UPSC Daily Current Affairs : 08-April-2020

Major Topics Covered :

  1. MPLADS SUSPENDED AND SALARY CUT

  2. PENCH TIGER DEATH

  3. DRIVE THROUGH TESTING

  4. LARGE OUTBREAK AMENABLE TO CONTAINMENT PHASE

  5. US – TALIBAN DEAL

  6. SAMADHAN

  7. THREE TIER CLASSSIFICATION OF HOSPITALS FOR DIVERSE LEVELS OF INFECTION

  8. BHILWARA MODEL AGAINST CORONAVIRUS


MPLADS SUSPENDED AND SALARY CUT

Why in news?

  • The Union Cabinet on Monday approved a 30% cut in the salaries of all Members of Parliament and a two-year suspension of the MP Local Area Development (MPLAD) scheme so that the amount saved can go to the Consolidated Fund of India to fight COVID-19.


Highlights:

  • An ordinance to amend the Salaries, Allowances and Pension of Members of Parliament Act, 1954, to cut the salaries of MPs by 30% has been approved.

  • MPLADS has been suspended for two years.

  • Reacting to the Cabinet decisions, Congress said in a tweet that the Congress supported the salary cut for MPs. However, suspending the MPLAD scheme would undermine the role of MPs

  • Under MPLADS, each MP has the choice to suggest to the district collector developmental works of Rs 5 crore per year in his/her constituency.

  • Shashi Tharoor commented, “By decentralising the allocations of development funds, MPLADS have allowed legislators to usher small scale and time-sensitive projects within their respective constituencies. By removing the resources at their disposal to make critical interventions and bringing them under the ambit of the Consolidated Fund of India, it would centralise the allocation of funds, in turn, potentially leading to significant delays in the devolution of funds.”


Source : NEWS 18 (https://www.news18.com/news/india/fills-gaps-in-governance-in-letter-to-pm-modi-tharoor-shows-how-suspension-of-mplad-fund-is-not-a-good-idea-2567869.html )



PENCH TIGER DEATH

Why in news?

  • The mysterious death of a full-grown tiger in Pench Tiger Reserve -- with ravaged lungs and fatal respiratory distress -- the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) and Central Zoo Authority (CZA) on Monday issued alerts to the chief wildlife warden of Madhya Pradesh and all other states over reports of Covid-19 infection in captive tigers in US.


Highlights:

  • The 10-year-old tiger died on the morning of April 4. T21 had been found unresponsive in a waterbody in Pench Reserve, and was injected with medicines through a dart. But it died the next morning. 

  • An autopsy yielded a football-sized hairball in its stomach, and its lungs were badly damaged, but there was no immediate clue to cause of death. 

  • “We will discuss with vets on what steps need to be taken. As per standard procedures, it was to be sent to wildlife laboratory in Jabalpur for histopathological report, which includes tests for virus and poison,” said Pench field director Vikram Singh Parihar. 

  • Wildlife experts don’t believe Covid-19 is a risk in the wild. “I don’t think Covid-19 can infect our wild tigers. The US case is that of a zoo tiger, which has less immunity than those in the wild.” said retired forest officer R P Soni.


Source : Times of India ( https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bhopal/coronavirus-alert-for-tigers-comes-two-days-after-mystery-death-in-pench-tiger-reserve/articleshow/75020028.cms )



DRIVE THROUGH TESTING

Why in news?

  • In a first, a private lab in Delhi will have a drive through testing facility for COVID-19 infection. Starting April 6, Dr Dang Path Labs will be conducting tests for the novel Coronavirus at Punjabi Bagh in West Delhi, the Indian Express reported.


Highlights:

  • The report highlighted that in order to get the test done, the patient has to follow the similar guidelines as anyone else. For testing, a doctor’s prescription will be required where he or she has recommended the COVID-19 test and doctor’s registration number should also be present.

  • Apart from this, a government photo-ID like Aadhaar Card will be needed along with a patient’s proforma request form available online on the government’s website.

