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Study reveals new strategies to control Covid-19 pandemic

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Social Distancing in Mizoram

London, July 13 : Strategies for the safe reopening of low and middle-income countries (LMICs) in response to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic must recognise that preserving people’s health is as important as reviving the economy, say researchers, including one of Indian-origin.

In the study, published in the European Journal of Epidemiology, the research team examined three community-based exit strategies, and recommended their scopes, limitations and the appropriate application in the LMICs.

The three approaches considered are sustained mitigation, zonal lockdowns and rolling lockdowns. “Successfully re-opening a country requires consideration of both the economic and social costs,” said study lead author Rajiv Chowdhury from the University of Cambridge in the UK.

“Governments should approach these options with a mind-set that health and economy both are equally important to protect – reviving the economy should not take priority over preserving people”s health,” he added.

The study also revealed that strategies need to be based on the local epidemic growth rate at the time, social and economic costs, existing health systems capabilities and detailed plans to implement.

Sustained ”mitigation-only” approaches such as those adopted in the UK, Switzerland and other European countries, involve basic prevention measures such as mask-wearing, physical distancing and the isolation of positive cases after testing.

Zonal lockdowns approach involves identifying and ”cordoning off” new outbreak clusters with a high number of cases, keeping contact between zones and containing the disease within a small geographic area.

However, the authors point out that any successful implementation of zonal lockdown requires regular data feedback operations in real-time to identify hotspots, including information on newly confirmed cases, updated region-specific reproduction and growth rates, and deaths by age.

Additionally, control of transmission within zones may be an enormous undertaking. For example, in India, where this approach has been employed, the infection size within a cordoned zone can be as high as 100-200 times outside the zone.

Intermittent rolling lockdowns are now advocated by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in various LMICs. These involve implementing strict social distancing for a set number of days before a period of relaxation. Rolling lockdowns may be particularly useful in LMICs with dense populations, where this is a high potential for contact, weak health systems and poor contact tracing.

“These three strategies should not be considered as one or the other. A country should further adapt and could combine them as needed,” the authors wrote.

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Maharashtra scales new high with 400-plus Covid deaths, cases above 11K

The state registered 413 Covid deaths – surpassing the 390 fatalities reported on August 9, along with 11,813 new cases.

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Coronavirus Isolation ward

Maharashtra’s daily Covid-19 death toll crossed the 400 mark on Thursday while new cases again shot above the 11,000 mark, health officials said.

The state registered 413 Covid deaths – surpassing the 390 fatalities reported on August 9, along with 11,813 new cases.

The state death toll has now shot up to 19,063, while the total number of cases went up to 560,126 – both highest in the country.

According to Thursday’s figures, there was one death roughly every 3 minutes and 492 new cases every hour.

The state recovery rate dropped from 69.64 per cent to 69.08 per cent on Thursday, while the mortality rate stood stable at 3.04 per cent.

Meanwhile, a total of 9,115 recovered patients returned home, taking the total number of discharged patients to 390,958 – considerably higher than the 149,798 active cases currently.

Of the fresh fatalities, Pune again topped with 92 deaths, followed by 65 fatalities in Thane and 48 in Mumbai.

There were also 36 deaths in Kolhapur, 20 in Satara, 15 each in Raigad, Nashik, Jalgaon, and Nagpur, 12 in Palghar, 11 in Latur, 10 in Sangli, nine in Osmanabad, eight in Ahmednagar, six in Solapur, five in Dhule, four in Nanded, threee each in Parbhani and Beed, 2 each in Ratnagiri, Jalna, Hingoli, Akola, Amravati, Yavatmal, Buldhana, and Gondiya, and one each in Nandurbar, Sindhudurg, Aurangabad, Washim and Chandrapur.

Mumbai’s toll has now increased to 6,991 and the number of cases increased by 1,200 to 127,556.

The MMR (Thane division) has seen the toll shooting up by the highest – 140 – to reach 11,201 deaths, while fresh 3,395 new cases took its total to 278,969.

Pune district cases have reached 122,020 with the death toll increasing to 2,957, while Thane district has 109,703 cases with 3,190 fatalities.

With 118 more fatalities, the Pune division’s death toll reached 3,774 and the case tally zoomed up with 3,034 new cases to 141,727.

Nashik division has recorded 1,597 fatalities and 56,891 cases, followed by Aurangabad division with 730 deaths and 22,569 cases, Kolhapur division with 583 fatalities and 20,419 cases, Latur division with 435 fatalities and 13,591 cases, Akola division with 351 fatalities and 11,327 cases, and Nagpur division with 334 deaths and 14,047 cases.

Meanwhile, the number of people sent to home quarantine increased to 10,25,660, while those in institutional quarantine increased to 36,450.

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5.5-magnitude earthquake rattles northern Philippines

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Earthquake

MANILA, Aug. 13 : An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 5.5 shook Batanes province in the northern Philippines on Thursday, the Philippine Institute of Seismology and Volcanology (Phivolcs) said.

The institute said the quake, which struck at 6:32 a.m. local time, hit at a depth of 14 kilometers, about 49 kilometers southwest of Sabtang town.

The institute said the quake, which was tectonic in origin, will trigger aftershocks but will not cause damage.

The Philippines has frequent seismic activity due to its location along the Pacific “Ring of Fire.”

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5.3-magnitude quake hits 62 km SW of Surab, Pakistan: USGS

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Earthquake Strong

NEW YORK, Aug. 12 : An earthquake with a magnitude of 5.3 jolted 62 km southwest of Surab, Pakistan at 22:40:45 GMT on Wednesday, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The epicenter, with a depth of 10.96 km, was initially determined to be at 27.9781 degrees north latitude and 65.9996 degrees east longitude.

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