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111 labs across country to test coronavirus

“Today 262 people, mostly students, will come from Rome, and will be kept in quarantine as per our protocol. 1600 Indians and people from other countries were kept in quarantine centres in India.”

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Coronavirus

New Delhi, March 21 : At least 111 labs will conduct test for diagnosis of novel coronavirus across the country, the Ministry of Health and Family welfare said on Saturday.

Speaking to the media at a press conference Joint Secretary of Health Ministry, Lav Agarwal said, “111 labs across the country will be functional from today.”

These testing labs include both government and private sectors. However the capping the prices of the tests is still under discussion, Agarwal told media.

The testing labs have been designated by the apex research body in India, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

Agarwal asserted that people should not come for test unless the fit in the testing criteria, defined by the Health Ministry and ICMR.

“People should not just come testing for fashion or confidence-building measure. It is very important to understand that testing should be done as per the protocol defined for testing.”

In addition to this, Agarwal said “Today 262 people, mostly students, will come from Rome, and will be kept in quarantine as per our protocol. 1600 Indians and people from other countries were kept in quarantine centres in India.”

He also said a total of 14,90,303 passengers have been screened at airport as on Saturday.

Disaster

Fauci slams lack of unified US response; remains hopeful for vaccine

Asked about how he navigates White House politics, Fauci said his method hasn”t changed since he first stepped into the White House back in the 80s.

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Anthony Fauci

New York, July 3 : America’s top infectious diseases expert Anthony Fauci tore into the lack of a unified, national response to the coronavirus and warned that a “devil may care” interpretation in wide swathes of America to the re-opening effort is working to the country’s “detriment”.

Speaking at an online Harvard Business Review event Thursday afternoon, Fauci repeated his hope today for a “safe and effective” vaccine by the end of 2020 or by the first quarter of next year. That timeframe, Fauci said, “would be a success”.

Early preliminary data on “several” vaccine candidates are pointing to predictable immune response, Fauci said. “They can induce the kind of response we can predict to be protective”

Explaining his view of “success”, Fauci said America would “gladly accept” a vaccine where the person who gets the shot gets exposed, maybe infected but doesn”t get sick enough to need medical attention.

Responding to questions on a second wave, a visibly concerned Fauci said America is still in its first wave of the coronavirus outbreak.

“We are still in the first wave. Take a look at the curve. It went up, flattened out and now going right back up.”

Infections per day in the US have soared to an all-time high of 50,700, more than doubling over the past month, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Fauci has warned in the past week that 100,000 cases per day won”t be a surprise if things continue in the current trajectory. Much of the sunbelt is now rolling back reopening plans in response to the latest surge in caseload, the highest the US has seen since the domestic outbreak began in January.

Fauci”s comments come 24 hours after US president Donald Trump shifted his stance on masks, saying he likes them because it makes him look like the Lone Ranger and would wear one if he were in a “tight situation”.

Trump has long resisted being photographed in a mask although recommendations to mask up came in early April, via the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Trump”s U-turn comes after the virus has roared into Republican strongholds with 75 per cent of new infections coming from states Trump won in 2016.

Asked about how he navigates White House politics, Fauci said his method hasn”t changed since he first stepped into the White House back in the 80s.

“I”m going to tell the truth and a lot of times, that”s going to be something that person doesn”t want to hear. So you”ve got to be aware of the fact that that person might not ask you back. And what happens if you do that, what happens is that people know that you”re not being partisan one way or the other, you just tell the truth. People respect you and they do ask you back.”

The US leads the world”s coronavirus caseload, with more than 2.7 million people sick and more than 128,000 dead since the first virus-linked fatality in early February this year.

Public health experts continue wringing their hands at the lack of national guidance on preventive measures as zig zag messaging and wild summer parties have sparked an alarming resurgence of COVID-19 in nearly half of the 50 states.

(Nikhila Natarajan is on Twitter @byniknat)

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Madras High Court should rule fast on OBC quota in medical seats: Tamil Nadu

A group of petitioners, in their interim prayers in the Madras High Court, attempted to stop the ongoing process of admissions in postgraduate medical courses.

