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India Coronavirus Dispatch: Delhi's pollution, pandemic mix may get toxic

From Indian oximeters not being accurate to limited footfall in cinema halls, here's how the country is coping with the pandemic

Delhi | air pollution | Coronavirus

Shreegireesh Jalihal  |  New Delhi 

A health worker in PPE collects nasal sample from a Sadhu at Nizamuddin Railway Station to conduct tests for Covid-19, amid the spread of the disease, in New Delhi

Oximeters may not be reliable: Oximeters are being used to check a person’s vitals as a way of mapping their condition after testing positive for Covid. Multiple cases that have come to light, however, show that the oximeter readings may not be reliable. The readings for a lot of India-bought oximeters fluctuate a lot depending on the posture of the patient. Despite oximeters being a key inclusion in many Covid kits, health experts have seriously doubted their efficacy. A part of the reason for the poor accuracy of these devices in India is that the regulations guiding their standards and quality levels are yet to be implemented fully. In the absence of critical oversight, experts say oximeters flooding the Indian market may not be fit for use. Read more here.

Chandigarh’s cinema halls: In a Chandigarh cinema hall, only one visitor turned up — a Covid survivor. This trend was witnessed across the city as most cinema halls went almost entirely vacant. Some of the viewers came in on day one of reopening just to check out the arrangements and report back to their families. Despite all the cinema halls adhering to Covid protocols as mandated by government SOPs, the footfall so far has been abysmal. One of the reasons for the low turnout of the audience, according to theatre management, is that only old releases are being screened now. Some halls are also selling PPE kits at the reception which moviegoers can buy at their own discretion. Further, on entering the mall, all the visitors were asked to download the Aarogya Setu App, after a temperature check and hand sanitisation. Display screens outside movie halls continuously displayed the various precautions which one needs to undertake while entering the hall. Read more here.

Crowding at AIIMS: Staggered patient visitation — only those who book appointments online or via call can meet doctors — is just one of the ways AIIMS is using to ensure no overcrowding takes place outside the OPD. While this means that fewer people will end up waiting in long queues, the flip side is that a lot of visitors from neighbouring states aren’t aware of the new protocols in place. However, despite this, queues were inevitable as patients and their families waited to buy medicines following their appointments. The OPD at AIIMS resumed only around a month ago, before which patients could opt for teleconsultations. The premises were also lined up with boards displaying Covid norms to be maintained at the hospital. Police officials have also been imposing fines on people for not wearing their face masks properly. Read more here.

residents worried: Delhi’s annual smog problem is set to return soon. Its residents are about to find out what the toxic mix of Covid and pollution can lead to. Families in the national capital with pre-existing health conditions such as asthma are stocking up on oxygen cylinders and pulse oximeters. The situation is especially alarming for people who have only recently recovered from Covid. As their bodies try to regain normalcy, the dirty air is about to take a toll on their already-damaged lungs. Families have also begun stocking up on air purifiers. Health experts warn that poor quality air will compromise the health of lungs, possibly leaving them even more vulnerable to a Covid infection. Read more here.


Covid as a boon: The columnist argues that the Covid-19 crisis presents us with a unique opportunity to take a re-look at the schooling system. Designing the process of school-reopening, she says, can provide new opportunities that can be tested in the ensuing months to see if they have the potential to become enduring features of the education system as a whole. First, a more decentralised approach to education that does away with hierarchy can be put into place. Since the pandemic hit, local conditions and community perceptions have been playing a decisive role in when and how schools can open. Further, increased interaction and planning between parents and teachers has also been made possible by the gradual reopening of schools. Activities are also being planned in a different way with the interests and convenience of students taking centerstage. Read more here.

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First Published: Sat, October 17 2020. 15:51 IST