photo: PTI)

With four days to go for a conditional easing of restrictions in specific areas, testing has been stepped up across the country – the number of samples tested in the last 24 hours crossed 30,000 for the first time on Thursday, 16 April – and the first consignment of 5 lakh rapid COVID-19 testing kits has arrived from China.

Indicating that more testing kits are on the way, Vikram Misri, India’s Ambassador to China, tweeted: “A total of 6,50,000 kits, including Rapid Antibody Tests and RNA Extraction Kits have been despatched early today from Guangzhou Airport to India.”

This means that rapid antibody tests, in which the results take less than 30 minutes, can be used in the 170 hotspots across the country, as per guidelines of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

(Source: The Indian Express)

2. Govt Readying Stimulus for Corporates, Relief for Poor

Union Ministers and certain official staff began to return to work on Monday, 13 April, morning.
Union Ministers and certain official staff began to return to work on Monday, 13 April, morning.
(Photo Courtesy: Nirmala Sitharaman/Twitter)

The government is giving final touches to a comprehensive stimulus package that aims to address the concerns of the common man and the corporate sector, including large and small businesses, battling the impact of the coronavirus and the lockdown that has stalled economic activity.

On Thursday, 16 April, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spent several hours with finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman and her team to discuss the contours of the package, which followed several rounds of consultations at different levels.

Sitharaman is understood to have sought inputs from line ministries, states, sections of industry and other stakeholders to work out a detailed plan.

(Source: The Times of India)

3. One-Third of India Lives in Red Zones, Tamil Nadu Leads the List

Barricades are seen outside a lane to restrict entry and exit during the nationwide lockdown in Kolkata (Representational image).
Barricades are seen outside a lane to restrict entry and exit during the nationwide lockdown in Kolkata (Representational image).
(Photo: PTI)

The 170 districts identified as coronavirus disease (COVID-19) hot spots across the country are home to about 37 percent of India’s population, with Tamil Nadu accounting for the most “red zones” – 22 of its 37 districts – among the states, according to the government’s data.

On Wednesday, 15 April, the Union health ministry declared 170 districts in 20 states and five Union Territories (UTs) as hot spots – areas where the numbers of COVID-19 infections are high. The Centre told the states that there was no hot spot district in 11 states and UTs.

The COVID-19 hot spots account for about 23 percent of the 730-odd districts in India and are spread across 29 percent of the geographical area of the country, an analysis based on Census 2011 data showed.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

4. Coronavirus Lockdown: Five-Day Average Growth in Cases Falls to Record Low

Coronavirus lockdown may see a spike in anxiety and depression in domestic workers. 
Coronavirus lockdown may see a spike in anxiety and depression in domestic workers. 
(Photo Courtesy: Reuters)

It could be a straw in the wind, possibly reflecting one consequence of the ongoing national lockdown. The daily growth in the number of COVID-19 positive cases across the country has been showing a declining trend over the last few days.

In fact, the compounded daily growth rate (CDGR) – a metric that factors in daily fluctuations and is, therefore, more representative of the trend – for the last five days has dropped to single digits, below 10 percent, for the first time for any comparable period since the outbreak began in the first week of March.

By late Thursday night, the total number of positive cases reported from across the country was 13,328, according to data reported by states.

On 11 April, this number was 8,408, which gives a CDGR of 9.65 percent over five days. Since the first cases began to appear in March, the five-day CDGRs have ranged from 11 to 26 percent.

(Source: The Indian Express)

5. Coronavirus: Only 1 in Every 24 Samples Positive, Govt Says

Image for representation.
Image for representation.
(Photo: PTI)

Only one in every 24 samples tested for COVID-19 in India is positive, the government and Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said comparing it with the "positivity ratio" of various other countries like Japan, Italy, the US and UK which show a less number of tests for each confirmed case.

“In a country like Japan, one out of 11.7 tests turns out to be positive, which is among the highest in the world. Italy tests 6.7 persons for one positive test while the US tests 5.3 persons and UK 3.4,” ICMR chief epidemiologist Dr RR Gangakhedkar said. Reiterating that India’s testing ratio is not low as 23 out of 24 tests are resulting in a negative, he said, “We have a huge population and not all people belong to vulnerable groups. Hence, can't say our testing ratio is low.”

