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China’s new pneumonia epidemic may last till next year

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Beijing, April 1 : A new pneumonia epidemic that hit Beijing last year may continue till next year and eventually spread to other parts of China and neighbouring countries in Asia, say experts.

Mycoplasma pneumoniae (M. pneumoniae) infections began rising in the capital city last spring, and by December this pathogen was found in more than half of hospitalised children suffering from pneumonia in that city, according to investigators from the Capital Institute of Pediatrics, Beijing.

This type of pneumonia is also called atypical pneumonia because the symptoms are different from those of pneumonia due to other common bacteria, according to US National Library of Medicine.

From May to December 2015, the rate of diagnoses positive for M. pneumoniae in children nearly doubled, from 30 percent to 57 percent, said Hongmei Sun of the Capital Institute of Pediatrics.

In the study published in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology, the researchers predict that this would affect more children in 2016 and could last longer than expected.

As the epidemic continues in Beijing, the investigators predict that related outbreaks will occur elsewhere in China, and possibly in other Asian countries, said Sun.

As a result of these findings, Beijing doctors are being advised to be alert for M. pneumoniae, Sun said.

“We have started investigating the rate of M. pneumoniae infection in several other regions of China, along with other Chinese Mycoplasma experts,” Sun noted.

Children infected with M. pneumoniae typically come down with chest colds. Sore throat, fever, fatigue, headache, and a slowly worsening cough that can last for months are common symptoms, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Children under five typically do not have fevers, but may suffer from vomiting and diarrhea. People at highest risk live or work in crowded conditions, such as schools, hospitals, and dormitories.

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Disaster

Congress demands Railway Minister’s resignation

“isn’t (Railway Minister Goyal) responsible?” asked the Congress leader in the context of the death of 50 migrant workers.

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Piyush Goyal

New Delhi, May 30 : Describing the migrant workers walking back to their native places as one of biggest man-made human tragedy, the Congress on Saturday expressed sorrow over the death of workers in Shramik Special trains and demanded resignation of Railway Minister Piyush Goyal.

Addressing a press conference on the completion of six years of the Narendra Modi-led BJP government, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said, “In the last six years, it has become a practice of the Modi government to harm the 130 crore people of the country whether by demonetisation or by the faulty implementation of GST.

“The migrant workers walking back to their homes following the sudden announcement of nationwide lockdown is the biggest man-made human tragedy.”

The government had announced the nationwide lockdown on March 24 to combat the spread novel coronavirus.

He said over eight crore people were forced to walk for hundreds of kilometres as the Prime Minister did not bother about them.

“The government started Shramik specials only after suggestions and demands came from Congress President Sonia Gandhi. However, over 40 trains lost their way, which happened for the first time in the history of the country,” he said.

“Over 50 people lost their lives in the Shramik Specials. The entire country saw the heart-wrenching video clip of a toddler trying to wake up his dead mother at a railway station,” he said.

Surjewala also spoke about the death of a migrant worker whose body was found in a train’s toilet. “But the Railway Minister and the Ministry did not bother”.

“isn’t (Railway Minister Goyal) responsible?” asked the Congress leader in the context of the death of 50 migrant workers.

“People were delayed by more than five days in reaching their homes. Isn’t this the responsibility of Goyal? The way in which out of eight crore migrant workers, only 50 lakh people were transported by the railways while the rest of the people walked, isn’t this failure of Goyal?”

“The Railway Minister must step down,” Surjewala demanded.

His remarks came amid media reports that claimed that over 50 people died while travelling by Shramik Specials, which have been running since May 1 to transport the migrant workers, starnded students and pilgrims.

Chairman Railway Board V.K. Yadav on Friday at a press conference admitted that a few deaths have been reported in the Shramik Special trains and that the national transporter is preparing a list.

According to the railways, it has so far transported over 52 lakh people from various states by over 3,800 Shramik Special trains.

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India

COVID-19: Sanitisation drive taken up at Parliament

After an inspection by Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in Parliament House, the Lok Sabha Secretariat had previously conducted a similar exercise on March 21.

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Parliament of India

New Delhi, May 30 : In the face of six novel coronavirus cases reported in Parliament so far, different civic agencies on Saturday undertook a sanitization drive in all buildings of the British-era complex.

Central Public Works Department (CPWD), New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) and other agencies participated in the drive that included sanitization of all indoor and outdoor areas, individual offices, restrooms, and all common areas.

After an inspection by Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in Parliament House, the Lok Sabha Secretariat had previously conducted a similar exercise on March 21.

On that occasion, Birla said that awareness and restraint are key to corona prevention.

Thereafter, several such exercises were undertaken on a periodic basis.

In the exercise held on Saturday, CPWD, NDMC and other allied agencies, working within the Parliament, used specialized equipment and strong chemical disinfectants like Sodium Hydrochloride to ensure sanitation in and around Parliament.

The sanitation drive was conducted as a precautionary measure and to minimize contact between officials working within the complex. Currently, as per Lok Sabha Secretariat orders, a certain number of officers and staff are required to work from home.

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Politics

After Priyanka, Rahul bats for arrested Congress UP unit chief Ajay Lallu

Earlier, his sister and Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi also termed Lallu’s arrest “undemocratic and violation of humanitarian principle”, and demanded his release.

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Rahul Gandhi

New Delhi, May 30 : Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Saturday flayed the Uttar Pradesh government over the arrest of state Congress chief Ajay Kumar Lallu.

Gandhi tweeted: “I have seen the struggle of UPCC President Ajay Kumar Lallu closely. He was active night and day in helping the needy at the time of disaster. The UP government is doing injustice to them. Putting him in jail unnecessarily exposes the anti-poor mentality of the government.”

Earlier, his sister and Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi also termed Lallu’s arrest “undemocratic and violation of humanitarian principle”, and demanded his release.

“Throwing him into prison on baseless charges during a pandemic reveals the undemocratic and opportunistic mindset of the Yogi government and violates all humanitarian principles,” Priyanka Gandhi had tweeted.

Lallu was arrested soon after he was granted bail in another case in Agra on Wednesday. He was arrested in Agra on Tuesday for protesting against the government’s refusal to allow movement of buses in the state.

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