• Current Affairs, 7 April 2020

    NATIONAL NEWS

    1. NCC cadets start serving people in different parts of country in fight against COVID-19

     

    • National Cadet Corps (NCC) cadets have started serving people in different parts of the country in fight against COVID-19 pandemic.
    • Under the Exercise NCC Yogdan, the cadets are providing a helping hand to state and municipal authorities to augment relief efforts.
    • Civil and police administration of various state have started requisitioning for services of the senior NCC cadets. Union Territory of Ladakh has requisitioned for employment of eight cadets in supply chain management. In Madhya Pradesh, Neemuch Superintendent of Police has requested for services of 245 cadets in supply chain and traffic management.
    • Sixty four senior division cadets including seven women have already been employed there. Collector of Bilaspur has requested for service of NCC volunteer cadets for training in COVID-19 preventive measures. These cadets are being imparted training for the job ahead.
    • In Himachal Pradesh, Kangra district administration have asked for services of 86 cadets  till 14th of this month to assist Police in ensuring social distancing in the city. 75 cadets are providing service in Tamil Nadu and 57 in Puducherry. Some cadets are being employed in Balrampur in Uttar Pradesh.  Eighty cadets in East Khasi Hills district are assisting the Meghalaya Police in monitoring of ration distribution and sensitisation.
    1. Centre issues advisory to State & UTs to contain COVID-19 in National Parks, Sanctuaries and Tiger Reserves

     

    • Centre has issued advisory to States and Union Territories regarding containing and management of COVID-19 in National Parks, Sanctuaries and Tiger Reserves. In view of the spread of COVID 19 in the country and a recent news report on a Tiger being infected with the COVID 19,
    • Environment Ministry has written to States and Union Territories to take immediate preventive measures to stop the transmission and spread of the virus from humans to animals and vice versa.
    • It has asked to reduce the human wildlife interface and restrict the movement of people to National Parks, Sanctuaries and Tiger Reserves. The Ministry has also asked to constitute a task force or Rapid Action Force with Field Managers, Veterinary doctors, Frontline staff, to manage the situation as quickly as possible.
    • Government has asked the States and UTs to create a ‘round the clock’ reporting mechanism with a Nodal Officer for swift management of any cases noticed. States have been also directed to enhance disease surveillance, mapping and monitoring system through coordinated effort amongst various Departments. It has also asked to maintain all other stipulations issued by the Health Ministry in the movement of staff, tourists and villagers in and around National Parks, Sanctuaries and Tiger Reserves.
    1. 693 fresh confirmed cases of novel coronavirus reported in India in last 24 hours

     

    • 693 fresh confirmed cases of novel coronavirus or COVID- 19 have been reported in the country in the last 24 hours taking the total number to 4067. Out of these, 291 patients have recovered and discharged from the hospitals, while 109 patients have died. Briefing media in New Delhi today, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Lav Aggarwal said,  76 per cent cases have been reported in males and 24 per cent in females.
    • He also informed that out of the total cases,1445 cases are related to Tablighi Jamaat cluster. He said, out of 109 deaths so far, 63 per cent have been reported among people over 60 years age,  30 per cent in age bracket of 40 to 60 years and  7 per cent in the people  below 40 years of age.  Mr Aggarwal suggested to the high risk people to follow the directive and guidelines issued by the government.
    • He also urged the countrymen to follow social distancing measures and guidelines to check the spread of the novel coronavirus.
    • Mr Aggarwal also informed that during the Lockdown period , 16.94 lakh metric tonnes of food grains have been transported across the country till now.  He said, in 13 states, 1.3 lakh metric tonnes of wheat and  1.32 lakh metric tonnes of rice in 8 states have been alloted. He said, Food Corporation of India is having 55.47 lakh metric tonnes of foodgrains in central pool.
    • He said, 1100 crore rupees have already been released from National Health Mission Funds for the states for COVID management and today an additional amount of 3000 crore rupees has been released in this regard.
    • Joint Secretary in the Home Ministry, Punya Salila Srivastava said that the lockdown measures are being effectively implemented. She said, the availability of essential goods and items are satisfactory. On cases related to Tablighi Jamaat workers, Ms Srivastava said, through a massive effort over  25,500 local Tablighi Jamaat workers and their contacts have been quarantined and  5 Haryana villages where they visited, have also  been sealed and quarantined. She said, out of the 2083 foreign Tablighi Jamaat workers identified so far, 1750 workers have been blacklisted.
    1. CBSE warns students against fake news about board exams, evaluation and pass criteria

