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Mar 2020

Mar 30, 2020

MHRD To Launch 'Corona Studies Series' Books

  •  The Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India, has decided to launch Corona Studies Series' along with National Book Trust, India.
  • To document and to provide relevant reading materials for all age-groups for the post-Corona readership needs.
  • "The Corona Studies Series' seeks to be our long-term contribution to prepare and engage readers with the various aspects of the Corona times by bringing out affordable books in various Indian languages in the identified subject areas. It will also provide a suitable platform to authors and researchers willing to contribute in this genre," said Prof.Govind Prasad Sharma, Chairman, National Book Trust, India.

IIT-Bombay Creates Mobile App Corontine To Track COVID-19 Quarantine Patients

  • A team at IIT Bombay along with some professional and experienced alumni claimed to have built a mobile app named 'CORONTINE' that will help in tracking the potential or suspected asymptomatic carriers (AC) of coronavirus if they leave their quarantine zone.
  • The purpose of the app is to help authorities track the asymptomatic carriers and prevent the spread of the disease.
  • The details about the CORONTINE app and the admin platform, along with the user manual, etc, can be found at
  • Only an authorized person can log in as admin to access the full features of the CORONTINE platform.

Union Health Minister launches National Teleconsultation Centre

  •  The Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare Dr Harsh Vardhan launched the National Teleconsultation Centre (CoNTeC).
  • The project CoNTeC is an acronym for COVID-19 National Teleconsultation Centre. It has been conceptualised by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.
  • Harsh Vardhan said that CoNTeC has been made operational at AIIMS with a view to connect the doctors across the country to AIIMS in real time for treatment of the COVID-19 patients.
  • The minister said that the telemedicine guidelines have also been notified by the government of India and with the help of digital platform and technology.

Mar 28, 2020

Jaipur's Sawai Man Singh Hospital Tests Serving Robot

  •  The Sawai Man Singh (SMS) Government Hospital in Jaipur is conducting a series of trials on a humanoid robot to check if could be pressed into service for delivering medicines and food to the COVID-19 patients admitted there, helping to keep the doctors and nursing staff at a safe distance to protect them against the dreaded coronavirus.
  • The robot is battery-operated and has a life span of 4-5 years. The humanoid robot uses artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) to navigate its own way without the instructions to follow lines on the floor. A Jaipur-based entrepreneur has offered to supply the humanoid robots for free of cost to the hospital as part of corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative. 

WHO Launches Global Megatrial Of The Four Most Promising Coronavirus Treatments

  •  World Health Organization (WHO) announced a large global trial, called SOLIDARITY, to find out whether any can treat infections with the new coronavirus for the dangerous respiratory disease. It's an unprecedented effort—an all-out, coordinated push to collect robust scientific data rapidly during a pandemic. The study, which could include many thousands of patients in dozens of countries, has been designed to be as simple as possible so that even hospitals overwhelmed by an onslaught of COVID-19 patients can participate.
  • With about 15% of COVID-19 patients suffering from severe disease and hospitals being overwhelmed, treatments are desperately needed. So rather than coming up with compounds from scratch that may take years to develop and test, researchers and public health agencies are looking to repurpose drugs already approved for other diseases and known to be largely safe.
  • They're also looking at unapproved drugs that have performed well in animal studies with the other two deadly coronaviruses, which cause severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).

Hydroxychloroquine Now A Schedule H1 drug

  •  Hydroxychloroquine is now a schedule H1 drug, and can be sold on prescription only.
  • According to a gazette notification issued by the Union Health Ministry, the sale of the drug from now on should be in accordance with the conditions for sale of drugs specified in Schedule H1 to the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945.

CSIR Lab Working On Genome Sequencing Of Covid-19

  •  The Hyderabad-based Centre for Cellular Molecular Biology (CCMB), which is one of the 38 research institutes under the Government of India's Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), is working on sequencing the whole genome of the Covid-19 virus taken from "isolates" from people who have tested positive.

Mar 25, 2020

PM Announces 21-Day Nationwide Lockdown

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared a three-week nationwide "complete lockdown"  from  March 25, 2020 in the world's largest such exercise aimed at stemming the spread of coronavirus that has infected 557 people and claimed the lives of 10 in the country.
  • "From midnight today, there will be a complete lockdown. To save India, to save every citizen, to save you and your family, from 12am, there will be a complete ban on stepping out of the house. Every state, every village, union territory is being locked down. This is a step further than the Janata curfew. It is a step that is needed," Modi said in a televised address to the nation.