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Madras High Court Chennai

New Delhi, July 2 : The Tamil Nadu government has moved the Supreme Court, seeking a direction to the Madras High Court to “expeditiously hear and dispose” off petitions against the Centre’s decision not granting 50 per cent quota to OBCs in medical seats surrendered by the state in the all India quota in 2020-21.

The state government has challenged the high court’s June 22 order declining any interim order on the OBC quota row. It had adjourned the matter till July 9, citing that a petition similar in nature is scheduled to be taken up for hearing before the apex court on July 8.

The state government had moved the top court on June 11, which asked it to move the high court. “The High Court has erroneously acceded to representations made by the respondents and unjustifiably kept the Petitioner’s writ petition in abeyance till this court issues orders in an ostensibly identical matter in Saloni Kumari v Director General Health Services & Ors which is tentatively listed for July 8,” said the Tamil Nadu government in its plea.

The state government contended that it seeks directions to provide 50 per cent reservation for Backward Classes, most Backward Classes and the Denotified Community in admission to shared seats in postgraduate, undergraduate and diploma medical and dental courses.

Various political parties and the Tamil Nadu government have challenged the Centre’s decision not granting 50 per cent reservation to OBCs as per state law. “Moreover, the High Court has ignored the fact that this court, in an order dated June 11 has, instead of entertaining the petitioner’s petition under Article 32 of the Constitution, expressly granted liberty to the Petitioner to seek relief before the High Court under Article 226,” said the state government plea.

A group of petitioners, in their interim prayers in the Madras High Court, attempted to stop the ongoing process of admissions in postgraduate medical courses.

Reportedly, the Madras High Court had declined to pass any interim order on the petitions after taking on record the Centre’s contention that from 1986, reservation has not been provided in the AIQ (All-India quota) seats for medical admission, which is in accordance with the directive of the top court.

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Disaster

No charges for receiving plasma, Delhi Plasma Bank clarifies

To donate plasma, a donor needs to complete at least 28 days post the treatment of Covid-19. A donor can re-donate plasma after 14 days.

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plasma therapy for COVID-19

New Delhi, July 2 : The Delhi Plasma Bank clarified on Thursday that it does not charge any amount for providing plasma to the patients, after a document started doing the rounds on social media where it was mentioned that the bank would charge Rs 25,000 from private and corporate hospitals against the plasma provided to them.

The Delhi Plasma Bank is the first in the country to store and provide plasma on demand to Covid-19 patients. The bank, inaugurated on Thursday, has been set up at the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS).

On Thursday evening, a document started getting shared on Twitter and Facebook, which mentioned that the private and corporate hospitals would have to pay Rs 25,000 to receive plasma from the bank.

The document was drafted on the letterhead of the ILBS Hospital and was also uploaded on the website of the hospital. After the upload, it was downloaded and widely shared on Twitter and Facebook. However, it was taken down by the ILBS administration later, stating that it was a “clerical error”.

Shantanu Dubey, in-charge of issuing plasma to the patients, told IANS that the document was an old and unapproved proposal.

“It was a proposal floated a few days ago to the management of the hospital. It did not get approval and was mistakenly uploaded on the hospital”s website on Thursday. However, we have rectified it,” he clarified.

Dubey also said that ILBS is providing plasma free of cost to all. “We are not charging for plasma from anyone. It”s being offered on-demand free of cost,” he added.

Dubey said the bank issued three sets of plasma on Thursday, all to corporate hospitals, without charging any amount. “We provided two B blood group plasma and one from the A blood group,” he informed.

He also informed that six requests of plasma are lined up for Friday. He said the bank has received requests for plasma from across the country, but currently, it will only issue it to the patients in Delhi.

Meanwhile, the bank has directed all the hospitals to appoint nodal officers for making requests for plasma from the bank.

“A few hospitals have appointed nodal officers. The communication regarding issuance and donation will be made only to the nodal officers,” said Rahul Borkar, a resident medical officer in the plasma bank.

The officials at the plasma bank also informed that they will provide travel allowances to the donors coming to the bank to donate their plasma. “We will reimburse up to Rs 1,500 of the travel cost borne by the donor,” Borkar said.

To donate plasma, a donor needs to complete at least 28 days post the treatment of Covid-19. A donor can re-donate plasma after 14 days.

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