    • CBSE today said that there are some unscrupulous elements circulating fake news in form of lookalike circulars about CBSE board exams, evaluation and pass criteria through various social media groups with the sole purpose of misleading innocent students and parents. CBSE said, the board has in the recent past taken strict action against rumormongers by filing  FIRs against individuals and links under IT act . CBSE reiterated to public not to believe such rumours and check official  announcements on the Board’s official handles.
    1. Prime Minister says, country is united in one mission to win war against COVID-19

    • Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the BJP party workers through video conference on the occasion of 40th Foundation Day of Bhartiya Janta Party.. He said, the country is united in one mission today which is to win the war against COVID-19. It is a long battle but India will not get tired or face defeat.
    • The Prime Minister praised Indians for showing maturity in dealing with the current situation and called it unprecedented. He said, no one could have imagined that 130 crore people in a vast country like India would show such discipline during lock down.
    • Referring to countrywide exercise to switch off the lights and illuminate diyas for nine minutes, he said, we experienced yesterday at 9 p.m., the strength of togetherness of 130 crore people of our country. He said, people from every section of society and age groups demonstrated this unity and strengthened the resolve in fight against Corona virus.
    1. SC issues guidelines for all courts for hearings through video conferencing during COVID-19 outbreak

    • The Supreme Court today passed a slew of directions for all courts across the country to extensively use video-conferencing for judicial proceedings. It said that congregation of lawyers and litigants must be suspended to maintain social distancing amid coronavirus pandemic. A bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde said that recent outbreak of the COVID-19 has necessitated social distancing and it is necessary to ensure that court premises do not contribute to the spread of coronavirus.
    • The top court, which has restricted its functioning and is conducting hearing through video conferencing of extremely urgent matters during the lockdown period since March 25.
    • The bench, also comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud and L Nageswara Rao, made it clear that no evidence would be recorded via video-conferencing. It said, if recording of evidence is must in the courts, then the concerned judge would ensure that distance is maintained inside the courtroom.
    • The court took cognizance of a letter written by senior advocate and former Supreme Court Bar Association President Vikas Singh, who has suggested measures for use of technology for conducting hearings in the courts.
    • Attorney General K K Venugopal said the National Informatics Centre, NIC must look into efficient and cheap application across the country.
    • The Director General of NIC told the bench that three things are required for video-conferencing — good broadband connection, good devices and conduct of people.
    1. Misinformation on social media needs to be checked: Vice President

     

    • Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu has described the spread of misinformation especially on social media as a virus that needs to be checked. He said, free flow of authentic information to quell rumours and misinformation is critical as the war on virus cannot be won, if we have inadequate or faulty understanding of the magnitude of the problem.
    • Referring to irresponsible flouting of precautionary social distancing guidelines in some states, Mr Naidu stressed on the need for greater dissemination of guidelines and its stricter implementation. He said, there has to be a greater awareness of the urgency and the scientific evidence about the spread of the virus.
    • The Vice President said, unity of thought, actions and solidarity with all the brave warriors is the need of the hour. He said, respect and concern for safety of the front-line warriors, especially the medical professionals, is absolutely essential for achieving our objective.

     

    8.    Agriculture Ministry launched 3 new features of e-NAM platform to prevent crowding in mandis

    • The Union Minister of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare, Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, Narendra Singh Tomarhas launched three new features of National Agriculture Market (e-NAM) Platform to enable farmers to sell their harvested produce directly from warehouse which will prevent crowding in mandis amid COVID-19 outbreak.
    • Negotiable Warehouse Receipt (e-NWRs) module– It will enable small & marginal farmers to directly trade their stored produce from selected Warehousing Development and Regulatory Authority (WDRA) accredited warehouses which are declared deemed market by the State. With this, farmers can sell the produce across India to get better Price and the hassle of mandi will also be avoided. Already States of Telangana (14 warehouses) & Andhra Pradesh (23 warehouses) declared designated warehouses in the State as deemed market.
    • Farmer Producer Organisation (FPO) trading module– This will enable FPOs to upload the picture and quality parameters of the produce for bidding which will help distant bidders to visualise the produce before bidding. This feature will help FPOs in reducing the transaction costs (Transportation) for inter-mandi and inter-state trade.
    • Logistic Module– This will promote inter-State trade under e-NAM by providing online transport facilities for distant buyers. For this purpose, 3,75,000 trucks from large logistic providers have been deployed.
    • Started on 14 April 2016, a pan-India electronic trade portal linking Agricultural Produce Market Committees (APMCs) across the States. Simply, it is an online trading platform for agricultural commodities. Small Farmers Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC) is the lead agency for implementing eNAM under the aegis of Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Government of India.