  • This kind of testing is an effective way during a pandemic. Earlier, private labs have been conducting coronavirus tests from either a patient’s house or from a testing facility.

  • However, in homes, people are apprehensive about the places or other houses that a testing personnel has visited, despite the measures being taken.

  • Testing in medical facilities, on the other hand, also poses a risk of transmission to some extent as the person would be touching railings of the stairs, chairs, armrests. 


Source : Financial Express ( https://www.financialexpress.com/lifestyle/health/coronavirus-testing-drive-through-covid-19-tests-in-delhi-roll-down-car-windows-get-tested/1919313/ )




LARGE OUTBREAK AMENABLE TO CONTAINMENT PHASE

Why in news?

  • With just over a week left of the 21-day COVID-19 containment lockdown, the Union Health Ministry said on Monday that India has now stepped out of the local transmission phase and moved into the “large outbreaks amenable to containment phase”.


Highlights:

  • With a current case doubling rate of 96 hours and the infection having spread to nearly 300 of the 736 district across the country, the protocol now followed has been set out in the Union Health Ministry’s recently released document “Containment plan for large outbreaks”.

  • This includes “re-defining the area of operation, active surveillance for cases and contacts in the identified geographic zone, expanding laboratory capacity for testing all suspect cases, high risk contacts and SARI cases, operationalize surge capacities created for isolation (COVID-19 hospitals/COVID-19 dedicated blocks) to hospitalise and manage all suspect / confirmed cases.”

  • The other measures under the protocol include implementation of social distancing measures with strict perimeter control, providing chemoprophylaxis with hydroxy-chloroquine to asymptomatic healthcare workers and asymptomatic household contacts of laboratory confirmed cases and the further intensification of risk communication through audio, social and visual media.

  • As per the surge capacity recommendation, the government is empowered to enhance capacity and bring in private hospitals and augment laboratory testing capacity, notes the 20-page document.

  • Anticipating about 15% of the patients are likely to require hospitalisation, and an additional 5% will require ventilator management, the Centre has planned a three-tier arrangement for managing suspect and confirmed cases which is now being implemented to decrease burden on the COVID blocks and hospitals.

  •  The Ministry is also looking at scaling down operations “if no secondary laboratory confirmed COVID-19 case is reported from the geographic quarantine zone for at least four weeks after the last confirmed test has been isolated and all his contacts have been followed up for 28 days.”


Source : THE HINDU ( https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/coronavirus-indian-leaves-behind-local-transmission-phase-now-implementing-the-large-outbreaks-amenable-to-containment-strategy/article31274186.ece )



US – TALIBAN DEAL

Why in news?

  • The Taliban said its peace deal with the U.S. was nearing a breaking point, accusing Washington of violations that included drone attacks on civilians, while also chastising the Afghan government for delaying the release of 5,000 Taliban prisoners promised in the agreement.


Highlights:

  • The Taliban said it had restricted attacks against Afghan security forces to rural outposts, had not attacked international forces and had not attacked Afghan forces in cities or military installations.

  • The Taliban warned of more violence if the U.S. and the Afghan government continue alleged violations of the deal. 

  • The US military in Afghanistan rejected the Taliban's claim, saying it had upheld the military terms of the agreement and that Taliban's assertions were "baseless".

  • The militants said they had reduced their attacks compared to last year, but said continued violations would “create an atmosphere of mistrust that will not only damage the agreements, but also force mujaheddin to a similar response and will increase the level of fighting.”

  • In February, US officials and Taliban representatives signed an agreement after months of negotiations in Qatar aimed at ending the United States' longest war, fought in Afghanistan since 2001. The deal paves the way for the gradual withdrawal of international troops from Afghanistan.


Source : Al Jazeera ( https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/04/taliban-warn-peace-deal-afghanistan-breaking-point-200405185652146.html )



SAMADHAN

Why in news?

