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New Delhi, May 6 : With the West Bengal government not adhering to the Centre’s guideline on goods transport through the India-Bangladesh border, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs has issued strict direction to the state to implement it “without any delay”.

The state government was also asked to submit a compliance report immediately.

“You (West Bengal government) are directed to allow cross land border transportation through all Indo-Bangladesh borders without any delay and send the compliance report on opening of cross land borders, by today itself,” Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said in the instruction circulated on Tuesday.

The instructions were issued following reports that goods traffic through the India-Bangladesh land border, falling in West Bengal, had not resumed. A large number of trucks, carrying essential supplies to Bangladesh, were stranded at different border crossing points.

A number of truckers had got also stranded in Bangladesh as they were not allowed to cross the border into India on return from there, the Ministry said.

Citing its April 24 letter, the Ministry said it was directed to allow transportation of essential goods through all India-Nepal, India-Bangladesh and India-Bhutan borders. The Ministry also asked the bordering states to send compliance report.

The Home Secretary, in the letter, said: “I am constrained to say we have not received the compliance report from West Bengal.”

Referring to the fresh guidelines on lockdown, issued by the Home Ministry on May 1, Bhalla said it had been clearly spelt out that no state or Union Territory should stop cargo movement across land border under treaties with neighbouring countries.

He also said the unilateral action on the West Bengal government’s part to stop the cross land border movement of essential goods would have larger implications for the Indian government with regard to its legally binding international commitments.

“This act of the West Bengal government amounts to violation of orders issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs under the Disaster Management Act, 2005 as well as Article 253, 256 and 257 of the Constitution,” Bhalla’s letter read.

Disaster

With 56k new Covid cases, India’s tally mounts to 19.6L

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coronavirus india

New Delhi, Aug 6 : With 56,282 new coronavirus cases and 904 deaths in the last 24 hours, the total tally in India rose to 19,64,537 and 40,699 deaths, the data from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare revealed on Thursday.

Currently, 5,95,501 cases are active and 1,328,336 people have recovered from the disease. The recovery rate has reached a new high of 67.19 per cent. In the last 24 hours, 6,64,949 samples have been tested.

Six major states in India have recorded more than one lakh cases in the last six months since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. Maharashtra has the highest number of cases, followed by Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh.

Maharashtra remains the worst-hit state with 4,68,265 cases and 16,476 deaths. Tamil Nadu comes in second with 2,73,460 cases and 4,461 deaths.

On the other hand, with the deadly virus spreading rapidly all over the country, there are eight states and union territories – Chandigarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Ladakh, Mizoram, Arunanchal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Sikkim and Andaman and Nicobar Islands where there are less than 1,000 active cases.

In a press briefing earlier this week, Health Ministry Secretary Rajesh Bhushan had said that 82 per cent of the total cases are limited to ten states and union territories and that fifty districts account for 66 per cent of the total caseload.

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Cities

Rains clobber Mumbai, MMR for second day but no fatalities

The IMD has forecast heavy to extremely heavy spells of rain in Mumbai and the coastal Konkan area in the next 24 hours.

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Mumbai Rains

Mumbai, Aug 5 : Heavy rains, accompanied by gusty winds of upto 70 kmph, lashed Mumbai city and suburbs, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) and coastal Konkan for the second consecutive day on Wednesday, hitting suburban train services and disrupting normal life, officials said.

In a rare development, many parts of south Mumbai like Churchgate, Marine Lines, Marine Drive, Kalbadevi, Dongri, Byculla, Mazagaon, Parel, Dadar and surroundings witnessed heavy waterlogging, throwing the central business district out of gear.

Locals attributed it to the ongoing work on the Mumbai Metro Railway and the Coastal Road Project, though officials declined to comment.

Central Railway (CR) suburban train services were suspended between Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) and Kurla on the main line and CSMT and Vashi on the Harbour Line after the heavy downpour, said CR spokesperson Shivaji Sutar.

Similarly, Western Railway spokesperson Sumit Thakur said that owing to heavy rains, some suburban trains were suspended and all trains were reversed from Mumbai Central, Dadar, Bandra and Andheri.

At least 250 commuters stranded in two trains between Byculla and Masjid Bunder stations on the CR were rescued by police and disaster teams.

At the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport, over half a dozen flights had to do a go-around before coming in but there were no diversions or cancellations, said officials.

Major landmarks like the Bombay Stock Exchange’s (BSE) Phiroze Jeejeebhoy Tower suffered the brunt of the rain fury when its massive signboard on the 29th floor got ripped off and hung precariously.

