Coronavirus India Update, May 11: Passenger train services to resume in phases, first Indian antibody test developed
India’s total COVID-19 case count reached 67,152 with a record 4,213 new cases in the last 24 hours.
India’s total COVID-19 case count reached 67,152 with a record 4,213 new cases in the last 24 hours. The number of deaths in the country reached 2,206 while 44,029 cases are still active, the Union Health Ministry’s Joint Secretary, Lav Agrawal, revealed in the latest press briefing. A total of 20,916 COVID-19 patients have recovered and been discharged up until now. Agrawal also updated the press about the Health Ministry’s new discharge guidelines for COVID-19 patients in the country.
Limited passenger trains to operate from 12 May
Indian Railways plans to restart passenger train services in a phased manner from 12 May, with bookings now open via the IRCTC website. Fifteen ‘special’ trains will depart from Delhi and connect with states like Assam, Bengal, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jammu, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Tripura. Passengers will be allowed to travel to the station and enter it only if they have a confirmed e-ticket. All passengers will be screened at the station, and only asymptomatic passengers will be allowed to travel. Face masks, social distancing and downloading the Aarogya Setu App are compulsory for all passengers. Linen, blankets, food, etc will not be provided to passengers, but bottled water will be. Every destination state and UT will quarantine and surveil the passengers on arrival, according to their own protocols.
Delhi airport uses ultraviolet tech to disinfect surfaces
The Delhi International Airport Limited announced in a statement that it was now deploying mobile towers, handheld torches and baggage tunnels that have ultraviolet rays to disinfect surfaces to fight COVID-19. The mobile towers are fitted with germicidal UV lamps that are being used to sectionally disinfect cordoned off areas of the airport. The handheld UV torches are being used to disinfect electronics like laptops, phones, etc. Shoe sanitizer mats have also been placed at strategic locations at Delhi Airport’s Terminal 3.
Doctors, paramedics, private clinics should operate unhindered: Home Ministry
Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla wrote a letter to urge all states and union territory governments to ensure that doctors, paramedical services, nurses, ambulances, private clinics, diagnostic labs, etc do not face any restrictions in movement. Bhalla insisted that this is not just necessary to battle COVID-19 but also to ensure normal responsibilities like conducting immunization programmes, handling the onset of other seasonal and vector-borne diseases, and other non-COVID emergencies.
India develops indigenous COVID-19 testing kit
ICMR’s National Institute of Virology, Pune, has developed India’s first indigenous COVID-19 testing kit that can detect the antibodies for the disease, Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan announced in a tweet. The human IgG ELISA testing kit is expected to “play a critical role in surveillance of proportion of population exposed to #SARSCoV2 infection”, he revealed. Joint Secretary Lav Agrawal announced in the press briefing today that this new test has a specificity (chance of correctly detecting positive cases) of 97% and sensitivity (chances of correctly detecting negative cases) of 92%.
For more information, read our article on ELISA antibody test.
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The Lunar New Year is the most important annual holiday in China. Each year is named after one of the 12 signs of the Chinese zodiac in a repeating cycle, with this year being the Year of the Rabbit
Secretary for Health Lo Chung-mau says curbs easing to go ahead despite expected surge in cases after holiday, arguing city has strong immunity levels to combat virus
It is expected that the Lunar New Year holiday travel rush – known as Chunyun – can drive a new wave of infections in China, especially in its vulnerable countryside. Last week, Xi Jinping also acknowledged concerns about a COVID-19 spike in rural China