  • Ministry of Human Resources Development launched "Samadhan" a challenge to fight against covid19 and future challenges


Highlights:

  • The Innovation Cell of the Ministry of Human Resources Development and All India Council for Technical Education in collaboration with Forge and InnovatioCuris launched a mega online challenge - SAMADHAN - to test the ability of students to innovate. 

  • The students participating in this challenge will search and develop such measures that can be made available to the government agencies, health services, hospitals and other services for quick solutions to the Coronavirus epidemic and other such calamities.

  • Apart from this, through this "Samadhan" challenge, work will be done to make citizens aware, to motivate them, to face any challenge, to prevent any crisis and to help people get livelihood.

  • Under the "Samadhan" challenge, the students and faculty will be motivated for doing new experiments and new discoveries and provide them with a strong base leading to spirit of experimentation  and discovery. 


Source : PIB ( https://pib.gov.in/PressReleseDetail.aspx?PRID=1611994 )



THREE TIER CLASSSIFICATION OF HOSPITALS FOR DIVERSE LEVELS OF INFECTION

Why in news?

  • To streamline the treatment of Covid-19 patients, the government has classified hospitals into three categories.


Highlights:

  • To streamline the treatment of Covid-19 patients, the government has classified hospitals into three categories

  • Covid Care Centres to treat very mild, mild and suspect cases;

  • Covid Health Centres for clinically moderate level serious patients; and

  • Dedicated Covid Hospitals to provide comprehensive care to severe and critical patients. 

  • The health ministry issued detailed guidelines to states as well as district administrations putting in place a mechanism for triaging and identification of appropriate, dedicated facility for providing care to Covid-19 patients. The guidelines are applicable to central, state government as well private hospitals

  • The guidelines also provide details of requirements for each category. For instance, a Covid Care Centre can be a makeshift arrangement or a hostel or school premises, whereas a Covid Health Centre has to be a hospital or a dedicated block with proper triaging and separate entry and exit to avoid a risk of infection. These facilities, which will monitor Covid-confirmed cases with moderate level of illness, will also need to have beds with assured oxygen support. 

  • A dedicated Covid Hospital — which will treat only critically ill patients — will also be a full hospital or a block fully equipped with ICU, ventilators and beds with oxygen support. These hospitals will have separate areas for suspect and confirmed cases. Suspect and confirmed cases should not be allowed to mix under any circumstances, the guidelines say. 


Source : Times of India ( https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/3-tier-classification-of-hospitals-for-diverse-levels-of-infection/articleshow/75037735.cms )



BHILWARA MODEL AGAINST CORONAVIRUS

Why in news?

  • Just a week ago, Bhilwara was a source of alarm for policymakers. Today, the textile town in Rajasthan offers valuable lessons in the war against covid-19.


Highlights:

  • Before enforcing a strict clampdown, Bhilwara was Rajasthan’s worst-hit district, with 27 cases, and stood out in the national count as well. However, no new cases have been reported since 2 April, and in fact, 17 have recovered.

  • While testing for covid-19 at the national level has been considered rather low, the state claims it has screened nearly 50 million people, and tested 11.7 million households so far.

  • The district sealed its border the day that the administration came to know about the case of infection in a doctor of Bangar Hospital.

  • Since then, 2.2 million families from villages and nearly 1 million households in the city were tested to stop the spread of covid-19.

  • According to the Rajasthan government, health workers, home guards, police personnel, government officials and every other individual related to the screening of covid-19 patients are working without a break.

  • The administration has acquired 42 hospitals with dedicated beds for positive patients, and quarantine with 1,551 beds is prepared at hotels and other such establishments. Places have been identified where if needed, an infrastructure of 10,000-15,000 beds can be developed.

  • No shop, dairy, or medical store is open. If people want something, they directly contact the 4-5 control rooms of several departments are established by the administration. The control centre is fulfilling demands through home delivery. It is a necessary step to control the outbreak and bring out a total covid-19-free Bhilwara in the coming few days


Source : Livemint ( https://www.livemint.com/news/india/covid-19-how-did-bhilwara-emerge-as-an-ideal-model-for-containment-11586227844819.html )


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