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From Bahrain and now a quarantine life for this techie lady

We were told to go to the third floor. When we said it would be difficult to carry our luggage to the third floor, they said then you can take any room in the ground floor.

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Coronavirus

Kottayam (Kerala) May 9 : For Aneela Mathew, after almost 75 days of hectic work in the IT department at a bank in Bahrain, it was a keenly awaited trip back home. But to reach her home in the district of Kottayam, it will take many more days, as she is now put up at a state managed quarantine centre, near here.

She landed at Kochi around 1120 p.m. on Friday night and by about 4.15 a.m. she along with eight others are now been quarantined at a retreat centre of a Church organisation about 25 km from her home, near here.

For the 25-year-old techie lady, working with a leading IT firm at the Technopark campus in the state capital, it was a happy moment when she boarded her flight on her maiden foreign trip in the third week of February.

But she never thought it would be a short lived happiness, as after 10 days things started to turn bumpy, as by then Covid-19 was spreading its tentacles across countries and was soon declared a pandemic.

“Since we were very much immersed in our work, we did not have much time to think of other things concerning Covid-19. But soon things became tough as lockdown norms in Bahrain became stringent. Again it did not affect us, as we had a task to commission the project we had on our hand,” said Mathew.

Weeks passed for her and even though the project that she was assigned got over, and with India closing its airspace, their team of 5 was put into another project and again it was a busy schedule.

“By the time we finished our second assigned work, we had got the news, that all those whose visa has expired will get a preference and three of us got the call from Indian Embassy to get ready to reach the airport, yesterday around noon,” said Mathew.

They reached the airport at the appointed time and boarded the aircraft around 4 a.m.

“Once inside the aircraft, we were told to manage ourselves and it was not the normal way things happen inside the aircraft. A small bottle of sanitizer, a small packet of snacks and a bottle of water was kept on the seat. By 11.20 p.m. we reached Kochi,” said Mathew.

“Once outside the airport, we had to carry our bags and when we sought help from the policemen who were standing there, to place our bag inside the bus, they said – help yourselves. That came as a shock. For the first time we felt we were looked down upon. Inside the bus was just the driver and we were nine as passengers,” said Mathew.

The bus had a police jeep in the front and back and after a two hour drive it reached the retreat centre.

“Here also there were three staffers who were standing and giving us directions from a distance. We were told to go to the third floor. When we said it would be difficult to carry our luggage to the third floor, they said then you can take any room in the ground floor. We were given a room, which has three beds. My colleague and I are now sitting in the room. We were given a good breakfast also,” added Mathew.

“The journey and the experiences I have had, will surely make me a strong person, as these will all go as memorable moments, which one has to really experience to understand the emotions,” said Mathew.

Cities

Door-to-door COVID-19 survey underway in Taj city

The death toll in Agra stands at 88. The total number of cases till Thursday morning was 1,241. The recovery rate is 83.07 per cent. The number of hotspots now is 52.

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Wuhan China

Agra, July 2 : The Agra district administration has begun an extensive exercise for door-to-door survey in all areas to check the further spread of COVID-19. Two days ago, the state government had announced that all areas will be thoroughly screened to ensure the infection from the coronavirus was effectively stopped.

The survey began on Wednesday in the city and will cover the whole district by July 5.

Teams of health workers will visit homes and conduct surveys, thermal screening and look for people with respiratory ailments. This exercise is considered necessary to reach out to people not only in the hotspots, but also in remote areas of the district, who might be in the need of medical attention.

In the last 24 hours 14 fresh corona cases were reported in Agra and 17 from Mathura.

The death toll in Agra stands at 88. The total number of cases till Thursday morning was 1,241. The recovery rate is 83.07 per cent. The number of hotspots now is 52.

District Magistrate P.N. Singh said the markets would be permitted to remain open for an additional one hour in the evening.

