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08 May Current Affairs

Covid-19 in States with High Swine Flu Rates

In News:

Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Delhi and Tamil Nadu account for about 70% of India’s confirmed Covid-19 cases till now.

Details:

Data from the Health Ministry’s National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), show that these are also the states which consistently accounted for the majority of Swine Flu (H1N1) cases, since 2015.

The NCDC recorded Swine Flu cases this year as well as part of India’s Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme.

Key Points:

  1. a) Data History of Swine Flu

2019: Rajasthan, Gujarat, Delhi and Maharashtra accounted for 54%.

2018: Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Gujarat accounted for 65%.

Uttar Pradesh and Bihar are among India’s most populous states and see intense migration to other states for work still they have not been in the top list always.

Parallels between Covid-19 and Swine Flu:

Both are caused due to pathogens that trace their origins to viruses from non-human hosts even though they belong to different families.

Both respiratory viruses that spread through contact.

Both infiltrate the lungs and cause characteristic  pulmonary  infections but they have varying lethality.

Swine flu infections have a higher case fatality rate (deaths per confirmed cases) and can cause significant deaths in children as well as those less than 60.

Covid-19 is relatively more dangerous to those above 60 and almost harmless in children.

However, due to lack of sufficient research, it cannot be said which age group is safer or not.

High number of Covid-19 and Swine Flu cases have been observed in Gujarat and Maharashtra.

The relative dominance of these diseases can be attributed to the migration for work.

  1. c) Observations:

February-March are typical months for influenza (viral infection of upper or lower respiratory tract) in India.

Most influenza activity in northern India has been seen during the summer months but in southern and western India, cases occurred mostly during winter months.

According to scientists, due to the novel nature of Covid-19, the possibility of another spike later in the year cannot be ruled out.

For Swine flu, this year there is an exceptional rise in testing and active surveillance across states otherwise only few states have the infrastructure and system to actively report cases.

Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu have 50 testing laboratories each for Covid-19 many of which are also deployed for Swine flu.

Project Monitoring Unit launched by Ministry of Coal

In News:

The Ministry of Coal recently launched a project monitoring unit to facilitate early operationalization of coal mines that were allocated by the central government. The aim of launching the unit is to bring in more bidders.

Highlights:

The Project Monitoring Unit will facilitate Ease of Doing Business as it will support coal mines in receiving timely approval in order to operate the mines. The unit will also help the mines in getting clearances from the state and central government authorities for their operationalization. The unit will help improve business environment and production of coal in the country.

Ease of Doing Business:

India ranks 63rd in ease of doing business in the ranking released by World Bank. India was one of the top 10 improvers in the 2019 ranking. The unit will help India improve further and promote international trade as well.

Coal Production in India:

India has the fifth largest coal reserves in the world. The major states that produce coal in India are Odisha, Jharkhand, Bihar, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Telangana.

Nationalisation and Denationalisation of Coal Mines

Nationalisation:

The Nationalisation of coal mines was done in two phases. The first phase of nationalization was done in 1971 under the Coking Coal Mines (Emergency Provisions) Act, 1971 to manage coking coal mines. The Tata Iron and Steel Company Limited and the Indian Iron and Steel Company limited were nationalized and brought under BCCL (Bharat Coking Coal Limited).

Denationalisation:

The Coal Mines were denationalized under the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act, 2015. The law allowed the private sector to mine coal.

May 5: World Asthma Day

In News:

Every year, on May 5, World Asthma Day is organized by Global Initiative for Asthma. It aims to increase awareness about asthma. The day is observed on first Tuesday of May every year. The World Asthma Day is observed under the theme

Theme: Enough Asthma Deaths

Need:

According to the WHO, around 235 million people are suffering from asthma all over the world. It is one of the non-communicable disease. Asthma is the most common disease in children.

Global Initiative for asthma:

The Global Initiative for asthma was launched in 1993 under the collaboration of World Health Organization, National Institutes of Health, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. It provides medical guidelines under which public health officials and health workers spread all over the world.