Some sections of a cement cladding adorning the exteriors of the Jaslok Hospital in south Mumbai were blown off and fell in pieces on the road below, but there were no reports of any casualties.

The roof and metal supports of the iconic D.Y. Patil cricket stadium in Navi Mumbai were badly damaged in the strong winds and rain.

In some areas in south Mumbai, Kandivali, Dahisar, Kurla, Parel, Dadar, Wadala and Sion, water rushed into ground-floor homes, shops or offices as incessant rains continued all day, and the subways in Dahisar, Malad and Andheri were flooded, preventing east-west movement of traffic.

Two persons suffered injuries in a minor house crash in Bhandup, while there were more than 150 incidents of tree crashes in the city, and 10 incidents of electric short-circuits, but there were no fatalities.

Huge traffic snarls were witnessed in south Mumbai with trees falling on some roads in Churchgate, Marine Lines, Charni Road and Worli, hitting vehicular traffic on the Eastern and the Western Express Highways.

With thousands of commuters getting stranded, the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Wednesday evening said that it had made arrangements for people at 130 civic schools outside the major railway stations.

Heavy rains also lashed the adjoining coastal districts of Thane, Palghar, Raigad, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg, besides downpours in Kolhapur, Satara, Sangli, and Pune, since the past 24 hours

In Ratnagiri and Raigad, more than 25 villages in two sub-districts remained cut off, while in Mahad town in Ratnagiri, rubber boats were deployed by disaster relief agencies to rescue several families stranded in at least four feet water, and 63 were saved from Sonyachi Gaon in Raigad district.

Rains pounded Palghar and Thane causing waterlogging in many towns like Mira Road, Bhiwandi, Kalyan, Ulhasnagar, Naigaon, Vasai, Virar and Dahanu.

Till evening, Mumbai recorded an average of 22.9 cm rainfall and the suburbs notched 9.5 cm.

The IMD has forecast heavy to extremely heavy spells of rain in Mumbai and the coastal Konkan area in the next 24 hours.

Amid apprehensions of a 2005-like flood situation, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray reviewed the monsoon situation and the state government has rushed 15 disaster relief teams for Mumbai, Thane, Palghar, Satara, Sangli and Kolhapur to help in any contingency.

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Disaster

Indian-origin scientists find novel way to treat severe Covid-19

The observational study included 255 Covid-19 patients being treated with IL6ri during stage IIB (149 patients) and stage III (106 patients) of the disease.

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Coronavirus Treatment

New York, Aug 5 : A team of Indian-origin researchers has found that patients experiencing severe Covid-19 symptoms had improved outcomes when administered an Interleukin-6 (IL6ri) inhibitor, sarilumab or tocilizumab — used in treating autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and other several inflammatory conditions.

The treatment was more effective when administered earlier in the disease course, reducing mortality rate and the need for intubation.

Published in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases, the results showed that Interleukin-6 inhibitors appear to be a more effective treatment method as compared to other options, including remedesvir and dexamethasone, which are recommended and are being currently used to check the pandemic.

“At a time when treatments are being tested with urgency amid the Covid-19 pandemic, our study results offer some hope towards finding solutions to better treat patients infected by this disease,” said study researcher Manish Sagar from the Boston University in the US.

According to the study, elevated IL-6 levels may mediate the severe systemic inflammatory responses that occur in patients with severe acute respiratory syndrome or Covid-19 infection.

The observational study included 255 Covid-19 patients being treated with IL6ri during stage IIB (149 patients) and stage III (106 patients) of the disease.

Once an appropriate patient was identified, he/she was given IL6ri (sarilumab or tocilizumab) based on iteratively reviewed guidelines.

The IL6ri was initially reserved for critically-ill patients, but after review, the treatment was liberalised for patients with lower oxygen requirements.

The IL6ri recipients had considerably higher supplementary oxygen requirements, indicating more advanced disease than patients in previous remdesivir and dexamethasone trials, and would have been expected to have a higher mortality rate.

The study’s sampling-with-replacement analysis found that the patients who received IL6ri had a lower mortality rate than patients in the intervention and control groups of remdesivir and dexamethasone trials.

The 22.9 per cent mortality rate for the 105 Boston Medical Center patients that required ICU care (41.1 per cent) was considerably lower than previously published 45-50 per cent mortality in other ICU studies.

“The greatest benefit of IL6ri use was seen in patients who received the drug in an earlier stage, prior to critical respiratory decompensation, showing the importance of prompt testing and treatment,” said study researcher Pranay Sinha.

“We hope these findings can help guide physicians as we seek solutions to reduce mortality, increase extubation, reduce the length of stay in the hospital, and have more patients discharged from the hospital alive,” Sinha added.

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