In Mathura, the district administration has sealed the borders and deployed additional personnel to ensure no one entered the district for the annual Mudiya Poonau fair at Goverdhan. The five-day fair, which was supposed to begin from July 1 this year has been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Disaster

Coronavirus may infect heart cells of Covid-19 patients: Study

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Heart Exercise

New York, July 1 : A team of US scientists, led by an Indian-origin researcher revealed that SARS-CoV-2 (coronavirus), the virus behind Covid-19, can infect heart cells in a lab dish.

This suggests it may be possible for heart cells in Covid-19 patients to be directly infected by the virus.

The discovery, published today in the journal Cell Reports Medicine, was made using heart muscle cells that were produced by stem cell technology.

“We not only uncovered that these stem cell-derived heart cells are susceptible to infection by a novel coronavirus, but that the virus can also quickly divide within the heart muscle cells,” said study researcher Arun Sharma from the Cedars-Sinai Board of Governors Regenerative Medicine Institute in the US.

“Even more significant, the infected heart cells showed changes in their ability to beat after 72 hours of infection,” Sharma added.Although many COVID-19 patients experience heart problems, the reasons remain unclear. Pre-existing cardiac conditions or inflammation and oxygen deprivation resulting from the infection have all been implicated.

But there has until now been only limited evidence the SARS-CoV-2 virus directly infects the individual muscle cells of the heart.The study also demonstrated human stem cell-derived heart cells infected by SARS-CoV-2 change their gene expression profile.This offers further confirmation the cells can be actively infected by the virus and activate innate cellular ”defence mechanisms” in an effort to help clear-out the virus.

“This viral pandemic is predominately defined by respiratory symptoms, but there are also cardiac complications, including arrhythmia, heart failure and viral myocarditis,” said study co-author Clive Svendsen.

“While this could be the result of massive inflammation in response to the virus, our data suggest that the heart could also be directly affected by the virus in Covid-19,” Svendsen added.

Researchers also found that treatment with an ACE2 antibody was able to blunt viral replication on stem cell-derived heart cells, suggesting that the ACE2 receptor could be used by SARS-CoV-2 to enter human heart muscle cells.

“By blocking the ACE2 protein with an antibody, the virus is not as easily able to bind to the ACE2 protein, and thus cannot easily enter the cell,” said Sharma. “This not only helps us understand the mechanisms of how this virus functions, but also suggests therapeutic approaches that could be used as a potential treatment for SARS-CoV-2 infection,” he explained.

The study used human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), a type of stem cell that is created in the lab from a person”s blood or skin cells. IPSCs can make any cell type found in the body, each one carrying the DNA of the individual. “This work illustrates the power of being able to study human tissue in a dish,” the authors wrote.

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Health

Rahul Gandhi to interact with nurses on July 1

He also attacked the central government for raising fuel prices in the last three weeks, since June 7.

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Rahul Gandhi Video Conf

New Delhi, June 30 : As part of the series of interactions, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi will hold a conversation on Wednesday with nurses at the front-line of battle against Covid-19.

“Tomorrow 10 AM onwards, across all my social media platforms, watch my conversation with Indian Nurses from around the world, who are on the frontline of the battle against #Covid19,” Rahul Gandhi tweeted on Tuesday.

Earlier, he interacted with former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan, Nobel Laureate Abhijeet Banerji, epidemiologist Johan Geseicke and industrialist Rajiv Bajaj.

The most recent interaction was with Nicholas Burns, professor of diplomacy at Harvard”s Kennedy School, on June 12 on the impact of Covid-19 on the world order. At the conversation, Burns said, “We are not looking for a conflict with China, but waging of a battle of ideas with China.”

Attacking Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the day, Rahul Gandhi said, “Coronavirus has caused irreversible damage to the poor, middle and salaried classes; we have demanded the government to implement NYAY scheme even if it is for six months. The government should transfer Rs 7,500 per month to accounts of the poor.”

He also attacked the central government for raising fuel prices in the last three weeks, since June 7.

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