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France best partner for India: Macron

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Emmanuel Macron with Prime Minister Modi

New Delhi, March 10: French President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday said that France should be the best partner for India and the entry point to Europe.

Macron, who arrived here on Friday on a four-day visit to India during the course of which he will co-chair the founding conference of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, said he has three purposes for this visit.

Speaking to media after being accorded a ceremonial reception at the Rashtrapati Bhavan here, he said the first one is to open a new era in the India-France Strategic Partnership “in terms of defence and security, in terms of research and science, especially in terms of our youth, higher education and science”.

“It is absolutely critical because our two democracies have common challenges regarding terrorism, a lot of common risks, a lot of threats,” Macron said.

“The second purpose of this trip is to organise this International Solar Alliance (conference),” he said.

“The third objective of this visit is to deliver the message that France should be the best partner for India, especially in Europe, the entry point for Europe.

“And I aim to have more and more Indian citizens coming to France studying, becoming a partner, creating start-ups and I want my country to be your best partner in Europe.”

Modi and Macron will hold a bilateral summit later on Saturday following which a number of agreements across multiple sectors are expected to be signed.

On Sunday, Modi and Macron will co-chair the founding conference of the India-initiated ISA, which was launched by Modi and then French President Francois Hollande during the Paris Climate Summit in 2015.

The ISA is conceived as a coalition of solar resource-rich countries to address their special energy needs and provide a platform to collaborate on dealing with the identified gaps through a common, agreed approach.

It is open to all 121 prospective member countries falling between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn.

Till Thursday, 60 countries had signed the framework agreement of the ISA and another 30 submitted the instruments of ratification.

Sunday’s conference will be attended by 23 of those who have submitted the instruments of ratification and 24 of those who have signed the framework agreement.

During the course of his stay in India, Macron will also visit Agra and Varanasi and have a town hall interaction with students in New Delhi.

During his visit to Varanasi on Monday, he will inaugurate a 75 MW solar plant built by French firm Engie Solar in Mirzapur in Uttar Pradesh.

This is Macron’s first visit to India after he assumed office in May in 2017.

IANS

Health

BHU women scientists develope corona testing kit

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Banaras Hindu University, BHU

Varanasi, April 1 (IANS) Women researchers at the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) have developed a new testing method for COVID-19. The team has already patented the method.

According to reports, a group of women scientists at the Department of Molecular and Human Genetics, Institute of Science, Banaras Hindu University, have developed a novel test method-based on RT PCR (Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction) for COVID-19 with 100 per cent accuracy.

Geeta Rai, the doctor who leads the research team comprising Doli Das, Khushbu Priya and Hiral Thacker, said: “Through this low-cost method, the results would be available within a few hours. We have got this method patented and approached the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) and Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) for further guidance and support in the matter so that it can be taken to the masses.”

According to her, this RT PCR (qualitative)-based detection method for coronavirus guarantees accuracy, low cost, rapid detection and no requirement for a probe or high cost machines.

The union government had given a call to startups, incubators and scientists to accelerate their efforts at finding solutions to the Covid-19 crisis that has met with overwhelming response.

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Business

Banks to recycle inward currency notes only after 48 hours on corona threat

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Rupee

New Delhi, April 2 : As the corona pandemic turns multifaceted, concerns are arising over the use of currency notes and banks have been advised not to recycle inward currencies and do so only after 48 hours.

As a per a circular issued to banks in Kerala, all member banks of the SLBC that the inward currencies at branches should not be recycled. The inward currencies are to be separately wrapped in packets with date and to be recycled only after 48 hours.

“We infer that currency notes are a probable threat for spread of coronavirus. Health Department has also opined that coronavirus could sustain on infected currency notes for about 12 hours.”

Canara Bank has issued a circular today to the SLBC member banks in Kerala.

The staff in the branches have been asked to take precautions including wearing masks, gloves, using sanitisers and ensuring social distancing.

Earlier, Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) has made an appeal to people to wash their hands after touching or counting currency.

IBA had also asked customers to use online and mobile banking channels for making their transactions and avoid visiting bank branches.

“Wash your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds before and after physical banking/currency counting/AEPS (Aadhaar-enabled payments),” IBA had said in a public appeal.

Traders body, the Confederation of All India Traders had also flagged these concerns to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman about the possible spread of coronavirus through currency notes.

CAIT had said that usage of paper currency which is (the) most dreaded carrier for different viruses and infections due to rapid change of hands between unknown people and thus becomes a health hazard.

It cited the safety of polymer currency, mentioning 13 countries who have switched entirely to these notes, ditching paper variants, and more than 15 countries in line to do so.

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COVID-19: 5 more positive cases found in Gujarat; state total 87

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Gandhinagar, April 1 : Wednesday recorded the highest COVID-19 positive cases in a day, 13 in Gujarat, taking the total positive cases in the state to 87.

Jayanti Ravi, the principal secretary, Health and family welfare Department, Gujarat said, “Apart from the eight positive cases registered on Wednesday morning, during the day, we have had five more positive cases in the state. Two are from Surat, two in Porbandar and 1 in Panchmahals.”

With this, the total positive cases in the state have climbed to 87 with 6 deaths. The highest positive cases are in Ahmedabad -31, followed by Surat -12, Gandhinagar -11, Rajkot -10, Vadodara -9, Bhavnagar -6, Porbandar -3 Gir-Somnath -2, Kutch, Mahesana and Panchmahals one each.

Seven positive cases, after undergoing treatment have been discharged.

Eight new positive corona cases were recorded in Gujarat on Wednesday morning, all of them in Ahmedabad which has been declared as a hotspot for the outbreak by the ministry of health and family welfare.

“Out of the 8, male (52) having inter state travel history to Indore, male (18) travel history to Indore, female (45) interstate travel history and a female (65) having got infected locally have been admitted in Ahmedabad Civil hospital. A male (68) with inter state travel history, male (54) with an international travel history and a female (58) infected locally have been admitted in Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel (SVP)AHospital. Another male (67) who got infected locally has been admitted in the Sola Civil Hospital,” Ravi said.

The total persons under quarantine are 19,206. The persons quarantined at home are 18,487 and those in government institutes are 743 while 253 are quarantined in private facilities. 418 FIR have been filed against persons violating the quarantine conditions. “We have conducted test of 1,586 samples out of which 1,501 have turned negative, 82 positive and the results of three are pending,” added Ravi.

So far, six deaths have been reported in Gujarat due to the coronavirus infection. First case was that of a male from Surat with comorbid conditions. On Wednesday night an 85-year-old female from Ahmedabad died also due to comorbid conditions . A 70-year-old male from Bhavnagar with a travel history to Delhi, succumbed to the virus on Thursday. Three more deaths were reported on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, a male (47) and female (46) from Ahmedabad and a female (45) from Jesar block in Bhavnagar respectively.

All the deceased patients were suffering from comorbid conditions like diabetes, hypertension, cardiac ailments and other several complications.

“Even before the central government had declared Ahmedabad as a hotspot, we had identified Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara, Rajkot and Gandhinagar as hotspots for the outbreak and started working on the cluster containment strategy,” said Ravi.

The health authorities with the help of the police department, is cordoning the clusters in densely populated areas of these five cities, where positive cases have been found and started surveillance.

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