    9.    Kerala based SCTIMST joins hands with Wipro 3D to make automated ventilators

    • In view of increasing coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in India, Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST), an institute of National Importance of the Department of Science and Technology (DST) based in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, has partnered with ‘Wipro 3D’to build a portable and lightweight emergency ventilator system based on Artificial Manual Breathing Unit (AMBU) to assist the breathing of the critical patients who have no access to ICU (Intensive care unit)ventilators.
    • This ventilator system is essentially a hand held device also called as AMBU bag or bag-valve-mask (BVM) to provide positive pressure ventilation to a corona patients with breathing difficulties with a controlled rate of expiration, inspiratory to expiratory ratio, Tidal volume etc.
    • In addition to this, a PEEP (Positive End Expiratory Pressure) valve has been equipped as an extra tool to control pressure on the lower airways at the end of the breathing cycle which prevents the alveoli from collapsing during expiration.
    • .However, a disadvantage of the normal AMBU bag is that it requires a bystander to operate it and hence is non-advisable for treating a Covid-19 patient.

     10. National Corona Survey conducted in 410 districts

    • Dr Jitendra Singh, Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions released the COVID- 19 National Preparedness Survey 2020. The survey will serve as a benchmark for policymakers at National and State levels.
    • To develop a comparative analysis of COVID- 19 preparedness across States, to access enabling factors in making institutional/ logistics/ hospital preparedness etc., and also to identify the process-related deficiencies, in combating COVID-19 in all the districts of India.
    • The COVID-19 National Preparedness Survey 2020 was conducted in 410 Districts in the Country within 3 working days beginning on March 25, 2020.
    • .The reports of the survey are available at https://darpg.gov.in.
    • The survey was conducted with responses from 410 civil servants who are providing field level leadership. District Collectors & IAS (Indian Administrative Service) officers of (2014- 2018) batches who have served as Assistant Secretaries in GOI (Government of India) participated in the survey.

    INTERNATIONAL NEWS

    11. UNGA adopts ‘Global solidarity to fight the COVID-19’ resolution

     

    • the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA)adopts a resolution– ‘Global solidarity to fight the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)’, co-sponsored by 188 nations including India.
    • To intensify international cooperation so as to mitigate & defeat the pandemicwhich includes exchange of information, scientific knowledge & best practices in accordance with the guidelines recommended by the World Health Organization(WHO).
    • It is the 1st  document adopted by world organisation on the global pandemic
    • It recognises the unprecedented effects of the pandemic which includes the severe disruption to societies & economies, to global travel and commerce, & the devastating impact on the livelihood of people.
    • It also highlights the need for human rights and stressed that there is no room for discrimination, racism and xenophobia in response to the pandemic.
    • The resolution is sponsored by Ghana, Indonesia, Liechtenstein, Norway, Singapore and Switzerland.
    • The resolution was adopted under a silence procedure as the General  Assembly is not holding meetings due to the pandemic.
    1. Health associations call upon Sri Lankan govt to increase RT-PCR testing capacity for COVID-19 to 1500 tests per day

    • In Sri Lanka, three prominent health associations have called upon the government to increase the RT-PCR testing capacity for COVID-19 to 1500 tests per day as the number of active cases in the country climbed to 136.  Sri Lanka Medical Association (SLMA), Ceylon college of physicians and Sri Lanka college of microbiologists have collectively requested the government to conduct community surveillance in hotspots.
    • It said that the current practice of Point of Care (PoC) or rapid testing may result in missing several positive patients and more spreading within the community due to false assurance.
    • The associations said, the increased RT-PCR testing will address the current concerns and uncertainties regarding the asymptomatic patients. Association of Government doctors have also called for increased testing capacities to control the COVID spread.
    • Meanwhile, three patients were tested COVID positive today bringing the total number of active cases to 136. Altogether 37 patients have been discharged while five people have died of the infections. The whole country is under curfew and government today said, high risk districts including Colombo and Jaffna will have curfew till further notice while other districts will see curfew relaxation on Friday.

     

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