Hantavirus Kills Man In China, 32 Co-Passengers In Bus Being Tested

  •  A person from south China's Yunnan province died of hantavirus infection, or the hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) while on his way to eastern China's Shandong province.
  • "He was tested positive for hantavirus. Other 32 people on the bus were tested," the GT tweet said without elaborating.
  • According to the World Health Organisation, HPS is a zoonotic (which could spread from animals to human) viral respiratory disease, which could spread from rodents.
  • The disease symptoms are headache, dizziness, chills fever, muscle pain, and stomach problems, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain, followed by sudden onset of respiratory distress and low blood pressure.

Mar 24, 2020

SBI Commits 0.25% Of FY20 Annual Profit To Help Fight COVID-19

  • The country's biggest lender State Bank of India said it will provide 0.25 per cent of its annual profit for 2019-20 to fight the coronavirus outbreak in India. The announcement came hours after the government notified spending by companies to deal with the coronavirus outbreak as corporate social responsibility (CSR) activity under the companies law.
  • The fund used to fight the coronavirus pandemic will be spent from CSR funds, SBI said in a statement.
  • "This is in line with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs' notification of spending CSR funds for COVID-19 as an eligible CSR activity," it said.
  • Companies' expenditure to deal with the coronavirus outbreak will be considered as CSR activities.

ICMR Recommends Hydroxychloroquine For High-Risk Population

  • Amid rising coronavirus cases in the country, the national task force for COVID-19 constituted by Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) has recommended hydroxy-chloroquine as a preventive medication for high-risk population.
  • According to the advisory, it should be given to high risk population -- asymptomatic healthcare workers involved in the care of suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 and asymptomatic household contacts of laboratory confirmed cases.
  • The protocol recommended by the National Task Force has been approved by the Drug Controller General of India (DGCI) for restricted use in emergency situations.

Reliance Sets Up India's First Dedicated Coronavirus Hospital

  • Mukesh Ambani led Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) has announced a slew of measures to fight the deadly coronavirus (COVID-19) including setting up India's first dedicated COVID-19 hospital, special quarantine facilities, importing additional test kits and enhancing its production capacities to produce 1,00,000 face-masks per day.
  • Within two weeks, Sir H.N. Reliance Foundation Hospital in collaboration with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), has set up a dedicated 100 bedded centre at Seven Hills Hospital, Mumbai, for patients who test positive for COVID-19.

Mar 23, 2020

Cabinet Approves Inclusion Of AYUSH Health, Wellness Centres In NAM

  •  The Union Cabinet has approved the inclusion of AYUSH Health and Wellness Centre (AYUSH HWC) component of Ayushman Bharat in National AYUSH Mission (NAM).
  • The proposal entails an expenditure of Rs. 3399.35 Crore (Rs.2209.58 Crore as Central Share and Rs. 1189.77 crore as State share) for operationalization of AYUSH HWCs within a period of five years that is from financial years 2019-20 to 2023-24.
  • The government said that the operationlization of AYUSH HWCs component under NAM is done to establish a holistic wellness model based on AYUSH principles and practices focusing on preventive promotive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative healthcare by integration with the existing public health care system.

Finland Crowned World's Happiest Country For Third Year Running

  • For the third year in a row, Finland has been named the world's happiest country.
  • The annual United Nations World Happiness Report released its 2020 edition, revealing that the Nordic country is number one once again.
  • Since the first report in 2012, only four countries have claimed the top spot: Denmark in 2012, 2013 and 2016, Switzerland in 2015, Norway in 2017, and now Finland in 2018, 2019 and 2020.
  • The 2020 report ranked 156 countries by how happy their citizens perceive themselves to be, based on their evaluations of their own lives.
  • Finland came top by some margin, followed by Denmark, Switzerland, Iceland and Norway.
  • All the Nordic countries appeared in the top 10.
  • The UK missed out on the top 10, coming in 13th place, while the US came in at number 18.

SAARC Disaster Management Centre Launches Website For Information Related To COVID- 19

  •  The SAARC Disaster Management Centre has launched a website for information related to the COVID-19 pandemic in the region. The website shows the number of coronavirus cases in the member states while updating the numbers regularly. The website is 
  • Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had proposed it during the recent video conference with leaders and representatives of the member states. The website shows that at least 960 coronavirus cases have been reported in the SAARC region. It says that at least five people have lost their lives in India, three in Pakistan, while two died in Bangladesh due to COVID-19.
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