Asthma in India:

In India around 6% of children and 2% of adults are affected due to asthma. In India Asthma is under treated and under diagnosed.

History:

The first World Asthma Day was celebrated in 1998 in more than 35 countries. The first World Asthma Day was celebrated in conjunction with the World Asthma Meeting in Spain and Barcelona.

EPFO Scheme: Rs 764 crore released to the pensioners

In News:

On May 5, 2020, the Employees Provident Fund Organization has released Rs 764 crores to the pensioners.

Highlights:

Around 135 field offices of the scheme processed the payment. This has been done in advance to avoid inconvenience of the pensioners during lock down. The bank branches all over the country have been directed to make sure the pension is credited on time.

EPFO:

The EPFO is Employment Provident Fund Organization. It was established under the act EPF and Miscellaneous Provision Act, 1952. The EPFO scheme is implemented by the Ministry of Labour and Employment.

EPFO Scheme, 1952:

It was the first EPFO scheme launched by GoI. It paid the labourers accumulated amount and interest upon death and retirement. It allowed partial withdrawals for marriage, education, house construction and illness.

EPF Scheme 1995:

The scheme benefitted disabled survivors that faced accidents during duty, widower and children.

In 2014, Universal Account Number was launched for Employees that benefitted through EPFO. In 2018-19, over 61 new subscribers joined the scheme

Social Security Code Bill, 2019:

The bill was introduced in 2019 to reduce employee contribution to Provident Fund. The PF has two components namely Employees part and employers’ part. The employees part currently stands at 12% of the basic salary. The bill intends to provide an option to the employees to reduce their contribution.

Israel isolates key antibody of COVID-19

In News:

The Israel Institute of Biological Research has isolated the key COVID-19 antibody. The “monoclonal neutralizing antibody” developed by the institute is reported to neutralize COVID-19 virus inside the infected person.

Highlights:

The scientists believe that the antibody can possibly be the antidote that can be used in the treatment of COVID-19. The antibody is called monoclonal as it was isolated from a single recovered cell. The monoclonal antibodies have greater potent values in treating the disease. Till now, the antibodies that have been isolated are polyclonal. Polyclonal is isolating anti bodies from several recovered cells. This is the first time, the antibodies of COVID-19 are isolated from monoclonal antibodies.

Background:

Israel so far has 16,246 COVID-19 cases. This includes 235 fatalities and 10,064 recoveries. It was one of the first countries to close international borders.

Antibodies:

Antibodies are proteins naturally produced in human bodies in order to respond the foreign particles that invade human bodies. The antibodies are specific to the invader. The concept is used to test COVID-19 as well.

Antibody Test of COVID-19:

The antibodies present in blood samples of a person indicate that at some point of time he was exposed to the virus. This concept is used to detect the presence of the virus. India has adopted rapid anti body testing for surveillance purpose. However, it is still using RT-PCR to confirm the virus. The RT-PCR takes 4 to 5 hours to produce results.

Commonwealth Youth Games postponed to 2023

In News:

The 2021 Commonwealth Youth Games is being postponed to 2023 as it faced clash of dates with the Tokyo Olympics. The Tokyo Olympics that was scheduled to be held from July 23 to August 8, 2020, was postponed by a year.

Highlights:

The decision was taken by the Commonwealth Games Federation Executive Board. The 17th Commonwealth youth games were to be held between August 1 and August 7, 2021 in Tobago and Trinidad.

Commonwealth Youth Games:

The Commonwealth Youth Games is an international sport event that is organized by the Commonwealth Games Federation. The first commonwealth games were held in Edinburgh, Scotland. The Commonwealth games is being conducted since 2000. It was then conducted in 2004, 2008, 2011, 2015 and 2017. The 2008 Commonwealth youth games were conducted in Pune, India.

Commonwealth Games Federation:

The Federation was formed in 1932. It is the foremost authority that frames rules for the commonwealth games. After the success of the first British Empire Games that was held in Canada in 1930, it was decided that games similar to that of Olympics should be conducted every four years.

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