(Source: The Times of India)

6. Calls for Free Ration Grow as Migrants Fight Hunger

Indian migrants from Andhra Pradesh state, who were stopped while attempting to return to their native villages on foot, sit in a truck to be moved to a government facility during lockdown.
Indian migrants from Andhra Pradesh state, who were stopped while attempting to return to their native villages on foot, sit in a truck to be moved to a government facility during lockdown.
(Photo: AP)

The Union government has allowed charities and states to buy extra stocks of federally held foodgrains at a reserve but cheaper-than-market price as several migrant workers battle a food crisis.

The federally run Food Corporation of India has reserved a price of Rs 20 and Rs 22 per kg of wheat and rice for stock sale outside the public distribution system (PDS), while the regular market prices ranges between Rs 32-40 a kg and Rs 40-45 a kg for common varieties of wheat and rice.

Sales outside the PDS network were earlier available to only registered bulk purchasers and states through online bidding under a federal provision called the ‘open-market-sales scheme’. Now states, as well as NGOs, can buy grains and offer them for free or at no profit-no-loss basis to the poor, especially those outside the PDS system. For instance, charities can use the grains to run community kitchens during the lockdown.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

7. Study From China: 44% Got COVID From People Without Symptoms

Blood sample tube positive with COVID-19
Blood sample tube positive with COVID-19
(Photo: istock)

Even as India’s testing strategy banks heavily on testing symptomatic people, a study from China has come to the conclusion that 44 percent of those who tested positive contracted the disease from an asymptomatic person. They estimated that viral shedding – which is when a person infects another – starts happening two to three days before the onset of symptoms.

The study, published in Nature Medicine on 15 April, looked at 94 patients with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 admitted to Guangzhou Eighth People’s Hospital and said, “We observed the highest viral load in throat swabs at the time of symptom onset, and inferred that infectiousness peaked on or before symptom onset. We estimated that 44 percent… of secondary cases were infected during the index cases’ presymptomatic stage, in settings with substantial household clustering, active case finding and quarantine outside the home. Disease control measures should be adjusted to account for probable substantial presymptomatic transmission.”

(Source: The Indian Express)

8. Maharashtra & Mumbai Top 3,000 & 2,000 Cases in 4 and 6 Days

A hospital turned into COVID-19 Treatment Centre in Mumbai.
A hospital turned into COVID-19 Treatment Centre in Mumbai.
Photo: PTI

With the addition of 268 cases, the third-highest single-day count so far, Maharashtra breached the 3,000 mark to reach 3,202 on Thursday, 16 April. Mumbai added 177 cases, also its third-highest count for a day, taking the total cases in the city to 2,073.

While the state took nearly a month to record its first 1,000 cases, it breached the 2,000 mark in six days after that, and the newest 1,000 cases have been added in just 4 days. In Mumbai, cases have doubled in just six days. On 13 April, Maharashtra had 2,334 cases, and on April 10, a month after the first case was reported, Mumbai had 1,008 cases.

Health minister Rajesh Tope said the period in which cases have doubled has gone up from two days initially to three days and now it is 5.5. “The more days it takes, the better it is for us,” Tope said.

(Source: The Times of India)

9. Stricter Norms Likely After Food Rider Tests COVID-19+

Image for representation.
Image for representation.
(Photo Courtesy: iStock / Altered by The Quint)

A day after a food delivery person working for a Malviya Nagar restaurant tested positive for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) – leading to residents of at least 72 households being put under home quarantine – the civic administration is scrambling to put in place rules and standard operating procedures to ensure proper safety norms for local delivery firms and stand-alone restaurants in the Capital.

While larger food delivery chains and essential supplies providers have strict processes to ensure the safety of their deliveries, smaller firms may fall below the radar, senior civic officials said, highlighting the need for standardised norms.

“This incident shows that modalities should be chalked out under which the employer must issue fitness certificates to all its delivery persons and other staff at least once a week after proper health checks,” said BM Mishra, district magistrate of the south Delhi district, from where the case emerged.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

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